Eastern Turkey planning for spring 2011

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Jun 14th, 2010, 08:45 PM
  #1
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Eastern Turkey planning for spring 2011

My husband and I are planning a trip to Turkey in spring 2011.We usually travel independently .We would like to include Eastern Turkey but are hesitant to do this on our own .Can anyone recommend an in country travel agency or tour company for the Eastern Turkey part of our trip.
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Jun 15th, 2010, 01:15 AM
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I did Western Turkey with Pacha Tours and enjoyed the trip. They also have an Eastern Turkey tour.

http://pachatours.com/
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Jun 15th, 2010, 12:23 PM
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You can do some parts of your eastern turkey trip on your own without any difficulty if you are willing to drive.

I would recommend possibly three separate tours if you wish to do Van and if you wish to do hiking and trekking. and also if you are not driving if you are going to spend 14-21 days.

please advise what your interests are and i will make some recommendations.
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Jun 15th, 2010, 05:15 PM
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Thanks,I will check Pacha tours.How many people were in your group?

We had not thought of driving but would consider it.We did not enjoy driving in Greece so if Turkey is similar we will probably give driving a pass.WE are very active seniors and enjoy walking and light hiking.WE plan on about 14-18 days for Eastern Turkey .We plan to do Western Turkey,including Cappadocia on our own so the whole trip will be about a month or more.We do want to visit Van,also Trabzon,and Erzurum if time permits.
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Jun 16th, 2010, 07:49 AM
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In addition to Pacha, check Fest Travel and Antonina web sites.

also Burak at www.allaboutturkey.com may have some recommendations.

A private tour would be better than self drive and may not be as expensive as you think, so consider it and have it priced.

I personally would rather not go to a place than take a large group tour, i hate being herded to places, including hotels and restaurants.

You could get local tours at Van, Kars and trabzon.

The only think i know about Erzurum is that it has a good ski resort, run by a fundamentalist governor and mayor, with alcohol banned in restaurants and supermarkets and only available in the ski resort hotels. I cannot imagine why you would want to go there.

It is safer to fly into Van (from ankara or Istanbul)than taking a bus.

you can get Ani and Dogu Beyazit tours from Kars.

I have given the address of our Eastern Black Sea, Kars and dogu Beyazit trip blog at an earlier post.
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Jun 20th, 2010, 05:51 PM
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Thank you otherchelebi for your info.A tour group would be our least likely option.I have not had a chance yet to investigate your suggestions but will do so soon and will come back with more questions later.
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Jun 20th, 2010, 07:38 PM
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Traveling north from Van and eventually winding up in Trabzon, we frequently were stopped at military checkpoints. Dug-in tanks, machine guns, barbed wire road barricades, full inspection of papers and permits by armed soldiers. Kurdish rebels, we were told, were the reason for this display of military strength. Nobody was allowed on or near Mount Ararat, we were told.
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Jun 20th, 2010, 07:42 PM
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We had 19 in our group for Western Turkey. Pacha runs the tours regardless of numbers. A friend did another Pacha tour a number of years ago with 4 people in the group.
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Jun 21st, 2010, 07:45 AM
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Was your difficulty in driving in Greece the fact that many of the road signs used the Greek alphabet rather than the Roman alphabet? If so, don't worry about driving in Turkey because you'll be able to understand all of the road signs.

We sound somehat similar to you in your ages and interests and visited Greece last May and Turkey 3 years ago in May; and, we had rental cars both places. We had no problems whatsoever driving in Turkey (and we prefered Turkey to Greece as a place to visit). We are contemplating a return visit to Turkey to visit the more easterly places we didn't have time to see on our 2 week trip, and I wouldn't let a fear of the driving stop me. FYI--on our trip we visited Istanbul, Cappadocia, and the southern coastal areas with the first two definitely being our favorites.
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Jun 24th, 2010, 08:48 AM
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Yes, part of the problem driving was the signs but we also found the Greek drivers very aggressive.We might consider driving in Western Turkey but still wonder about the East.
Julies,I saw your Turkey report and it will help with some of our planning.I have started to send
e-mails to tour companies to set up an independent trip in Eastern Turkey.
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Jun 24th, 2010, 11:36 AM
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Katyt, here's a review i had written of a hotel in Kars:

Kar’s Otel is a small boutique hotel converted from a 90-130 year old typical grey stone Russian building. It has 5 rooms and 3 suites, all very different from each other, and a small and pleasant restaurant, which also caters to guests from other hotels or the town.

It is very elegantly and tastefully furnished. Our suite had a king size bed in the bed room and an aesthetically pleasing and comfortable large living room.


This is a better hotel than I could have hoped for east of Cappadocia , let alone in Kars.

It may have been named after the Nobelist Orhan Pamuk’s novel “Kar”, or just a clumsy play on words. In any case, this setting is excellent both for romance and intrigues. Unfortunately, we were the only romantics staying at the hotel during the two days we stayed there in August, 2008, and no matter how much we sniffed around we could not witness or unearth any intrigues.

We used Kar’s as a base to visit Ishak Pasa Palace and Mount Ararat (Agri Dagi) in Dogu Beyazit, to the South, and the Ani ruins, to the East. There was, again, no conspiracies, or historic objects to be found even at Ani, just across the Armenian border. We looked forward to the continuation of two medium-size explosions until we were told by other sightseers that the Armenians had a stone quarry, across the border and were using dynamite (which was actually causing damage to the antique Armenian, Seljuki, Georgian ruins of Ani.)

The most exciting part of our trip was another (but apparently long-time) guest at a carpet shop in Dogu Beyazit, who spoke Turkish reasonably well and had about the same level of English, spoken with a pronounced Slavic accent, and who confessed to us that he was from Scotland, and had worked in London in the theatre. But he knew nothing about the various London theatres and not even about “Mouse Trap” which is the longest running play in history probably, going on for decades and decades. It was also funny to hear the neighboring shop owners telling us that he was Italian. In any case, he withdrew to his laptop in the carpet shop (with WIFI?) after our short conversation on the London theater scene.

My wife and I enjoyed fantasizing about the forgotten KGB agent from before 1991, who survives with the help of Turkish boyfriends, and either cannot afford to get back or is afraid to, because he is not going to fit the new Soviet society while we drove through military check points North towards Kars.
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