Tkibuli is a small town of about 10,000 people, about an hour's ride from Georgia's second city of Kutaisi. Once a thriving mining town, most of the mines have closed, resulting in a decreased population from the city's heyday during the Soviet period. Tkibuli is
Marshutkas (mini-buses) arrive approximately hourly from Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Zestaponi, and other locations around Georgia. There is one daily marshutka between Tkibuli and Batumi in both directions. There are occasional minibuses to towns in Racha, such as Ambrolauri and Oni.
The whole town can be explored on foot. However, there are a number of city buses that run the length of the city's main road, if desired.
The main sights are just outside of the town. The first is Tskhrajvari (or Cxrajvari, meaning "Nine Crosses"), which is on a mountain overlooking the town. The main road leads to a 5 km road which can be walked or traveled in a 4-wheel drive car (or a 2-wheel drive, if you're very ambitious), followed by a 1 km walk. There are the remains of an 11th-century monastery and beautiful views of the region.
Easier to reach is Narekala Pass, which offers views of the town and the region.
Just past Narekala Pass is Shaori Reservoir, which is a beautiful place to see in all seasons, sometimes with views of the mountains of Racha in the background. It is also a good place to have a picnic and swim in the summer.
The town center of Tkibuli is small but pretty, with some grand buildings remaining from the glory days, such as a large theater. There is also a pretty river, the Tkibula, running through the town.
There is a bazaar in the middle of the town where you can buy fresh and local produce, meat, nuts, etc. Ask anyone for the "bazari" and they will point you in the right direction. Right next to the bazaar are a couple of bigger supermarkets. There are also smaller markets all over town.
There are a few restaurants in the town. Many are situated near the bazaar. Another is next to the town pool. You can try all of the Georgian classics there, but they all offer the same fare.
All of the restaurants also serve alcohol (wine, beer, chacha, cognac, etc.).
There are a couple of very small hotels in town with the phone numbers written on the outside.
Tkibuli is the gateway to Racha, and many hitchhikers stop in town on their way up into the mountains.