Hitch-hiking in Azerbaijan: advantages and disadvantages
Azerbaijan is an interesting country both culturally and landscape-wise. Its highly under-developed tourist infrastructure can be viewed both as an advantage and as a disadvantage. It’s hard to be an independent traveller in a country which provides hardly any public transport and the concept of hitch-hiking is not recognized at all. However, we found it very rewarding, although hitch-hiking in Azerbaijan can be a bit tiring.
The Azeri people we encountered were nice and hospitable and I’m sure if they had known what hitch-hiking was they would have been more helpful.
As I have already mentioned, hitch-hiking in Azerbaijan turned out to be extremely difficult and that is simply because the people don’t know the concept. Some drivers seeing us on the side of the road stopped their cars but didn’t know how to help us and even when we tried to speak to them in Russian and used the Russian word for hitch-hiking, they still didn’t know what we meant. An Azeri boxer even took us to a station and insisted on buying us a ticket! :-) So you are bound to meet really nice locals but as for hitch-hiking we weren’t particularly lucky.
Another difficulty is the fact that in Azerbaijan there aren’t that many major routes on which people would frequently travel, so if you decide to travel off the beaten track, you might find yourself stuck in a place for a long time.
After we’d realised that hitch-hiking in Azerbaijan wasn’t possible, we got around using marshrutkas (private mini vans), which wasn’t easy either due to the fact that outside the big cities, there are no proper marshrutras stations. You may be able to find a square from which they frequently depart but finding a decent timetable might give you a headache. On the whole, if you don’t speak Russian, Turkish or Azerbaijani you might find it difficult to obtain any information regarding your destination, timetables or fares.
written by: Ania