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Cappadocia Turkey: which town as a base to explore the region? Pamukkale still worth seeing?

Cappadocia Turkey: which town as a base to explore the region? Pamukkale still worth seeing?

Jun 18th, 2007, 05:44 AM
  #1  
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Cappadocia Turkey: which town as a base to explore the region? Pamukkale still worth seeing?

Sometimes the travel books are even more confusing, because all the towns I read are more or less the same, so I'm posting this question:

To explore the Cappadocia region, which is best as a base? Goreme (where they have the Open Air Museum?), Urgyp, or Nevsehei or Kayseri? I believe the later 2 towns are bigger and so may have more thing (restaurants, mosques, markets ... to explore after sightseeing.

Any suggestions from people who's been there?

Also I hear that the Pamukkale tarvertines are dried up: no more pools of water as one may see from those post cards or tourist promotions - so there is not even soaking at the travertines anymore. Also you have to walk barefoot up the travertines. Is this true? Is it still worth going to Pamukkale?
Johnmango is offline  
Jun 18th, 2007, 06:07 AM
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Hi Johnmango-

I was in Turkey at the end of March this year (on a tour) and we visited Pamukkale. There are two ways to visit Pamukkale - entrance at the top of the hill and at the bottom of the hill. I'm assuming that if you enter from the bottom you will be climbing the deposits barefoot.

We saw the deposits from the top, there is a lovely boardwalk along the top edge. There is water running - according to our guide, the water is directed to run over certain areas (the dirty ones) to maintain the appearance of the deposits.

Individuals were taking off their shoes and soaking their feet in the water. They were also walking down from the source of water to pools that had formed.

To answer your question, no it is not the Pamukkale of the postcards, no bathing (only foot soaking) and only a portion of the pools are filled. Is it worth it? I can only say that I am glad I saw this - I have never seen such a mineral deposit before - quite spectacular to see from a distance as you arrive.

As for a Cappadocia base - I can't really help you here. We stayed at the Vera Kaymakli hotel is Kayseri for two nights but did not venture out in the evenings after our tours concluded.

Enjoy turkey!


Hana is offline  
Jun 18th, 2007, 07:02 AM
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I just returned from Turkey about 10 days ago. We spent the last 2 days of our trip in Cappadocia and stayed at Esbelli Evi in Urgup. I can't recommend this hotel highly enough--it was wonderful. I felt Urgup was a great base--Goreme, while very cute, felt too overwhelmingly touristy to me, whereas Urgup felt more like a "real" town that didn't just have tourism going on, if that makes any sense (although certainly tourism is big business).

Kayseri IMO is really too far from the things you'll want to see to be a good base for the area. We flew into there and it took almost an hour to get to Goreme and Urgup and the famed Cappadocia scenery didn't really start until we were quite close.

Definitely splurge and do the hot air balloon ride with the original Kappadokya Balloons (watching the other balloons, we could really see why Kappadokya is considered the best). It's SO worth the money and even having to get up at 4 AM, LOL!
NWWanderer is offline  
Jun 18th, 2007, 07:12 AM
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John:

We enjoyed staying In Urgup...not a big town, but several worthy restos..and we loved the Esbelli Pensione. East drives to all of the major sites within the region. Kayseri is much too far from these.

As for Pamukkale, it is truly a sight to behold, even with less water. We were fortunate enough a few years back to be able traipse through the travertines with plenty of water, and that psot-card effect...but friends went last month and still found it intriguing.
Stu T.
tower is offline  
Jun 18th, 2007, 08:20 AM
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If you are coming to Cappadocia than Goreme, Urgup are top choices than Uchisar, Ortahisar, Avanos or Mustafapasa secondary.
Nevsehir altough is the main city of the region, it will not be of an interest to stay there in terms of beauty of the city, places of interest, certainly not for restaurants and shopping.

Kayseri is an interesting city in spesific terms of some historical architectural monuments and the ski center. But to explore Cappadocia its far out. You will be passing by to Kayseri most probably becouse most flights to Cappadocia region is to Kayseri.

All the main attarctions within the names I have forwarded are at close proximities, each having their special sites. When you take a tour for example you see at least 3 of them at once.

I vote for the early morning hot air balloon ride while in Cappadocia as well, which is truly a unique exeperience.

Happy travelling,

Murat
propertravel is offline  
Jun 18th, 2007, 09:12 AM
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Thanks for all the suggestions.

I guess it is then either Goreme (I raed somewhere else that it used to be backpacker paradise, and has for the last few years becoming more popular with other tourists), or Urgyp.

If it is Urgyp, I would like to find a hotel below $100 (Esbelli Evi, Yunak Evleri and Gamirasu are all in the US$110-130 range) for a double. The Elkep Evi sounds very good (US$90 for double). Has anyone stayed there to give a recommendation?

If it is Goreme, then it is the Kelebek.
Based on NWWandere's response - I am now leaning towards Urgyp.
Johnmango is offline  
Jun 18th, 2007, 09:37 AM
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NWWanderer - "Definitely splurge and do the hot air balloon ride with the original Kappadokya Balloons (watching the other balloons, we could really see why Kappadokya is considered the best)."

Could you expand on that comment a bit? We want to take the balloon ride, can you tell us what you saw that made you think the other balloon companies were not as good?
HappyCheesehead is offline  
Jun 18th, 2007, 09:44 AM
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The other balloon companies just went up over a plain, stayed at one height level, then came down on that same plain. We launched from a different spot than the other companies--a plateau--and went up and down through various valleys, etc--sometimes low enough to touch the treetops and at other times up to 1500 feet or so. We really felt like we were in the hands of an expert pilot (we were in the balloon piloted by Lars and the other balloon with us was piloted by his partner Kaile).
NWWanderer is offline  
Jun 18th, 2007, 10:02 AM
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No wonder you said "splurge" NWWanderer. I just checked the ballon website: their proce is 230euro per person!!
Johnmango is offline  
Jun 18th, 2007, 10:03 AM
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Excellent and thank you for the quick response (although I won't be in Turkey til May 2008, LOL). I will go with Kappadokya Balloons. We only have one chance at this and I want it to be the best!
HappyCheesehead is offline  
Jun 18th, 2007, 10:24 AM
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I know, it's expensive, and we had to take a deep breath before we committed to it, but it was SOOO worth it. I look at it as a once in a lifetime experience, and it really was the highlight of our trip.

NWWanderer is offline  
Jun 18th, 2007, 10:40 PM
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I am off to Turkey in a few days (in Santorini now and will do Crete and Rhodes briefly first) and I am leaning towards Goerme from all the good things that I have heard about it.

I actually first wanted to be at the famous Esbelli Evi that so many stay at, but turkeyplanner has a list of sooooo many cave houses in both places it is hard to decide.

We have an open itinerary, so I am thinking I will just see what is availble when I arrive that I hear works in Turkey well. The range seems huge from 7 dollars a night per person for places that people like to very expensive for Turkey.

I think the balloons are over our budget ( we did not spend anything even close to that for a camel trek in the Sarhara) that was the best of the best.

My biggest question tho, is exactly how scary is the balloon ride???? I have a fear of heights and fear it might be a nightmare. I also have concerns about safety as we have found European standards on safety are not like they are in the US...AT ALL.

I know the driving record in Turkey is one of the worst and most dangerous around, so I worry about the balloon pilots and who certifies them and even heard some complaints about them on other websites.

I wonder if the roads and drivers are as crazy in Turkey as they are in Greece?
WTnow is offline  
Jun 18th, 2007, 11:34 PM
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Hi WT Now;
If you are comparing Greek drivers at Crete; No Turkey is more civilised ;-)
But Istanbul and Athens are identical most of the time. To find a taxi in Istanbul is much easier..etc....

Ballooning: The safety record of the company is important and generally speaking being Cappadocia the best place of the world for ballooning without a doubt, still important to choose the right company.
Fear of hight is not working on balloon. No engine no vibration, feeling is that the surface is moving away from you....Also no connection with earth (ie. being on top of a high building still connects you to the earth)your perception of hights changes. ( I have been managing a balloon company for 3 years so I know it inside out, trust my words. Plus you can always speak to your pilot, if you are not feeling comfortable after couple of minutes, they land and put you off the basket, usually you do not pay the flight as well. But at my experience no one asked to be put off from the flight.....

It is sounding expensive but expenses concerned H.O Ballooning is high as well. Comparing other destinations where ballooning excists ballooning in Cappadocia is still a bargain.

About Pamukkale issue; Water in travertine pools might be changing in seasons but the swimming pool up there with soda water is always full and great experinece to swim in such environment, something unique....


Happy travelling all,
Murat
propertravel is offline  
Jun 19th, 2007, 12:25 AM
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I've stayed in Cappadoccia twice. Once in Goreme (Legends Cave Hotel) and once in Urgup (Temeni Evi). You can't go wrong in either place. I enjoyed them both. Friends recommend Canyon View Hotel in Goreme. I've seen it and it is very nice also. Try the Orient restaurant in Goreme. Good food and service. Enjoy your visit to Turkey.

Patty
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Jun 19th, 2007, 02:03 AM
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Thanks Murat! ( And Johnmango for asking these questions and all who posted).

We are still considering the balloons ( as it does sound special in theory) and I really love the idea that I could change my mind if necessary.

I know my husband and daughter would love it, but I have a fear of flying to go with my clausterphobia and fear of heights. LOL!! I did not use to have all these fears..came with age i guess and living thru a big earthquake and tornado I suppose.

Do they allow 6yo kids? Will I be able to book once there? HOw soon ahead of time for this time of year?

Good to know Turkey drivers are not as wild as Greek

What company do you work with and what are there fees or website? Where do I get the safety records?

Thanks!!

I was iffy on Pamukkale too,but now think we will add it!
WTnow is offline  
Jun 19th, 2007, 05:02 AM
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We've just returned from Turkey, and Cappadocia was a highlight of our trip; we'd take it any day over the coastal area.

Johnmango--

We typically don't spend the kind of money that Esbelli Evi costs but decided to go for it on this trip. If you are willing to pay up to $100 for a hotel, go for the $110 cash that Esbelli Evi costs. It truly was a great place. Our only regret is that we didn't spend enough time just hanging out there. I would categorize it as upscale laid-back casual.

As far a balloon trips and NWWanderer's comments about Kappadoycia ballons being the best, I don't agree. On the advice of someone on this site, we used EZ Air Balloons; they are a whole LOT cheaper!! And, I watched other balloons and didn't see that any seemed much different than others. We started out in a field, traveled quite a way around the area, at times were almost able to touch the tops of the rock formations, and at other times were extremely high to truly get a panoramic view of the area. Take-off was so gentle that I hardly realized we were lifting off. The pilot was so good that we landed on the trailer used to haul the balloon around. No way in the world would I take a 6 year old on the trip because s/he would be overwhelmed by all the tall adult bodies packed into the basket. If you wanted the child to see anything, you'd have to hold her all the time.
julies is offline  
Jun 19th, 2007, 06:50 AM
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WTnow--I have a pretty strong fear of heights and am claustrophobic as well (so didn't visit any underground cities in Cappadocia due to the latter)--but the balloon ride didn't bother me AT ALL on the height thing--I really thought it would but not at all.

We had 2 kids in our balloon--I'd say they were maybe 8 and 10. They had no trouble seeing over the side of the basket but I would imagine it depends on how tall your child is. I'd email the balloon company you're considering and ask. We had 12 people in the basket total and it didn't feel crowded.

I was a bit concerned about safety as well so that's part of the reason why I went with the company that's been doing ballooning in Cappadocia the longest--they have a great safety record (you might want to check out their website for more info on their experience, etc).

We booked well in advance so I'm not sure how far in advance you need to book.
NWWanderer is offline  
Jun 19th, 2007, 07:59 AM
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Hi WT;
6 years old would fly, no problem, to make the height even some balloon companies would bring an extra box to stand on, prior information is better to have it ready. Some kids love some does not, thats up to the parent to prepare the kid. Burning gas time to time with a sound could ennoy little children.

I had guests with a 4 year old and we ask special permission from the pilot as under 6 usually not accepted. He was raving about it at breakfast....

Julies; I can not really make much comment here regarding H.A. Balloon flights, differences etc. The pilot, most probably Hasan, is a very good pilot as well and he has a good record too. Anyway I know them all in person and we are friends, so no more comment ;-)

Since you have asked; I have been managing K. Balloons. Now I only book balloon flights while managing my own business.

Prices may vary, thats a self decision to make but my motto always have been what you pay is what you get. Or in Turkey we also say how much bread (money in this case)equals that much kofte (meatballs)

Also choice on companies sometimes depens on the capacity....The earlier to book is better as sometimes incentive groups hire a big portion of one or more balloon companies capacity.

Happy travelling,
Murat



propertravel is offline  
Jun 20th, 2007, 01:16 PM
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To John Mango,To explore Cappadocia, Nevsehir and Kayseri, Urgup is not the best of bases.Especially as Kayseri is quite far from Cappadocia and for this area you would need transport for sight seeing.Nevsehir does not reflect the spirit of Cappadocia. For sight seeing Goreme,Goreme would be more suited for this as its the heart of Cappadocia and many highlights of this area are with in walking distance away.
To NNW Wanderers, Although you rave about Kapadokya balloons most balloon companies have the same routine for the tour of the flight.I took my balloon flight with Goreme balloons as it is a very well known operator I did my research and found lots of good info about them off turkeytravelplanner.com.The staff were very professional from the beggining to the end.The pilots are very skilled and would go out of there way to turn to take pictures etc...Oh hot air balloons fly with the wind if there is no wind then you wont go very far so it's strange that just your balloon travelled and everyone else's stayed in the same place.
ms_adventure is offline  
Jun 20th, 2007, 01:20 PM
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To John Mango,To explore Cappadocia, Nevsehir and Kayseri, Urgup is not the best of bases.Especially as Kayseri is quite far from Cappadocia and for this area you would need transport for sight seeing.Nevsehir does not reflect the spirit of Cappadocia. For sight seeing Goreme,Goreme would be more suited for this as its the heart of Cappadocia and many highlights of this area are with in walking To John Mango,To explore Cappadocia, Nevsehir and Kayseri, Urgup is not the best of bases.Especially as Kayseri is quite far from Cappadocia and for this area you would need transport for sight seeing.Nevsehir does not reflect the spirit of Cappadocia. For sight seeing Goreme,Goreme would be more suited for this as its the heart of Cappadocia and many highlights of this area are with in walking distance away.
To NNW Wanderers, Although you rave about Kapadokya balloons most balloon companies have the same routine for the tour of the flight.I took my balloon flight with Goreme balloons as it is a very well known operator I did my research and found lots of good info about them off turkeytravelplanner.com.The staff were very professional from the beggining to the end.The pilots are very skilled and would go out of there way to turn to take pictures etc...Oh hot air balloons fly with the wind if there is no wind then you wont go very far so it's strange that just your balloon travelled and the other's stayed in the same place.
ms_adventure is offline  

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