Saturday, August 27, 2011



Researching is a time consuming pain in the ass. When most people go on vacation, the length of the trip is generally 2-4 weeks. They have plenty of time to research as well as 'dream build', generally while they are at work. By 'dream build' I mean to envision, plan and get excited about their upcoming vacation. All from the comfort of their home. When you are already on the road, it gets harder. You are busy doing stuff - like seeing stuff.

I am visiting Lasha at his house. Lasha loves to sleep so while he is unconscious (or watching TV) I am trying to make good use of my time to do some research on Turkey.

For my Turkey trip, I only have three 'fixed points'. I am coming in from Georgia, I want to hit Cappidocia and I need to end up in Istanbul. Anything else done in the meantime is gravy.

Numerous travelers have told me that the bus system in Turkey is very comfortable. I suspect that I can travel much longer in a bus than I could in a marshrutka. The most time I'd want to spend in a marshrutka is about three hours. Not sure on a bus.

The only other thing I'm pondering on is 'where will be my next sit and wait for my finances to recharge' place. It might end up being Egypt unless things are too expensive there. Not sure what to do still about Tunisia or Morocco but I'm going to worry about that later. The political situation down there may have resolved itself (or completely blown up) by the time I get there. As a side note on that, if things aren't going well in Egypt by the time I get to Istanbul, I may just end up flying to somewhere else - like India if I need to. I am not sure on that but I do know Istanbul is a major transportation hub and I can get to lots of places from there.


This is for those folks who want to do what Adam did. [Adam is cool. If you do what Adam did, you might become cool too.] I've used it as a starting point for my research. He had a couple things in there that I didn't know about, including the lost city and the giant heads.

Kars>Lost City of Ani>Lake Van>Malatya>Nemrut Doagi (giant heads)>Kayseri>Cappidocia>Ankara>Istanbul.


Despite my coolness factor needing a real boost, I am planning out a different route after some study for a couple days and finding stuff I think I'll like. The beginning of the route in the undeveloped eastern part of Turkey is naturally going to be more difficult as far as finding lodgings and such go but I should be able to come up with something.

Like all of my travel plans, these are somewhat tentative. If someone has any additional information that is helpful, please let me know.

KARS (I am going to try to go straight here from Batumi, Georgia but I might need to get a bus first to Hopa, Turkey and from there six hours to Kars.) I might need to go Hopa > Artvin > Kars? Apparently, it is going to be some sort of crazy juggling to make this go. Irritating. I have asked someone about this and worse comes to worse, I'll go to the bus stations and talk to people about it. Going back to Batumi seems pretty out of the way if I'm trying to get to Kars. If anyone has info on this, please let me know. Two hours on the internet I've been at this and can't get a straight answer.

This place seems like a very logical 'getting into Turkey' place. It has a citadel and a bridge to see. It also has under 100,000 population which I think is a good thing. It's a logical jumping over to Ani (45KM, 1 hour) away place. I read somewhere that it costs 35 TL. Even the author of the website that is a reference thinks the hotels are sucky there.
Shit I'm interested in seeing here: Just the lost city? 45KM away. "However, it is easy to hire a taxi for the day, ask at your hotel in Kars and expect to pay around 100 Lira (four people) for a five hour trip, including two hours driving time."
Places to stay listed on the internet: Wikitravel from $25 up.
Travel time to next place: 12 hours.
Time to spend here: 2 days - one before Ani, one after. Possibly an extra day if I am completely shagged out from a long trip from Georgia because they make it stupid hard to get here.

The only reason to come here is to use it as a base for visits to Nemrut Dağı. According to the internet, Kahta is two hours closer than Malatya to the big head ruins. I am confident that everyone will tell me that the ruins on the Malatya side are much better... Unless I started from there. [Don't do Malatya - costs a lot to stay there.]

For some odd reason, Google Maps lists Nemrut Dagi as near Lake Van. Wikitravel and the site I'm using to help plan Turkey list it as much further West. I have no clue why. Are there two fields of big heads? The town of Malatya is best avoided anyway as it has no place cheap to sleep.

Shit I'm interested in seeing here: Just Nemrut Dagi. There seems to be jack shit i the town but it is a small place.
Places to stay listed on the internet: $11 or $17. The more expensive place drives people up to Nemrut Dagi for $23/car - tour extra.
Travel time to next place: 8 hours
Time to spend here: 1-2 days.

Possible to stay here for Cappadocia stuff. Interesting info: "By the way, many bus companies will sell you a ticket "to Göreme" or "to Ürgüp," but what they mean is that your big comfortable bus will go as far as Nevşehir, after which you must transfer to a servis minibus or taxi to be shuttled to the smaller town. (The transfer should be—and usually is—included in your bus fare. The major bus company serving Nevşehir—Nevşehir Turizm—is usually dependable in this regard.) Some less-than-honest bus companies actually just drop you in Nevşehir and let you fend for yourself. Ask the ticket agent specifically how you will be getting to your final destination." "You reach Göreme via either Nevşehir (bus, plane) or Kayseri (bus, train, plane), the transport hubs for the region."

In looking into a balloon flight, the research material recommends Butterfly tours. They seem to have pretty decent rates and promise to pack less people into the basket. Less is better. So, it looks like 165 Euros if I bring cash, possibly 150 for mentioning TTP (Turkey Travel Planner). Making the broad assumption that I'll be paying 165 Eur, that is (today) $238. Quite a bit. Half as much as my last computer that I had for a couple years to go for one hour of entertainment. I'm not sure if I'll do it or feel that I'd rather keep the $238. We'll have to see what my expenses look like by the time I get there.

I've been reading that I need to stay in Goreme and that they have hostels there from 10-15 Euros. Looking on the internet though for the town of Goreme, I'm not seeing any town of that name - just a national park. The closest towns I'm seeing is Nevsehir to the west and Kayseri to the east. More research required on this shit.
Shit I'm interested in seeing here: Cappadocia
Places to stay listed on the internet: 17 hostels, $8 to $12 low end. (From Hostelworld).
Travel time to next place: 8 hours.
Time to spend here: If can get a decent hostel, till I get bored. Adam suggests 4 days.

Doesn't seem to be much specifically in this town but it is a big jumping off place for lots of other interesting stuff.
Shit I'm interested in seeing here: Better do more research or strike from list.
Places to stay listed on the internet: $20/night - not many places to stay. According to wikitravel, getting a $12/night guest house is not difficult. "Antalya is also a good base for day-trips to nearby archeological sites such as Aspendos, Olimpos, Perge, Phaselis, Selge, Side and Termessos."
Travel time to next place: 4 hours
Time to spend here: There is a lot to see here. If I can find cheap lodgings, could be several days.

"Kaş is also a good base for exploring the plentiful ancient Lycian cities and archeological sites such as Demre (Kale), Patara, Xanthos (Kınık), Letoön, Saklıkent and Tlos." Considering how 'unspoiled' it is, the prices are a bit high - $20 to $25 for lodging.
Shit I'm interested in seeing here:
Places to stay listed on the internet: Probably $25/night (Hostelworld); on Travelwiki Ateş Pension listed at $14 'during high season'.
Travel time to next place: 5 hours
Time to spend here: There is a lot to see here. If I can find cheap lodgings, could be several days.

It is a city in tourist decline according to the web page but it is easiest way to visit Aphrodisias which looks very interesting.
Shit I'm interested in seeing here: Afrodisias aka Aphrodisias, about 2 hours away.
Places to stay listed on the internet: $14 to $16 - several places (Hostelworld)
Travel time to next place: 3+ hours
Time to spend here: Probably one or two nights to tour the ruins.

Close to the ruins of Ephesus. Looks cool. Hostels and such start at $15.
Shit I'm interested in seeing here:
Places to stay listed on the internet: About five places ranging $15-18. Wikitravel has more info. You can use it as a base for visiting sights in the region such as Ephesus; Priene, Miletus and Didyma; Euromos; Pamukkale and Aphrodisias. [Note, Aphrodisias is about 3 hours from here - do it at the previous place. But here we can see several other things on day trips.]
Travel time to next place: 3 hours
Time to spend here: If COL is not bad, several days doing day trips.


Long spread out city makes it more of a pain in the ass to get around in but some of the Greek stuff nearby may make it worth it. The city only has 100,000 population but for some reason it's spread out over 7KM.
Shit I'm interested in seeing here:
Places to stay listed on the internet: Only two places listing 'private' rooms $15-18. Wikitravel lists some places also for $15.
Travel time to next place: 3.5 hours
Time to spend here: Could be interesting. Everything in easy reach.

"Çanakkale is your best base for visiting the Gallipoli battlefields and the ruins of Troy." Aside from Troy, there are a couple museums that might be interesting (not sure).
Shit I'm interested in seeing here: Gallipoli and Troy
Places to stay listed on the internet: One place only, dorms $15 on hostelworld.
Travel time to next place: 4 hours
Or to push on to Istanbul: 8.5 hours
Time to spend here: Couple days?

They have a cable car there which goes up a mountain (good) and also ferries to Istanbul. From my possible direction of travel, that might be an interesting way to enter Istanbul rather than by bus.
Shit I'm interested in seeing here: The ferry out? Not sure if it would be worth it to ferry in as opposed to bus.
Places to stay listed on the internet: Only high priced privates, $35 to $42. Another $36 one here.
Travel time to next place: 4 hours driving, unknown by ferry.
Time to spend here: One night or less.

From there, on to Istanbul...


  1. What do you mean, no town of Goreme? and
    "Goreme accommodation" turns up a lot of hits.

    Is it your internet that's blocking stuff?

  2. I left out Anatalya, Parmukkale, Kusadasi, and Cannakale from the list because even though we went to all these places we were doing it in the 4x4, with the trailer and pop-up tent, so looking for reasonable accommodation is not on our agenda all that often. Its difficult for me to judge how far you are willing to go on buses and whether its worth it for you personally.

    So yeah..

    Go to Nemrut Dagi from either side of the mountains where the transport is best for you, again the 4x4 makes the difference for us.

    Parmukkale has the travertine hot springs (which honestly have seen better days) and the Hierapolis on top of the travertine cliffs (which was worth it but a rip off, 14 euro each to go swimming at the Hierapolis!)

    Cappadoccia..I said 4 days but that included us driving off into canyons and deserts alone in the truck..You'll want to stay in a traditional Goreme cave dwelling at least for a few nights...we stayed at the the STAR CAVE HOTEL...good price, luxurious, 5min walk off the main street in quiet dead end...with truck parking! We gave the balloon rides a miss, just too expensive really

    Out of Anatalya the coast from Kas-Fethiye-Marmaris is gorgeous but its the Turkish Riviera and a bit pricey. From Marmari we went to Izmir..just as gorgeous just as pricey

    Ephesus was interesting but by then I was getting a bit 'ruined' out...

    Cannakale makes sense if you're taking the ferry across the Dardanelles..we went to Gallipolli after Istanbul but again that's driving our own truck. I didn't recommend Gallipoli to you...I thought it was just more of a Aussie thing

    Did you find this site?
    Very Informative....

    Good luck

  3. Have you looked into checking out Göbekli Tepe at all? Something I'd be very interested in checking out in Turkey. It's "the oldest known example of monumental architecture—the first structure human beings put together that was bigger and more complicated than a hut."


  4. Jamas: Sorry, that was 'corrected' by the earlier town of the same name in the post. I was up pretty late trying to compile all of this crap.

    Pete: No, it's too far south for this journey. There are probably 3-4 other interesting towns as well in the south part of Turkey. I'm thinking I might save that (and northern Iraq) for a future journey as I suspect that the rest of Turkey and Jordan will suck up my funds and I will have to find another place to go sit on my haunches to regenerate money. Not sure where yet - possibly the Arabic world if it's cheap enough. If not, India would be my guess.

    Adam: Thanks for the info, I will comb through it!

  5. PS: Adam, yes I did find the Turkish web site. That is one of my main sources for looking at all of this stuff. I agree, it's a great site.

    I figure if I get 'ruined out' (or tired of Turkey in general) I can always just hop onto a bus for Istanbul and work on getting over to Jordan then. Or, if I can't make Jordan, (or if my funds have gotten too low) Egypt.



{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

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