Sights in Racha : in Barakoni there is
a beautifully situated monastery church along the way. The Ninotsminda cathedral
is also viewable from the road.
Wine : Next to Kakheti, Racha is also a well known wine region in Georgia, the Khvanchkara wine
that is produced here is one of the best wines in Georgia.
Sights in Oni :
* Jewish quarter : there used to be many jews living here but now only 6 remain, they have the key to the synagogue and the jewish cemetery.
* walk : you can make a nice walk to the two villages situated on top of the surrounding hill.
Budget hotel - hotels in Oni :
hotel : at the centre square, 500 metre north of the bus station. The hotel is still open although most locals don't seem to be aware of this but in desperate need of some renovation.
10 lari per night and really not worth more...
home stay - bed and breakfast : You will probably quickly get found by the family Nino, Nona and Nana who live close to the bus station. They are very friendly and hospitable and are probably also able to take bigger groups of travelers. one of their daughters is living and studying in Germany and the other 2 daughters are also dreaming about moving there.
Shovi (Showshi) : an enormous spa situated about 25 kilometres north of Oni, on 1500m high. Now unfortunately in a bad state but in the ca 20 hotel complexes built in the stunning mountain area with snow covered peaks used to have place for 1000 tired workers.
Five of the 20 hotels are sill partly in use from june to september,
15-17 lari per night. Just outside the spa area some workers were restaurating an old guest house. In the middle of the grass fields full of gracing cows a silver statue of Stalin still stands. Apparently there are beautiful treks to be done in the direction of the Mamisioni pass, on 2800m high, at the border with Russia. Along the way between Oni - Shovi are about 10 natural springs with drinking water. Apart from on the market days in
Oni, saturday and sunday, there is no organized transport going to Shovi or the nearby situated (2 km) village Glola, I paid 30 lari for a UAZ
jeep taxi, including a 6 hour travel and look around.
Utsera : sanatorium at the water springs. A small place situated close to
Oni, about 5km walk eastwards along the way to Shovi.
Ambrolauri : has a sanatorium with hot water springs. Situated 5km North of Ambrolauri city (small) along the way to
Travel by public transport from Oni to Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) :
the road is in a very bad state, and there is no public transport available. Try on the market day in Oni, thursday and sunday, to get a ride with market stall holders.
The taxi costs 50$. From Gori there is public transport to Tskhinvali and the distance is about half an hour ride.
Travel to Oni : from the Didube station in
Tbilisi is there a straight bus to Oni, tickets 12 lari. This bus takes the route Tqibuli - Ninotsminda
- Ambrolauri - Barakoni - Oni. You can also get one of the more frequent mini busses to Kutaisi and from there get to Oni via another route. From
Oni there is daily a big bus going to Kutaisiand Tbilisi, 5 hours traveling, tickets costs 5 lari. Departure time 8am, to get the best view choose to sit on the left side.