Baku is a city of juxtapositions. The Old City is sprawled out with the Baku Flame Towers in the background. Old Soviet buildings neighbour modern Azeri ones. Azerbaijan has changed hands several times, but by international standards, it’s still a “new” country, finally gaining its independence from the Soviets in 1991. Baku is old and new, new and old. A week trip in Baku is enough to make your head spin.
But yes, we’re talking about the good kind of head spinning.
Directly translated as the “land of fire”, Azerbaijan is a natural resource-laden country whose main export is oil and gas. However, there’s a lot of cultural upheaval going on in this new-meets-old country that is quite fascinating. This transition is especially prevalent and visible in the capital city of Azerbaijan, Baku.
It is joyful and exciting to explore Baku. There’s a lot to unpack here, from the old marvels of the city to the strange contemporary buildings that have only just been built there. Throw in a slew of fascinating and unique natural attractions just outside the city limits. Brace yourself for the fun and exploration where the old and new gives you a ride to remember for the rest of your life.
Throughout your stay in Baku, you can experience the highlights of the city
Azerbaijan is a beautiful country and one of the best destinations for Pakistani tourist and currently is gaining more and more popularity within the masses. Baku City is famous for Pakistani travel enthusiasts.
Azerbaijan is an ex-Soviet Muslim country and has a very interesting blend of East and west with a deep history, its culture is Soviet and the Middle East mixture. Getting Azerbaijan visa on Pakistani passport is very easy, the process is done online and the E-Visa is issued online within 3 days. The visa fees for adults is 20$ only.
Travelling to Azerbaijan requires a visa for citizens of most countries. The good news is that it’s a completely online process to obtain an Azerbaijan tourist visa.
The process is very simple, simply visit the Azerbaijan E-Visa website, click on the Application button and start the visa process online. You can pay the fees online as well with your credit card or your debit card and your Azerbaijan visa will be sent to you via email. Take a print of it and show it at the immigration officer at the airport. It’s that simple to get Azerbaijan visa on Pakistani Passport.
If you are visiting Azerbaijan on a visit visa or business visa in 2019, and looking forward to getting information about the Azerbaijan online visa requirements for Pakistani Passport and application process, Azerbaijan visa fees, documents requirements and processing time than you are at the right place. The whole process is given below.
Procedure to apply for Azerbaijan Baku Visa from Pakistan
Azerbaijan Tourist Visa Requirements for Pakistani Citizens:
For Online Visa Applications
• Passport Scanned Copy
• Scanned Photo
• Visit this website and fill the application online
How long will my eVISA be valid for?
E-VISA holder is entitled to stay up to a maximum of 90 days for each visit in Azerbaijan.
How do I get started?
For being the first time applicant, you are required to visit the website: https://evisa.gov.az/en/ Click Application, choose Pakistan as a country and select an ordinary passport.
Azerbaijan Visa Key Information
Validity of Passport
Quantity of Photos
Size of Photos
Processing Time (Normal Visa)
• The e-Visa is issued within 3 (three) working days.
• E-Visa applications can be created for an individual, for a family (minimum of 2 and maximum of 10 persons) or a group (minimum of 10 and a maximum of 300 persons).
• The necessary data required for the e-Visa should be entered directly into the system.
• The fee for the e-Visa is paid electronically via the system.
• The e-Visa is sent to the e-mail address of an applicant.
Azerbaijan Visa Application Centers in Pakistan:
Visa is submitted online, Visit this website and fill the application online, there are no physical application centres for Azerbaijan visa,
Azerbaijan Visa Tracking:
You can check the status of your Azerbaijan Online Visa application on the official website where you fill in your visa application.
Azerbaijan Visa Rejection Appeal from Pakistan:
The rejection ratio is almost zero; however there is no appeal process, just apply for a new visa again properly with all the correct information and the required documents (clear scanned documents).
Disclaimer: Although the information in this blog has been prepared with the utmost care, we cannot accept any responsibility for inaccuracies contained herein.
How to Get In and Out of Baku
Flight: The easiest way to get to Baku from Pakistan is to fly into Heydar Aliyev International Airport. The airport has several flights a day, primarily from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. You can compare flight prices and search for the best deals on flights through multiple platforms available to help you find the right fit for example sastaticket.pk, sky scanner etc.
Currency and Payments in Baku
For currency, Azerbaijan uses the Manat (AZN). Even though there are card readers in lots of places, most transactions in Baku are made in cash. You can withdraw money from ATMs there, or simply exchange at one of the many exchange points throughout the city. Be sure to try and break your big bills when possible, as a lot of smaller restaurants and shops do not have much change.
Remember that 1 Manat equals to 91.76PKR, so when travelling keep the currency as per your requirements and plans in Baku, if you plan to do shopping, drop in some extra Manats before you start your travel.
Where to Stay in Baku
Budget: There are hostels in Baku which gives a homely feel. The dorm beds are comfortable and squeaky clean, and there’s a relaxed but open vibe about it that makes it easy to meet other travellers. Find a hostel that’s walkable from practically everything, and super close to the seaside boardwalk, you can get hostel at just a few USD per night, which is an amazing deal.
There are hotels available as well, according to the range you want to spend on your lodging for a mid-Range: Whether you prefer a private room or simply want a comfortable, private place to stay, the Viva Boutique Hotel is the perfect sport for you. It’s affordable, the rooms are clean and cosy, and it’s a very central location just a few minutes’ walks to the Old City and many other central areas.
If you are there to Splurge and If you’re looking for an exceptionally “Baku” luxury hotel, the Fairmont Baku Flame Towers is a perfect choice. It’s a 5-star property located in one of the iconic flame towers of the city. There’s also an incredible rooftop pool that you can enjoy while you stay with these hotels.
Getting Around in Baku
Walking: Central Baku is an extremely walkable place, and you’ll be able to get to many places within the city centre on your feet. Remember that Baku is in a desert, so in the spring and summer months, it can get pretty hot during the day. If you plan on walking a lot, be sure to stay hydrated, wear comfortable shoes, and bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
Public Transportation: Baku also has a metro and bus system that’s ridiculously cheap to use. First, you need to buy a card to use, which costs 2 AZN. Then, you can fill it with however much money you want. Rides on both the buses and the metro (0.2 AZN) per ride.
Uber/Rideshare: Baku is the only capital city in the Caucasus to use Uber, and that makes getting around incredibly convenient. If you have access to Wi-Fi or cellular data, you can simply call an Uber-like you would in Pakistan and charge it automatically to your designated credit card. Most Ubers within the central city area cost 2-7 AZN.
Taxi: Taxis are abundant in Baku and you can simply hail one from the street or have your hotel/restaurant call you one. However, this is the most expensive way to get around Baku, so keep that in mind if you’re budget-conscious and just don’t want to spend a lot on transport.
Where to Eat in Baku
Surprisingly, there isn’t a huge food culture in Baku. You’ll find inexpensive kebab and döner shops, one of the prominent characteristic of the region. Which is pretty much available everywhere. There are also some traditional Azeri restaurants, but you’ll find when you visit one, it’s mostly fellow tourists and foreigners eating there.
Although they are mostly catered to tourists, I still think it’s worth trying a couple of Azeri restaurants during your stay to experience the traditional dishes of the region.
With that said, the people of Azerbaijan are very proud of their traditional Azeri breakfasts. You should try one while you’re in the city. For a traditional-style breakfast, the delicious cheeses and honey, and the historic atmosphere of the place are certainly worth it.
A Stroll on the Seaside
Arguably one of the coolest things about Baku is that it neighbours the Caspian Sea. The Caspian Sea isn’t a sea, rather the largest salt lake in the world. Off the coast, you’ll see deep blue water, with oil rigs dotting the horizon.
The best place to take a walk and experience the sights and sounds of the city is on the Baku Boulevard. This beautiful, big walking area is full of both tourists and locals and is a nice place to get a feel for the city. While there, you can stroll for a bit and grab dinner, or simply sit on a bench and admire the calmness of the Caspian Sea. There are also great views of the old city and the Flame Towers.
Exploring the City, Old and New
When visiting a new city, spend some time just walking and wandering around its main areas. And luckily, Baku is a VERY walkable city.
Like with any trip, you can’t accomplish everything in a couple of days, so choose few as priorities from your bucket wish list for each day and try to knock those out first.
Some of the main attractions in Baku that you might want to check out include:
• Baku Old City
• Palace of the Shirvanshahs
• Maiden Tower
• Fountain Square
• Philharmonic Hall
• Palace of Happiness
• Bibi-Heyat Mosque
• Museums: Carpet Museum, Azerbaijani Literature, Art Museum, and National Museum of Azerbaijan
• Funicular Car
• Flame Towers
• Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center (explore the inside museum AND the outside)
• Upland Park (at sunset)
Sights included on the free walking tour, that you can see while exploring Baku on foot while wandering around the newly independent city that is an amazing combination of history and modernity.
If you’re in more of a ‘sit back and relax’ kind of mood, you can also opt for an organized Baku city tour they typically give you an insider’s perspective on the city, and include some quirky facts or fun stories to boot (these quirky facts about a place and connect you to the place, giving you a sense of familiarity of Baku).
At sunset, end your day by heading up to the Upland Park viewpoint. Upland Park is arguably the best place in the city to watch the daily light show, which happens around 8:30 PM. There’s also a magnificent view of the rest of Baku and the Caspian Sea down below. While there, you’ll probably share the space with wedding photographers, joggers, skateboarders, families, and other light show spectators. It’s a great place to do some sunset people-watching, too.
Mud Volcanoes, Gobustan, and Lots of Fire
After exploring Baku it is recommended to discover outside of Baku and sightsee some of the weirdest and most wonderful sights near the city. The easiest way to do this is to book a full day Baku tour, which will take you to the mud volcanoes, Gobustan National Park, Ateshgah Fire Temple, Yanar Dag, and the outside of the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center. You can also opt to hire a taxi and do this tour your own, but it will be MUCH more expensive.
The Mud Volcanoes
Baku is one of the few places in the world where you can see mud volcanoes. Some mud-volcanos are also present in Balochistan, it’s a rare phenomenon that only happens in certain areas, these naturally-formed bubbly mud pots look like mini volcanoes dotted across a flat area of dirt.
You probably won’t want to stay long here, but there are a few interesting things to note about these mud volcanoes:
They’re cold to the touch. In many places around the world, bubbling mud is caused by heat. However, in Baku, the mud volcanoes are cold because they’re caused by gas pockets under the ground.
They’re not just in Baku. There are mud volcanoes in a bunch of different places around Azerbaijan! The Baku ones are simply the easiest to see, especially if you have a short time in the country. Some people use them as mud masks. You’ll probably see such people when you visit.
If you’re a natural history or archaeology nerd, you’ll love Gobustan National Park. First of all, it’s naturally very beautiful, with giant boulders are strewn about as if they were tossed into a pile by a child at play.
More importantly, on said rocks, there are ancient (I mean, 1,000+ years old) petroglyphs carved into the sides, depicting scenes from the daily lives of nomadic inhabitants of modern-day Azerbaijan.
Traditional Azeri Lunch Buffet
Try the Azeri lunch buffet which is full of every kind of food you read about when you google “foods to try in Azerbaijan.” Being a Pakistani, one thing can be surely said that we are food lovers and we appreciate some good food our way, even when we have to spend a little more on the meal.
Your day tour operator would guide you to a good Azeri Buffet where you can eat all, or if you are going on your own fetch some relevant information by reading online or talk to local/expert to get information about good food, so you don’t miss out on good food.
Ateshgah Fire Temple
A pilgrimage site for people of the Zoroastrian faith, the Ateshgah Fire Temple was built sometime between the 17th and 18th centuries. Here, you can learn more about the history of fire worship and the current practices and traditions around it, complete with somewhat creepy wax models and museum-like panels inside of the reconstructed historic site.
Of course, the actual fire is the main point of focus here. It sits in the centre of the temple complex in a small shelter and burns perpetually.
Yanar Dag is a special place, and while it’s not one where you’ll linger for a long time, you’ll probably want to see it for yourself. While Azerbaijan is known as the land of fire, Yanar Dag is the land that’s on fire. You see, here, natural gas is so abundant that it causes a natural fire on the hillside that burns forever and ever.
It looks like there’s burning charcoal leaking out the side of the hill…pretty cool huh?
The only reservation about going here with a day tour is that you’ll usually end up here in the heat of the afternoon, which is mildly unpleasant and not as epic to photograph. But if you can manage try to visit the site at sunset or night.
Day Trip to Xinaliq
If you’re itching to get outdoors, you can take a day trip from Baku to the highest-elevation village in Azerbaijan. You can book a tour as well to visit Xinaliq. The trip spans a full day (9 AM-9 PM+) and takes you to both Quba and Xinaliq. This is a great way to experience what life is like in Azerbaijan outside of Baku.
Day Trip to Gabala
Sometimes you just need an escape from the busy city, and Gabala can offer that to you. Gabala is a resort area popular with Azerbaijan’s locals, filled with lots of beautiful scenery and outdoor activities.
Don’t forget your travel insurance! So it has your back in case of emergencies and any issue that you may face while to travel to this beautiful country, so before you embark on your journey, pack your bags don’t forget to pack your travel insurance with all the coverages!!