Which is "better": Turkey or Morocco

Feb 9th, 2009, 11:13 PM
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Which is "better": Turkey or Morocco

I just posted this on the Morocco forum, so in the interest of a psuedo-scientific opinion survey I will also post here.

Okay, I am sure I will get (rightfully) blasted by some for a question akin to "is an apple better than an orange?". For any Fodorites who have been to both Turkey and Morocco, I would love advice on where to go for our 2010 adventure.

My wife and I are in our late 50s. Well travelled, adventurous...not the backpacker or bicycler types. My wife MUST have a clean bathroom and safety. Otherwise, she is a great sport.

Our biggest interests are: history, architecture, local food, different cultures, nature. My wife is fluent in French, but our English and sign language seem to have worked out everywhere so far.

A 14-16 day trip. Likely with a local guide. All advice appreciated! I will soon need to decide whether to turn "left or right". I am certain we would like both countries.
nhulberg is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 05:58 AM
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I can't speak about Morocco, but I can say that I loved my Turkey trip, but clean bathrooms are a hard standard. Our hotels were always beautifully clean, but excursions and day trips won't be up to this standard. You need to consider if this is a deal breaker.
ann_nyc is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 08:22 AM
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Like annyc, haven't yet been to Morocco, but loved Turkey.

As to bathrooms - if at minimum higher priced (from mid-hi to lux-lux) hotels - in other words, major cities - will have real ensuite bathrooms with flush loos.

Outside of city-centers, for road stops be prepared for hole-in-the-ground, some of which can be "nasty."

There are quite a number of Morocco trip reports on this forum which I'd suggest you take the time to read. For Turkey, these reports will be on the European forum.

Turkey is a much larger country, so you'd have to decide which areas you want to visit. Often visitors cover the area from Ankara/Cappadocia
sandi is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 08:25 AM
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... sorry about thhat

middle of the country and west towards the Aegean and north to the Med; including Istanbul. The Eastern part of the country is somewhat more difficult to get to, but also has some less visited areas.

In Morocco, also with many choices, though a smaller country, you have to figure out where.

In both, road travel is doable; less internal flights available in Morocco, whereas you cann get between major areas in Turkey by flight and pick-up vehicles/guides at each.

I don't believe either will disappoint
sandi is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 09:22 AM
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I haven't been to Morocco, so no help there. Have been to Istanbul (the usual in-town sites and sights with a cruise up to the Black Sea), Cappadocia (amazing landscape) and Ephesus (terrific ruins). All three of those areas, and many others I'm sure, will meet your interests of history, architecture, local food, different cultures, nature. Hotels were clean and good and I really enjoyed the food.

Best of luck!
sdb2 is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 09:51 AM
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I have been to both, and both offer incredible sights. But, the guides/touts in Morocco ruined the trip for me -- they are constant, persistent, annoying, clinging and excessive. Some excuse that as local charm, but I found it obnoxious. I did not experience the same in Turkey, nor, for that matter, did I experience that annoyance in other countries in the region, like Tunisia and Egypt.

I'm sure that most Moroccans are lovely, congenial and welcoming, but the few annoying touts clouded my experience. If I revisited, I would not do so without the protection of a guide to shield me from other guides. And, I hate traveling with the service of a guide, but in Morocco I found it necessary.
thit_cho is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 05:03 PM
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I have been to both. You're right, it is a little like comparing apples to oranges, but I will try to make some sense of our experiences for you. Firstly, we are of similar ages and experience as you, and I too find clean bathrooms important, although when travelling in this part of the world you learn to tolerate less desirable conditions out of necessity.

We visited Turkey a couple of years ago and found it exhilarating, interesting, fun. We spent five days in Istanbul at the start, took the overnight train east to Ankara, then wound our way south through Cappadoccia, staying in Mustafapasa and Guzelyurt, then on to Konya and Antalya before ending up in Kusadasi and Ephesus. If you're interested in history, architecture, culture, ancient sites, this is heaven on earth because there are layers and layers and layers of all of those.

The food is excellent at first, but it becomes repetitive after awhile because there simply isn't the variety of cuisines we're exposed to in the west. If you go in the spring, the wildflowers are exciting, if you're interested in doing any amateur botanizing. Everywhere we stayed was good or better standard, with comfortable rooms and clean, modern bathrooms.

The people are friendly and helpful, for the most part. There are a lot of touts in Istanbul and you learn quickly not to interact or make eye contact with them. Most people don't appreciate having their photos snatched but many will allow it if you converse with them for a few minutes and ask politely. I was in Istanbul again last autumn for a few days, stopping on my way to Iran, and enjoyed the city again very much. I'd return again, especially to travel along the coast during wildflower time, if I could.

Here are some of my images from Turkey, if you're interested: http://jmstudio.fotopic.net/c1551688.html

I was in Morocco last spring. The tourist infrastructure in Morocco isn't up to the standards you find in Turkey, for the most part, although the hotels were excellent. It's a very interesting place to visit because of the culture, but doesn't have nearly the wealth of historic/archeological sites that Turkey does. The food again is excellent, and the tagines and couscous dishes give it more variety than Turkish cuisine.

The people are friendly and helpful for the most part, as in Turkey, but their second language, if they have one aside from Arabic, is usually French. If you speak some French, you will find you get along better. Many Moroccans will turn away or become angry if you photograph them without asking first, and when you do ask, many will say no or shoo you away or ask for money. But if you attempt to converse, you might find yourself invited in for a glass of mint tea. I look forward to returning someday to explore more of this very interesting country. Here are some of my images from Morocco, if you're interested: http://jmstudio.fotopic.net/c1475634.html

Now I'll add a little plug for Iran because of all the places I've been, it is without question the most interesting, amazing, astonishing place to travel. The millenia of history, culture, archeology is a wealth beyond compare. And the people are the kindest, friendliest and most welcoming of all. They love to have their photos taken, with you, without you, with their friends and families and animals. Almost everyone has a cell phone or two and they love to take your photos with their cell phones and then share them with all their friends. The hotels are excellent, the food is as good as Middle Eastern food gets, I could go on and on. If you'd like to see some of my photos, here's a link: http://jmstudio.fotopic.net/c1606257.html
julia1 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 06:38 AM
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I posted my response on your other thread but will jump in here to address the Moroccan touts.
Thit cho is right, they're relentless.

Part of it may have been because I traveled to Morocco as a single woman. I also believe it is part of the culture.
Generally I can pretend to be Italian or use a made up language to dissuade touts but not so here.
They were in my face and literally on my ass. I lost track of how many times my backside was grabbed.

I'm not a wilting flower nor do I mind having some good natured fun with vendors but these guys were a huge distraction.
cybor is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 06:52 AM
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Julia, your pictures of Turkey are lovely. We are heading to Turkey for 10 days this spring as a cultural exchange and your pictures have made me smile this morning. Thank you.
southeastern is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 06:52 AM
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I also posted on your other thread, but I have to say that when it came to annoying touts I didn't find the Moroccans noticeably worse than those in other non-Western countries. The worst, to my mind, are still the Indians, although the Chinese and Cambodians come in a close second. You just have to ignore them, or treat it as a game. But it is true that the Moroccans are more likely to actually touch you, which I haven't encountered elsewhere and won't allow. I actually slapped (hard) the hand of a young man who put it on my arm to detain me, and his cohort a few stalls away collapsed with laughter.
thursdaysd is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 10:01 AM
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I also vote for Turkey. Morocco was a dissappointment for me; High hassle factor as Thit Cho pointed out, and I think Morocco holds the record for the number of attempts to rip me off, by hotel staff! Turkey was much more pleasant; People were friendlier and more genuine and relaxed.

I was once in the OP's position, and in looking at guidebooks, Morocco seemed much more interesting and to my taste in comparison to Turkey. In reality, the opposite was true. When I hear people rave about Morocco I wonder what I missed.

The criteria the OP has listed "...history, architecture, local food, different cultures, nature." can be satisfactorily met by either country.
Femi is offline  
Mar 9th, 2009, 11:14 PM
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Thanks, all, for the great input. The decision is in: next year, Turkey. Later: Morocco.
nhulberg is offline  
Mar 11th, 2009, 04:56 AM
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Been to both, for history type stuff I think Turkey is better, but for ease of getting around/see more in short time Morocco is better.

I guess just Turkey seems "bigger". It takes longer to get from one spot to the next...everything is so spread out.

In Morocco the sights seem to somehow be closer, you wouldn't waste as much time on the transportation...
blueshrimp is offline  
Mar 11th, 2009, 05:25 AM
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Julia1 --

Those are wonderful photographs.
Fra_Diavolo is offline  
Mar 11th, 2009, 06:52 AM
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I have been to both and loved each of them. I found the hassle factor to be about equivalent in both countries, and really not annoying at all compared to, say, Tunisia. Speaking fluent French was a big plus for me in Morocco.

But I see you've decided on Turkey. You won't be disappointed.
StCirq is online now  
Mar 11th, 2009, 08:08 AM
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nhulberg...I was going to suggest a toss-up, which, apparently you did....Turkey one year, Maroc the next....having been to both independently in a certain amount of depth, I would lean toward Maroc with Turkey a touching second, Wife tells me she would go the same way with the same element of closeness. EITHER place is exotic, fun, fascinating sites and sights to offer. Yes, my wife speaks a fair amount of French, but we found we could get by (as we do everywhere) with English and fingerpointing gestures...and a lot of smiles and laughter.

Yes, the touts (including gangs of little children) could be a massive pain in the butt, but we try to make a game of it and have a certain amount of fun in doing so....just to add to Julia's superb professional photos above (The Iran shots are magnificent!), I'm tossing in some purely amateur scanned photos (pre-digital) for both countries... Slide show is best to view them, although the "three to a page" scans can be enlarged by clicking on the magnifying glass icon.

Have an illuminating, educational, meaningful trip to both Turkey and Maroc...any help you need in planning, this forum will jump to your aid....don't forget it.



Stu Tower
tower is offline  
Mar 11th, 2009, 08:59 AM
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Turkey has a far greater variety of cultures, in my opinion, and Istanbul is incomparable. As to the hassle factor, my wife was definitely put off by the hassling in Morocco and was not bothered by it in Turkey. It is true that Turkey came after Morocco, but I had the same impression. Ask for directions in Morocco, and if the helpful Moroccan walks 100 ft. with you to point out the direction, he will try to get you to pay. We never experienced that in Turkey. I would choose Turkey first. Click on my name and you will find my Turkey trip report from last year.
Michael is online now  
Mar 11th, 2009, 01:42 PM
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I forgot to say that mosques can be visited in Turkey while non-Muslims are forbidden from entering mosques in Morocco except for one in Meknès that was defiled by a French general during the conquest of Morocco.
Michael is online now  
Mar 11th, 2009, 02:06 PM
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I just got back from Turkey and have not yet been to Morocco so I'm not going to do a comparison. I just wanted to say, though, that our bathrooms in Turkey were spotless and in many ways more modern than other bathrooms we've had in Europe. Hot water was in abundance, towels quite large, and everything super-clean. We are more budget travelers and our hotels certainly weren't luxurious so I think finding a clean bathroom should not be a problem.

We absolutely loved our trip to Turkey. I too have a trip report. If you click on my name you will find it.

Good luck!
tcreath is offline  
Mar 18th, 2009, 07:15 AM
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Funny you should be asking about these 2 places. We are heading to Morocco next Friday and have a Turkey trip in the makings for 2010. Good luck with your planning for your trip.

Our Turkey trip will probably be 10-12 days. I'm not sure we can see the Bodrum area and Cappadoccia. Are you going to both the sea and Cappadoccia?
ventoso is offline  

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