Transport Means

You'll notice two types of taxis in Baku. First are London cabs which actually are not black the way they are supposed to be but purple (we the locals call them eggplants due to visual resemblance). They are quite comfortable, air conditioned, with nice leg room and big enough to fit five slim grown-ups. The trunk is not too big but fair. Fair is calculated by km counter. But keep in mind that as soon as the car starts off, it already counts 1 AZN (that's a fixed minimum). Their ordering short number is *9000. 

Second type is just random people with their own cars (various models, but mostly Mercedes). Only a small percentage of them have counters so in their case it is a matter of negotiation and bargain beforehand. Both types of cabs accept cash. I've heard some of London cabs are provided with POS terminals, though I personally never met a driver who accepted credit cards. So make sure you have cash and preferably in small bills as the driver may not have change for you (or in some very rare cases they may do it deliberately). The amount both cabs will charge you from airport to downtown is something between 15-20 AZN. Remember that night drives may be cheaper than day drives due to absence of traffic jams.  

Buses are usually very crowded and drive like crazy because they have to follow a strict time schedule but tend to get stuck in traffic jams very often. Plus most sights in downtown are a matter of walking distance so you won't really need to take a bus. In case you get too tired to walk back to your hotel, you can take bus number 65. It goes slightly empty nearby old city walls (see the map for its route marked red; blue dots are the bus stops). Trip fair for all buses in downtown is 0.20 AZN. 

Subway of Baku city (no subway in other cities) is open every day from 06:00 to 24:00. Despite being crowded on some stations, it is still one of the best ways of moving during traffic jams in the city. The travel cost is 0.20 AZN and there are no token machines but only plastic card identifiers. Plastic cards cost 2 AZN and can be filled via charge machines you'll find on stations. The cards can be returned on any station for a 2 AZN reimbursement  There are 23 stations, 4 (28 May, Nizami, Sahil, Icheri Sheher) of which are in downtown of which 2 (Sahil, Icheri Sheher) are right nearby the tourist routes. Nevertheless, the tourist route in downtown is a matter of walking distance so travelers rarely use subway. Only in cases when they want to see what Baku subway looks like. In this case, Nizami station in downtown is a nice station to see. Here you will find Soviet engineering and architecture power demonstrated in a beautiful eastern way. Recently renovated Icheri Sheher station (also in downtown) can also be recommended for a tour. Keep in mind that taking pictures of subway may not be welcomed by the station guards. As the subway despite being a transportation mean is also a strategic place.  more Baku Subway photos by Raj Steven

The main trick with trains in Azerbaijan is that the whole railway is in poor condition and hasn't been seriously renovated since Soviet times. A decision on mending the railway system has been made only recently so up to date, there are still lots of routs remaining untouched. As a result , the trains can hardly speed up to 30-40 miles an hour. This for example makes a 350 mile trip last for 10-12 hours as there are stations on which the train will stop from 5 to 15 minutes. This is hard to believe in 21st century, especially for those who've had a chance to travel on European speed trains. Nevertheless, it might happen that you'd have no other option but to travel by train, I'll share my experience with you beforehand so that you can be prepared. I won't write about passenger car trains because I doubt you may have a chance to use them. Plus I don't advise it anyway, they are very old and so slow that taking a bus would be a better option (you know that feeling when you are not really moving, you just look out of the window and notice trees slowly moving backwards). So, I prefer to write about overnight trains with sleeping cars.

Regional trains. There are several railway routes connecting cities of Azerbaijan. As I've already mentioned above, due to old railway the speed barely reaches 30-40 miles an hour. Usually there are two types of sleeping cars in overnight trains. A car for four people is called "kupe" (remember this words if you are going to buy a ticket) and two people cars are called "SV" (remember this one too). The difference besides the number of sleeping spaces is in the cost. "SV" ticket usually costs almost two times more that "kupe" ticket (for example Baku - Ganja (360km) one way SV ticket costs 22 AZN). Regional trains are quite old and you'll surely make a trip to USSR :) Almost nothing has been renovated in these train and the interior remains the same. However, it has an air conditioning system and thus, melting down is not an option (more likely you'll freeze because you can't turn off the air conditioner, it stop running only on stations, when the trains stop). Couches (or beds, whatever) and not wide but length wise they are satisfying for a grown-up with height above average. Cars are supplied with mattresses, warm blankets and new bed sheets which will be brought to you in a sealed package (the package also contains a towel). The cars also have three mirrors (two above beds plus one on the door) and lots of coat hangers. The dark side of this story is that unfortunately there are no sockets in old trains. Seriously, not a single car has a socket so make sure you charge all your cell phones, I-pads, cameras and whatsoever beforehand. Overall I can say that interstate trains despite being very old and worn out, are always very clean and you probably won't even find a tiny dust in your sleeping car. The WC thought is a different story. All I can recommend is that do your stuff before the trip and better not enter the WC on these trains. Also, you can ask for hot tea and sugar during your trip (no food). As far as I can remember the official price is 0.20 AZN for one tea with sugar. I might wrong though, you know how they change prices every minute?!

Long distance trains. There are few train routes you can use if you want to travel to another country from Azerbaijan (several cities in Russia, Tbilisi in Georgia). I've had an experience of travelling on the Baku-Tbilisi-Baku train so I'll write about. Same sleeping car features apply to this train (SV, Kupe). The SV one way price is 52 AZN. The speed is once again very slow and you'll lose two additional hours on the border (1 hour on each border) for passport control, customs check and etc. You don't have to leave the train though, they enter cars and check you luggage and identity. After that, they collect the passport and bring them back in half an hour with a stamp. The same scenario applies to the other border too. The trains though are completely different from regional trains. They are brand new, perfectly clear, with lots of hangers, two different curtains (thin and thick), sockets (220V) and head lamps above each bed and a folding table. WC's are also quite good and they won't remind you of a horror movie this time. Air conditioning is still a problem though as you can't control it. It gets very cold in sleeping cars and by morning I already had severe headaches because of air conditioners. Mattresses and new bed sheet with a towel in a sealed package are also provided. Same applies to the drinks: hot tea with sugar but no food. To find info about the schedule: Azerbaijan Railways web page in English link