Thinking about Turkey...

Mar 16th, 2010, 08:34 PM
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Thinking about Turkey...

I know this is not the Europe board... However, I'm very casually thinking of going to Turkey in either late May or September. I've read, and printed, many of the trip reports about Turkey, but it is hard to get a feel for the travelers' style, as none are people I've met.

Have any of you Asia regulars posted a trip report? Or have notes on your Turkey trips? If I do decide to go, I'll post regular questions, but right now, I'm wondering if it is possible to enjoy Turkey without having to rent a car, and if the times I'm thinking of are good for travel there.

Not terribly interested in beaches or hiking. Mostly like architecture, ruins, museums and other historical or local sites, plus good food.

Or if all else fails, is May a good time for a first trip to Bali??

Thanks for the advance help!!
lcuy is offline  
Mar 16th, 2010, 09:31 PM
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Turkey of course is famously both in Asia and Europe geographically, so it’s really a toss-up as to where this should be posted (although Fodors seems to post it in Europe).

I have only been to Istanbul, and that was several years ago, and I have not posted a trip report. However, I really, really enjoyed it and would highly recommend it. I would like to see other parts of the country as well, esp Ephesus. But Istanbul certainly offers architecture, museums, ruins and good food in spades. Lovely people as well. I can’t speak to whether you need a car for longer distances (of course you don’t need one in Istanbul), but it would depend I think on how many cities you need to cover, as flights, bus service or long-distance taxi may work just as well. I think if you have a choice, the fall is probably better, as May could be quite hot in places, esp near Syria.

To answer your other question, the weather in Bali in May is very good. Dry as far as rain goes. Temps don’t vary much during the year, so it is the rain you want to avoid (although the rain does make things very green). Rainy months are late Oct through about March, heaviest in Dec-Feb.
Cicerone is offline  
Mar 16th, 2010, 09:44 PM
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I have been thinking about Turkey as well. Perhaps combining it with Jordan(Petra) but I cannot find the time to go just yet!
Hanuman is offline  
Mar 17th, 2010, 01:41 AM
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Jeane and I went to Turkey on a 12-day trip back in 1998. From my notes it looks like we flew to Istanbul, then flew to Antalya. From Antalya we drove to Kusadasi via Pamukkale. I have more negative memories of this trip than positive ones although the lessons we learned from it really helped us in managing all our trips after that. We enjoyed Antalya because it was so laid back compared to Istanbul and it would be worth going there even if you are not into the beach. Kusadasi is the base for exploring Ephesus, which is a must - lots of history, ruins etc. You can give Pamukkale a much-needed miss by not driving, although it is an easy self-drive between Antalya and Kusadasi. The first time we ever stayed in a Four Seasons was in Istanbul - it was a fabulous hotel built in and old prison with a great location for site-seeing. There is lots to see and do in Istanbul that would fit your requirements.

We went to Turkey in July and it was rather hot. I recall the food everywhere being really good. Turkish Airlines is the worst airline we have ever flown. Part of the problem was that back then smoking was still allowed on the aircraft and the chain-smoking cabin crew sat right by the non-smoking section. After that trip I resolved never to fly in economy class on long hauls again.

Given the choice, however between Turkey and Bali, I would choose Bali hands down, no matter what time of year you choose to go. You can find my Bali trip report here:
Craig is offline  
Mar 17th, 2010, 03:44 AM
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We spent 21 days in Turkey a year ago and loved it. After spending approximately 5 days in Istanbul, we took the overnight train (which was fine)to Ankara (spending only a few hours there) and then we rented a car for our drive to Cappadoccia. Fromm Cappadoccia we went to Antalya and proceeded down the coast back to Istanbul. The driving was relatively easy, provided you are good with direction, mountainous roads and long stretches of driving. (The majority of the roads were sparse) The scenery was breathtaking. We loved the trip. The ancient ruins were more and even better than in Greece. We thought Turkey was a wonderful trip. The people were wonderful and the food good. As an alternative to driving, the bus transportation is cheap, easy and readily available. We wanted the flexibility of having our own car. If you decide to take this trip there is a wonderful site - google Matt Barron and Turkey. Let me know if you want more details on where we went.
dgunbug is offline  
Mar 17th, 2010, 05:40 AM
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We went to Turkey about 15 years ago for 2 weeks. It is one of our most memorable trips. We went on a formal tour because the country is large, with great distances between places of interest. You could definitely see Istambul without renting a car-by both walking, taxi and ferry boats on the Bosphorus-a really fun way to get around. We spent a week in Istanbul before the tour began and had no trouble getting around without renting a car. But if you want to see the whole country, you would need to rent a car, or fly from major place to major place. We went in May and the weather was perfect-springlike temperatures and blue skies. Do not go in the summer as it can get to be over 100 degrees in places. I think you would enjoy a visit to Turkey.
shelleyk is offline  
Mar 17th, 2010, 05:49 AM
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I spent a week in Istanbul a number of years ago and loved it. A return to Istanbul and some time in the rest of the country is on my list. I was there in May and the weather was beautiful. As someone else said, the food was fabulous!

That said, Bali is also just wonderful.

Pook, I loved Jordan. Petra is incredible and Jerash is the best-preserved Roman city I've visited.
Kathie is online now  
Mar 17th, 2010, 05:56 AM
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I've been to Turkey twice on two-week tours, in '74 and '99. I've also been twice, briefly, on my own on the way to somewhere else. The tours were before I started writing TRs, but I thoroughly enjoyed both of them. The scenery in Cappadocia is quite remarkable, you could easily OD on ruins, and on Islamic architecture, and the coast is attractive even if you're not into beaches (I'm not), you might consider a boat ride. I'd also agree with the recommendation for Ephesus, and add Konya.

I did write TRs for my more recent visits - see - Turkey Transit and - search on Istanbul.

As mentioned above, there is a night train from Istanbul to Ankara, although otherwise the recommendation is to take buses rather than trains as they're faster. There are also a couple of budget airlines as well as Turkish airlines. I flew TA trans-Atlantic last year, and thought they were a distinct improvement over American - the food was actually edible and drinks were free - the screaming kids were hardly the airlines fault.

I've only been to Bali briefly on the way to and from Lombok, but I would certainly revisit Turkey in preference to Bali, at the very least on the grounds of variety. I still haven't made it to the east.

Hanuman I highly recommend Petra, which I got to see last year. It was easily the highlight of a two month trip - see - Peerless Petra.
thursdaysd is offline  
Mar 17th, 2010, 06:03 AM
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ok you know us and our travel style....we have been twice a number of years ago and i yearn to go again...

we flew to istambul both times.....spent a number of days in and around this fabulous city before flying to ismir... we rented a car there and drove south to bodrum, spending one or two nights at ephesus along the way---- these are fabulous ruins...

bodrum is a really nice seaside town....a place where many rent large gullet boats for cruises along the sea for a few days...

many of our small rugs came from a rug co-op between ismir and bodrum...

we then drove further east to anatayla which is a charming small city with tons of resorts...

we also visited the water flows that craig refers to and found them fun and interesting, but a easy miss...

the area around istambul is fantastic as is the city would love it...

shopping: think leather jackets and carpets...
rhkkmk is offline  
Mar 18th, 2010, 10:48 PM
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My nephew and I arrived in Turkey at Marmaris by boat from Rhodes. Did a currency exchange at the port and immediately got a bus to Bodrum where we spent a couple days relaxing.

From Bodrum we took a bus up to Pammukale and spent a couple nights. The highlight of that was treating three kiwi girls to dinner at a total cost of $12 (this was in 1994) for four.

The girls did say that the Turkish men were obnoxious to them. Mike and I were treated like honored guests.

Next stop was Kusadasai to see Ephesus, again by bus. The trip from Pammukale was fun as Mike was having a conversation with a group of kids. Restrooms at Turkish bus stops in the country (Mugla, I think) are not for the squeamish. Ephesus was a great site to visit.

From Kusadasai we took a bus to Izmir. Made a last minute reservation and stayed at the Hilton at a low rate. We intended to take the train to Istanbul but the line was taking forever so I gave up. Got cheap last-minute tix on Turkish Air instead.

Istanbul is an amazing city.

We stayed in a lodging that formerly were townhouses where Ottoman officials lived. It is behind Aya Sofia. The buildings are built up against the wall of Topkapi Palace.

The Turkish people we met were wonderful. It is definitely worthwhile to learn a few phrases in Turkish. A car is not necessary, if you don't mind riding the bus.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Mar 18th, 2010, 10:50 PM
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We were in Turkey at the beginning of June and the weather was nice.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Mar 24th, 2010, 02:44 PM
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Turkey is one of my favorite destinations ever. I love the friendliness of the people, and found the history fascinating. Food was like nothing I had ever tried before, and ranged from OK to fantastic. I've visited twice, both times on a tour because of the long distances involved, and another visit will happen eventually. Both visits were in May/June and the weather couldn't have been better.

I'm not a fan of Bali, so Turkey wins my vote.
Femi is offline  
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