Real Food Adventure - Turkey Trip Notes

    • 13
    • ERZZ
    • Total price tool tip
      USD $2,395
      CAD $2,430
      AUD $2,525
      EUR €1,755
      GBP £1,495
      NZD $2,995
      ZAR R22,985
      CHF FR2,165
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    • Food
    • Original
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Last Modified: 03 Aug 2014
Real Food Adventure - Turkey
Trip code: ERZZ
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
Take a culinary journey through Turkey, a country steeped in history and tradition, where east meets west and the ancient bleeds into the modern day. Begin in astonishing Istanbul, eating meze in a traditional meyhane, being awed by the Aya Sofia and Blue Mosque and exploring the well-trod passageways of the Spice Bazaar. Soak in the history and beauty of Bursa while discovering the out-of-this-world Iskender kebabs and drink in the tranquillity and traditions of the seaside village of Ayvalik, where fresh seafood and olive oil are the order of the day. Visit the impressive ruins of Ephesus near Selcuk and marvel at the astonishing underground cities of Cappadocia. Spend time with a local Goreme family and learn the secrets behind central Anatolian cuisine in a cooking class. Famous for its emerald-green pistachios, Gaziantep is the perfect place to see Turkey’s renowned south-eastern food traditions come alive. Arrive back in Istanbul, where this adventure into Turkey’s sights, sounds and incredible cuisine comes to an end.
Table of Contents
StyleImportant notesFinish point instructions
ThemesGroup sizeEmergency contact
MapYour fellow travellersEmergency funds
ItinerarySingle travellersVisas
Also available to purchaseAccommodationIssues on your trip
We also recommendMeals introductionWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerMealsHealth
Culture shock rating TransportSafety
Physical ratingGroup leaderTravel insurance
Included activitiesJoining point Responsible Travel
Optional activitiesJoining point descriptionA couple of rules
Money ExchangeJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyArrival complicationsResponsible Travel projects
TippingFinish point Carbon offset
Departure taxFinish point descriptionFeedback
Style
Original
  • Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Themes
Food
Map
Real Food Adventure - Turkey
Itinerary
Days 1-2 Istanbul
Hosgeldinz! Welcome to Turkey.
Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6:00pm on Day 1.
Cosmopolitan cities brimming with modern delights, archaeological sites filled with ancient splendour, curious landscapes straight out of a storybook and picture-perfect coastlines frequented by the jet set… this is tantalising Turkey! Visitors won't be able to forget travelling through this exotic land which sits at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, yet displays a fair bit of Middle Eastern flair.
Istanbul is the only city in the world to straddle two continents, so it will come as no surprise that this vast metropolis is home to a beguiling mix of different cultures and traditions, blending the influences of both east and west. Originally founded by Greek settlers over 2000 years ago, Istanbul originally went by the name of Byzantium, then Constantinople when the Romans made it the capital of their eastern empire. Today, intriguing Istanbul is a bustling mega-city with a population of over 12 million people and a rich history and food scene waiting to be explored.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
To kick off this Real Food Adventure, join your fellow travellers for a welcomedinner at a meyhane, a traditional Turkish restaurant serving rake and a selection of traditional Turkish meze. After dinner, enjoy a stroll up IstiklalCaddesi, the city’s thriving main thoroughfare, which is full of shops, cafés and restaurants. If you’re still keen for more, we can check out some of the area’s popular bars.
After breakfast we head to the celebrated Egyptian Spice Bazaar to meet one of the spice merchants. Learn the secrets to selecting the most fragrant spices and creating some of Turkey’s renowned spice blends. Along the way, also learn how to make the perfect cup of Turkish coffee. Enjoy your freshly-made brew with a 'tulumba', a quintessential Turkish dessert consisting of fried batter covered in syrup.
We then continue our walking tour around Sultanahmet and Eminonu, taking in some of the most celebrated sites of the city - Suleymaniye Mosque and the Hippodrome.
The area around Eminonu is bustling with a myriad of street food options. If you’re hungry along the way, your tour guide will point out some options that may tickle your tastebuds. Local favourites include kokorec, a snack of stuffed sheep or lamb’s intestines grilled over coals, barbecued corn and roasted kestane (chestnuts), and, of course, Turkish delight!
We finish our walking tour at the Kapali Carsi (Grand Bazaar), where you will have some time to explore the narrow alleyways and plethora of shops for some retail therapy.
This evening we enjoy a street food feast, introducing you to local food haunts that won't be in the guidebooks.
Included Activities
  • Istanbul - Lokanta Dinner Asia
  • Istanbul - City Tour
Accommodation
Hatay Hotel or similar (2 nts)
Day 3 Bursa
Depart Istanbul this morning by a fast ferry to the port of Yalova (approx. 1 hour). Then it's onto a local bus to Bursa, where we will stay the night (approx. 1.5 hours).
Please note that sometimes we take an alternative route, catching the ferry from Kabatas to the port of Guzelyali (approx. 1hr 50mins ), followed by a local bus and then a train to Bursa (approx. 1hr 20mins ). This depends on the ferry schedule on the day, which can often change with little notice.
Bursa is an old and important city with a rich and varied history. It had a central role in the creation of the Ottoman Empire and from 1326-1402 AD actually served as the Sultan's capital. With elegant mosques such as the supremely beautiful Yesil Camii, an intriguing covered bazaar and teahouses filled with locals, Bursa offers us a glimpse of traditional Turkish life.
Our hotel tonight is one of the oldest in Bursa and is centrally located opposite the Ulu Mosque and next to the historical covered market.
Explore the warren of streets and old Ottoman hans (warehouses). Along the way, visit a traditional teahouse for a tasting.
No trip to Bursa is complete without trying the famed Iskender Kebap. Named after its creator, İskender Efendi, this famous north-western Turkish dish was first seen on the menu in the late 19th century. Since then the family have trademarked the dish and still own the founding restaurant in Bursa. We stop past to see what all the fuss is about!
After dinner, witness what is a highlight for many of our passengers: to be guests at a Dervish Lodge. See the performance of the Sema and learn a bit more about their mesmerising culture.
Included Activities
  • Tea tasting
Accommodation
Artic Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Days 4-5 Ayvalik
Not only the birthplace of one of Turkey’s most famous kebabs, Bursa is also surrounded by small farming villages that keep the region well-stocked with berries, fresh fruit and cheeses. Before we leave Bursa, we journey to a nearby village to enjoy a genuine farm-to-table brunch.
Travel to Ayvalik (approx. 5hrs).
Located on the Aegean coast and taking its name from the Turkish word for quince (ayva), the charming village of Ayvalik is set around a harbour and looks out to small Aegean islands - a wonderful place to escape from it all. The cobbled backstreets with their old houses and cafes are perfect for exploring.
If time, why not jump on a boat across the Aegean Sea to visit enchanting Cunda Island. Cunda Island was once inhabited by Greek populations and some Greek orthodox churches still remain. Here you can dine on fresh fish on the quayside caught from the waters surrounding the island. Your dinner may even be accompanied by local musicians playing Greek and Turkish love songs.
Enjoy a stroll around Ayvalik’s weekly market, savouring treats including locally produced honey, handmade yufka (a kind of filo pasty used in borek), nuts, spices and much, much more.
Ayvalik is also Turkey’s centre of olive and olive oil production, and has sweeping olive groves surrounding the town as far as the eye can see. Visit a local olive oil producer to learn firsthand the art of creating the perfect olive oil.
Tonight is free for your own Ayvalik food adventure. Your tour guide will have plenty of suggestions for all budgets and appetites. Why not try ҫorba at a traditional Turkish ‘soup kitchen’. Soup, or ҫorba, is one of the cornerstone dishes of Turkish cuisine. There is an endless array of variations and, while most commonly served at the start of a meal, it can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
If you’re just after a simple snack, simply sip an Efes beer and tuck into Ayvalik toast, a speciality of the area consisting of a toasted sandwich with cheese, Turkish sausage, pickles, tomatoes, ketchup and mayonnaise.
Included Activities
  • Bursa - Brunch at farming village
  • Ayvalik - Market tour
Accommodation
Bonjour Pension or similar (2 nts)
Days 6-7 Selcuk
Travel from Ayvalik to Izmir by bus.
Then take a dolmus (public taxi bus) from from Izmir to Selcuk.
Selcuk is the perfect base for experiencing this fascinating region of Turkey. There are many historical sites nearby, including the dazzling Roman ruins at Ephesus. On the slopes of Ayasoluk Hill lie several historical buildings, including the Isa Bey Mosque and the Grand Fortress. Selcuk is also home to one of the ancient world's Seven Wonders – the Temple of Artemis – although, sadly, only a single pylon remains.
When we arrive in Selcuk, we'll check into our guesthouse and then take a leader-led orientation walk around the town.
Later there is the option to head out to the nearby village of Sirince and taste some locally produced fruit wines. This authentic Greek Ottoman village seems to have been overlooked by modern development and is a photographer's dream.
Take a private mini van to the site of Ephesus to admire the amphitheatre and famous library.
Ephesus is the best-preserved classical city in the eastern Mediterranean and Turkey's premier tourist site. Once the capital city of Roman Asia Minor, the city has a fascinating history spanning over 1,500 years, which comes alive with a local guide to enhance the experience. You will be awed by the sophistication of this ancient city, which had running water, public toilets, a renowned medical institute, a brothel and Roman baths. The theatre is well preserved and regularly hosts concerts, but it's perhaps the magnificent library that takes most people's breath away.
Visit a family-run restaurant where gozleme – the famous and very popular Turkish pancake with thin, flaky pastry filled with local ingredients such as spinach and feta cheese – is their specialty. Here we will watch a demonstration of how this renowned dish is made before enjoying a gozleme feast for lunch.
Take the overnight bus to Goreme.
Buses in Turkey are of a high standard and on longer journeys are all modern coaches. They are air-conditioned, they stop often for toilet breaks and there is an onboard attendant who serves complimentary tea/coffee and snacks similar to a flight. Although not fully reclining, seats do recline a little.
Included Activities
  • Selcuk - Gozleme making demonstration and lunch
  • Selcuk - Ephesus Archaeological site
Optional Activities
  • Selcuk - Sirince visit & fruit wine tasting - TRY10
Accommodation
Amazon Boutique Hotel or similar (1 nt), Overnight bus (1 nt)
Days 8-9 Goreme
Cappadocia fascinates all travellers. Shaped by wind and water, its otherworldly rock formations have to be seen to be believed. In times of peace the people in this region lived on the land but in times of war or persecution they took to living underground.
Cappadocia, thanks to its rich volcanic soil, also lays claim to fertile orchards and vineyards. Central Anatolian cuisine is characterised by a focus on wheat (pastas are one of the region’s signature products) as well as cooking in clay. One of the regions classic dishes, testi kebabi, consists of pieces of lamb or chicken cooked in a tall elegant clay pot, the top of which is smashed off just prior to eating.
On arrival, enjoy some time to relax. After lunch, why not visit an underground city and stop at a panoramic point to appreciate the fascinating surroundings of this amazing part of Turkey.
Tonight we enjoy the renowned hospitality of a Cappadocian family in their own home with a delicious home-cooked meal, a truly unique experience. Our host will prepare typical dishes such as lentil soup for starters, salad and beans. We might even be lucky enough to see our host demonstrate the making of ‘kemal pasa tatlisi’ – small balls of fried, doughy goodness covered in syrup.
Continue your discovery of Central Anatolian cuisine in a half-day cooking class. Travel to one of the regional markets to purchase produce and learn how to prepare local specialties of the area. You will even have the opportunity to use a tandir, or traditional Turkish oven. Enjoy the fruits of your labour for lunch.
Take a scenic walk through one of the nearby valleys, which is home to the Valley of Love where the rock formations will astound.
Visit World Heritage-listed Goreme Open Air Museum, a monastic complex composed of churches, rectories and dwellings, and one of the earliest centres for religious education. The practice of monasticism was developed by St Basil the Great in the 4th century as a reaction to his increased disillusionment with the materialism of the church. St Basil's definition of monastic life, based on the idea that men should live in small, self-sufficient units with an emphasis on poverty, obedience, labour and religious devotion, took root in Cappadocia, later becoming the basis for the Orthodox monastic system. There are at least 10 churches and chapels in the museum area, dating between AD900 and 1200, each one named after a prominent attribute by the local villagers who were exploring these caves long before there was an entrance fee. The best of the churches are the Chapel of St Basil, Apple Church, Sandal Church, Chapel of St Barbara, the nun's convent and the Buckle Church.
Included Activities
  • Goreme - Valley walk
  • Goreme - Open Air Museum
Optional Activities
  • Goreme - Underground City - TRY20
Accommodation
Gultekin Hotel or similar (2 nts)
Days 10-11 Gaziantep
Take a bus to Gaziantep. Although a relatively long drive, we pass through beautiful mountain scenery along the way. Arrive into Gaziantep in the late afternoon.
Gaziantep, in the south eastern reaches of Anatolia, is among the oldest continually settled cities in the world and its cuisine is one of the richest and varied in the country – combining Arabic, Kurdish, Anatolian and Armenian influences. Many consider Gaziantep to be the gastronomic capital of Turkey. It is famous for its desserts (the city is said to produce the world’s best baklava) and produce, including the locally grown pistachios, which are globally coveted.
After the long drive, enjoy dinner at a fourth generation-owned restaurant founded in 1887, famous for both its kebabs and – of course – its baklava!
For early risers, we will make our way to the markets this morning to try a local breakfast delicacy – liver kebabs – prepared by a street vendor who has been making this dish for over 40 years! This is such a popular breakfast treat among locals that if you aren’t there before 7am you’re likely to miss out!
After breakfast, walk back past Elmacı Pazarı, or Apple Bazaar, and watch the stalls come alive, selling all manner of local products. Embark on a guided tour of the markets, learning about the unique ingredients and dishes of south-eastern Turkish cuisine. Along the way discover a shop established in 1963 that reputedly sells Gaziantep’s best cumin, dried pepper, black pepper corns and sumac. See bright green local pistachios (both raw and roasted) and smell the intoxicating aroma of the Gaziantep’s smoked pepper paste. Finish with a visit to (arguably) the city’s best baklava producers for a taste of this heavenly sweet treat.
If time, we will also stop into the adjacent Bakırcılar Çarşısı (copper bazaar), to see the copper craftsmen at work.
This afternoon is free for you to explore this intriguing city. Why not visit the highly regarded mosaic museum. You might also like to check out Emine Göğüş Cuisine Museum, dedicated solely to promoting a greater understanding of Turkish cuisine and, in particular, the culinary roots of the country’s south east.
Included Activities
  • Gaziantep - Dinner at Imam Cagdas
  • Gaziantep - Baklava tasting
Accommodation
Yesemek Hotel or similar (2 nts)
Days 12-13 Istanbul
Take a short flight from Gaziantep to Istanbul.
On arrival, we’ll stop off for an essential Istanbul experience, ordering a balik ekmek (fish sandwich) for lunch from the boats as they bob on the water.
You then have the option to board one of the nearby ferries and journey up the Bosphorus for a two and a half hour journey to admire the city from the water.
Otherwise, the afternoon is free for last minute shopping and sightseeing.
We enjoy our final dinner at Ciya, on the Asian side of the Bosphorous, arguably one of Istanbul’s most highly regarded and best-loved restaurants. Over many years, chef Musa Dagdaviren has undertaken extensive research into discovering and preserving regional flavours and dishes from around Turkey, many of which are reflected in the restaurant’s menu. This meal is a fitting finale to a remarkable Turkey Real Food Adventure.
Day 13 is departure day. There are no activities planned for today and you are able to depart at any time.
Included Activities
  • Istanbul - Balik ekmek lunch (fish sandwich)
Optional Activities
  • Istanbul - Bosphorus boat cruise - TRY10
Accommodation
Hatay Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
  • Real Food Adventure Turkey - Single Supplement (ERZZ)
  • Gallipoli Pilgrimage (ERAG-O)
  • Gallipoli Pilgrimage (ERAG-O)
  • Bursa Short Break (ERAX-X)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
  • Best of Turkey (ERSI)
  • Real Food Adventure - Northern Spain (ZMZZ)
  • Best of Turkey (ERSI)
  • Real Food Adventure - Northern Spain (ZMZZ)
Itinerary disclaimer
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
Culture shock rating

Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
Turkey and its eastern neighbours are a fascinating mixture of East and West, as Europe and Asia come together. This can, and often does, mean that you will discover a region which is different to those you have experienced before. There are strong Islamic influences throughout the region, becoming more orthodox the further east you travel. There can be very different attitudes to time-keeping, public cleanliness and service, calls to prayer at 4.30am, lack of hot water and little English spoken. Naturally, this can all test the patience but if you can see this as an exciting new challenge rather than a setback, and if you are able to travel with a lot of patience and a sense of humour, then we know that you - like all of us - will be captivated by everything that Turkey and the Middle East has to offer.
Physical rating

Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
Included activities
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
A number of activities on this itinerary may have an alcohol component. Relevant local laws governing the legal age for consumption of alcohol apply to this trip. If you are below the local drinking legal age, you will not be able to participate in any trip activities involving alcohol. No refund will be offered for those activities.
Optional activities
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
Money Exchange
The official currency of Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TRY, although prior to 2005 the currency code was TL).
ATMs are common throughout the main cities and these are a safe and convenient way to withdraw money. Credit cards are also widely accepted. Cash in any of the major currencies (EUR, GBP and USD) is easily changed. Travellers cheques in major currencies (EUR, GBP and USD) can be changed at selected local banks but it can be time consuming and subject to high fees.
Turkey is often misjudged as being an inexpensive destination. With tourism booming, the influx of cheap flights from Europe, prices for some items are becoming more equivalent to prices you would be used to at home. Eating in local restaurants, road side stalls and from markets can be inexpensive, but for nights out at tourist friendly restaurants you can expect to pay much more. Budgets are a personal choice but please bear in mind that you should not expect Turkey to be a budget destination.
Spending money
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Turkey is often misjudged as being an inexpensive destination. With tourism booming, the influx of cheap flights from Europe, prices for some items are becoming more equivalent to prices you would be used to at home. Eating in local restaurants, road side stalls and from markets can be inexpensive, but for nights out at tourist friendly restaurants you can expect to pay much more. Budgets are a personal choice but please bear in mind that you should not expect Turkey to be a budget destination.
Tipping
If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change. More up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest 2-3 euro per person per day for local guides.
Drivers: You may have a range of private drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however 2-3 euro per person per day is generally appropriate.
Gulet boat trips: If you are travelling through southern Turkey on a gulet boat trip we suggest 2-3 euro per person per day for the boat staff.
Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline 3 euro per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members.
Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.
Departure tax
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Important notes
ISTANBUL AIRPORTS:
If booking an airport arrival transfer please inform us at the time of booking which of Istanbul's two airports you will be arriving at. Sabiha Gokcen is on the Asian shore while Ataturk Airport is on the European side and much closer to our hotels.
RAMADAN & THE EID UL-FITR FESTIVAL (BAYRAM) 2014:
In 2014 the important month of Ramadan will be in progress from the 27th June through till the 27th July, and the Eid ul-Fitr festival will be held directly at its conclusion for 3-4 days. Ramadan is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan business hours are shortened, including opening hours at some tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. Please note that although the Eid ul-Fitr festival can also be a fascinating time to travel it is a period of National holiday. Most government offices and businesses will be closed and some tourist site opening hours may be impacted.
KURBAN BAYRAM 2014:
Please note that Kurban Bayram for 2014 falls between the dates of October 3 and October 7. The festival celebrates the Biblical and Kur'anic account of Abraham's near-sacrifice of his son on Mount Moriah. Some sites and banks may be closed during this period. At the time of writing, closure dates had not been announced. As this trip starts and finishes in Istanbul any activities not provided in Istanbul at commencement of the trip will be provided on return to Istanbul this could include but not limited to the tour of the spice market.
Group size
Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit: www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
Single travellers
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information.
The price of the Single Supplement doesn't include the following nights where single rooms may not be available. If a single room becomes available at check-in for these nights, there may be the option to upgrade to a single room and pay the surcharge locally for that night:
Days 4-5 - Ayvalik
Accommodation
Hatay Hotel or similar (3 nts), Gultekin Hotel or similar (2 nts), Yesemek Hotel or similar (2 nts), Bonjour Pension or similar (2 nts), Artic Hotel or similar (1 nt), Overnight bus (1 nt), Amazon Boutique Hotel or similar (1 nt)
HEATING & AIR-CONDITIONING:
Please note that Turkey can have extreme weather. Winter (approx. November to February) can be very cold. Not all of our hotels have heating so consider bringing thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in this period. Summer (approx. June to August) can be very hot. Not all our hotels have air-conditioning, and in those that do, it's not always functioning. Please consider the seasons when planning your trip.
OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.
CHECK-IN TIME
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
Meals introduction
While travelling with us you'll experience a vast array of dishes, beverages, dining experiences, ingredients and produce.
To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, the trip price does not include all meals. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility – whether you wish to partake in budget, mid-range or high-end dining options. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. Generally, our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company, however there's no obligation to do this.
For travellers wanting to eat at a particular high profile and/or ‘fine dining’ restaurant, there will be specified free nights in certain locations where you can make your own restaurant reservations. It is recommended you make reservations for high profile and/or ‘fine dining’ restaurants well in advance of your departure, as there can be long lead times for booking in some instances.
Meals
11 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 6 Dinners
Budget for meals not included:
EUR 240.00
Your group leader will endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements where possible, and vegetarianism and gluten intolerance will be catered for in most instances. There are, however some meals and activities that are fixed in advance and therefore cannot be modified to suit dietary requirements. These instances will be indicated in the ‘trip notes’ itinerary. Please notify your group leader of any dietary requirements in your group meeting at the start of the trip.
For those suffering from particular food allergies, your group leader will endeavour to disclose to their fullest knowledge the main ingredients in dishes being consumed. It is, however, your personal responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any foods to which you are allergic.
Transport
Ferry, Plane, Bus, Dolmus, Overnight bus
Group leader
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. You can expect your Intrepid Food Adventures group leader to be passionate about the local food scene and keen to share their insider knowledge on the best authentic local food and drink experiences throughout your trip.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Joining point
Golden Horn Hotel
Hocapasa Mah.Istasyon Arkasi Sk. No:9
Sirceki
Istanbul
Istanbul
34112
TURKEY
Phone: +90 2125141544
Fax: +90 2125111314
Joining point description
Centrally located in the heart of the Historical Peninsula, the Golden Horn Hotel is within walking distance of many of the area's main attractions such as: Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar and Basilica Cistern.
**Please note that there is a hotel of a similar name 'Golden Horn Hotel' located just around the corner. Please check the address carefully if you are making your own way to the hotel.**
Joining point instructions
Ataturk International airport is situated 25 km west of Istanbul's city centre. The airport has several banks and ATMs open 24hrs for either withdrawals or cash advance. The quickest and easiest way to the hotel is by taxi - there are ranks outside the arrivals terminal. Insist they use the meter. The fare during the day should be approx 50TRY but up to double that for a night time journey. Airport buses leave every 30 minutes between 6.00 and 23.00 but only go as far as Aksaray (10TRY). From here you could catch the tram into Sultanahmet or you could hail a taxi.
Private airport transfers are available for pre-booking through Intrepid. Contact your agent for details. Be sure to advise which of Istanbul's two airports you will be flying to at the time of booking. Sabiha Gokcen is on the Asian shore, while Ataturk airport is on the European side (and closer to our hotel).
If you have pre-purchased a transfer, our local operator will await you holding a sign with your name as you come out the sliding doors from immigration. There are often large crowds here so please look carefully for your transfer representative. If you cannot find your driver, please call our Intrepid Istanbul office on one of the following numbers:
Office: +90 212 512 7144
Mob: +90 532 641 2822
Arrival complications
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
Please also make sure have a copy of the local operators Emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
Finish point
Golden Horn Hotel
Hocapasa Mah.Istasyon Arkasi Sk. No:9
Sirceki
Istanbul
Istanbul
34112
TURKEY
Phone: +90 2125141544
Fax: +90 2125111314
Finish point description
Centrally located in the heart of the Historical Peninsula, the Golden Horn Hotel is within walking distance of many of the area's main attractions such as: Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar and Basilica Cistern.
**Please note that there is a hotel of a similar name 'Golden Horn Hotel' located just around the corner. Please check the address carefully if you are making your own way to the hotel.**
Finish point instructions
Taxis can easily be hailed to the airport and cost approx 50TRY.
Private airport transfers are available for pre-booking through Intrepid. Contact your agent for details. Be sure to advise which of Istanbul's two airports you will be flying from at the time of booking. Sabiha Gokcen is on the Asian shore, while Ataturk airport is on the European side (and closer to our hotel).
If you have any problems with departure transfers please contact our Intrepid Istanbul office on one of the following numbers:
Office: +90 212 512 7144
Mob: +90 532 641 6514
Mob: +90 532 641 9056
Emergency contact
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency only, Intrepid's Istanbul Operations team can be reached on +90 532 641 2822
Emergency funds
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
TURKEY (ALL TRIPS):
Please note that many nationalities require a visit to enter Turkey:
Australia: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
Belgium: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
Canada: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
Germany: No - not required
Ireland: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
Netherlands: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
New Zealand: No - not required
South Africa: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
Switzerland: No - not required
United Kingdom: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
USA: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
Other nationalities should check via your local consulate or embassy.
To apply for an e-visa, please go to https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/ at least a few weeks before you go.
The visa costs can change at any time and with little notice depending on the political climate of the region.
From 01 January 2015, foreigners entering Turkey must carry a passport with at least 60 days validity beyond the expiry date of their visa or residence permit.
A valid passport is sufficient for citizens of most other countries including New Zealand, Argentina, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland for stays up to 3 months. All other nationalities please check with your nearest Turkish embassy.
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
CLOTHING & CLIMATE:
Temperatures are highly variable depending on the time of year and the region you are travelling in. Winters range from freezing in the central and eastern areas, cold in Istanbul and relatively mild on the west coast. Summer (June to August) can be extremely hot all over the country. Spring and autumn tend towards warm days and cooler nights. A light water and windproof jacket is useful and a hat essential. You will always need a towel.
BEDDING:
Many hotels and pensions in Turkey do not supply a top sheet and there is only a rough, thick throw on the beds. You may wish to bring your own if you think you will be more comfortable, particularly in the hot summer months.
WATER BOTTLE:
Please bring your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
Health
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Safety
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
BALCONIES:
Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
SEAT BELTS:
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.
Travel insurance
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
Responsible Travel
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative and you should dress accordingly. To respect the local culture and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. As a guideline, shoulders and knees at the minimum (and everything in between including midriff and cleavage) should be covered at all times. Wearing shorts and singlet tops is not appropriate and may well restrict your entry into sites of a religious nature, family homes, and will limit your local interaction opportunities in general. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly warm climate.
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Responsible Travel projects
Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Turkey include:
* Mavi Kalem provides the children of rural immigrants, in the poorer areas of Eastern Turkey, with additional weekly classes through its Children's Education Program. These lessons, by trained teachers in all areas of formal education, give unprecedented educational opportunities in a region where the uneducated face limited prospects.
Carbon offset
Carbon Offset C02-e 759.00 kgs per pax.
Feedback
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.