I am a UK born East Asian female who lived in Joburg (alone) as an expat for a few years... and I really love it. Yes, there are safety concerns so you must take precautions, however, I found the locals to be extremely warm and friendly (the one thing I wasn't expecting when I arrived), the weather is spot on, it's very cheap, good quality new build apartments in places like Sandton, Rosebank, Parkhurt, Bryanston etc and AMAZING quality restaurants e.g you can get an excellent fillet steak and a glass of wine for $15 in a high end restaurant. The going out scene was a little quiet but you could definitely find bars clubs open until 2/3 am. Meeting people I found easy as all the locals want to talk to you. A nomad wanting a high quality and cheap lifestyle I think would enjoy it. With that being said, Cape Town would be the better choice for a Nomad in South Africa.
Pros and Cons of Living in Tbilisi, Georgia
bigmouse248 Discussion Fanatics last edited by
Pros of Living in Tbilisi
Affordable to live
Warm in the spring
Good air quality today
Nomad List members liked going here a lot
Many Nomad List members here all year round
Spacious and not crowded
Very easy to do business
High quality of education
Roads are pretty safe
Freedom of speech
Safe for women
Cons of Living in Tbilisi
Not very democratic
Not much to do
Gets cold in the winter
Bad air quality year round
People don't speak English well
Hostile towards LGBTQ+
Many people smoke tobacco
heavybutterfly809 Discussion Fanatics last edited by
Lived here for 3 months. Fantastic. Special mentions to Rooms Hotel for the best late-night coding and coffee lounge Urban Garden for best reasonably-priced gym, Restaurant Tiflis (by the bridge), Duqani, Shatre, and Machahkela resturant chain for inexpensive but great food, and Skola Coffee + Book Corner Cafe (opposite Restaurant Tiflis) for best daytime cafes you can work at. Best ice cream (by FAR): The Cone Culture. Georgians are very friendly and hospitable. It's also the first ex-Soviet country to legalise , if you're that way inclined (you'll find Georgians willing to share nearly everywhere.) However it's an Eastern European country and still poor, you gotta be careful. I recommend you open a local bank account with TBC Bank (very easy process) and then use Transferwise to exchange into GEL. (connect with me: scaur.nz)
goldenzebra524 Discussion Fanatics last edited by
I've lived in Tbilisi for one month. In short: the foundations are here for a great and low cost place to work. But the city lacks liveability (parks healthy food, noisy, polluted). The pro's: It is easy to get a visa, has a growing expat community, easy to arrange mobile plan, gym, housing, etc and its all super cheap. Its perfect for bootstrapping and costwise even on par with Chiang Mai. Its also easy to take trips to the mountains and Armenia and taxi's itself are incredibly cheap. The city has a growing number of gems to eat, shop and drink. Even though all the pro's above I personally wouldn't return. Besides expats it was difficult to make connections. The locals can be rude at times and love being dramatic and driving illogically big SUV's. The city was noisy, dirty and it was difficult finding places to run or relax since parks are non-existent and streets are in bad shape. Cheese, meat and wine sounds great at first but it gets boring real fast and it was difficult to eat healthy.
greencat217 Discussion Fanatics last edited by
I have just finished one month in Tbilisi. September 2022. The prices of everything are 20-50% more than in Europe. Accommodations restaurants, and clothes are low in quality (imports from Europe that just have not been sold in their shops). It was my second to last night, and I visited a local restaurant and paid 500 lari for two steaks, frozen potatoes, and vegetables which were a mix of overcooked and perfectly cooked. A bottle of wine and a bottle of water. I could get 100x better at half the price on 90% of European restaurants, even the bad-tuirist ones. I have visited the north of Georgia and the south. The country feels safe if you avoid cars on the streets and are careful when driving. There is no reason to live in Georgia; as the Nomad Capitalist wisely says, go where you are treated best, and the best of Georgia is not the best you deserve. I am leaving feeling insulted by the exploitation. I leave it in the hands of the many Russians entering the country to escape their dictator.
orangezebra422 Discussion Fanatics last edited by
A good place for adventurous young types who enjoy their youth and want to date meet other expats, etc. We didn’t enjoy it as a young family though. Streets are unbearable for a stroller and the cost of living isn’t that great if you want to live a proper lifestyle.
orangepanda761 Discussion Fanatics last edited by
We had some crazy situations with apartments scam - so please everyone be aware that there are people pretending an RE agent. Always do a checkup of a realtor you are contacting. And the statement below that georgian people like to be 'dramatic'. Never experienced so much drama in my life, as from georgian landlords during 6 months of staying in Tbilisi I disagree with one of the reviews that Tbilisi has no parks. Actually it's super ridiculous thing to say about Tbilisi! The city has plenty of green spaces (Vera Park, Mtatsminda mountain, Turtle Lisi Lake and magical Mziuri and don't forget to mention Vake, where you can climb up the hill and you feel like you just transported yourself outside of the city in ~5mins ). Actually PARKS are my favourite in Tbilisi - because of them, as well as big sidewalks to walk (unseen in Chiang Mai for sure). Person who wrote about the lack of parks had to live on the wrong side of the river - only go for districst like Vera, Vake, Saburtalo and there the choice of parks is broad. What I didn't like about Tbilisi? I confirm that locals are unfriendly. City is very noisy (drivers are agressive, have no respect to pedestrians and beep a lot). Georgian goverment wants foreigners in their country so badly but locals mentality (very post soviet one) is not ready. They only want to get your money and the best would be if you dissapear just afterwards. Also you will have hard time to eat out as vegeterian - vegan. Places fully "green" are just a few. In other spots you can eat salads/chaciapuri which is cheese + carbs (for a vegan stays cucumber tomato salad - i wish you luck getting full with it :D).
heavybutterfly809 Discussion Fanatics last edited by
I think your prices are a little high or overboard. You must be doing the highest quality places in the country because I have lived there for a lot cheaper than what you advertise here and you can live there for about 700 a month if you look around 1000 to 2000 is a little high price unless you want top line hotel or apartment
tinyladybug283 Discussion Fanatics last edited by
Tbilisi is a beautiful place to be at. It is really cheap and nice. People are warm and welcoming even though they are more friendly in the villages. It is a really cool place with many shops to buy things at that is well located. Also, you can get pretty quickly to nature.
crazyladybug404 Discussion Fanatics last edited by
I've been living in Tbilisi for 7 months. The most surprising thing about the city was the welcoming expat community which is larger than I expected. Quality well travelled people that are generally older (30's+). I met many good friends in a very short period of time. The downtown area of the city is not ideal and can be noisy and polluted but the suburbs (only a 10min cab ride away), especially upscale Vake, is a better option in my opinion. It has a large beautiful park, lovely shops, restaurants and bars. Rent here is still quite cheap. All apartments are rented out fully furnished. You can get a nice large flat for as low as 200usd but 400 will get you a large modern flat. Internet is very fast, up to 100mbps for about 30usd per month. There are also many international restaurants but you may not find it as authentic as in other major cities. Locals are not friendly generally speaking except in the villages. Communication in English can be difficult but not impossible. Settling here for short or longer term is very easy, you can open a bank account and work legally on your visa on arrival. Banks like Bank of Georgia offer savings accounts for 3 months in the local currency with an 11.5% interest rate! Safety is not an issue for most unless you go to the dodgier bars but at most they will rip you off. As a woman I feel totally safe night and day. Drivers are aggressive but taxi's are cheaper than anywhere I've ever been to (about 2usd for a 15 minute ride) which you can get quickly and easily on Bolt or Yandex apps. Overall cost of living is very cheap. You can easily live on less than 1000usd per month and still go out and have fun. Also the country has handled covid very well and is one of the best countries to ride out the wave, everything is nearly back to normal, borders still closed in mid June. Weather is mild, even in winter it's not too bad, heating and air-conditioning works well. I really like it here!
silversnake588 Discussion Fanatics last edited by
Amazing city and underrated so far. But it'll become very popular at some point so take a chance to visit now. Amazing people great and unique food, incredible nature, one f the biggest visa permits (365 days). On top of that you can open the company and pay 1% income tax as a freelancer.
blackelephant230 Discussion Fanatics last edited by
Looking for an estate agency in Tbilisi? Don't use Remax. We rented via Remax an apartment in upper Vake. Since we live here we didn't have one quiet day. There are six days a week renovations INSIDE the building. We know that this can be the case in Tbilisi. Owners renovate in the summer. Some flats are strict about this, and other ones are not. We asked the agent of Remax to check this. She said she did, and there were no renovations planned for this summer. But obviously, this is not true. We live here now for 1 month, and almost every day there is noise from drilling.
beautifulelephant169 Discussion Fanatics last edited by
I've lived in Tbilisi for three months. I started in Kutaisi (fly cheaply to Kutaisi with WizzAir) for a few days before hiking through the Svaneti region for four days. Highly recommend getting to the Caucasus! If you're looking to bootstrap while you retrain yourself or start your online business then Tbilisi is a great option. I've spent less in Tbilisi than I did in Chiang Mai. They speak better English than what some may suggest. I've gotten the wrong order a few times, but other than that, I have not had a problem with communicating. Internet is copious. I recommend Hurma and Althaus Tea Room for a couple great cafes to work from. I found Georgians to be rather unfriendly, and it was difficult to make any local friends. Tbilisi is the worst city for gay life that I have ever been to, so if you're LGBT then don't expect much. On the other hand, Tbilisi is exceptionally safe. I walked home alone from the bar at 3 AM on several occasions and never felt any unease. Ohh, and the drivers in Tbilisi are aggressive, and the cars approach pedestrians too closely. Lastly, Georgian ATMs do not charge a fee and the exchange rates are at market rate. So with my Schwab account, I was able to pull money out completely free. Good and bad as with any city, but I will definitely return to Tbilisi, especially with the 1 year tourist visa and Ryan Air's new routes in Tbilisi.
organickoala248 Discussion Fanatics last edited by
I lived in Tbilisi for a year from August 2021 to August 2022. I had high hopes for it since I heard a lot of glowing reviews of it. When I came prices for rentals were quite reasonable and I was able to get a lovely one-bedroom in an upscale neighbourhood for just 380 usd. Since the war, prices have skyrocketed up to what one would expect to pay in a central Europe and even beyond. The quality of life hasn't increase in tandem with the prices, so I no longer felt it was a good deal. As a non-drinker, non-smoker, I felt it was hard to fit in socially. As a foodie, I was woefully disappointed. The food was heavy and basically the same in every restaurant, and the international fare was abysmal. I didn't like the fashion choices either for the most part. It was hard to find good quality goods in general. English is not widely spoken, but I could get by using my Russian; however, my English speaking friends had a hard time communicating. The level of service in most places is lacking. There is a lot of lovely nature though ,which is a plus. If you are a hiker, this place will be paradise to you. Most of the cultural events such as plays and concerts are in Georgian, so I was quite bored for most of my time there. The banking is great and it is easy to make this your base. After my experience there, I didn't feel I wanted to do that, but this place might appeal to you if you are into the outdoors, drinking, and heavy/ hearty food.
greenfish900 Discussion Fanatics last edited by
As an expat be prepared to hear “this is normal in Georgia” every time something goes wrong. No one is in a hurry to fix anything - from broken lift in the building (I even got stuck once on a Sunday night and was told “maybe someone will come tomorrow to free you”! - had to break out myself) to your wifi (stopped working for almost 2 weeks, not until we threatened to change companies that they decided to send a technician). We didn’t find it very friendly. People don’t smile, staff in stores are surly and unhelpful. The taxi drivers are the worst in the world (including Uber). Utter maniacs. The cost of living has risen steeply because of inflation. People also constantly thought we were Russian and we got yelled at several times by locals who don’t want Russians around (for obvious reasons). Overall, it’s not the most pleasant place to be an expat. However, the food is delicious (if heavy), the scenery is gorgeous. The mobile data is cheap, but groceries ans eating out is more expensive than we expected. I’d recommend it for a month or two, but no more.
What is discussplaces?
This page shows discussions around "Pros and Cons of Living in Tbilisi, Georgia"