Since Almaty and Bishkek are no longer issuing Chinese visa we applied in Tbilisi, which turned out to be very easy. We are traveling by bicycle, so the time limit until first entry was a concern, but we got 6 months until first entry, double entry, 90 + 90 days. Perfect!
As described before the whole process is very easy going. Please bear in mind that:
- The embassy is only open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 tot 11 in the morning. There are no huge queues or anything, so no need to show up early. It is very relaxed. The girl at the counter is Georgian, very friendly, and she speaks good English.
- You need hotel bookings for your (fictional) itinerary. I booked enough rooms to cover 3 monts travel, to justify asking for a 90 + 90 double entry visa. I didn’t book every night, just a few days every couple of weeks in the bigger cities. You can do it via booking.com. Make sure you only book hotel rooms you can cancel again once you have the visum in your pocket! They won’t check again, it is only a formality. Bring the printed confirmations of the hotel bookings.
- You can mention you are traveling by bicycle, no problem.
- We paid 90 lari per person, dropped off on Friday and picked up on the next Wednesday. If you pay more you can do same day or next day pick up. You have to pay with Georgian bank notes in a machine at the embassy. Make sure you have clean new notes so the machine will eat them. You only pay when you come to collect your visa. You have to bring 1 lari coin for the transaction. The machine works in English. Search for 'other' payment services or some such and the Chinese visum payment will come up.
- You need one passport photo and one copy of your passport
- We downloaded the form via the Caravanistan.com link to the embassy website. The form is in English and quite straightforward. You don’t have to type it, just write in clear block letters.