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Turkey - May '13 Travel, Need (major) Itinerary Help!

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Mar 28th, 2013, 08:38 PM
  #1
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Turkey - May '13 Travel, Need (major) Itinerary Help!

Hello Everyone,

I’m planning a trip to Turkey in May with a friend (both in our early 30s). Her travel dates are May 17-24/25, while I will most likely arrive on May 15/16 and depart May 28/29.

I’m a bit overwhelmed with all of the amazing options, but have tried to narrow it down as best I could. I was hoping for some insights/advice regarding my loose itinerary. Namely, not sure how many days to really spend in each location, and logistically – does the order make sense?

Further, I’m not too keen on renting a car, so am relying on air travel, and ideally hiring a driver/taking shuttles from airports to hotels, etc. as my travel buddy is opposed to busses. Just want to determine if this is even feasible in some of the locales.

Here goes!

May 15-19: Istanbul

May 19 - 21: Assos
Here’s where I need help. I’m not too sold on this idea… I think my friend is just looking for beaches, which I see are readily available in the Izmir region (see below). Although I have read there are some breathtaking views/sights here. What are your thoughts? Also, how would it be best to get here? I noted you could fly into one of the larger towns (name escapes me now), then perhaps we could hire a car to take us to the hotel.

May 21/22 - 25: (Fly to) Izmir
I was drawn to this region to explore Ephesus, and read recommendations to stay in Selcuk for its proximity; however, Izmir’s looking sort of appealing. What are your thoughts?

Here also, if we can bypass Assos, I thought we could travel to Ilica for a beach break. Assuming we can hire a car for the transport?

Note: My friend will be flying out of Izmir back to Istanbul on the 23/24, I assume, to catch her flight.

May 25-27/28: (Fly to) Cappadocia
I’ll be on my own here, and will take up with a tour group/guide to explore. I’m debating between staying in Goreme or Urgup (though leaning towards Goreme). How many days do you think need to be spent here? Also, what are your thoughts on safety for a single woman traveling here alone?

May 28: Fly to Istanbul to overnight and head back home.

Part of me feels like this is a bit rushed, but I’m not sure how to jam everything in…

Thanks in advance - I really appreciate any assistance/insights you can provide!
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Mar 28th, 2013, 10:06 PM
  #2
kja
 
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I don't understand your travel buddy's objection to busses. From everything I've heard and read, the busses in Turkey are very safe and comfortable.

What guide books are you using? It sounds to me like you've gotten some off-base information, so you might want to get a good current guide book or two.

No need to join a tour unless that's your preference. Many of us have traveled independently in Turkey, including quite a few solo women (like me). You might find some helpful information in my trip report - just click on my name to find it.

Happy planning!
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Mar 29th, 2013, 02:33 AM
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Assos is a nice place.You can visit the ancient Assos city and stay over in one of sea front old stone hotels of Behramkale.I think one day and night is more than enough for Assos.You can after go down to Ayvalik ,which is famous with it s beaches and maybe stay over there instead of staying in Izmir - as there is nothing particular to visit in Izmir -

As for Selcuk and Ephesus ,it is better you hire a guide for the Ephesus day as it is much nicer and becomes alive when it is guided.We used Ergin Ince, his email is ergin1111 at gmail dot com and can help you to plan either your Ephesus day or your days in Cappadocia as he is from that area.For a full day tour of Ephesus,Terraced Houses-which is a must-,St John s Basilica,Isabey 800 years old mosque,lunch and drinks at lunch and transportation we paid him only USD 75 -which we thought was a very good deal for a private tour - He has excellent reviews on trip advisor and there s also a review from a solo woman traveller also highly recommending him for the tours.- this is the trip advisor link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractio...ean_Coast.html -

Goreme is better than to stay in Urgup as Urgup is more like town and Goreme is much different; having said that Urgup is much livelier for the evenings.And again you miss a lot without a guide there and rather than join an organised tour,go for a guide who can show and inform more and you can stop many times to take photos as organised tours usually visit places in a rush.As a rule in Cappadocia, bigger groups of visitors are only allowed to stay 3 minutes in every cave church so when you are privately visiting ,you can spend more time and if you have your own guide there, you can get in the places where individuals are not allowed as the guides have special licence to get in those places.If you could email Ergin, he could help you to tailor your days in Cappadocia and find you a guide as well.
Hope that helps you.
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Mar 29th, 2013, 07:54 AM
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kja: Thanks for the tip re: your trip report, I will check it out. I've been using Frommer's and Fodor's most recent guides primarily, as well as referencing the forums here, and personal recommendations. Where do you feel like I'm off - perhaps I can revise... Not sure about her aversion, but I'm just trying to make everyone happy We'll see how that pans out!

samanta: Thank you for the guide reco. I was actually considering hiring private tour guides for both, so Ergin's contact comes in handy. Also, glad we can save some days in Assos, and thanks for the suggestion re: Ayvalik, that was also in my notes!
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Mar 29th, 2013, 05:20 PM
  #5
kja
 
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I just re-read your original post and have NO idea, whatsoever, threw me off. My apologies!

> I was drawn to this region to explore Ephesus, and read recommendations to stay in Selcuk for its proximity; however, Izmir’s looking sort of appealing.

I stayed in Selcuk and was pleased with that decision - it made it very easy to see Ephesus, the museum, and the various sites of Selcuk itself. I was there in late May, when the stork chicks were large enough to be seen in their nests and the honeysuckle that covers a series of arched pergolas in the pedestrian-only parts of town were in full bloom (so fragrant!) - its a great time of year to be there! Too, I love walking through fruit and vegetable markets, and Selcuk had a great one (at least it did on the day that I was there -- a Saturday). I didn't visit Izmir, so I can't comment on it.

> I’m debating between staying in Goreme or Urgup (though leaning towards Goreme)

I chose Goreme because I thought it more convenient for the things I wanted to see/do in the area (e.g., I could walk to the Goreme Open Air Museum).

> How many days do you think need to be spent [in Cappadocia]?

That really depends on what you want to see and experience. I was happy to have about 3.5 days in the area, but I had a car and that changes things. xyz99 has a thread going on their ~4 day plan for the area; you might find some ideas there.

> Part of me feels like this is a bit rushed

So you have 2 full and 2 part days in Cappadocia? If so, you'll need to be a bit selective in what you see. And 3+ days in Istanbul? That'll be tight - again, I think you'll need to be a bit selective.

> I was actually considering hiring private tour guides for both

If you are traveling in Cappadocia without a car, you may want/need to work with a guide or tour - it depends on what you want to see. There are group tours that you can join to see (for example) the Ihlara Valley or one or more of the underground cities. The only thing in the area that I thought really merited a guide (if, like me, you prefer not to work with one) are the underground cities -- I think it would be very difficult to understand what you are seeing without one. (You can hire a private guide or go with a group.)

I think a guide or tour is also a good idea for Ephesus *IF* you include the terrace houses (and I think they are well worth the extra cost). Be sure the guide (whether private or with the tour) plans to include them.

Again, sorry about my initial confusion!
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Mar 31st, 2013, 06:14 PM
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My husband & I stayed 2 nights in Assos-I am glad we did. We drove from Yalova-stopped at Troy on way down. The road was very windy getting to Assos. There is nothing to do in Assos-BUT I loved it. We stayed at a B&B that was an old accorn shed had a balcony overlooking the fishing harbor-It was so peaceful. Not what I would call a BEACH destination. Have fun-We loved Turkey
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Apr 16th, 2013, 01:41 PM
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Thank you everyone for your input! (Sorry for just responding - I wasn't getting notifications, and forgot to check in). I'm hopefully rounding out my final itinerary in the next week or so.

Just a quick question - I'd like to spend one day at Ephesus, and then get up early the next day to drive to Pamukkale for the day/drive back. I really have no desire to go in the water, etc. so I was thinking maybe spending 3-4 hours there. While I know it's a 3 hour trip, I'd still like to go. However, I reached out to Ergin (thanks samanta) who suggested I spend one night in Selcuk, explore Ephesus and later that day drive to Pammukkale, and stay over there. Is that really necessary? Because I'd sort of rather not...
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Apr 16th, 2013, 05:05 PM
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kja
 
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If you are willing to face the drive, I don't see why you shouldn't. The route that is "only" 3 hours each way is on toll roads, and I seem to remember that you need a vignette for that -- not cash -- but maybe I was wrong. Check with your car rental agency to see if the car has the requisite vignette or what you need to do to use the toll roads. It looks like skipping the toll roads will mean at least one more hour each way.
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Apr 16th, 2013, 06:25 PM
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Hi kja - I was going to work with Ergin re: driving there so as to avoid renting a car for the one day, and so I could also have someone provide background on the sites there. I'd imagine a tour guide would have the vignette? Or perhaps they skip the toll roads, tacking on more time, which may have been why he pushed the stay-over (also thought maybe he gets a kickback from a hotel there??). I asked him to explain his reasoning... Thank you for clarifying this!
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Apr 19th, 2013, 07:53 AM
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istanbul 3 days max will do.fly to izmir collect car drive to selcuk visit epehsus,museum,house of the virgin mary, drive via aphrodisias to pamukkale overnight, following day drive to fethiye stay in faralya nice boutique hotels like the Mandarin.Visit ancient roman,byzantine and lycian sites like Xanthos, Letoon,Tlos the gorge of Saklikent the long beach of Patara the deserted greek village of kaya, day trip to the greek islands of rhodes or kastelorrizo...and fly back from Dalaman...more info let me know
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Aug 20th, 2013, 11:07 AM
  #11
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Thanks everyone for your help. For future reference, if anyone needs assistance, here is my much abridged itinerary (I can provide details for each location if interested!). I would recommend all of the hotels I stayed in, with Goreme and Sari Konak being my favorites thanks to location, awesome staff, and nice accommodations.

Thursday – Saturday – Istanbul (Hotel Sari Konak)
Sunday – Ortakoy / Istanbul
Monday- Flew to Konya (Hilton Garden Inn)
Tuesday - Konya
Wednesday – Hired driver for same cost as public bus and drove to Cappadocia (Goreme Inn Hotel); started exploring same day as we got in early AM
Thursday - Cappadocia
Friday – Ended up having issues with Turkish Air, but eventually made it back to Istanbul that evening and grabbed a later connecting flight to Izmir (Hotel Nilya in Selcuk)
Saturday – Ephesus / Sirince
Sunday – Pamukkale (RT driving trip; stayed in Selcuk)
Monday – Flew to Istanbul, stayed on Asian side (DoubleTree Istanbul – Moda)
Tuesday – Flew home

If anything, I would have spent more time in Cappadocia, as it was really beautiful. Konya had some really pretty areas, but a day in/out would suffice if it's a must do for you. Sirince was ok. The drive was very pretty, and if you wandered outside of the tourist trap area, it was a quaint town. Everyone was very friendly, so make a friend and you can spend an afternoon tasting wines and socializing.
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Aug 20th, 2013, 12:35 PM
  #12
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PS - I used Turkish Heritage Tours in Cappadocia (guide: Burak Yedek, totally upbeat and informative) and Pamukkale, and Ephesus Best Tours for Ephesus (guide: Ergin Ince, very knowledgeable).
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Aug 20th, 2013, 04:58 PM
  #13
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Thanks for updating us!
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