Real Food Adventure - Turkey Trip Notes

Real Food Adventure - Turkey

These trip notes are valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the trip notes for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017


Last Modified: 30 May 2016
Real Food Adventure - Turkey
Trip code: ERZZ
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
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 Grand Bazaar. Soak in seaside flavours in the slow food town of Akyaka, 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. Arrive back in Istanbul, where this adventure into Turkey’s sights, sounds and incredible cuisine comes to an end.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodationEmergency contact
ThemesAccommodation NotesVisas
Is this trip right for you?Meals introductionWhat to take
Why we love itMealsClimate and seasonal information
MapMoney mattersHealth
ItineraryGroup leaderTravel insurance
Itinerary disclaimerSafetyA couple of rules
Physical ratingJoining pointResponsible Travel
Included activitiesJoining point descriptionThe Intrepid Foundation
Important notesJoining point instructionsFeedback
Group sizeFinish point
Your fellow travellersFinishing point instructions
Style
Original
Themes
Food
Is this trip right for you?
- This trip aims to give you an exciting, diverse and well-rounded experience of a country’s cuisine. While we endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements, some meals and food activities are set in advance and may be difficult to adjust. Please be aware that in many countries dietary restrictions are not common or well understood. If you have dietary requirements, simply contact your agent at the time of booking for further information on how this may impact on your ability to take part in included activities and meals. Come with an open mind and open mouth, and you won’t be disappointed!
- The itinerary includes a long overnight train trip from Izmir to Konya. In your first-class cabin, however, the trip may not feel as long as twelve hours!
- There is also an overnight bus, from Goreme to Istanbul. Bus travel in Turkey is excellent and the vehicles are well-equipped with amenities. Plus it's a great way to mingle with the locals. If you'd rather fly, a booking can be arranged at an extra cost.
Why we love it
- Istanbul is brimming with delectable dishes, and the options can be dizzying. But your expert local guide will have you headed straight for the best spots
- On no other Intrepid trip can you taste the tantalising flavours of Akyaka's Wednesday farmers' market, a true local gem in this tiny town dedicated to slow food
- With hands-on cooking classes, you'll get up close and personal with Turkey's age-old culinary traditions, preparing specialties like manti and tatli
- Experience the warmth of Turkish hospitality as a local family takes you into their beautiful home nestled in the hills of Ortahisar
- Taste the renowned home cooking of Nuray and try your hand at Central Anatolian cuisine under her tutelage
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Istanbul
Hosgeldinz! Welcome to Turkey. There will be an important welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. Istanbul is the only city in the world to straddle two continents, so when you explore the streets you'll see a great clash of east and west. A 'kebab crawl' kicks off your food adventure today. Learn to tell your shish from your iskender as you sample this signature Turkish dish in its many varieties. The perfect way to cap it off is with a baklava tasting.
Included Activities
  • Istanbul - Kebab Crawl
    Accommodation
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Meals
    1 dinner
    Day 2 Istanbul
    Head to the celebrated Egyptian Spice Bazaar today. Meet a spice merchant, sit down for a Turkish coffee and savour a typical Turkish sweet. Continue your walking tour around Sultanahmet and Eminonu, taking in some of the most celebrated sites of the city, such as Suleymaniye Mosque and the Hippodrome. The area around Eminonu boasts some delicious street food. Local favourites include barbecued corn, roasted kestane (chestnuts), and of course Turkish delight. Your walking tour concludes at the Kapali Carsi (Grand Bazaar). At this point you'll be able to take some time exploring the narrow alleyways and myriad shops as you please. As night falls, there are further options: share a home-cooked meal with a local family, take a street food crawl on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, or make a booking at one of the city's world-class restaurants. Your leader will have plenty of suggestions.
    Included Activities
    • Istanbul - Spice Market and Street Food Tour
      Accommodation
      Hotel (1 nt)
      Meals
      1 breakfast
      Day 3 Akyaka
      Fly from Istanbul to Dalaman (approximately 1 hour), then take a public shuttle to Akyaka via Gokava. The beautiful and tiny southern-Agean coastal town of Akyaka is part of the international citta-slow movement. Citta-slow towns follow the tenets of the slow food movement at a community and governmental level. They celebrate eco-gastronomy – reliance on locally-grown produce and a commitment to the preservation of regional culinary traditions. Akyaka is also the perfect place to unwind, as it's surrounded by lush forests and overlooked by Sakartepe Mountain, with the Azmak River running through the town. There are some great beaches nearby too. The best place to try the town's excellent seafood and vegetables is at one of the riverside restaurants, where you can sit at a wooden terrace overlooking the water.
      Included Activities
      • Akyaka - Lokanta Dinner
        Accommodation
        Hotel (1 nt)
        Meals
        1 breakfast, 1 dinner
        Day 4 Akyaka
        Take a tasting tour through Akyaka's Wednesday market. You'll meet the villagers who come into town each week to sell their wares. Sample local olive oil, spices and regionally grown fruit and vegetables. Sit down alongside local shoppers for a lunch of gozleme accompanied by ayran (a refreshing yoghurt drink). The afternoon is free for you to enjoy. Perhaps go kayaking along the river, hike up the nearby mountain, relax on a beach or check out the small township. There are a number of great cafes serving ev yemekleri (home-cooked cuisine).
        Included Activities
        • Akyaka - Wednesday Market Tasting Tour
          Accommodation
          Hotel (1 nt)
          Meals
          1 breakfast, 1 lunch
          Day 5 Selcuk
          Take a public bus to Selcuk (approximately 3.5 hours). When you arrive, take the time to wander around this fascinating town. 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 Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – the Temple of Artemis (though sadly only a single pylon remains). This evening you will visit the Sirince, a local village steeped in Greek Ottoman tradition. It's a photographer's dream. Postwar settlers revived the town's wine industry, which makes use of local fruit. Enjoy a tasting and consider buying a bottle to take on a walk up a gentle slope through cobbled streets and alleys to an atmospheric garden cafe. Up here you'll see how manti (Turkish stuffed dumplings) are made. After trying your hand preparing them, enjoy a taste.
          Included Activities
          • Selcuk - Manti Cooking Demonstration
            Meals
            1 breakfast, 1 dinner
            Day 6 Selcuk
            Today you'll visit Ephesus, one of Turkey's most important ancient sites. Explore this beautifully preserved classical city with your local guide who will bring its colourful 1,500-year history to life. Watch in awe as the sophistication of this former metropolis reveals itself. It had running water, public toilets, a renowned medical institute, a brothel and Roman baths. The theatre is well preserved and regularly hosts concerts, but the marvellous library might just be the highlight. Continue then to Izmir (approximately 1.5 hours). There will be time for dinner at a nice local restaurant before you board your overnight train to Konya. This will see you enter the Central Anatolian region of Turkey. The train has first-class cabins with twin beds, a fridge and a wash basin. All bedding is provided. The dining car is the perfect place for an evening raki (Turkey's anise-flavoured alcoholic drink) before you retire for the night.
            Included Activities
            • Ephesus Archaeological Site
              Accommodation
              Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
              Meals
              1 breakfast
              Day 7 Goreme
              Arrive in Konya by early morning, then take a private transfer to Goreme (approximately 3 hours). This is your gateway to the fabled fairy-chimneys of Capadoccia. Perhaps stop for a mid-morning snack of Etliekmek, a larger local variation of the traditional Turkish lahmacun: flat bread baked with ground meat, tomato, peppers and onion. Stop in at Derinkuyu, the astounding old subterranean city that goes as deep as 60 metres underground. It used to have wine and oil presses, cellars, refectories, stables and chapels, not to mention some 20,000 residents. For lunch, hit a local pide saloon for Turkey's answer to the Italian pizza. Enjoy toppings like grilled lamb, black pepper, tender spinach, fresh egg and Turkey’s famed peynir cheese made from sheep’s milk. You may notice in Central Anatolian cuisine the tendency towards claypot cooking and the use of wheat. For the next two nights you'll stay in the village of Ortahisar. Here your host Nazim and his family will welcome you into their home, which is nestled in a beautiful valley and has been lovingly converted into a guesthouse.
              Included Activities
              • Derinkuyu Underground City
                Meals
                1 lunch
                Day 8 Goreme
                For early birds, a hot air balloon ride over the majestic landscape is a highly recommended experience. Please advise your leader if you wish to make a reservation. After breakfast, be welcomed into the home of a celebrated local cook. Nuray has won many awards for her regional cooking. Under her tutelage, learn to prepare some classic Central Anatolian dishes (the menu will depend on the season). Sit down and enjoy the results over lunch. Celebrate your final evening by visiting one of Capadoccia’s most famous wineries to learn about the region's 4,000-year-old wine industry. Afterwards, walk through the stunning Red Valley to watch the sun set, enjoying a glass of the local wine. For dinner, perhaps try the local specialty, testi kebab. Your leader will be able to recommend a restaurant dedicated to the perfection of this delicious claypot dish.

                Notes: Intrepid only recommends balloon rides by our experienced operators. The cost of the activity can vary depending on the type of flight chosen.
                Included Activities
                • Goreme - Cooking Class & Lunch
                • Goreme - Sunset Wine Tasting in Cappadoccia Valley
                  Meals
                  1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                  Day 9 Goreme
                  Enjoy some free time this morning for final explorations. Perhaps visit the excellent Goreme Open Air Museum or indulge in a Turkish hammam (bath). In the afternoon you will be introduced to one of the region’s most interesting desserts in a cooking demonstration. 'Aside' is a deliciously odd dough-like dish comprising grape syrup, flour and butter, typically topped with walnuts. Enjoy this final taste of Central Anatolia with a cup of rich Turkish coffee. Afterwards you'll board the overnight bus to Istanbul (approximately 12–13 hours). The coach is air conditioned, modern and comfortable, has a food and beverage trolley service, and will stop every 2–3 hours for toilet breaks. Most coaches have TVs in the back of each seat and free WiFi.

                  Notes: Those who would prefer to fly to Istanbul (at additional cost) can speak to their agent prior to departure, or to the leader on Day 1 of the trip. Any additional hotel accommodation and transfers required will need to be paid locally and are subject to availability.
                  Included Activities
                  • Goreme - Tatli (Dessert) demonstration & tasting
                    Accommodation
                    Overnight bus (1 nt)
                    Meals
                    1 breakfast
                    Day 10 Istanbul
                    Your adventure ends on arrival in Istanbul. You should arrive at the bus station at around 7 am. It's best not to make any onward travel plans for before 10 am, to allow for delays. If you're flying out of Ataturk Airport today, it's best to travel direct from the bus station to the Airport via the Metro, which is only a few stops.
                    Itinerary disclaimer
                    ITINERARY CHANGES 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. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! 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. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

                    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.
                    Physical rating

                    Included activities
                    Istanbul - Kebab Crawl
                    Istanbul - Spice Market and Street Food Tour
                    Akyaka - Lokanta Dinner
                    Akyaka - Wednesday Market Tasting Tour
                    Selcuk - Manti Cooking Demonstration
                    Ephesus Archaeological Site
                    Derinkuyu Underground City
                    Goreme - Cooking Class & Lunch
                    Goreme - Sunset Wine Tasting in Cappadoccia Valley
                    Goreme - Tatli (Dessert) demonstration & tasting
                    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) 2016:
                    In 2016 the important month of Ramadan will be in progress from the 7th June through till the 6th 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.

                    Group size
                    Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
                    Your fellow travellers
                    GROUP TRAVEL
                    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.

                    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 are not available:
                    Day 9: Overnight bus
                    Accommodation
                    Hotel (4 nights), Pension (3 nights), Overnight sleeper train (1 night), Overnight bus (1 night)
                    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.
                    Some hotels may also charge for air-conditioning in your room.

                    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 we will endeavour to cater to dietary requirements where possible, please note that many meals and food activities on Real Food Adventures are set in advance in order to deliver a well-rounded experience of a country’s cuisine. In many countries, dietary restrictions are uncommon and not well understood. If you have dietary requirements and are concerned about whether this may impact on your ability to participate fully in all food-related activities on this trip, please contact your agent at time of booking for further information. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, you must notify your booking agent prior to departure so it can be determined whether your dietary requirements can be met.
                    Meals
                    7 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
                    Money matters
                    SPENDING MONEY
                    When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

                    Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.

                    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.

                    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.

                    All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.

                    EMERGENCY FUNDS
                    Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
                    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.
                    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 and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. 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 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 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:

                    http://www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us/safety

                    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 or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

                    BALCONIES:
                    Some hotel balconies don't meet western 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 your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.
                    Joining point
                    Golden Horn Hotel - Istanbul
                    Hocapasa Mah. Istasyon Arkasi Sk. No 9
                    Sirkeci
                    Istanbul
                    Istanbul
                    TURKEY
                    Phone: +90 212 514 15 44
                    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, please look for your name on the transfer barrier when exiting the customs area. A representative will be there to collect you.
                    There are often large crowds here so please look carefully for your transfer representative. If you cannot immediately find your transfer driver please proceed to the information counter and wait at this location. If you still cannot find your driver kindly ask the information counter to call the emergency contact number listed below.
                    Office: +90 212 512 7144
                    Mob: +90 532 641 2822

                    **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
                    Istanbul Main Bus Terminal - Büyük Otogar
                    Altıntepsi Mh. Esenler Caddesi, Esenler Otogarı 34035 Altıntepsi, Bayrampaşa,İstanbul
                    Istanbul
                    Istanbul
                    Istanbul
                    TURKEY
                    Finishing point instructions
                    The Büyük İstanbul Otogar is the city’s main bus station for both intercity and international routes.
                    Located 10km west of Sultanahmet there’s an ATM here and a few cafes.
                    Your trip leader can assist you in getting to the airport or to your Istanbul hotel.
                    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

                    For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

                    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.

                    PEAK Istanbul: +90 532 641 6514
                    Visas
                    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                    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.
                    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, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).

                    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.

                    Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

                    http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/trips/packinglist.pdf

                    CLOTHING & CLIMATE:
                    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 is not always functioning.
                    Please consider the seasons when planning your trip.

                    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.
                    Climate and seasonal information
                    Ramadan & the Eid Ul-Fitr Festival (Bayram) 2016:
                    In 2016 the important month of Ramadan will be in progress from the 7th June through till the 6th 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.

                    WEATHER:
                    Please note that the weather in July and August can be very hot. We will endeavour to hike in early mornings and through shaded areas to minimise the suns effect.
                    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 Travel 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.
                    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 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.

                    http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php
                    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.

                    Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
                    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.

                    http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

                    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.

                    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$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:

                    http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

                    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.

                    http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback