Note that this travel guide is just a service I provide as a pastime, but as my profession (I am an academic in computing science!). Please contact an on/offline travel agent, and/or the nearest Turkish consulate, if you cannot find the desired information starting from this travel guide. But I will reply to "interesting" requests (if you promise to give feedback), especially that I have made some wonderful friends this way!
In 2012, I decided to stop maintaining this guide, but it still contains a lot of correct and useful information.
Copyright © 1995-2012 Pierre Flener. All rights reserved. Do not duplicate or redistribute in any form without written permission. Last updated 7 June 2012 by Pierre Flener.
If you understand French, then TÍte de Turc is a non-governmental organisation aiming at dismantling common prejudices against Turkey.
Similar information, from the Turkish Government's viewpoint and only regarding political issues, is in English at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Kurdish Information Network has some very objective facts and background information on the "Kurdish question", but also information on, and pointers to, more "extreme" viewpoints.
The Center for Disease Control & Prevention has excellent information about staying healthy in Turkey and the Middle East.
Roughly Speaking has a well-designed Turkish language guide for travellers and expatriates.
The Turkish Phrasebook of Lonely Planet Publications is also invaluable for getting around Turkey.
The Dictionary of the Turkic Languages published by Routledge in 1996 includes the Turkish language.
Michael C. Martin's Foreign Languages for Travelers has some basic lessons (with sounds!) for the traveler on the Turkish language and pointers to many other language-related resources.
Online Turkish has a few free trial lessons (with sounds!) of Turkish.
There are a couple introductory courses on the Kurmanji dialect of the Kurdish language.
The OANDA Currency Converter also allows you to find out the weekly exchange rates of the New Turkish Lira (TRY) vs. other currencies.
Kerem Almac is a Turkish photographer who maintains Turkey in Photos, a travel guide with focus on culture and history.
Turkish Travel aims to provide credible, accurate and timely Travel Articles and regular updates for travellers, including tourists, business travellers, expatriates, and others to Turkey.
Dick Osseman maintains an astounding archive of the many thousands of Turkey pictures he shot.
Khaled Elsayed has a very nice collection of photos about istanbul.
Jan Van Assche and Ayse Ergurbuz have some nice photos and information on Turkey.
Tayfun DemirŲz is a Turk maintaining insightful anecdotes of istanbul, from a local's point of view.
Izzet Keribar is a Turkish professional photographer who has some superb galleries of photos on Turkey.
Derek Szabo is a professional photographer who has some nice photos of Istanbul, from his trip in 1998.
Barbara Sher writes in Kilim Women about her part-time life in Ortahisar, Cappadocia.
Petter Andersen put together a cute page called My Travels in Turkey.
Paulo de Oliveira compiled the informative Turkey Ride based on a trip to Turkey with his father.
Jim and Geri published their journal on a trip to Western Turkey in April 1998.
TravelASSIST Magazine has at least two stories on Turkey, namely Timeless Turkey - istanbul and Treading Turkey's Ancient Stones.
Also see the Travel-Library.com and Turkish Radio Hour for travel articles on Turkey.
Lonely Planet Publications have travellers' feedback from Turkey and the Thorn Tree branch on the Middle East, a bulletin board for travellers.
Lonely Planet Publications also have:
I considerably edited the following threads so as to keep them short and informative (and spell/grammar-checked). I also annotated them whenever I don't agree with other people, or have updates to what they wrote. Sometimes, I also include private followup email conversations I had with readers.
From: Gail_Anderman@lamg.com (Gail Anderman) Newsgroups: rec.travel.asia Subject: Re: Turkey tips needed Date: April 1995 Comments on 6 weeks in Turkey during August and September '94: Safety: We had several occasions in late evening to walk dark, almost empty, rural lanes and Istanbul side street and were never threatened at all. Local men even carry their wallets in the back pocket of their pants without concern for theft. Every traveler we met agreed with us that we felt safer in Turkey than in our own home towns. Water: No one drinks from the tap and good bottled water is cheap and available everywhere. --- From: Pierre Flener To: Somebody@Some.Where (name withheld) Subject: Re: Safety in Turkey Date: March 1994 [but still valid] >enter Turkey via eastern Europe, drive to Istanbul, and then to Izmir. >We would spend probably 10-14 days and then drive out the same way. This should be safer than the East. I can't say "safe, period" because there have been attacks in the West as well (though none targeted at tourists since 1995!). >Some of the state dept info is awfully scary, especially re:acts of >terrorism and the eastern provinces. While we know that there are no >guarantees while traveling, we also have no interest in taking foolish >risks, especially with children. I see. But, as I wrote, SDTAs are rather paranoid in general. Moreover, they always fail to acknowledge that the USA itself is probably one of the most unsafe countries in the world to be (or travel)!!! See Florida, Texas, and so on. See the crime rates in all the big cities, and recently even in small towns. But I can tell you that I don't know a single expatriate here in Turkey (and I live in Central Anatolia, not in the West) who left the country out of fear of the PKK, or is paranoid about PKK threats: we just decided not to go "too much" east, period. Overall, we all fully agree that, *even with* the PKK threat, we are much safer here than we'd be in many other parts of this world, including (especially?) our own Western countries. Turkey is wonderful, as you said, so enjoy it! So why avoid places you like, but that have (extremely) low risks? You don't stop driving your car, or flying cross-country, or whatever, just because there are certain risks, eh? Well, I think you *don't* increase these everyday risks by coming to western or central Turkey! You might even reduce them... --- From: email@example.com (Gokhan Akbay) Newsgroups: rec.travel, soc.culture.turkish Subject: Re: Turkey? Date: August 1994 >firstname.lastname@example.org (mirzo mirzo) writes: >>[...] I'm thinking about a last minute trip to Turkey, leaving >>Sept 10. Any advice on weather conditions, places to go, not to go, etc >>would be much appreciated. >DON'T GO. >There is a war in Turkey between the Kurds and Turkish Government. >Every penny you will spend in that country will be used for buying >weapons that will be used against the Kurdish population. >It is also for your own safety. There's nothing dangerous but some operations against PKK terrorists on the south-east part of Turkey. You may safely go and have a nice holiday on the west and south coasts of Turkey, which are some of the most beautiful places in the world, especially Marmaris, Bodrum, Alanya, Antalya, Kas, Cesme, Kusadasi, etc. The weather conditions during the first half of September on the mentioned places are perfect. You may do all kind of sea-sports. [Editor's note: This is your typical thread about safety in Turkey: somebody asks an innocent question, some Turkophobe intimidates her/him with biased and incomplete information, some Turk[-ophile] counters with some facts and a pamphlet on Turkey's resorts that are finally no different from any others in the world.] --- From: email@example.com (Larry Lustig) Newsgroups: rec.travel.misc Subject: Re: Women traveling in Turkey Date: June 1995 >we are a young couple and we intend to travel to Turkey in >summer. [...] So our major concern is that we will have >a lot of hassle because of sexual harassment. Turkey is a wonderful country with friendly, helpful people. It is true that it is difficult to be "left alone", but this is largely because people approach you constantly to meet you, and buy you tea. It's one of the places in the world that I have felt the safest travelling. However, things are a bit different for women. In the major cities (at least in Istanbul) there is a certain amount of liberalism in dress and customs. Outside the big cities, however, women should maintain a conservative mode of dress: such as a long skirt, a blouse with sleeves, and, preferably, a head scarf. For a woman alone, even speaking to a man (other than a shopkeeper) not related to her can be considered flirtatious. If you're together most of the time and respect the local ways of doing things, you should get along fine.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Nathan Alexander Lipson) Newsgroups: rec.travel.europe Subject: Re: Midnight Express Date: July 1995 email@example.com wrote: > MIDNIGHT EXPRESS is the TRUE story of an American tourist, who was > caught by the Turkish police, trying to pass hashish out of Turkey. > The film shows us the barbaric situation that exists in Turkey, the > human rights abuses, and the insanity of the government. Oliver Stone, who created that film, is a shameless sleaze monger. To the extent that the story is true, that dumb American drug smuggler was unlucky. You "hellas", are contemptible for trying to recycle the horrific images of the film, 20 years on, in your perpetual campaign to vilify Turkey. For the most part, Turkey is a civilized country, and foreigners are treated with respect -- provided they don't get involved in military politics or drug-trafficking. The Turkish state is not a socialist democratic institution, any Turk will tell you. But the task of ruling Turkey is extraordinarily difficult. [...] To be fair, Greeks certainly do have good historical reason to loathe Turkey. But Turkish society has changed so much in the past 20 years, that young Greeks should look to the future. I love Greece, but I dislike attitudes stereotypical of a Greece from a time that has passed. Greece will never reconquer Anatolia. I'm confident that most Greeks reading Usenet are more reasonable and realistic than the minority who post these inflammatory ... ah .... flames. [Pierre Flener's note: Well-said, Nate! I would add that William (Billy) Hayes, the "dumb American drug smuggler", himself denies many scenes of the film. For instance, he was in a low security prison, and he did not kill a guard to get out: read his book for many other important differences with the movie, especially on the tone! The movie was directed by Alan Parker, with the screenplay by Oliver Stone (who won an Oscar for it, with another Oscar going to Giorgio Moroder for the music score), and is a US production from 1978. The story starts in the early 1970s, in Istanbul, after Turkey announced that drug smugglers would be subject to severe prison sentences. But Billy Hayes foolishly thought he could dupe the Turkish security system... "Midnight express" may well be prison slang for "escape", but in this case it also means something else, if one cares to research it. In fact, the book and movie title refer to a midnight train service from Istanbul to Edirne (on the Bulgarian border), which line for a short segment ran through Greek territory, between 1923 (when the Republic of Turkey was proclaimed from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire) and the late 1970s (when a bypass line was built). During that time, Greek border police would board and guard the train while it was on Greek territory. Now, during the 1960s and 1970s, foreigners sentenced for drug-related offences in Turkey would be quietly released by the Turkish Government during their appeals, using this train: they would board in Istanbul with all their possessions, save their passports, and be bidden to jump off on the Greek segment, with the connivance of the Greek guards! They would be jailed in Greece until they had a new passport via their consulates. This diplomatic trick allowed the Turkish Government to meet US demands and yet avoid inernational outrage when smugglers were actually severely punished. Billy Hayes himself has always been correct about this issue, except in the book that he co-wrote, and that Alan Parker would pick up this story and twist it to fuel anti-Turkish sentiments on a very wide scale is heinous. The damage that this movie and book have inflicted by itself on Turkey's reputation is incalculable. When twisting a true story, why not set it into an imaginary country? Since when are drug smugglers heroes?! Since when are governments catching and convicting drug sumgglers villains? Since when are governments diplomatically releasing prisoners villains?]
From: Pierre Flener To: Somebody@Some.Where (name withheld) Subject: Re: Ferries between Turkey and Greece/Italy Date: August 1994 There are ferries from/to the Greek islands that are closest to Turkey: Kos <--> Bodrum (is said to be the cheapest) Rhodos <--> Marmaris Chios <--> CeSme Lesbos <--> AyvalIk Samos <--> KuSadasI but they are horrendously overpriced for an average of 2 hours passage. Trips from Greece to Turkey include payment of a hefty harbor tax (~$35 total), but not vice-versa (~$?? total). Day-round-trips from Greece are cheaper. Overnight round-trips from Greece thus are expensive, and furthermore invalidate any return-ticket of any charter-flight you had to Greece (the Turkish entry/exit stamps are highly visible in your passport, and Greek authorities don't want to see these because you are supposed to spend your money in Greece). If you are on a one-way trip between Greece and Turkey, it's thus advisable to hop from Turkey to the first Greek island, rather than the other way round! These ferries usually can take a few cars (but I'm afraid that will be very expensive). There also is a weekly ferry from Santorini to Marmaris via Crete, Karpathos, and Rhodos. There are *no* other ferries to Greece, not even to Athens. Getting to/from Athens by ferry is a 2-step operation: first hop to the nearest Greek island, and then get the next ferry from there to Athens (or vice-versa). Weekly ferries go from Venice/Ancona (Italy) to Izmir/Cesme/Marmaris/ Antalya: ask your travel agent, and mention Turkish Maritime Lines. These are big ferries (mostly used by car/caravan/truck-drivers), and take 2.5 days (3 nights). No passages in the off-season. (I think) there are ferries from KuSadasI to Italy, on Italian companies, but they don't stop in Greece either. These are looong trips, but not too expensive. --- From: Pierre Flener To: Somebody@Some.Where (name withheld) Subject: Re: Ferries between Turkey and Greece Date: August 1994 >Do you know about ferries from these Greek islands (near Turkey) to >Athens. Are there regular services? Virtually every Greek island has regular and frequent services (often overnight) to Athens, and definitely all those ones along the Turkish coast. So this is absolutely no problem. >We are trying to get from Istanbul to Athens, preferably by bus&/boat >(since it's cheaper than air) in one day. Do you think it's practical? By train: almost 24h from istanbul to Thessaloniki (I know this is absurdly long, although border formalities "only" take ~2h; legend has it that people took a stroll off the train and easily jumped back onto it again ;-), and then almost another day by train to Athens. So this option is only for die-hard train-fans, especially that the train is likely to be more than full in high- season. Buy 2 tickets, rather than only 1: the first up to the Greek border, the second from there to Athens. Much cheaper. By bus, along the train route: not much faster. Same ticketing technique recommended for savings. By direct boat: impossible. (There are Turkey <--> Italy ferries, crossing the Channel of Corinth, but not docking anywhere in Greece.) By air: not so expensive after all. Look for bucket shops in istanbul, near the Blue Mosque on Divan Yolu. The only means to make it in one day. But why do this trip in one day? There are many interesting things to see along the way! Turkey's most perfect mosque, the Selimiye Camii, is in Edirne. Mt. Olympus, the throne of Jupiter, awaits your ascent south of Thessaloniki. A little in-land, the world-famous and unique Meteora monasteries beg a visit. And endlessly so on. Take your time! --- From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mary Ellen & Dick Warrick) Newsgroups: bit.listserv.travel-l Subject: Re: Greece and Turkey Date: June 1995 We just returned from a 7 week visit to Greece and Turkey (2 weeks in Turkey). We had absolutely no problem with border crossings. [...] I frequently used ATMs in both countries. Some banks would take my bank debit card (Plus system) but many wouldn't. I generally had no problem with Visa or Master Card. I'm not sure but I think that Master Card was better accepted. A few times I had to try several banks and several cards to get one to work. I think I didn't notice was that there was a limit on the amount of cash you could withdraw. Several times when the ATM wouldn't give me any money, I think it was because I was asking for too much. They never said so, just refused to honor my card. If you have problems, you might ask for a smaller amount. [...] Availability depends on where you will be going. The large towns all have many banks with ATMs. We spent several days in Cappadocia (Goreme) and had to drive to a nearby town for an ATM (Urgup). --- From: email@example.com (Jack Campin) Newsgroups: rec.travel Subject: Re: Turkey border crossing from Georgia? Date: April 1994 >Is it possible to cross into Turkey from Tbilisi, Georgia? Air, train, >whatever. This information is two years old, and I'd like an update if anyone has one: What country are you a citizen of? I tried to go the other way. There are *very* cheap buses between Trabzon and Sochi, but these only takes Turkish and ex-Soviet citizens. (You get what you pay for, these were some of the worst buses I've ever seen). Others needed to go by boat or fly; the visa was expensive and the fares were extortionate. --- From: smortaz@handel.Eng.Sun.COM (Shahrokh Mortazavi) Newsgroups: soc.culture.iranian, soc.culture.turkish Subject: Re: Crossing frontier area Turkey/Iran Date: September 1994 >[...] The question that's bothering me most is this: how difficult >(or perhaps: how easy) is it going to be to cross the Turkish/Iranian >border? I mean, with the Kurdish problem over there (hey, peace to >all!), is it dangerous for a western (Dutch) tourist to cross the >area? You might want to check out the book `A survival guide to visiting Iran' (or something close to that). It lists all the do's, dont's, and gotcha's of visiting Iran under iri. [Editor's note: The mentioned book is David St. Vincent's excellent "Iran - A Travel Survival Kit", from Lonely Planet (1992). Any of the guidebooks on Turkey (see section 2 of this travel guide) should also give you valuable information on this border crossing. Briefly: + it seems (according to my own recent experience) right now _impossible_ to go to Iran on a *tourist-visa* _w/o_ taking a (hugely expensive) package tour, unless you are from a country with which Iran has agreements (usually countries with Muslim populations). + however, *transit-visas* for Iran (usually between Turkey and Pakistan) are usually _easy_ to obtain at Iranian consulates, w/i 24hrs and for a small fee (valid for 7 days, but apparently easy to extend once in Iran), especially when you are from a European Union country. Some consuls (e.g., the one in Ankara) require a letter of recommendation from your own embassy, which is often a difficult business: the trick is to pretend to your own authorities that you will apply for a _tourist-visa_ *and* _fly_ into Iran, because otherwise they fear you'll travel _overland_ and be kidnapped by the PKK, and they will refuse to write such a letter of recommendation for you. ]
From: Pierre Flener Newsgroups: rec.travel Subject: Re: Buses and Trains in Turkey Date: 1990 [but still valid] >Once in Turkey.... Use the bus system... It is cheap, and they speak >English at the bus stations. Dress for hot hot weather, and take >plenty of drinking water on the bus. Although I fully agree on the benefits of the marvelous Turkish bus system [cheap; reliable; relatively fast (expect average 60km/h, stops included); reserved seats only; some buses have A/C; frequent stops for relaxing; no communication problem when buying your seat; and many more], I don't understand why you suggest taking water on the bus! Indeed, I have traveled for several thousand miles on Turkish buses all over the country, and I always benefited from the following service: + free mineral water (cooled, sealed bottles; seemingly unlimited supplies); + free "eau de cologne" after every stop, for refreshing your hands & face. Richer companies even offer you chocolate sweets, ... Yes, buses are definitely a good way to discover Turkey and the Turks. On the other hand, stay clear of the trains, except on the istanbul - Ankara line (9h), with excellent overnight connections, and the istanbul - izmir line (11h), with a ferry-ride across the Marmara Sea, where tremendous improvements have been made in recent years. Trains are cheaper than buses, but on others than the two lines above incredibly slow and often overcrowded. --- From: Iain Mac an Tŗilleir <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: Pierre Flener Subject: Train Travel in Turkey Date: January 1998 Contrary to most advice received, myself and friends travelled by train extensively last year in Western and Central Turkey. We experienced no problems, apart from a slight delay to the Pamukkale Ekspresi en route to Denizli. It was an even better way of getting to know Turkish people, and far less hair-raising that belting through the mountains of Central Anatolia by bus. It can actually be fun to take it easy on the train from Ankara to Kars rather than participate in a race between two buses along the highway east. The long stops at certain stations such as Afyon and Kayseri allow you to get off and see a little of such places. --- From: email@example.com (Ali Tuglu) Newsgroups: soc.culture.turkish Subject: Re: Travel in Turkey - info needed Date: February 1994 >I'm going to visit Turkey in April, for a conference in Antalya: > -Traveling from Istanbul to Antalya: train or car? No train connection between Istanbul and Antalya. Use the bus system, the most convenient and economical one. I would suggest the companies Ulusoy or Varan. [Editor's note: These companies are the top-bracket, which means pricey and slooow. For almost half the price, and virtually the same quality, and faster travel, try Pamukkale/Kamil KoC/any-other-company-with-a-fancy-ticket-office.] > - Hotels and restaurants near the main roads: prices, type of food, >some suggestions of menus? If you take the companies I have suggested, it will be no problem. [Editor's note: This will be pricey and bad highway food...] > - Best (touristic) route, for a one or two full day trip? Along the coast, by car. But tiring, I believe. > - Interesting places to visit in that route? So many, get a map! But 2 days is not enough. > - Price of gasoline, high-way tolls, taxis, rent-a-car? I am not sure about these ones. I would say higher than you would expect. [Editor's note: Gas is about $0.60/liter. Very cheap highway tolls: about $1.5 per 100km. Taxis are dirt-cheap and usually have working meters. I have no info about rental cars.] --- From: Jay_Mann@equinox.gen.nz (Jay Mann) Newsgroups: rec.travel Subject: Buses in Turkey Date: April 1994 Turkish buses are fascinating, frequent, with excellent coverage of the country. They are also filled with cigarette smoke, day and night. After a number of bad experiences, I would only travel in them if I had a seat right in the front, where there's a fighting chance for a breath of fresh air. [Editor's note: All upper-class bus companies have air-conditioned buses, and some even start introducing non-smoking trips on major hauls (but avoid seats near the driver, as he might be chain-smoking all the way...).] --- From: Gail_Anderman@lamg.com (Gail Anderman) Newsgroups: rec.travel.asia Subject: Re: Turkey tips needed Date: April 1995 Turkish inter city buses are on-time, air-conditioned Mercedes Benzes with great suspension systems and amazingly low fares. (A comfortable 6 hour trip costs under $20, shorter ones much less.) --- From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Erkut Gokan) Newsgroups: rec.travel.europe Subject: Re: Eastern Turkey: Real advice wanted Date: June 1995 I have not been to Eastern Turkey for a long time. But I know renting a car one way is either not possible or prohibitively expensive. Also, Eastern Turkey is very mountainous and the roads can be somewhat challenging for someone who is not used to driving in that region. The rest of Turkey is very pleasurable to drive. Your best bet would be to rent the car from, and return it to Antalya. Keep in mind that gasoline is expensive in Turkey as it is in Western Europe. So driving a car over long distances can be an expensive choice. [Editor's note: Gas prices are cheaper than in *any* European country, but, at about $0.60/liter, stand of course no comparison to oil producing countries.] Alternatively, you may want to try taking buses (The bus system is very good, a lot better than it is in the US. The buses are very new and they go everywhere on frequent schedules. Also don't take that Greek rubbish seriously about buses being stopped by soldiers every 50 km. Very recently I took some Europeans and Americans with me to Turkey. We traveled many thousand miles. Nobody ever stopped our bus or asked for an id. Actually, many people told me how secure they had felt in Turkey--even more so than in the US). The rest of the time you can take taxis. They are inexpensive, but be sure to negotiate before you accept a ride with unmetered taxis. The Turkish people are very friendly, especially in rural areas. Treating guests well is something like a matter of honor. People may invite you to their houses to dine and/or to stay. Turks take pride in their hospitality. It may be helpful to speak a few Turkish words. Also Europeans indicated to me that more people understood German in Turkey than English. This is due to 2 million Turkish workers living in Germany.
From: email@example.com (Jordan D. Luttrell) Newsgroups: rec.travel.asia Subject: Re: Turkey tips needed Date: April 1995 We spent some two to three weeks in Turkey in late May, two years ago, and enjoyed it tremendously. I have never heard *anyone* say they didn't enjoy Turkey. A great choice. I would say, however, that the Aegean was the least favorite part of our trip. That is the part of Turkey which is the most exposed to Western tourism, and where you are most likely to encounter an "us-them" response from the Turks. My own first choice in Turkey would be to go inland, for sure to Cappadocia and then to a little town on a vast lake, Egirdir. There was a wonderful travel article which we followed almost religiously and which, if you are interested, I will copy and send to you. It took us, among other places, to Afyon where in a nearby locale we sampled, on the ground, three different civilizations, going as far back as the Hittites. This was almost worth the price of the whole trip itself. We also enjoyed Istanbul tremendously. [...] --- From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Sinan ???) Newsgroups: rec.travel Subject: Re: Turkey Date: March 1994 >Hi. I'm going to be in Turkey for about a week in July and I was >wondering which cities are recommended along the route from Istanbul >to Marmaris. Istanbul - Bursa (ex-capital of the Ottoman empire) - Ayvalik (Aegean coast town) - Izmir (3rd largest city) - Cesme (sea resort) - Kusadasi (sea resort & Virgin Mary's house & Ephesus antique city) - Didim (sea resort & Apollon temple) - Fethiye, Bodrum, Koycegiz, Gocek (all seaside towns/townships). --- From: email@example.com (Jack Campin) Newsgroups: rec.travel Subject: Re: Turkey in June/July: Info please Date: April 1994 >Villages and small hotels (with air conditioning) that are off the >beaten path and can be used as a base of operations for exploration? You will hardly find air conditioning anywhere except in big-city luxury hotels. Thank God. The country has enough of an energy problem without squandering it on this crap. >Interesting auto routes? Get the Turk Turing ve Otomobil Kurumu's guidebook. This has *masses* of information on motoring in Turkey. Last I saw it was only available in Turkish but even if you only have a few words of the language you'll still be able to get far more out of it than from any English-language source I've seen. The TTOK's headquarters is in Sisli, Istanbul. Say hello to Zeynep from me if you visit them. They are very helpful. --- From: Gary Oliver (firstname.lastname@example.org) Newsgroups: rec.travel Subject: Re: Turkey in June/July: Info please Date: April 1994 I was in Turkey for 4 weeks last September, and did the reverse of what you present - went from Istanbul to Ankara to Antalya, from there rented a car and drove along the coast to Izmir. The trip was wonderful, but if I had to do it over, I would do the opposite -- from Istanbul to the Aegean (or Ege Deniz in Turkish) around to Antalya. [...] Do you speak Turkish? If not, I would recommend that you take tours of Cappadocia and Ephesus. The tours are very inexpensive and usually led by eager-to-please college students. [Editor's note: "Very inexpensive" only if you have a lot of money...] Turkey is a very large country, and I don't know how you travel, but I would not attempt to explore much of the Black Sea (Kara Deniz) coast and do everything else you listed in 4 to 5 weeks. Budget had the best prices on car rentals then (about $50US a day for 7 or more days). I really enjoyed my trip to Turkey - the people are hard-working and very friendly. I have fantasized about moving there. If you would like more information from me, just ask.
From: Pierre Flener To: Somebody@Some.Where (name withheld) Subject: Re: istanbul Date: May 1994 The cheapest hotels are to the left upon leaving the European-side RW-station (Sirkeci), in Sultanahmet, and in Aksaray/Lale. If it is a city-map you are looking for: don't buy one, as they give you convenient ones for free at the tourist information stand between Aya Sofia and the Blue Mosque. A hint that will save you a lot of money: go to "GenCtur" (a travel agency on Yerebatan caddesi) and buy a YIEE-card (Youth Int'l Educational Exchange) for ~$3. They might not check if you really are a student, but there might be a restriction to people younger than 26. This card gets you free entrance to all the State museums, e.g. Aya Sofia, TopkapI Palace (except the Harem), the Yerebatan Cistern, etc. My favorites in istanbul are: the three big mosques (Aya Sofia, Sultanahmet a.k.a. the Blue Mosque, the Suleymaniye), the TopkapI palace/museum, the Islamic museum on the Hippodrome, the Grand Bazaar and Egyptian Bazaar (don't buy anything inside though: huge savings if you buy the same stuff just outside), the Galata tower, the DolmabahCe palace/museum, a Bosphorus crossing to the Asian side (nice sunsets over the big mosques: ideal for dinner!), a Bosphorus cruise up to the Black Sea, a Marmara Sea trip to the Princes' Islands, the Yerebatan Cistern (see "James Bond: From Russia with Love" afterwards). You can easily do most of this in 3 days. "Advanced" visitors will travel along the Golden Horn to the "Pierre Loti" Cafe and the wonderful Eyup mosque nearby (it's a holy shrine), they will visit the superb Sokullu mosque next to the KUCUk Aya Sofya near KumkapI (it's small, but perfect in its proportions, and thus much easier to comprehend than the big ones). "Real" (tm) Turkey can be seen when leaving the Egyptian Bazaar at the far end (compared to the Bosphorus) and taking the street parallel to the Golden Horn (but not the one along the Golden Horn): you'll walk past (decaying) Ottoman wooden houses and experience a very lively market street with typical Ottoman compartmentation into specializations: fruits, veggies, hammers, safes, shoes, shovels, clothes, nails, and endlessly so on, until the first bridge or so. Or go on a Sunday afternoon to YIldIz ParkI to get a lesson on family life (the park between TopkapI and the RW station also does it). I personally don't like so much the tourist-traps or show-cases, like the Ottoman house street (mostly pensions) along the TopkapI walls, or Taksim Square and the pedestrian istiklal caddesi leading to it, or the KumkapI fish restaurants, CiCek PasajI on istiklal caddesi, etc. --- From: email@example.com (Jon Peterson) Newsgroups: rec.travel Subject: Re: Help: Istanbul accommodations - reservations Date: January 1994 >Can anyone suggest a place that is reasonably priced (ie. under $30 >double) that would accept reservations? I would appreciate any personal >recommendations along with phone numbers and, even better, fax numbers. >A place that would take reservations in English would be ideal (my >Turkish is non-existent). I was in Istanbul in the summer of '91, as a backpacker, and found that cheap lodging was very easy to come by. I don't know if you can reserve a room at these places in advance... but frankly I don't think it will be necessary. First of all, even in June -- when, presumably, there will be the greatest number of travelers seeking cheap lodging -- there were many vacancies. Secondly, you expressed a little nervousness about arriving late at night. But Turks seem to stay up and about rather late into the night -- at midnight, there is still much activity, both social and commercial. So probably you'll be able to find something, unless your flight is greatly delayed (in which case it would probably be wisest to wait until light anyway). Of course, it's possible that life in Istanbul is entirely different in the winter, so take this advice with a grain of salt. [Editor's note: Winter is *no* problem either.] [...] in the Sultanahmet district [...] There are numerous small hotels, all reasonably inexpensive (we paid around US$4 or $5 per person per night, for a room for three, and a bathroom shared on the floor, in that area; if you're used to back-packing and finding accommodations later you should have no problems. Also, the Sultanahmet district is only about a five or ten minute walk from Topkapi palace, the Blue Mosque, and other sites of interest. It's a wonderful city. Enjoy your trip. --- From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Sinan ???) Newsgroups: rec.travel Subject: Re: Istanbul - travel to and exploring? Date: March 1994 >> What on earth should I see in Istanbul? > > Covered Bazaar. > Suleymaniye Mosque (Blue Mosque) > Hagia Sophia > Bosphorus > Topkapi Palace & Museum > Old city The Water Cistern. Located a few 100 feet from Aya Sofia, for a nominal fee (~1US$) you go below the city into an enormous chamber, filled with columns, arches, and water. Built 1200 years ago (if memory serves) to supply water to the city, you walk in the half light listening to classical music, examining the pillars, feeling awe/peace. Very cool and relaxing. Also, while the guide books can be extremely helpful, they also can tend to steer people wrong. Case in point: two separate publications mention the "Sultan Pub" as the place to go. Don't. Filled with rich American students, the prices were higher than prices in the U.S. for beers and food. Go a few blocks to someone (anyone!) more authentic, and it will be worth it. --- From: Gail_Anderman@lamg.com (Gail Anderman) Newsgroups: rec.travel.asia Subject: Re: Turkey tips needed Date: April 1995 Istanbul is a fascinating, world-class city. The Sultanahmet area, where the Blue Mosque, Aga Sophia Church, Topkapi Palace and numerous other city highlights are located, is the best place to stay. [...] We also recommend seeing the Whirling Dervishes perform their riveting religious ceremony at 5 pm the last Sunday of most months in their Museum of Divan Literature. Most guidebooks don't mention it. Call 212/245-4141 to verify date and time.
From: Gail_Anderman@lamg.com (Gail Anderman) Newsgroups: rec.travel.asia Subject: Re: Turkey tips needed Date: April 1995 Ankara is Turkey's capital and was the noisiest, smoggiest, costliest, dirtiest city we saw in the country! Despite its fine Museum of Anatolian Civilization, we do not recommend staying here except as a quick overnight to cut the long bus trip from Cappadocia to Bursa or Istanbul. [Editor's note: Very few people will agree with this review! Ankara is much more livable, tremendously cheaper, and also greener than Istanbul. As a very big city, it should not be compared with small towns. Admittedly, except for the sensational museum, it has not much to keep the traveler for more than a night.] Bursa is a charming city with fine architecture, gardens, mausoleums of the earliest sultans, and excellent public transportation. Dont miss the scenic cable car ride up Uludag mountain where you can hike for miles along quiet trails through the pines. We also enjoyed the Turkish baths, separated by sex, at the lovely old Eski Kaplikalari Hamam near the Hotel Karavansaray Terminal. (I enjoyed bath, massage, and body scrub for $6.) Cappadocia is fascinating with its fairy chimney rock formations, houses cut into the soft lava rock, and three underground cities (each can house up to 20,000 people!) which were carved in the rock 1,000 years ago by Byzantine Christians protecting themselves from invading Ottomans. The whole area makes for fascinating sight-seeing and/or hiking. --- From: Pierre Flener To: Somebody@Some.Where (name withheld) Subject: Re: Cappadocia Date: September 1994 In Cappadocia, you must see the openair museums of GOreme and Zelve, climb the troglodyte fortresses of uChisar and ortahisar, visit the potters in Avanos, taste the wine in UrgUp, trek in the GUllUdere and KIzIlcIkur valleys behind CavuSin, and many others. If you have your own set of wheels, visit an underground city (KaymaklI, Derinkuyu, or MazIkOy), the canyon of the ihlara Valley, and one of the nearby caravanserais. --- From: TGQA18A@prodigy.com (William Smith) Newsgroups: rec.travel.europe Subject: Re: Pamukkale (and area) Date: June 1995 It was many years ago that I was in Pamukkale (1977) but I still remember it as one of the most fantastic sights I've ever seen (the calcium cliffs just hanging there above a vast plain and very nice warm water to wade in). [...] There is very little to do in Pamukkale, not really a town at all. Besides the water and cliffs, there are old ruins of Hierapolis at the site. The water was considered curative in classical times and there are many tombs in the area. I'd say it is worth the trip. At least for a night's stay; more fun pursuits can be found in other towns. [Editor's Note: BEWARE!!! The site is destroyed in the meantime, in the sense that the greedy hotels on top of the falls feed the water 6 days out of 7 into their pools, so that you would be lucky to see any water on the falls at all. There are cigarette butts and other trash floating around, not to mention that the calcium cliffs aren't exactly white any more, especially because the road to the hotels leads virtually through the falls. In 1986 already (!), I didn't heed triple advice not to go there, and then I absolutely hated the place. Ever since, I discourage whoever asks me about it, but most people don't believe me and go out of their ways to get there anyway, but later confirm that I was absolutely right! Unless you want to learn how to totally wreck a natural wonder, going there is a complete waste of time: boycott the place!] --- From: Gail_Anderman@lamg.com (Gail Anderman) Newsgroups: rec.travel.asia Subject: Re: Turkey tips needed Date: April 1995 Egirdir: Major highlights of our trip were this cool, mountain lake village (2 1/2 hours north of Antalya) [...]. Here we enjoyed the beach, lake swimming, row boating, delicious home cooked dinners with our fellow guests, a colorful Sunday market in a nearby smaller village, and a fine all day taxi-tour during which we hiked through shady Andir Canyon taking time to swim in cool waters at the base of beautiful waterfalls. [...]
From: Gail_Anderman@lamg.com (Gail Anderman) Newsgroups: rec.travel.asia Subject: Re: Turkey tips needed Date: April 1995 Southwestern coastal towns are lovely with their archaeological ruins, beaches, and waters. All-day boat rides and mini-bus tours often included lunch and cost about $12 per person. Highlights included: the Seluk area for sightseeing, the ruins of Ephesus, Priene, and lovely Pamuak Beach lined with 1 and 2 bedroom housekeeping bungalows for $30 and $40 per night; and Dalyan, with views of Lykian rock tombs [...], and the [...] boat trip to the Caunus ruins, Turtle Beach, thermal mud baths, and a swim in clear Lake Kyceriz. Pretty Kas had our favorite all-day swimming and ruins-viewing boat ride, as well as pleasant, unpressured browsing in its handicraft shops.
From: email@example.com (Richard Blacklock) Newsgroups: rec.travel.misc Subject: Re: Troy Date: June 1995 In regards to Troy, while it is amazing to be at the site where Troy once was, there really isn't a lot to see, and I think you would be disappointed after such a lengthy drive. The drive down the Aegean coast however is quite beautiful, especially as you get to the southwestern part of Turkey. --- From: avci@GWIS2.CIRC.GWU.EDU (Ayhan Varol Bayer) Newsgroups: bit.listserv.travel-l Subject: Re: Turkey Date: March 1995 >We like the colors of the sea and nice, clean sandy beaches, calm coves. >We were told that the izmir-bodrum-marmaris region can offer this 1. Kusadasi: Major touristic city and entertainment and shopping center. Nice and clean beaches on National Park 20km far to Kusadasi. You can find many beaches in and near Kusadasi but in the National Park, forest and sea hug each other. DO NOT forget to visit Virgin Mary House (very important especially for Christians) and Ephesus (major harbor city of Ionia), Sirince Village (typical village) near Kusadasi (10km). 2. DIDYMA (Golden Sand): Very famous place with its beautiful sandy beach. From Kusadasi to Didyma you can visit on the way some historical places such as Priene, Miletos, Apollo temple. 3. GOKOVA: Natural and clean beaches with wonderful sight seeing. 4. MARMARIS: Major touristic city with many entertainment centers and shopping centers. Around there you can find many beaches. 5. BODRUM: Major historical touristic city like Marmaris but there is a castle which is an underwater museum now. I know that this is the best underwater museum in the world because there are many unique things from very old times that were discovered by American and Turkish researchers. This is only a summary. You can find there many beautiful places.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mehtap Kologlu) Newsgroups: rec.travel Subject: Re: Skiing in Turkey Date: December 1993 >Does anyone have advice regarding skiing Turkey? >Some of my concerns are: > - Can I rent ski equipment at the mountains? I would recommend Uludag or Kartalkaya in Turkey. And you can find everything there. [Editor's note: UludaG is totally overrated, and a snobbish place.] > - Are the slopes reasonably challenging? Is snow reliable? Yes both of them. Especially Uludag.
From: email@example.com (Jack Campin) Newsgroups: rec.travel, soc.culture.turkish, rec.food.cooking Subject: ayran (yogurt drink) Date: March 1994 >While [in Istanbul], I became addicted to the local drink involving >yogurt. Anyone remember its name and a recipe for me (sour yogurt and >water)? It's called ayran. It's a mixture of yogurt, salt and water served chilled. The best yogurts for this are full-fat live ones; here I prefer the "Pakav" or "Pakeeza" brands you get in Indian/Pakistani shops, but the Greek ones work OK too though they're more expensive. Don't bother if all you can get is some reduced-fat, killed, added-emulsifier or even (urgh) sweetened kind. A good book on Turkish food is Nevin Halici's "Turkish Cooking", though for anyone who's been there the pictures make it difficult not to impulse-buy the next time you go past a travel agents. Other cold drinks you shouldn't miss in Turkey: vishne (sour cherry cordial), shira (lightly fermented grape juice, a summer specialty), boza ("lightly fermented sweetened wheat porridge", I suppose you'd call it - it tastes a lot better than that description suggests; it's a winter specialty made by the same people who do shira). --- From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bernhard Muenzer) Newsgroups: soc.culture.turkish, rec.food.cooking Subject: Re: ayran (yogurt drink) Date: March 1994 I tried (cultured) buttermilk with water and salt, and found it a good substitute if no sour yoghurt is available.
From: email@example.com (Stephen K. Lower) Newsgroups: soc.culture.turkish Subject: A visitor's appreciation of Turkey Date: April 1994 We just returned from a delightful and interesting holiday in Turkey, ranging by air and bus between Kayseri and Istanbul. We were impressed, above all, by the warmth and friendliness of the people we met, and secondly, by the excellent food, especially in Konya. Several things we especially liked, which would be Turkey's major contributions to the world (or at least to North America if North America would only accept them): Ayran (the yogurt drink), which we now make at home. Something like the lassi of India. The dolmuS (shared taxi) -- given the large number of localities in N.A. without any public transport, this would seem an ideal solution. Those "bottom-washers" on modern Turkish toilets; a great contribution to personal hygiene, simpler and more convenient than the European bidet. I am considering installing one at home, but will have to do something about our very cold water! [Editor's note: Beware! Westerners don't have the same immunity levels as Middle Eastern people, precisely because they were raised to use toilet paper. Unless you thoroughly wash your hands after each trip to the toilet, you might soon regret your preference for this new experience. Also note that Middle Eastern people do this with their left hands, and *everything else* with their right hands (hence reducing the infection risks), whereas Westerners tend to use both hands indiscriminately.] Turkish classical and traditional music; we brought back a number of tapes and CDs (as well as a saz). It's a shame that this aspect of Turkey's rich culture is so little known in the West.