Mobile phone providers
There are three GSM service providers operating in Armenia. It is strongly advised to acquire a temporary prepaid SIM card as they cheap and convenient, allowing both local and international calls, no charge for incoming calls and no monthly fee. Mobile internet and UTMS are also offered from all companies, as well as the normal full range of wireless services.
VivaCell and Orange have booths offering free SIM-Cards to incoming visitors at the airport. They are also easiest to top-up at pretty much any store or kiosk in the country and have better English services, rates and coverage. Majority of foreign visitors find their unlocked mobile phones compatible with Armenian SIM cards GSM 900/1800. GSM coverage maps of Armenia: (http://gsmworld.com/roami...).
(http://vivacell.am/) armenian, english and russian is the leading gsm service provider in armenia and offers quality service at reasonable rates owned by the russian giant mts. they have the best coverage outside of yerevan. a vivacell pre-paid sim card "alo" card costs amd 1100-7000 usd 3-20, depending on how much starting credit you want. at their flagship store off of republic square, vivacell is very helpful to foreigners and will make sure that you understand everything in english, french or russian. they offer very low prices for international calls from your phone via a voip be sure to dial 77001+country code+the number!; in fact, it is much cheaper per minute to call the us or canada13amd/$0.03 or russia30amd/$0.08 than it is to dial armenian networks.
(http://beeline.am/armenian) and russian formerly armentel but have switched to the russian brand also have a pre-paid card. note: this option may no longer be available to those without armenian residency, although russians and ukrainians seem to be exempted.
(http://orangearmenia.am/a...) and english the french multi-national is a newcomer, in the country since mid-2009 offers a pre-paid card called let's talk with complicated, but competitive rates. all networks in armenia35amd/$0.09 lower rates may apply within the network or for night-time calls, us or canada15amd/$0.04, russia30amd/$0.08.
As with any traveling experience, eat well, but do not overeat. If you are dining with Armenians, they will feed you until you cannot eat any more. The food is generally safe, even from the roadside khorovats stands. There is little worry about food safety in Armenia.
The tap water is generally safe, as it comes directly from mountains, but you may also purchase bottled water. You can get both mineral water with gas and normal spring water on almost every street corner. This water is available in both the rural areas and the capital.
Yerevan is full of internet cafes and internet phone offices. These are beginning to pop up in a number of towns outside of Yerevan as well. International calling is available through prepaid mobile phone cards. Short-term mobile phone rental is also possible. Regular calls can always be made from the post office, and is cheap within Armenia, but a bit expensive for international calls. Try to find a phone office that uses the internet for much cheaper rates. Local calls can be made from kiosks or the rare payphone.
Armenians are much like any other Europeans in their manners and lifestyle.
Avoid disussing Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh, because due to the frozen but still ongoing very bitter conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, it is an extremely sensiÂtive subject.
The issue of the Armenian Genocide, in which the Armenian people and a majority of Western scholars believe up to one and a half million Armenians were killed by the Young Turk government during World War One, is a sensitive one, and respect should be shown when discussing the subject. Although widely taught at school for years, the Soviet Union officially recognized the genocide of the people of one of its republics in 1965.
One can find out more about the Armenian Genocide by visiting the Genocide Memorial 'Tzitzernakabert'. There is also a museum near the memorial.
Having been liberated by the then-Russian Empire in 1916, Armenians are partly Slavophiles; ask as many questions as you like about soccer and Soviet TV programs. Respect is generally shown for Slavs, including Russians. People often have no problem talking about the Soviet Union. Most Armenians do not mind if you speak to them in Russian even if it is their second language.
It is very common to give up your seat for an elderly passenger on the public transport. Usually, men will give up their seat to woman too. It is also considered polite to let women first to the bus or train or to enter a room, and the "ladies first" rule is considered important.
When visiting churches, both men and women are expected to dress modestly i.e. no shorts, miniskirts, sleeveless shirts/tops etc.. Lighting a candle is always a nice gesture, but it is optional. You should always talk quietly when you are visiting a church.