Study Trip

Discovering the diversity of the land and life in the three Nations in South Caucasus Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia

Monday, 4 June to Thursday, 14 June 2018
Leader: Khun Somlak Charoenpot, Honorary Secretary of the Siam Society



The mountain range known as the Great Caucasus separates Russia from Georgia and Azerbaijan. Some contend that it also separates Europe from Asia. The main Caucasus range strides from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea in an endless sequence of snowcapped, rocky peaks, high passes, mountain pasture, deep, green valleys with rushing rivers and a scattering of remote villages. Its beauty is perhaps the greatest of all the region’s attractions.  However, the varied landscape to the south has plenty to offer too. The Caucasus region is home to so many peoples and languages that the Arabs called it the “Mountain of Language”. Kept alive by rugged terrain that divides every valley from its neighbours, over 40 mutually incomprehensible tongues are spoken between the Black and Caspian Seas.

The Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region. It is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west and Iran to the south. Azerbaijan has an ancient and historic cultural heritage, including the distinction of being the first Muslim-majority country to have operas, theatre and plays. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was established in 1918, but was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920 as the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. Azerbaijan regained independence in 1991.

Neither Europe nor Asia, Azerbaijan is a tangle of contradiction and contrasts. A nexus of ancient historical empires, it’s also a “new” nation rapidly emerging on a petroleum-funded quest of optimism. Surrounded by semi-desert on the oil-rich Caspian Sea, the cosmopolitan capital, BAKU, rings its Unesco-listed ancient core with mushrooming new skyscrapers. A few churches remain from the early Christian Albanian culture. Outstanding among Azerbaijan’s medieval Islamic buildings are some tomb towers, with their turquoise glazing, and some of old Baku’s stone buildings, notably the 12th century Maiden’s Tower and the 15th century Palace of the Shirvanshahs. There are three mountain ranges in Azerbaijan, the Greater and Lesser Caucasus, and the Talysh Mountains, together covering approximately 40 percent of the country. The highest peak is Mount Bazarduzu (4.466 m.), while the lowest point in the Caspian Sea (28 m.). The latest estimate puts the population at 9,400,000.

Georgia is situated in the South Caucasus. It is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the south-east by Azerbaijan. The capital of Georgia is Tbilisi. The Kingdoms of Colchis and Iberia became established in what is now Georgia and adopted Christianity in the early 4th century. A unified Kingdom of Georgia reached the peak of its political and economic strength during the 11th – 12th century. At the beginning of the 19th century, Georgia was annexed by the Russian Empire. After a brief period of independence following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Georgia was occupied by Soviet Russia in 1921, becoming the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic and part of the Soviet Union. Georgia regained independence in 1991.

From its sublimely perched old churches and watchtowers dotting fantastic mountain scenery to its green valleys spread with vineyards, Georgia is one of the most beautiful countries on earth and a marvelous place to visit. This is a place where guests are considered a blessing and hospitality is the way of life.

A deeply complicated history has given Georgia a wonderful heritage of architecture and art, from cave cities to the inimitable canvases of Pirasmani. Tbilisi, the capital, is still redolent of an age-old Eurasian crossroads. But this is also a country striving for a place in the 21th century Western world. According to the government, there are more 100 resorts in different climatic zones in Georgia. Tourist attractions include more than 2,000 mineral springs, over 12,000 historical and cultural monuments, four of which are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A large majority of Georgia’s population (84%) practices Orthodox Christianity. The Georgian Orthodox Church is one of the world’s most ancient Churches, and claims apostolic foundation of Saint Andrew. Georgian architecture has been influenced by many civilizations. There are several different architectural styles for castles, towers, fortifications and churches. The art of Georgia spans the prehistoric, the ancient Greek, Roman, medieval, ecclesiastic, iconic and modern visual arts. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 square kilometres and its population is almost 5 million.

The Republic of Armenia is in the South Caucasus region, bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and Azerbaijan to the east and Iran to the south. The Kingdom of Armenia was established in the 6th century BC.  After the fall of Urarfu, it became the first state in the world to adopt Christianity as its religion in 301 A.D. For this reason, Armenia is often called “the first Christian nation”, and later a kingdom, known as Cilician Armenia, existed on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea between the 11th and 14th centuries. By the 19th century, the traditional Armenia homeland was divided between the Ottoman and Russian empires. Armenia was able to be independent during 1918-1920. Between 1920-1991, Armenia was part of the Soviet Union. The modern Republic of Armenia became independent in 1991.

Like all ancient countries, the real history has a murky origin. Around 600 BC, the Kingdom of Armenia was established under the Orontid Dynasty and becoming one of the most powerful kingdoms of its time within the region. Throughout its history, this kingdom enjoyed both periods of independence and periods of autonomy, subjected to invasion by many peoples, including Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Mongols, Persians, Ottoman Turks and Russians.

Armenia’s rich collection of ancient churches and monasteries is a world treasure that has developed over the thousands of years of architectural tinkering. The general layout and design are almost universal and visitors will soon become accustomed to seeing the ubiquitous conical roofs, resembling Mt. Arrarat. Closer inspection reveals that each monastery has its own unique character and design variation. More than 1,700 years of Christian heritage has left Armenia with a rich collection of ancient churches, many still active places of worship.

All fans of ancient churches, monasteries, carvings and frescoes will adore Georgia and Armenia. However the Muslim nation of Azerbaijan has its own sprinkling of places, mosques, forts and caravanserais. Longer and higher than the Alps, the main Caucasus range is most spectacular. Throughout the region it is both a custom and pleasure to welcome guests with food and drink. People everywhere enjoy meeting, helping and hosting foreigners: as a visitor you will see the locals’ warmest side, which will undoubtedly provide some of the best memories of your trip.

Under the leadership of Khun Somlak Charoenpot, Honorary Secretary of the Siam Society. The Society will lead members to visit three Nations in South Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia from Monday, 4 to Thursday 14 June 2018.


The tentative programme will be as follows:

Day 1: Monday, 4 June : Bangkok – Doha – Baku (Azerbaijan)

6:00 a.m. Meet at Suvarnabhumi Airport, check in Row Q, Qatar Airways.
8:05 a.m. Depart Suvarnahumi Airport to Doha by flight QR 827
11:15 a.m. Arrive Doha Airport, transit for flight to Baku.
1:10 p.m. Depart Doha to Baku by QR 251
5:00 p.m. Arrive Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport (Azerbaijan), transfer to restaurant for dinner and check in at hotel Hyatt Regency.

Day 2: Tuesday, 5 June : Baku

- Breakfast at the hotel.
09:00 a.m. Sightseeing in Baku. Visit Inner City (Old town), Icheri Sheher. This UNESCO-recognized area of Baku dating back as far as the seventh century. Visit the Palace of the Shirvans’ Shahs, the most striking example of the medieval palace structures in Azerbaijan, dating to the middle of the 15th century, mosques, bathhouses and caravansaries.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.

City tour of the modern part of Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan which has been developed in the past few years to become "Dubai of Caucasus". Azerbaijan known as an oil country, its modern history is directly connected with the oil industry.

Visit the modern Baku National Boulevard, the seaside boulevard at the shore of Caspian Sea. Along the boulevard, see the beautiful newly building such as International Mugham Center, Carpet Museum, Little Venice, Flag Square, Crystal Hall, and Flame Towers – symbol of modern Baku.

After that visit inside Heydar Aliyev Center, dedicated to former president of Azerbaijan and created by American-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid who was famous for her strangely-shaped, interesting buildings in all over the world.
Evening: Dinner at local restaurant.
Overnight at hotel Hyatt Regency in Baku.

Day 3: Wednesday, 6 June : Baku – Tbilisi (Georgia)

- Breakfast at the hotel.
08:00 a.m. Check out of the hotel. Proceed to visit Gobustan National Park, an open-air museum situated in the west-south of Baku, with some 4,000 Neolithic rock drawings dated from 12,000 years ago, all reflecting activities like hunting and dancing.
Later on continue to visit the Mud Volcano area. Azerbaijan keeps the first place in the world for the number of mud volcanoes. About 300 mud volcanoes are to be found in Azerbaijan – at the shore, in the sea and on islands.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant in Baku.
4.00 p.m. Transfer to airport.
6.50 p.m. Depart Baku to Tbilisi (Georgia) by QR253
8.05 p.m. Arrive Tbilisi airport, transfer to restaurant for dinner.
- Check in at hotel in Tbilisi.

Day 4: Thursday, 7 June : Tbilisi

- Breakfast at the hotel.
09:00 a.m. Walking tour in Tbilisi, capital of Georgia from the 5th century, has a long and fascinating history and was a key stop on the famous Silk Road – right on the border between Europe and Asia. Tbilisi’s Old Town, the most ancient part of the city, is renowned for its wonderful mix of cultures, with a mosque, synagogue, numerous churches and interesting wooden houses.
Visiting its important sites such as Metekhi temple, the Narikhala fortress and Georgia State museum, known for its collection of gold and silver artifacts and jewelry from the pre-Christian period from various regions of the country.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Stroll along Rustaveli Avenue, where notorious architectural and historical buildings such as the Palace of Youth, Parliament of Georgia, Kashveti Church, Rustaveli Theater, National Picture Gallery, and the Academy of Sciences reside.
Evening: Dinner at local restaurant.
Overnight at hotel in Tbilisi.

Day 5: Friday, 8 June : Tbilis – Mtskheta – Kvareli

- Breakfast at the hotel.
08:00 a.m. Check out of the hotel and drive to Mtskheta, the ancient capital of eastern Georgia. The country's conversion to Christianity occurred in Mtskheta in 337 AD, and it is considered one of Georgia's most important religious centers.
Visit the Svetitskoveli Cathedral and the beautiful Jvari Monastery, situated on the edge of a cliff.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Drive to Kakheti, the wine lands of Georgia. Visit the fortress Gremi and the monastery Alaverdi, the old academy Ikalto and the palace of Prince Chavchavadze.
Evening: Check in at hotel Lopota Lake Resort & Spa in Kvareli.
Dinner at the hotel.

Day 6: Saturday, 9 June : Kvereli – Signagi – Winery – Signagi

- Breakfast at the hotel.
09:00 a.m. Visit the longest winery in Kvareli. The tunnel in its vaults keeps the huge collection of vintage wines; the oldest of them are produced in 1840.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Proceed to visit Signagi. Meaning “shelter,” Signagi is one of the smallest towns in the country but rich in history. The city is sits on a hill surrounded by a fortified wall. A large variety of languages and nationalities mingle with the unique mountain landscape to make Signagi one of the most breathtaking places on the world.
Explore multiple architectural monuments and learn about the traditions of local people, all while enjoying the splendid views that open up on the gorgeous Alazani Valley, known as the cradle of Georgian wines.
Evening: Dinner at the hotel.
Overnight at hotel Kabadoni in Signagi.

Day 7: Sunday, 10 June : Signagi – Dzoraget (Armenia) - Monasteries of Sanahin and Haghpat

- Breakfast at the hotel.
09.00 a.m. Check out of the hotel and drive to the Georgia-Armenia border.
- Arrive at the town of Sadakhlo and cross into the town of Bagratashen. Armenia located in the highlands surrounding the mountains of Ararat in the South Caucasus. With strong ties to the Christian religion, ancient churches and monasteries dot the landscape of Armenia.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Visit the monasteries of Sanahin and Haghpat, both dating from the tenth century and inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. For 300 years Sanahin was an important center of learning, where humanitarian sciences and medicine were taught.
Continue on to Dzoraget, the midpoint between the capitals of Armenia and Georgia.
Evening: Check in at Avan Dzoraget Hotel, a medieval castle nestled along the Debed River among the forest-covered hills and rocky slope of the Caucasus Mountains.
Dinner at the hotel.

Day 8: Monday, 11 June : Dzoraget - Yerevan

- Breakfast at the hotel.
9.00 a.m. Depart to Yerevan, Armenia’s capital.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Visit Etchmiadzin, the holy city of Armenia. This is the site of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin complex which is comprised of cathedrals dating from the fourth, seventh, and 17th centuries, all of them included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the cathedrals, museums, libraries, residences, and other buildings in this fascinating place.
After that visit the unusual Zvartnots Temple or the church of the Guardian Angel (7th century). This is also a UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Evening: Visit to Ararat Brandy Factory and city tour in Yerevan, capital city of Armenia. Walking around the Cascade Monument, known for its 2,780 stairs signifying the 2,780th anniversary of the capital city.
Dinner at local restaurant and transfer to hotel.
Overnight at hotel Double Tree by Hilton in Yerevan.

Day 9: Tuesday, 12 June : Khor Virap Monastery - Noravan Monastery - Matenadaran

- Breakfast at the hotel.
Morning: Visit the 17th century Khor Virap monastery, which is famous for its deep dungeon where Saint Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned for 13 years. Saint Gregory was the first head of the Armenian Apostolic Church and is credited with converting Armenia to Christianity in the year 301, making it the first nation to name Christianity as its official religion. In this historic atmosphere we can see the best view of Mount Ararat over the border with Turkey, where it is said that Noah’s Ark rested after the famous flood.
After that proceed to visit the unique and magnificent Noravank Monastery. This two storied 13th century monastery is itself situated on pink rocks.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Visit to Matenadaran, a major center for study and preservation of Armenian works of ancient literature. The institution now protects about 16,477 surviving materials and 300,000 archival documents. Among these archives is at least 2,500 fragments collected in the depository.
Evening: Dinner at local restaurant.
Overnight hotel Double Tree by Hilton.

Day 10: Wednesday, 13 June : Garni and  Geghard Temples - Yerevan

- Breakfast at the hotel.
- Proceed to visit Tsisernakaberd Memorial and the Genocide Museum and continue to visit Garni Temple, a wonderful piece of Hellenistic architecture and the only surviving pagan temple in Armenia. Afterwards proceed to the magnificent monastic complex of Geghard, which is inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the relics housed at the monastery is the spear that wounded Christ on the cross, presumably brought there by Apostle Thaddeus.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Proceed to Lake Sevan, the pearl of Armenia. One of the greatest freshwater high-mountain lakes of Eurasia.
Visit the Sevanavank Monastery, the summer residence of the Favorite Armenian King Ashot the Iron.
- Drive back to Yerevan.
Evening: Dinner at local restaurant.
Midnight Check out and transfer to airport.

Day 11: Thursday, 14 June : Yerevan – Bangkok

3.00 a.m. Depart Yerevan to Doha by QR286
4.55 a.m. Arrive Doha airport, transit for connecting flight to Bangkok.
8.00 a.m. Depart to Bangkok by QR 832
7.00 p.m. Arrive Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport.


Bt. 165,000 (Bt. 168,000 for non-members). Single room surcharge Bt. 24,500. A deposit of Bt. 50,000 and photocopy of passport must accompany the booking. Your reservation will be confirmed as soon as the deposit has been made. Payment in full is required 45 days before the start of the trip (i.e. by Friday, 19 April 2018)

Please pay by cash or cheque payable to ‘The Siam Society’. There is a 4% surcharge for credit/debit card payment to cover bank charges. Alternatively you can deposit/transfer the money to the Siam Society travel account at the Thai Military Bank, Asoke Branch saving account no. 053-2-18000-7.  Please fax or e-mail the deposit or transfer docket to us. In case the tour has to be cancelled due to insufficient participants, a full refund of the deposit will be made.


The contribution includes meals as mentioned in program, airfares, accommodation for two persons per room, entrance fees, gratuities and other costs incurred to make this trip possible. It excludes visa fee (if any), personal expenses, personal beverages, etc.

To comply with payment and cancellation policies set forth by tour agencies, and to facilitate smooth working condition between the Siam Society and the tour agencies, please read carefully the revised cancellation policies stated below:

Cancellation charge:

45 days before the start of the trip:                             Deposit forfeited
45-30 days before the start of the trip                         50% of the tour cost
Less than 30 days or cancellation without notice:          No refund

Your booking will not be confirmed until deposit payment has been received. Please supply a copy of your passport with your booking.

The Siam Society reserves the right to change the programme as necessary. Seats are limited. Please book your place as soon as possible. For further information and bookings please contact Khun Prasert or Khun Supanut.