TURKEY: It’s not a Place, It’s a Feeling

Predominantly,What Triggered me to travel to this country ?

Well, this might sound a little bizarre;-) — I am a huge fan of Nargis Fakhri (Rockstar Movie Fame) and I follow her regularly on FaceBook & Instagram. So, there was one post of her on Instagram with hot air balloons flying and I was totally amazed with it. In the next picture she states the place is in Cappadocia, Turkey and that is when I decided firmly

This is it !! I am going to Turkey.

So thank you my love Nargis , this happened only cause of you 😀

The First World Problems for any Traveller — How to Get Visa ?

Click here to get Visa details.

Flights to Opt For :

My departure City is Hyderabad and there are several airlines with decent/low air fares to Turkey from here. The only crunch I see here is the transit time with connecting flights. It had 7–10hrs waiting time and if you have company, you can always go ahead with this option.

I flew from Mumbai (Turkish Airlines) which is a 6hr direct flight to Istanbul.Try getting the early morning slot i.e. around 5:55 AM.Choosing this will save a day of your travel plan .

Ensure to select the airport as ‘Ataturk’ (Code-IST) — this one is nearby the city.

Day 1 — MERHABA Istanbul

Before I get started, I should definitely appreciate Turkish Airlines; one of the best airways I have boarded till date with brilliant service.

It was 10 AM when I got the first glimpse of Istanbul and the flight landing was incredible. Since the airport was surrounded by water, I was not sure where the runway is and the landing totally surprised me.

As most of the connecting flights to European countries are from Turkey, the airport is a little crowded. I finished my immigration formalities and did some currency exchange .

                                                                                         

I went to few shuttle service outlets and enquired about the prices; they were charging a bomb. So, I had to make a decision here whether to go with the price quoted or get out of the airport and look for an alternative and once I exit,I will no longer have the accessibility to different transport service counters.

Took a bold move and got out of the airport. Approached few shuttle guys and unfortunately all of them were full. Later a taxi guy came to me and offered a drop at hostel for 20$.This sounded like a fair deal to me, but still tried my bargaining skills here and saved $4.

I was slightly apprehensive while on the way to the hostel, because I was not sure if the taxi driver was taking me to the right place; you know solo travelers always have these issues ;-). After a considerably long ride, I finally reach my destination 🙂

[Check this link for alternative/cheaper transport]

‘Antique Hostel’ is a master piece. People here are so warm and the place is lovely.

Stepped out after refreshing; surprisingly Blue Mosque & Hagia Sophia were just 2 minutes away from my stay.

For the first time ever in my life I enter a Mosque and with lot of positive vibes around, I offer my prayers here in this historic place.

FOOD TIME :Too many restaurants and it was very difficult to choose one ;-). Had Chicken Shawarma and to nobody’s surprise, you get the best in Turkey .

Later, went back to my room and relaxed for a while. This hostel has remarkable terrace view, so do not miss to spend some time here.

In the evening took a stroll around streets of Sultanahmet and it was beautiful.

Also, the ice cream here is delicious and the way they offer you is exciting.

At night, the light stores are decorated with colorful lights of intricate designs.The beauty of these lights radiates onto the streets creating an absolute eye feast, which sets you in a festive mood.
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I end my day by chilling @ hostel roof listening to some Progressive Music.

Day 2 — Cappadocia : The Trip Tigger 🙂

Rise and Shine; I begin my day @8:30. Free Breakfast is served upstairs and I enjoy my meal with stunning view in the vicinity. The climate was not only favorable but wonderful as well.

Checked out and placed my luggage in the locker room; later I hit Sutlanahmet roads. Don’t have to ask anyone, just move in the beach direction it’s a ramp down. I take joy in by sitting at the bayside, watching some love scenes 😉 and see how locals do fishing here .


After a long walk I reach this coffee shop called ‘Sarayburnu’.It has lovely ambience and place is super scenic.

Now on my way back, a guy greets me and offers Turkish tea. It is one random/marvel tea -invite; he was very humble and introduced me to other native people there.

I had lunch at same restaurant where I dropped in @ day 1 and mushroom omelette here is divine.

I wait for shuttle near hostel and was little worried with the overdue. The bus finally arrives & I move to S.Gokcen aiprort. I fly to Kayseri airport ( this one is closer to Cappadocia) from here.

Big Data :

  • How to Book Shuttle to Airport ?- At hostel reception,pay 30 Lyra the day before you depart.
  • Domestic Flight Services used– Use Pegasus airlines ,prices are economical.

I touch down at around 8:30 P.M and sadly my name is not seen on any of the Placards despite of confirming my shuttle reservation with hostel people before day. This is a tiny airport and public transport services are less; above all these it was late in the night even.

Now one of the shuttle operators offers me a ride; super hungry and tired I had no option but to go for it. After a 1hr 40 minutes long journey, I finally enter Cappadocia.This place was gorgeous and you get the feels that you are in some primeval world.

The dormitory is majestic and it was an euphoria moment for me because I will be living in cave for the next two days;YES you guys read it right — my hostel is a cave. Japanese and Chinese folks were my dorm mates, chatted with them for a while and dozed off.

Day 3— Discover the Flintstones City

Surrounded by houses/hotels carved in rocks, hostel premises were more fascinating in day light. It was just 10 AM in the morning and it was a scorching day.

With no firm place in head I kept marching for long, and I spotted massive rock formations and picturesque site. Having horses beside, it looks like a perfect Cowboy location.

From here I get to Goreme open air museum, one of the must-see destinations in Turkey.

Entry fee is 20 Lyra and it is definitely a good show in here.

Directions to GOREME museum :

It is a 30–40 minute walk from Hostel. Get to centre, take right and just keep going straight.There are sign boards or ask anyone, they shall guide you; else can always get a map at Hostel 🙂

 
In the evening left for Rose Valley trek, it is an easy 1hr walk. Views of Turkish country side can be seen from here, and sunset from heights of the valley is absolutely dazzling.
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Booking Details & Other Attractions:

  • Rose valley trek tour can be reserved at reception for some 15$–20$
  • Can do the Atv ride tour @ rose valley.Lot of people do this, but I preferred trek.

Got Balloon ride next day in the early hours, so was off to sleep soon.

Day 4— Float all the way to the Sky

My excitement levels were damn too high and couldn’t wait to fly.The bus driver picks me @5:15 AM and after 25 minutes we reach the arena.

 

The place was immensely alluring with all the hot air balloons being set up.

After all the preparations we take off @6AM.

God !!! It is a treat to watch umpteen air balloons everywhere in such uniquely- rippled landscapes.

The Sky above earth below fire within ,your soul and spirit fly

Worth every penny you spend for this 1hour ride.

Champagne party has been organized by the pilot, celebrations at the end followed by certificate distributions.

Now it’s time to bid adieu to incredible Cappadocia. From here I progress to Istanbul (S.Gokcen Aiport) again to catch my next flight to Dalaman (Marmaris)

INFO :

  • Hot Air Balloon Ride Booking?- Highly recommended to do it at hostel or once you reach Cappadocia but not online.Usually anything between 110$ — 130$ is legitimate.
  • How to get to Airport?– Get your shuttle ride locked in @ hostel reception.

My friend from London joins my vacation .Our flight gets delayed twice and later they show the status as cancelled.

So went to airlines and on being stringent they allotted us new boarding pass with different airline services.

The flight was all empty and may be i.e. the reason they cancelled it before.

Due to postponement we land in Dalaman by 10 PM. From here you need to take bus to Marmaris and you can find them immediately after you exit the airport in parking lot.

Reached Marmaris around 11:45PM. Uncertain about public transport we preferred taxi and he ripped us royally, charging 30 Lyra.

Day 5— Marmaris : Take Me to Paradise

First day in Marmaris :D. Usually Shuttle buses are used to commute here and there was one stop close to our Hotel.They have low-priced fare and just 2Lyra is charged to get to the center.

Marmaris — This place has got some magic. The beach, cruises and lively atmosphere all around, you will fall in love at once.

 

Got information from various tour operators and at last opted Euston tours which is now 5M travel agency was reasonable among all.We booked our next 3 day tours here; Sami who runs this is a sweet Chap and even if you don’t do any bookings just go meet him whenever you are in Marmaris.He is kind and very helpful.

3 Day Tour Details :

  • 70$ per head ; includes tour to Pamukkale, Cruise Ride & Jeep Safari. Ask for complimentary turkey bath with these and they shall grant it for free.

Marmaris is “THE IDEAL PLACE” for folks who like shopping 🙂

Purchased some goodies and then tried typical Turkish lunch.

 

Chilled for a while at the beach side.


In the night @ 9PM we got into bar street and realized it is too early to be there.Night life kicks-off here only after 11 PM. Killed time by having Chicken Kebab and it is out of the world here; a must try.

Did club-hopping and Bar street is one lane packed with lots of clubs for partying every day of the week.

Few pubs have foam parties daily at 3 AM and they are super fun .

Important Info :
  • Don’t have to worry about transport to get back to hotel -Shuttles run till 2 AM, despite being past midnight you can find many taxis.

Day 6— Pamukkale- The Roman’s Spa

We leave at 6:30 AM from hotel and start to Pamukkale. On the way they stop by some gems place and I was blown away looking at Sultanahmet pearl/stone — the way it changes colors in sunlight is amazing. Do buy this if you have a special someone in life 😉

 

After a heavy lunch buffet, we arrive at Pamukkale. It’s a natural beauty where hot calcium-laden waters spring from earth and cascade over a cliff. As they cool they form dramatic travertine terraces limestone of hard, brilliantly white calcium that form pools.

You can swim in hot calcium –laden water in antique pool for a fee.

The panoramic stretch is magnificent, accompanying beautiful white terraces filled with warm fresh water. We enjoyed the walk and mudded ourselves in pools:-)

 

Venue gets more interesting with numerous ruined structures and excellent Roman theatre. Up the hill about a 10-minute walk from Sacred Pool, theater is situated just right to take full advantage of city’s superb hillside location and spectacular view.

 

While returning they halt at a leather store – They do a small fashion show and jackets here are pretty cool.

Return route from Pamukkale to hotel seemed long and tiring. Reposed for sometime and than advanced to the gala path, Bar Street again 😉

Day 7— My Birthday & I grab a lot of VITAMIN SEA 🙂

I was all jumpy about the Cruise ride .

Boat was jammed with some good-looking women 😉 adding to this enjoyable music was played .

Totally Stoked with the whole set up, I had a ball at point of departure itself.

 

 [Super Deal : Pay 20Lyra in the boat and get unlimited booze (y) :D]

Sailing on these pristine waters through caves in between blows your mind.

There is a stop-by for peeps who prefer to swim. Initially, I was hesitant but later dived-in. Holy moly!!! The water was too cold.

The sea was so clear that you do not need any glasses to look at the submerged elegance.

On the deck we meet Aleena from Australia; a wonderful person and a pro swimmer. She is teacher by profession and guaranteed to illustrate some aquatics classes in the next stop.

Lunch time- Mouth watering food is served

Entered Shore and Aleena demonstrates how to float.

Hovering on these crystal waters was so blissful. In the meanwhile, tiny cute little fishes come and bite you out of nowhere.

Back to the ship — now I get on to the top and rejoice cold breeze, nature and good music.

 

Time at beach doesn’t move from hour to hour but from mood to moment.

One of the terrific Cruise rides in life comes to an end; from here we go to a resort and experience the Turkish Bath.

In the night I treat Aleena and my friend at HighSide restaurant, this place was out of the world.

Later,Sami (the tour operator, our friend) joins the gathering; we went club hopping and partied all night 😀

Day 8— Jeep Safari : Fabulous Day out:-)

Driver arrives well ahead to the hotel and looking at our outfit, he suggested us to get another pair of clothes as there will be a water fight and told we would get drenched.

First, we reach the water fight spot .You get water guns for 10 Lyra and have a massive water fight between the jeeps. An hour and half of shooting water is a fantastic experience and super hilarious.

And getting drenched was an understatement, we were totally soaked. Great activity for adventure lovers and best part of the entire excursion.

Carlos our driver what a gentleman he was, absolutely loved him and he played some classic music :-).

 

Jesus beach was the next stop;It is so charming and this place reminds me a scene from Bruce Almighty where Jim Carrey walks on water.“YES” ..here you can march to other side of beach and it looks like you are walking on water.

Nice lunch was served followed by a visit to waterfalls for swimming and jumping; had a good relaxing time.

Driving through mountains enjoying stunning scenery was a great day out; a review cannot do justice to this experience.

In the night went to bar street again and had precious Shawarma meal for the last time !!


Day 9 — Finale & Finding Perks in Transit

We took a shuttle to bus-stop. Rides are available from here to Dalaman airport for every 2hrs.

(Buses Schedule leaving to Dalaman Airport)

My friend had an early flight to Istanbul; on request Turkish airline people rescheduled my afternoon flight to morning 🙂

Now at Ataturk airport we go straight to the baggage drop lockers and keep our luggage there. If you are not sure where this exists, reach out any of the information centers and they shall help you.

(Note : The “maximum” option in locker is a little too much — it is for huge stuff; usually one of the other two options should serve the purpose)

With no destination in mind we boarded the metro train and got down at some random stop in the city. Enquired locals and explored few shopping malls and attractions around 🙂

I return to the airport, and my lovely journey comes to an end.

And as they say :
“To Travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries” , True I saw this place and realized how stereotypes destroy the possibility of exploring; — ”Turkey” is a must Visit Place 🙂

If you would like to know about our stay details, please click here

4 Replies to “TURKEY: It’s not a Place, It’s a Feeling”

  1. Nice. I think now I have to start following some beautiful celebrity to make my travel goals 😝

    1. Ha ha yes.

      Nargis Fakhri has set some serious traveling goals 🙂

  2. Good one ra…. Inspiring will definitely try out this place

    1. Thank you and yes you should travel to Turkey sometime 🙂

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