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Traveling Donors | Picking Your Thermal Baths in Abanotubani
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Picking Your Thermal Baths in Abanotubani

Definitely one of our favourite Thai cities, it’s no surprise it is considered the cultural capital. Here is how we would spend a day in Chiang Mai!

THE CITY OF TBILISI  

 

We love that Georgia is opening itself up to the rest of the world. One of the more original travel destinations at the moment, there are many discoveries to be made in this East meets West locale. A wildly tolerant place, history and modernity find a peaceful existence in architecture, religion, and the day-to-day. Legend has it that a King, passing through this area, had a falcon drop dead and be revived by the warm springs (or did he enjoy eating the bird after the fact, which was sacredly delicious as a result of the spring? Ahh legends!), and therefore built the city of Tbilisi around these springs. Tbilisi, the capital, and meaning “warm city”, is a particularly aesthetically pleasing city. With a lot of public transport options, it’s easy to discover the intricacies of each neighborhood. We hope this guide will help you figure out where to start!

 

Picking Your Thermal Baths in Abanotubani

ABANOTUBANI – CENTRE CITY

 

Probably most famous for the sulphuric baths, built as a result of the springs, the center of the city, Abanotubani, is now a mix of historical and modern aspects. Definitely the most touristy area, for good reasons, ranging from beautiful architecture – from the Narikala Fortress to the dome-shaped roofs of the sulphur baths, Freedom Square, Rike Park, and the colourful residential neighborhoods.

 

Should you be as excited to experience the underground public baths as we were, here are some tips and advice. There are many benefits to sulphuric baths, other than making your skin very soft. These baths have been known to help with various skin conditions (acne, eczema, and dandruff amongst others), as well as arthritis-related pain and even digestive tract issues. 

There are quite a few baths for your to choose from, we’ll get to that, but these tips go for mostly all over them:

  • Everyone being naked is the norm, and part of the experience, however you may wear swimwear if you’d prefer
  • How it works: You take a shower and then get into the waters. A Mekise (masseuse) is optional and at an extra cost (10-30 gel – depending on how long they spend with you)
  • We recommend you get out every 5-7 minutes and take a break from the water (as you would a sauna)
  • The eggy smell is normal – it’s from the sulphur in the water
  • There are a few options, we recommend starting to look from options which include a sauna (mid-range). To give you an idea average pricing (per hour): budget room is 30-55 gel, mid-range room is 60-80 gel, and then luxury is 100-120 gel (priced per room not per person)
  • In a private room you may take photos, but respect the privacy of others in the main areas
  • The public baths are segrated by sex, where as the private rooms allow you to choose
  • There are arabic and roman types of rooms/baths
  • You pay for each hour and there are no clocks so make sure you keep an eye on the time yourself
  • Take off all your jewelry as the sulphur can affect colouring
  • Generally you get what you pay for

 

Now, picking your bath. Some have an online presence which can help you see what to expect and to book directly through their contact pages. There are about 10 from you to choose from, and the staff in each generally don’t mind showing you the space beforehand if you’d like to take a peek. 

 

Gulo’s Thermal Spa

  • A popular choice and often recommended (by locals and tourists alike)
  • Public and private rooms (note that the entry level private rooms don’t have a sauna)
  • Roman and Arabic rooms
  • Clean and Friendly Staff
  • No sign on the building, so look carefully on the map, it will just say “Sulphur Bathhouses”
  • They offer a range of options and also rent out towels, shampoo, and conditioner for quite cheap – 1-2 gel (although you may bring your own)
  • Bigger private rooms can accommodate about 10 people
  • Highly rated mekise (masseuse) experiences
  • They are open until 3am!

 

Royal Bathhouse

  • A popular and well-known choice (along with Gulo’s)
  • Open 08h00 to 23h00
  • One of the newer baths, well-designed
  • Clean and friendly staff
  • Can get quite busy, we recommend booking
  • Sauna is priced separately
  • This is considered one of the more expensive bathhouses

 

Mirzoyev Bath (also known as “Fantasy”)

  • Known as the first baths in this neighborhood
  • The sulphur water flows directly from the springs into the baths
  • There are a great variety of options in terms of room categories and prices
  • Sauna is priced separately (50 gel)
  • They offer a variety of messages (as opposed to just the traditional), including needle, Thai and Indian
  • Extremely friendly and helpful staff

 

Bathhouse #5

  • One of the oldest
  • Considered to be the “most traditional”
  • Beautiful mosaics (which have recently been done)
  • Frequented by locals constantly
  • Staff considered to be less friendly than some of the other baths (perhaps less interested in tourists as their local business is strong)
  • The higher-end rooms are quite luxurious

 

Orbeliani Bathhouse

  • Beautiful exterior, colourful and traditional in style, it is definitely worth some photography time
  • Very efficiently run operation, also best english speaking bathhouse around
  • If you have a very tight schedule then this is your best bet as the turn-around time is precise
  • The private rooms have been recently restored
  • Alexandre Pushkin’s famous line about bathhouses in Tbilisi is said to have come from his experience in this particular bathhouse and there is even a plaque outside
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