For those who want to visit Turkey for a wonderful trip
Turkey is a unique province, a perfect amalgamation of Asia and Europe. Unlike what some people think, Turkey is a very safe province. With its rich culture and heritage, it should be on your bucket list of places to see.
I visited Turkey some months back (November 2017) and it was an enriching experience. Before travelling, I also did my part of research on various websites. There is plenty of information available online. However, very few websites gave me with the exact detail of things in the way I needed them and for some areas, I could not find any information on the internet. Therefore, after coming back from my trip I realized I had to give a firsthand detailed information to people who were planning to travel in future. I learnt a lot while travelling through the province and want to share it with fellow travelers who are looking forward to visiting the province in future.
I would like to give you some of the top reasons to visit turkey apart from the fact that its beautiful landscapes provide you with unique experiences.
To start with:
- Flight costs are pretty reasonable if you book with a few things in mind
- The street food in Turkey is amazing and if you are a budget traveler its heaven
- You have accommodation available for every budget from boutique, seven star and five star options to as low as $30 for a decent clean double room with breakfast (Unbelievable? Isn’t it)
- Intercity flights are cheap and Inter city buses are very comfortable and reasonable making travelling across cities easy
- For all the shopping lovers, turkey is a shopper’s paradise from Turkish tiles to Turkish lamps to Turkish carpets to shawls, which are all intricately made by the local artisans are beautiful pieces to own. Go with empty bags because everything you see there will make you want to buy them.
I am sure you are already excited to know more. So let us start our journey
Flights to reach there
This is the major expense when we plan for travelling. While booking the main things to keep in mind are the travel times. Turkey can be extremely hot as well as extremely cold so you will find most tourists flocking there during the seasons of mid temperature. So generally, these seasons will see high flight costs. However, the best time to visit turkey can be the shoulder seasons. The flight fares are low and if you are lucky, you will be welcomed by great weather giving you the best of both worlds.
We travelled during the shoulder season i.e. end of November. During this time, there are chances of occasional showers but to our luck, we got perfectly sunny weather on all days except one day in which we enjoyed the flavor of the Turkish monsoons. We also ensured to check the flight deals across various websites and finally booked it at the best rate from KAYAK.
Some of the websites that I found best to check flight deals are as below:
Travelling through the cities
If you were planning to visit a number of cities in turkey then the best way to go about it would be to keep Istanbul as your last stop. As your flight reaches Istanbul, you could choose from a wide array of reasonable flights and hop on to your city of choice. The reason to recommend keeping Istanbul as the last is because it is one of the best cities with a wide array of things to do and I suggest keeping the most time for Istanbul as you can savor the different spirits of Turkey in here. Moreover taking a flight directly from Istanbul on first day saves you a onetime back and forth cost to the airport. Though most intercity airline services in Turkey is great. Turkish airlines/Pegasus airlines are among the cheapest and best airlines to travel in.
Inter city buses in turkey are a great way to travel. The inter city buses are very comfortable and they provide you with snacks and enough stops for washroom breaks. They are generally overnight and are best way to save on the cost of hotel rooms. Most buses ply from various cities on fixed intervals throughout the day. You can choose an overnight bus that for most routes will mean reaching your destination by early morning or late morning depending upon the chosen route.
We started our trip to turkey by going to Cappadocia first. We took intercity airlines only once throughout our trip. For most part of our journey we used inter city buses.
Some of the best intercity bus operators are as below:
Note: Though all these companies have websites, buying ticket online can be pretty difficult to impossible for foreign travellers. First, they are all written in Turkish. While Google translator helps, that doesn’t work 100%. Secondly, many of them will ask for Turkish social security number while booking the ticket, which obviously travellers (foreigners) will not have.
You can buy the bus tickets from the tour operator’s office. Every city in turkey has a main otogar (Bus stop) where you will find the counters for all travel operators and there are some smaller otogar where you may/ may not find all/any counters at all. I would suggest buying tickets just before travel as tickets are generally available however for odd routes/ for travelling in peak seasons, I would recommend buying tickets a day in advance depending upon the rush. On our first day after reaching the Istanbul airport, we took an overnight bus so we went to the main otogar by taking a metro from the airport to the otogar. There we found the offices for all tour operators available and we booked the bus tickets immediately for that night’s travel to Goreme (Cappadocia).
Travelling inside the city in most big cities in Turkey
There is a single card that you can use for travelling via Metro, bus and tram in all major cities in Turkey. However, the travel card differs from our city to another. So, a card brought in one city cannot be used in another. So depending upon the number of days you are planning to stay in the city you should decide whether to buy a card. A card will cost you a non-refundable charge of 5lira( Logically it is refundable but only in their post offices and it’s a lot of hassle and takes days to ensure you get back that 5 lira so totally not worth the pain, you can carry it back as a souvenir rather). I would give you an idea of the benefit of card to single entry tickets. If you buy a card one metro ride costs you 2.6 lira whereas normally it costs you 5lira per person. Almost similarly, it works for all travel modes. After a specified number of travels, the travel cost per person decreases even further.
Therefore, it makes sense to buy a card if you are staying in a place for 2days/ more and taking more than four rides. The cards are available at all metro stops from the card machine. One thing I would like to let you know here is for filling up the card you should keep change of at least 20lira with you at all times. The card-filling machine does not accept more than 20lira in cash and it is gets difficult if you do not have it. Another thing is although most card machines have a place for coin entry; still most machines do not accept coins (especially true for metro). Therefore, fill in your card cleverly as the minimum denomination to fill in is 5lira. If you have a card and do not have change, your entire 20lira is filled in. This becomes a problem when you have only one/two rides that you need to take in the city, as you cannot get back the remaining money from the card. So calculate your number of rides and fill accordingly.
Turkey provides you the option for various kinds of lodging. It has everything from luxury to boutique to personalised to reasonably priced stays. You can choose it based on your budget. The coastal cities are generally more expensive than the other cities with an array of resorts on the beach. If you are looking for budget stays: B&B’s, vacation rentals, Airbnb’s or couchsurfing are some of your oprtions. The best way to get the best price for your hotel would be to search your hotel in google search once you have decided on a pa rticular hotel and then checking the best prices available for your dates in various sites and then booking from the site that gives the best deal, google generally shows you on the right hand side the price for that particular hotel on your chosen dates in all the major websites and helps you in choosing the best deal, also look for the elligibility of free cancellations till a few days prior to your trip date so that if plans change you have the ellgibility to change/cancel.
Some of the best deals on hotels can be found on:
What all to see
Turkey is beautiful beyond imagination.You will find natural beauty to man made wonders all there. There are beautiful museums and monuments. If you are an art lover and enthusiastic to see museums and monuments , the museum card will be handy as it covers most museums and monuments and saves you bucks if you plan to cover them all as most museum tickets have a one time entry fee of 40Lira and the museum pass costs around 85 Lira for all museums. Other places of interest will have minimal entry fees or no fees at all. The best way to see through turkey would be to walk for most nearby destinations and for far off places take the metro/ bus whichever seems the most convenient way for travel to you. Taxis are very expensive and not the best way to travel through the city as you will end up seeing less and spending more. Having said that, apart from the major cities many cities dont have great connectivity through public transport. In such cities you can go for guided tours and choose to walk through the city to see the nearby points of interest.You will be finding variety f travel operators and guided tours in such cities, each will provide you almost similar rates, go for the one that suits your requirements of comfort, price and places of interest covered.
I’ll follow up later with detailed post about the different places we visited. Meanwhile go and check out this post if you are a foodie.comments powered by Disqus