TURKEY TRIP REVIEWS
Replies: 152 - Last Post: Dec 2, 2013 1:03 PM Last Post By: sarikanarya
Jan 27, 2012 4:43 AM
TURKEY TRIP REVIEWSSince joining Thorntree I have been delighted to read so many wonderful trip reviews.These are most often full of the small details so important and useful to independent travellers.How sad then that in time these slip down the forum pages and get lost or forgotten about.All that help…all that typing!So I have trawled through the last 12 months and collated all the trip reviews and,after equal amounts of bullying and flattery,Zabba(mmwwahh!)has agreed to make this a sticky,so it will now be at the top of the Turkey forum page,easily found(even for us computer dimwits!) with no need to trawl around the site.
Please check through and see that I have added yours,if I haven’t then please accept my apologies and add it on.If you notice others that are missing add those too.(I'm only human!)
If you owe us a review to repay the help and advice received from the forum then get typing now!Your labours are no longer in vain :)
I sincerely hope that this will encourage more people to post up these trip reviews that are such a help to other travellers.When doing so perhaps include the places covered in the head title to assist researchers so they don’t have to view every single post.
swampeastmike-Mardin Kars Bodrum
carolinesteenhauld country tour
umashankar- country tour
tombali – country tour
dougv- country tour
la2502- country tour
jonmw pt2 south east coast
hendog ıst,South east Turkey
DC_dad- country tour with children
goodwillh- country tour
csdcsmith-country tour inc.south east
cmreuser-Diyarbakir and South east Turkey
bedknobs South east Turkey
johnnyjappleseed-Istanbul budget trip
Jan 27, 2012 12:36 PM
Jan 27, 2012 3:45 PM
Best add my one on how the hell one gets to Halfeti.....
Feb 1, 2012 1:12 PM
3I applaud your efforts to pull these travel stories together. I found them very helpful and was glad to do my part after returning from Turkey.
Feb 3, 2012 1:42 AM
Feb 3, 2012 3:07 AM
Feb 3, 2012 3:55 AM
Feb 9, 2012 3:19 AM
Feb 9, 2012 2:00 PM
8I just wrote a post about Istanbul in winter here
might be of interest
Feb 12, 2012 5:22 AM
Feb 12, 2012 11:25 PM
Feb 20, 2012 2:47 PM
11Here's one I missed-
This is a link to Stratophiles forum acitivty page since he wrote several separate reports for each area he visited -and there were many.Most especially noteworthy are the ones covering walking the Lycian Way.
Do you still owe us a review from last year?Get typing !
Coming this year?When you get home please remember to send up a review to this sticky :)
Edited by: sarikanarya
Feb 23, 2012 6:14 AM
12I just posted a very brief entry about Turkey on my blog courtesy of a photograph that was featured by a travel agent.
Feb 25, 2012 2:33 PM
13Not sure if you want us to type trip reviews right in here, so I hope this is ok!...
I was in Turkey from February 12-20th this year. I was with a friend, both of us 21 year old women. We had a wonderful time and I thought I'd post a review in case any of my experiences can be of help to someone!
We got in pretty late on the night of the 20th, but decided to take the metro and then tram to our hostel in Sultanhamet (conductors both at the metro and tram stops were extremely helpful, helping us buy tokens and telling us to run because the tram was coming!). Of course, by the time we had got to the tram stop in Sultanhamet it was almost midnight, very quiet, and we weren't totally sure where our hostel was. We decided to just take a cab for the 3-minute ride, which was definitely a rip-off but worth it in terms of feeling secure. (It seemed like a safe area, so if you have a clear map I'm sure the walk would be fine.)
We had booked two nights at the Orient Hostel, and planned to book further nights as we went, as it was the low season and everywhere had rooms. The hostel was clean and the staff helpful and friendly, but we were freezing our first night! We asked them to turn up the heat after that, which they did but it was still a bit chilly. It was also just very quiet all throughout Sultanhamet because it was the off-season... I'm sure in the summer Orient would be a lively place, but in February it was more on the relaxing side. There was good, free breakfast included in an enclosed terrace overlooking the Bosphorus, which was great.
It was nice to be based in Sultanhamet for the first few days... on our first day we just wandered around without a guide book, and in the next two days we hit pretty much all the old town landmarks.
Eating-wise, the highlight of Sultanhamet for us was Yildiz, a restaurant just a block behind our hostel. The mezze were excellent, and very reasonably priced for being smack dab in tourist central.
We decided to move to the other side of the Golden Horn for our next three nights in Istanbul. We chose Neverland Hostel, which was thankfully much warmer! We liked the fun, hippie vibe, and it was definitely livelier than Orient. The only drawback was that smoking was allowed in the downstairs common area (which was otherwise a very comfortable room to hang out in). The smoke traveled up stairs and got in our room unless the door was kept closed. This was a great area to be based in, though: just 5 minutes walk from the always-crowded Istiqlal street, and in a neighborhood filled with antique stores and art galleries.
At this point (3 full days in) we had been to most of the main attractions, but felt the weather wasn't reliable enough to do a full-day cruise up the Bosphorus. We decided to take a ferry up the Golden Horn instead, as Lonely Planet suggests. We only got off at the last stop, rather than many of them, as the ferry only goes once an hour so it seemed like it would be difficult to coordinate seeing landmarks and getting back to the ferry in time. So we took the ferry to Eyup, which was a very interesting little town that felt very far from Istanbul. I got extremely tasty borek and pide from a vendor just off the main square, and then we walked up through the cemetery to the cafe at the top. Lonely Planet makes the cafe seem like the attraction, but we found the cemetery itself absolutely fascinating (and huge).
On our last day in Istanbul we decided to go out to the Chora Church. It took a while to get there on the tram (other ways might be faster), and then we had to wander a bit as once again we didn't have a map, and had forgotten the name in Turkish (there are some signs, but we didn't recognise them at first). The mosaics and frescoes in this church were absolutely beautiful, and I would definitely recommend the trip out there if you have any time to spare after the Sultanhamet attractions. Only downside is that it (like the Haga Sofia) was freezing, and we left shivering. I definitely recommend saving the very old buildings for days when it looks to be warmer, if possible!
In the New District, our three favourite restaurants were:
-Zencefil, a very cute mainly-vegetarian restaurant (my travel companion is a vegetarian). Maybe not authentically Turkish (I felt you could easily find a similar place in London), but if you want a vegetable-filled break it is a nice option, if a little pricey compared to portion size. And the ginger beer was amazing.
-Sofyali 9: This place was definitely worth a splurge. They bring around a platter of mezze and you get to pick what looks good, which is a nice change. Other than one hot mezze, we stuck entirely to this platter-- there's a wide range of main courses, but those were out of our price range and the mezze were plenty filing, and absolutely delicious. Some interesting dishes we hadn't seen before, highly recommended.
-Mado: This is a chain, and any of the branches is well worth a visit. There was normal ice cream served to-go downstairs, but we sat down to get "Turkish" ice cream, which our guide book says is made from goats' milk. The pistachio was incredible, so much so that when we saw Mado kiosks at Istanbul airport we had to get another taste.
Another note on food: My travelling companion is a pescetarian and intolerant to gluten and cheese. Obviously a lot of Turkish food involves bread, but she actually didn't find it too difficult to find reasonably-priced food. I had it a bit easier price-wise, as I could pick up a slice of borek or similar for lunch, but when she discovered the baked potato vendors (and learned to ask them not to mix the potato with cheese) lunch became a bit easier.
Leaving Istanbul, we moved on to Seluck for two nights! We decided to fly (with Pegasus) as it wasn't much more expensive than the overnight bus (which at this point we feared would be freezing). We were a bit worried because there are only 4 or 5 trains a day from Izmir airport to Selcuk, and it's a bit unclear how to make that connection if you miss the train... apparently you can take a taxi to the bus stop, but thankfully we got off the plane at 10:15, and at a brisk pace picked up our bags and power-walked to the train station for a 10:43 train.
In Selcuk we stayed at Homeros Pension, which is a beautiful guest house with extremely friendly hosts. Our room had its own heater (sense our priorities here?), but even better was the common area with a wood fire where we could lounge around and read. There is also a rooftop terrace with amazing views over Selcuk and surrounding countryside.
Of course, we were in Selcuk to see Ephesus... I had been a bit reluctant to go this far in our relatively short time in Turkey, but my friend was very eager and I ended up being very glad we made the trip. It was a nice, gentle walk from Selcuk to Ephesus (we were confused that newer editions of Lonely Planet seemed to have changed their recommendation from walking there to taking a taxi!). The weather was perfect on the day we were there, and this was definitely a time we were glad to be in Turkey without the throngs of tourists-- there were people around, but it wasn't at all crowded. The one downside was that the audio guides were not very good (unlike at Chora Church, for example). They gave some history but rarely actually pointed out what we were looking at. I think the signs do just as good a job, though if you can find a good self-tour written guide that would be ideal. (We used Rick Steve's Istanbul book for self-guided tours around Topkapi and Haga Sofia, and found them wonderful.)
Our other Selcuk highlight was the huge market on Saturday, which made us feel like we were seeing something other than tourist-Turkey!
Food-wise, our host at the hostel gave us dinner one night (unexpectedly and free of charge, though that was because we were practically the only guests, I think). We had a good lunch at Ejder restaurant, but were a bit disappointed by "Mehmet and Ali Baba Kebab house," which is number 1 on Trip Advisor. My kebab was unexciting and served with a flour tortilla. But it was cheap, and this was the one place where my friend said she couldn't eat bread and he pointed out that underneath her rice was some wheat, and went back and made her a new plate.
Phew! I think that's pretty much it. I hope this is somewhat coherent and useful, we loved Turkey and found everyone to be extraordinarily friendly. We felt completely comfortable traveling there (though were of course always aware of our surroundings). I can't wait to go back and explore some more of this amazing country!
Feb 26, 2012 12:05 AM
(4 star Hotel)
From US$162.61 per night
(1 star Hotel)
From US$79.70 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$185.38 per night