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Traveling with a guide in Turkey

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May 24th, 2013, 08:30 AM
  #1
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Traveling with a guide in Turkey

My husband and I, active seniors in our 60s, are planning a first trip to Turkey in fall 2013. We have traveled independently with a rental car many times in Europe, but we're thinking we would prefer to have a custom tour in Turkey. My husband feels uncomfortable with the idea of driving there.

Our general itinerary would be Istanbul, Cappadocia, western Mediterranean area, Ephesus. I would plan to fly from Istanbul to Cappadocia. After that, we would probably travel by car, so the guide would have to drive as well or add a driver for this part of the trip.

My question are these:

Having never traveled with a guide before, does it become uncomfortable to be with the same person day after day since there will be just the 2 of us travelers? We're friendly, but we also like time to ourselves and the idea of having to carry on a conversation at every meal with a third party for 2+ weeks seems exhausting. Do we have to eat all meals with the guide?

I'm thinking that by the time we got to the Mediterranean area that we would like to have a day or two to just kick back and relax and not sightsee every day. What happens to the guide then?

Also, would a guide fly with us from Istanbul to Cappadocia or would we pick up a different guide?

What if we don't like the guide?

I have checked into small group tours and not found any that matches what I want to do. Since this may be my only trip to Turkey, I don't want to spend some days going places I have no interest in and missing other things I really want to see or do.

I appreciate any insights or experiences that anyone wants to share. Thank you in advance.
Konak is offline  
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May 24th, 2013, 09:05 AM
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Have you looked at hiring private guides at each stop?

Our stops were Istanbul, Cappadocia, and Cirali. We flew to each stop. We didn't want to drive in Turkey either, so made arrangements through hotels for transportation between airport and hotels. We used a tour company in Cappadocia which provided transportation; I think they also offered private tours. It worked well for the 5 of us.
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May 24th, 2013, 06:15 PM
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Fly to Cappadocia and hire driver/guides each day through your hotel, or hire a driver and get a guide at each of the sites. There are guides for hire right at the sites and they are knowledgeable.

You might not want to drive - we didn't - but I think you will find Turkey is just as easy to navigate as Western Europe. Decide where you want to go and how best to get there. Hire local guides.
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May 25th, 2013, 04:39 PM
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The above posts sound like very good advice for me and my traveling compagnion: so thank you for the guidance.

One question I have is: can we make the private tourguide arrangements on the spot (or the day before) from the hotel ? Or, would it be important to make some arrangements ahead ?
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May 25th, 2013, 07:02 PM
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If you do want to rent a car, driving was actually pretty easy around Cappadocia as far as I could see. We might do it a second time around.

I let the hotel know ahead of time what we might want. They simply said to leave it all to them. It was great. We are also seniors.

To give you a more precise idea.

We stayed at Hotel Esbelli Evi in Urgup. I have never felt more cared for in my life, yet not at all pretentious. We arrived very late in the evening. I gave them the flight number and location, and they booked a shuttle to pick us up. It was probably 9:30 by time we got to the hotel. We were hungry and they sent out for food. It was wonderful, one of our best meals and cheaper than when we went out.

Jet lagged the next morning, we asked about getting to the underground city and perhaps one of the valleys. They had a driver come. At the underground city, the driver waited and we hired a guide on the spot. He was in his 80s and had lived in the UC as a child. The driver then took us to one of the valleys. We stayed about an hour and a half to see the sunset. He then drove us into Urgup for dinner and we walked back to the hotel.

The next day we did an early morning balloon ride and a driver again for the afternoon of touring.

Other people have great things to say about their hotels also, but this is one of our all time favorites.

Ephesus is extraordinary. If you have any interest in great archeological sites, biblical history or simply amazing ruins, it is, IMHO, a treasure. We were with a small group, but again, just hired a driver to take us to the major sites and wait. At the site, we hired local guides.
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May 25th, 2013, 10:21 PM
  #6
 
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MarnieWDC--I think in Cappadocia you would be fine making arrangements with the hotel once you got there. We stayed in Urgup at the Meleklerevi Cave hotel, which was fabulous. When we arrived the owners sat down with us to see what we wanted to do while there and how they could help us. We'd already made arrangements with a tour company for a couple of day tours. They did find a guide to take 2 of my family members on a hike to a nearby volcano.

In Istanbul, I think I would do some research ahead of time just to be sure there was availability. We didn't use any tour guides there, just relied on the Rick Steves guide. If I were to go back I would want to do a walking tour.
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May 26th, 2013, 01:05 AM
  #7
 
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we just got back from turkey-- 2 weeks on our own, and 2 with a tour group. we did a tour because we were nervous about turkey and, like you, didn't want to drive. if i had it to do again, i would do as you are thinking of doing... and i would take some of the above advice, and hire guides in the separate cities. that way, if you get a dud, it will only be fore a short time. we found that, during our solo portion, the hotels were always very willing to connect us up to get to wherever we wanted to go. loved turkey-- and be sure to try our favorite dessert of the trip-- bubbling hot baked halva (helva) with walnuts on top. i will dream of it and long for the time that it catches on in the u.s. !!
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May 26th, 2013, 11:44 AM
  #8
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Thank you to all of you. I had not really considered the possibility of making separate arrangements for car/driver and just using guides by the day or at the sites. We think that is an excellent suggestion.

We have one segment, however, that we think maybe should be handled a little differently and planned ahead. We're thinking we would fly from Kayseri to Antalya, where we would want a car and driver (and maybe a guide) for almost a week. We don't have it worked out yet, but we're thinking we would stay somewhere, such as Kalkan, and make day trips from there (and just hang out a bit) for three or four days. Then we would drive to Selcuk to see Ephesus (stay 2 nights). Then we're thinking we'd return to Istanbul for a second stay of several days. We're thinking that driving from Selcuk to Istanbul would be less stressful than trying to fly from Izmir to Istanbul and maybe see some other things along the way. (Is that realistic? How long to make that drive?)

Given that scenario, we would need the car and driver for about a week. Would we need a guide for the coastal area? Would we hire one on separate days who would just join up with us and the car/driver? We would definitely need a driver who spoke English. If we had a guide traveling with us from Antalya to Selcuk, I wonder if we could leave him/her at Selcuk if we drove back to Istanbul.

I assume we would need to work with a travel agent in advance to set up something like this.

Is this practical? I welcome any input about this scenario.
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May 26th, 2013, 05:04 PM
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OK, found it.
His name is Murat.
His screen name is: propertravel
Email:
[email protected]

If I were going to hire a driver or someone I did not know, I would use Marat and book though him. He lives there and can also suggest what is best for your needs/interests.
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May 27th, 2013, 07:15 AM
  #10
 
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We did the reverse---flew from Kayseri to Izmir and dropped car off in Antalya at airport. Quite easy to fly, just book your flights well ahead so you don't waste a day at airports. We did not use car in Antalya at all so it sat for day and half. Regret not making it up to Termessos outside of Antalya, for which we would have used car. I would not want to drive anywhere near Istanbul and totally not necessary. A lot of domestic airlines have free shuttle from Izmir airport to Selcuk, an hour drive. You don't need a guide for turquoise coast but car is necessary as buses would be challenging but doable. I would stay in Kas over Kalkan. Kalkan worth a stop but has become a British outpost. We stayed up the hillside in Islamlar at Lycia House recommended by a friend of the owner. A beautiful guesthouse run by a retired American. However the road up to it is curvy and potholed. The house was an oasis with infinity pool and great views. We drove down to Kalkan to eat at night and did daytrips in all directions during day. It worked for us but my husband was glad to see the end of the potholes. That is when we found out that there is no personal tax or property tax in Turkey to be directed to local roads etc. "benzene" or gasoline is a main tax revenue. Kas is further south and where we were at Islamlar enabled us to go Patara to the north quite easily as well as daytrip to Kas. Wished we made it to Pinara. Second time round Kas would be tempting to stay in old part but probably not out peninsula.
We had car in Cappadocia but could have done without as hotels arrange anything you want. We do like our independance. I'm late fifties and my husband is early seventies but very active. Don't be afraid to drive and do it on your own in Western part of Turkey, Eastern would be different. Signage is good.
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May 27th, 2013, 09:29 AM
  #11
 
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Thank you, Jackie. We will take your good advice.
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May 27th, 2013, 05:31 PM
  #12
 
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Somehow one of my posts did not post. So, the one about Murat probably did not make sense to you.
What I wrote before my last post.

Driving seemed pretty easy in Turkey and you could do it on your own without a driver.

There is a travel agent who has received great reviews from other Fodorites who have used him, and he was helpful to me when planning our trip. He is the person named above, Murat, aka propertravel. If you do decide to book things using a travel agent, he lives in Cappadocia area and has a great reputation, as well as knowledge of the area. He works all over Turkey and could do anything you want or need.
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May 28th, 2013, 07:02 AM
  #13
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Thank you, WhistlerNorth and Sassafrass! (I've been following the posts about your trip, WhistlerNorth, and it is very interesting and helpful.)

I really appreciate the reference to Murat, Sassafrass. Will add that to my list to check out.
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Nov 27th, 2013, 01:08 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
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Just wondering if you are back from your trip to Turkey yet? We are planning a similar itinerary for fall of 2014 and have never been to Turkey.. Any advice you can provide would be appreciated. I was thinking to flying from Istanbul to Cappadocia, the then flying on to Ephesus. Before returning to Istanbul would like to spend some down time ion a beach somewhere. I realize the airports are probably in the surrounding areas respectively. Wondering how much time to allot in each place and if anyone can recommend a place or resort to stay at after Ephesus.

Any help from anyone on this would be appreciated.
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Dec 14th, 2013, 10:49 AM
  #15
 
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We visited Turkey in late Sept of 2013 for two weeks. We visited 5 areas — Istanbul, Cappadocia, Fethiye, Pamukkale and Ephesus. It was an amazing trip. Ertunga Ecir was our guide for only the last leg of the trip, but he coordinated the whole itinerary and arranged excellent guides for the other areas we visited as well.
I would highly recommend Ertunga as your travel agent and guide without hesitation. He kept to our hotel budget, finding us very good values in each area we visited. He was very good about calling and making sure that we were picked up by drivers and were going to the correct destinations on time. He was very knowledgeable about all areas. More than that, he was extremely nice and welcoming. He brought us to wonderful restaurants and sights and because our schedule was so flexible, he was even able to show us some of the nightlife. We had a blast, and will have great memories that will last forever.
When I began researching our trip, I had found other reviews on Trip Advisor that highly recommended his services. So, I reviewed his website (www.ertungaecir.com) and I contacted him via email to see if he could help me too. He was always prompt about returning emails and answered all questions. We made all arrangements via email. While no trip goes without some hiccups, I would have to say that I cannot think of a single thing that went wrong. I placed a lot of trust in him to make arrangements that we would be happy with, and he did a great job.
Ertunga is genuinely passionate about providing good service and being a great guide. Turkey is an amazing place, and it I am lucky enough to be able to return, Ertunga definitely will be our guide
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Mar 3rd, 2014, 05:47 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
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I think you are back from your Turkey trip. Can you pls give some info about it. How you did it? Did you find local guide separately in each place or you had a guide who traveled with you during whole trip? I am going to Turkey in April. One of the travel agents suggest me to have the same guide for 14 days. I have similar concerns like what if I do not like him? I think it is better idea to have a local guide in each place...
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Jun 5th, 2014, 11:26 AM
  #17
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
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Is there anybody who`s done some hiking in the Lycian way in the southern part of Turkey?
I am thinking to do that in October, and wondering how many days I need and where should I be based... Also, is the area difficult for walking?
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 10:14 AM
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The Lycian way is very long trekking way, probably one of the longest in the world, so you may need to choose which part of it to do... I did some Lycian way trekking in Adrasan area, and found very nice view spots there (Galidonia lighthouse). While walking, I met a group of people that, after 3 weeks of walking still were on a half way... You can also walk from Adrasan to Olympos, as the walking way is marked very well. You will be there just in the right time, as October is not too hot. Enjoy it!
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Mar 29th, 2015, 07:04 AM
  #19
 
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Thank you barbygilb. After reading your comment I decided to do Adrasan area and it was amazing. Galidonia Lighthouse; the view was one of the best views I have ever seen. The walking path from Adrasan to Olimpos was also great. I am planing to go there again and may spend longer time in that area.
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