Treasures of Turkey Trip Notes

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Last Modified: 12 Jan 2014
Treasures of Turkey
Trip code: ERSAC
Validity: 01 Jan 2013 to 31 Dec 2013
Move seamlessly between the modern and the ancient on this incredible tour through some of Turkey’s most awe-inspiring places. Experience culture and architecture like no other in Istanbul, marvel at the mind-blowing landscapes of Goreme, step back into ancient times at Mardin and enjoy the warm welcome and unparalleled hospitality of the Turkish people every step of the way. Whether its remarkable architecture, ancient wonders, enchanting culture or unbelievable landscapes you are after, this exceptional tour of Turkey won’t disappoint.
Table of Contents
StyleDeparture taxFinish point description
ThemesImportant notesFinish point instructions
MapGroup sizeEmergency contact
ItineraryYour fellow travellersEmergency funds
Also available to purchaseSingle travellersVisas
We also recommendAccommodationIssues on your trip
Itinerary disclaimerMeals introductionWhat to take
Culture shock rating MealsHealth
Physical ratingTransportTravel insurance
Included activitiesGroup leaderResponsible Travel
Optional activitiesJoining point A couple of rules
Money ExchangeJoining point descriptionThe Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyJoining point instructionsCarbon offset
TippingArrival complicationsFeedback
To save you money and the hassle of booking multiple trips, this journey is a combination of some of our most popular adventures so your leader and the composition of your group may change.
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
Explorer
Map
Treasures of Turkey
Itinerary
Days 1-2 Istanbul
Hosgeldinz! Welcome to Istanbul.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6:00pm on Day 1.
You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. 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.
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.
Before the meeting if you have time, consider exploring some of the Sultanahmet area, including the Blue Mosque and the Grand Bazaar (closed Sunday). Please ensure you are dressed appropriately to visit the Mosque should you wish to enter. It is considered good custom to make a small donation of 1YTL to the mosque after the visit. The mosque uses this money to help those of the congregation who are in need.
On the morning of day 2 we set out on a walking tour to discover some of the hidden charms of Istanbul, the city that bridges Europe and Asia. We explore some of the city's dazzling array of cultural and historical sites and also get off the beaten track discovering backstreets and lesser-known sites. Each of our leaders has their own unique view of Istanbul to show you, an insight that only someone very familiar to a city can give.
At the end of your walk you might like to visit Topkapi Palace at your leisure this afternoon. Like any museum, some people could spend all day in there and for others an hour or two would suffice. It is up to you. The rest of our afternoon is free. For a change of pace check out Taksim across the water.
The rest of our afternoon is free to check out the Grand Bazaar (note the Bazaar is closed on Sundays), make a visit to Aya Sofya, the home of beautiful mosaics and an incredible reminder of the city that was once Constantinople. Consider taking in some famous sites such as the Ancient Hippodrome, formerly the cultural focus of the Byzantine Empire. See Istanbul's most famous landmark, the Blue Mosque. Whilst entry is free, it is good custom to make a donation of a lira or two after your visit. This is a working mosque and part of its role is to look after the less fortunate in the community. Visit the Archaeology Museum which contains an incredible array of ancient exhibits of particular interest the artefacts from infamous Troy. Visit the atmospheric underground Cistern, a vast underwater storage tank built in 532 AD. If all of this makes you a little tired then an hour or two spent in a hamam (Turkish bath) will leave you rejuvenated for the start of your journey. Maybe head down to the Bosphorus and take a ferry cruise on one of the world's most celebrated waterways or grab a fresh fish roll for lunch. For Monday departures we recommend you visit the magnificent opulence of Topkapi Palace on day 1 as it is closed on Tuesday.
Included Activities
  • Istanbul - Leader-led walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Istanbul - Aya Sofya - TRY25
  • Istanbul - Basilica Cistern - TRY10
  • Istanbul - Whirling Dervish show - TRY50
  • Istanbul - Topkapi Palace (incl. harem) - TRY35
  • Istanbul - Chora Church - TRY15
  • Istanbul - Archaeology Museum - TRY10
  • Istanbul - Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts - TRY10
  • Istanbul - Turkish Hamam (incl. massage) - TRY100
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 3 Gallipoli Peninsula
Very early in the morning of day 3 we depart Istanbul by public bus for Eceabat, our base to visit Gallipoli. (approx. 5 hours).
On the eastern shore of the Gelibolu peninsula is the town of Eceabat. A traditional fishing village with loads of character, Eceabat is the closest town to the battefields of Gallipoli. You can catch the public ferry across the Dardanelles to the town of Canakkale for a greater variety of dining and night-life options if you choose.
This afternoon we journey out with our guide to the Gallipoli Peninsula. The stunning natural beauty of Gallipoli makes it hard to believe that this is the site of one of the most tragic and fiercely fought battles of WWI. This is an opportunity to stroll through time; a moving experience for people from all nations. The battles fought on this land were a turning point in the creation of the Turkish Republic.
Gallipoli was the site of the Anzac landings in the 1914-18 war and one of the Allies great disasters in World War One. Gallipoli was the plan created by Winston Churchill to end the war early by creating a new war front that the Central Powers could not cope with. The stark memorial at Lone Pine is inscribed with the names of the many fallen Anzacs. The nearby museum with its memorabilia is well worth a visit.
This evening you might like to visit the town of Cannakale across the straits from our base in Eceabat. Canakkale is a charming fishing town where you can enjoy exploring the ruins of medieval castles, WWI bunkers or ponder the mythical beauty of the Dardanelles as tankers and boats pass through on their global journeys.
Included Activities
  • Guided Tour of Gallipoli Peninsula
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 4-5 Ayvalik (May-September)
Consider a visit to Troy this morning. The Iliad and the Odyssey have made Troy one of the most recognisable mythological sites in the world. Destroyed and rebuilt in its chequered history, today the ruins of several eras of settlements can be seen. A replica wooden horse at the entrance stands as a testament to the fabled horse, and is a great photo opportunity.
In the afternoon we board a bus south for the journey to Ayvalik (approx. 4hrs).
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.
We spend the afternoon of day 5 on a boat cruise on the Aegean. Swim, chill out, and chat with the locals as they kick back and just relax taking in the scenery. (Please note this can be cancelled due to bad weather conditions.)
These two nights we stay in a family guesthouse with shared facilities. This is a traditional Turkish pension and is a beautiful building filled with history and character. Due to the nature of the building we occasionally are required to accommodate people in triple share here. No rooms have en suite however there are plenty of bathroom facilities for the group.
Please note that on our winter departures from October to April we have an alternative itinerary and we don't visit Ayvalik. Please see important notes for details.
Included Activities
  • Boat trip
Optional Activities
  • Troy guided tour - TRY60
Accommodation
Pension (2 nts)
Day 6 Selcuk
We make an early departure and travel by public bus to Selcuk via Izmir (approx. 4hrs).
Selcuk is our base for discovering Ephesus, former capital of the Eastern Roman empire and the best-preserved ancient city in Turkey.
Selcuk is steeped in culture and retains many Turkish traditions. The town itself is usually undisturbed, which gives the opportunity to experience the 'real' Turkey. 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.
The afternoon is sure to be one of the highlights of your trip as we tour the stunning ruins of Ephesus.
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.
Consider a visit to the excellent Ephesus museum located in the heart of Selcuk for a deeper understanding of the ruins. St John is said to have written his gospel in this town and the historic Basilica of St John was erected upon his grave site in the 6th century. There is also a hilltop citadel, first constructed by the Byzantines in the 6th century.
Included Activities
  • Selcuk - Ephesus Archaeological site
Optional Activities
  • Selcuk - Basilica of St John - TRY5
  • Selcuk - Archaeological Museum - TRY8
  • Selcuk - Ephesus Terrace houses - TRY15
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 7 Pamukkale
A bus ride (3.5 hrs) inland through mountainous landscapes brings us to one of Turkey's most photographed sites - the gleaming white travertine terraces of Pamukkale, which are made from limestone deposits formed when water from the hot springs lose carbon dioxide. The layers of the white calcium carbonate have given Pamukkale its name 'cotton castles'. The pools, now off limits, have been famed for their medicinal qualities since Roman times.
Though we are not able to bathe in the world-famous Travertines, take a walk through them (no shoes please!) and bathe in healing thermal springs at the nearby Roman site of Hierapolis. Home to an oracle at one time, a well-preserved Roman theatre still remains here. Wander the colonnaded streets and discover the necropolis with its many unique tombs, looking every bit like a scene from judgement day.
Included Activities
  • Pamukkale - Hierapolis & Travertines National Park
Optional Activities
  • Pamukkale - Hierapolis Museum - TRY3
  • Pamukkale - Hierapolis Cleopatra pool - TRY25
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 8-10 Antalya
Today we travel by bus to the largest Turkish city on the western Mediterranean coast; Antalya. The journey will take around 4hrs.
A fantastic mix of city sophistication and old-world charm makes Antalya a great place to explore. The relatively unspoilt and restored Kaleici, the old city area, is now a historical zone and protected from modern development. With its palm-lined boulevard, internationally-acclaimed marina and old castle, Antalya is a popular destination.
Take an orientation walk with your leader to get your bearings and check out some of the popular attractions. The rest of the afternoon is free to explore on your own.
Some options here include the Antalya Museum, which offers a fascinating glimpse of history and life in this region. The Suna and Inan Kirac Kaleici Museum is located in an Antalya mansion and set up to show ambient life in an Ottoman house. Karaalioglu Parki, with its lovely flowers and great sea views, is a popular park for locals to go for a stroll.
On Day 9 we travel to the ancient and impressive sight of the ruined city Termessos.
Termessos lies about 30km North West of Antalya, high in the Travertine mountains and is one of the best preserved ancient cities of Turkey.
Alexander the Great once likened the city to an Eagle's nest as he failed to conquer it back in 333 BC.
You could spend hours exploring this remarkable site but by far the Theatre is one of the most breathe taking of all the remains. It once seated more then 4,000 people and at an altitude of almost 1000 metres it's hard not to be impressed by this theatre in the clouds.
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Included Activities
  • Guided Walk
  • Termessos
Optional Activities
  • Museum - TRY20
  • Museum - TRY15
Accommodation
Hotel (3 nts)
Days 11-13 Goreme
We leave Antalya this morning by bus (approx. 9hrs) heading to Goreme in the Cappadocia Region.
In the heart of Cappadocia, the town of Goreme lies in a fantastic region of cones, needles and columns, fashioned by nature from the soft volcanic tuff rock. It's honeycombed with caves scooped out to make churches and dwellings that are known as fairy chimneys and castles. 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.
On Day 12 take an orientation walk with your leader to get your bearings in this enchanting little town.
We then take a half day walk through one of the nearby valleys; it could be the Valley of Love where the rock formations will astound you or any of the other fantastic scenic routes that our leaders know.
The rest of the day is free for you to explore at your own pace.
Cappadocia's main attraction and the customary starting point for an overview of what the region has to offer, the World Heritage-listed Goreme Open Air Museum is 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.
Without a doubt, one of the most amazing memories of this journey could be of a hot air balloon ride over the majestic landscape. This aerial tour of the region is guided by our experienced operators and is an incredibly memorable experience. Note: this is an optional activity and the cost varies depending on what type of flight you choose.
On Day 13 we discover the wonders of the underground city, Kaymakli.
Pay a visit to Tribal Arts Carpet where Ruth, who is considered an expert within Turkey on textiles and has been living in the region for over 20yrs provides free carpet educationals and can teach you a thing or two about carpets and this history rich tradition.
Enjoy a meal with a local Cappadocian family in their own home. This is a unique experience - enjoy the famous hospitality of a Turkish family and admire the spectacular views of surrounding landscapes at the same time.
Included Activities
  • Orientation walk Goreme
  • Goreme - Valley walk
  • Goreme - Carpet shop visit & demonstration
  • Goreme - Home-cooked dinner
  • Underground City
Optional Activities
  • Goreme - Open Air Museum - TRY15
  • Goreme hot air balloon flight - EUR230
  • Dervish Show - Goreme - TRY30
Accommodation
Pension (3 nts)
Day 14 Mt Nemrut
Time to head into the more remote areas of Turkey as we drive into the ancient lands of King Antiochus. Today is an epic travel day as we travel my bus to Mt Nemrut (approx 7hrs), arriving at sunset.
High on a man-made mountain, the colossal stone heads of Nemrut Dagi look out across the world and at dawn are a sight never to be forgotten. They adorn the tomb of King Antiochus, a warlord and king with amazing visions of grandeur, and what some may call megalomania! Explore this incredible site and enjoy either sunrise (season permitting) or sunset as you gaze out over the arid Anti Totos mountain ranges.
Our accommodation for tonight is a small pension located in a picturesque little Kurdish village, just 12kms from the top of the mountain. In the summer months you will be able to enjoy both sunrise and sunset from here.
It is very cold on top of the mountain in all months other than June, July and August, so make sure you pack some warm clothing.
Included Activities
  • Mt Nemrut
Accommodation
Pension (1 nt)
Day 15 Homestay
Today we transfer to a local village close to Adiyaman named Haci Yusuf.
Have a wonderful Intrepid opportunity to enjoy fantastic local food and sleep on traditional Urfa mattresses beds made of soft wool. If it is hot you may choose to sleep outside on the roof under the stars, as many people in the area do in the summer months.
Our hosts prepare our feast themselves and it's sure to be spiced with the legendary local red pepper isot.
Important note: Both men and women are required to dress very conservatively during their stay here due to the traditional values of our hosts. Females are required to wear a long ankle-length skirt and men must wear long ankle-length trousers.
Alcohol will not be available for purchase or consumption.
Explore this ancient village with Fatih, son of the homestay family, with many archeological relics scattered around now pastoral fields. Afterwards walk up the top of the 'Tepe' ancient mound to get a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.
Included Activities
  • Dinner at homestay in Haci Yusuf
Accommodation
Homestay (1 nt)
Day 16 Sanliurfa
Make our way to Urfa ( approx 1hr ) where we will take a walking tour of this magical city.
Legends abound in Urfa, the Prophets' City. Abraham of Bible fame was born in a cave here, and pilgrims flock to Dergah to visit both the cave and the Throne of Nimrod fortress, where Nimrod threw Abraham into the fire. Here you will also find a scared pool filled with well-fed carp. Keep an eye out for a white one, as legend states you will go to heaven if you see it. You might also like to explore the Urfa Museum, or the wondrous medieval bazaar where villagers make their way to daily to sell their local produce.
In your free time wander the meandering alleyways to discover some of the fine old Urfa houses. An interesting blend of Turkish, Kurdish and Arabic influences intertwine here to make your visit a magical one.
Included Activities
  • Sanli Urfa Orientation walk
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 17 Mardin
Make our way to Mardin this morning by bus ( approx 3hrs )
Once we've settled into our hotel take a walking tour of this beautiful town and the old bazaar with your leader.
This evening dine on delicious local food in a traditional Mardin home nestled in the labyrinth of the city centre. This trilingual family speak Turkish, Arabic and Kurdish. Please wear comfortable clothes as you will feast on the floor with everyone.
Our accommodation for this evening is in a beautifully restored 800yr old Caravanserai. It was built by a judge who wanted to be able to obey the rules of hospitality for travellers through Mesopotamia by building a comfortable motel style building in the unique architecture style typical of Mardin. It is a fusion of Arab, Persian, Kurdish and Turkish art and architecture.
Included Activities
  • Mardin Orientation walk
  • Meal with local Family
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 18-19 Istanbul
This morning we fly from Mardin to Istanbul ( approx 2hrs ).
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.
Take a leisurely walk to explore Istanbul's dazzling array of cultural and historical sites. Get off the beaten track to discover the backstreets and lesser-known sites. Also visit the local spice markets and Bazaar quarter, before ending the walk at the busy port of Eminonu. Each of our leaders has their own unique view of Istanbul to show you, an insight that only someone very familiar to a city can give.
At the end of your walk you might like to visit Topkapi Palace at your leisure this afternoon. Like any museum, some people could spend all day in there and for others an hour or two would suffice. It is up to you. The rest of our afternoon is free. For a change of pace check out Taksim across the water.
You might like to visit an authentic Turkish bath, where you move from a 'warm room' to a 'hot room', lying on a heated marble slab, before being treated to a full-body wash and massage and recovering in the 'cool room'.
This evening there is the opportunity to dine together in an optional group dinner in a special location on delicious local cuisine, and reminisce about our unforgettable journey through this land of diversity and culture.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
As there is a great deal to do in Istanbul we recommend allowing a few extra days to make the most of this exciting city. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team will be able to assist.
Included Activities
  • Istanbul - Leader-led walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Istanbul - Archaeology Museum - TRY10
  • Istanbul - Turkish Hamam (incl. massage) - TRY100
Accommodation
Hotel (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.
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    Itinerary disclaimer
    We've allowed plenty of room for freedom and flexibility in our trips. In fact, flexibility is one of the ingredients that makes each of our trips so exciting. This style of travel offers us some unexpected circumstances at times, for example, bad weather and road conditions, technical defects of transportation, inconveniences caused by local operators and authorities, and other circumstances beyond our control. Changes in the program may be required to make the best of the unique situations that we encounter.
    Overnight stops and driving distances each day may vary to best suit the needs of the group. Our described itineraries are to be used as a general guide only.
    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.
    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.
    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 for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
    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.
    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. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.
    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.
    Departure tax
    All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
    Important notes
    WINTER ITINERARY:
    We have an alternative winter itinerary in the months from October to April. During the winter the town of Ayvalik is closed as far as tourist infrastructure is concerned, so on these departures we don’t visit Ayvalik. We travel from Eceabat On day 4 to the town of Bergama where we overnight. Early on the morning of Day 5 we take a guided tour of the ancient site of Pergamon. In the afternoon with continue on to Selcuk, where spend the nights of day 5 and 6. On Day 7 we overnight in Pamukkale and day 8 and 9 are spent in Antalyla.
    Winter itinerary applies to all trips departing in April and October.
    RAMADAN & THE EID UL-FITR FESTIVAL (BAYRAM) 2013:
    In 2013 the important month of Ramadan will be in progress from the 9th July through till the 7th August, 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
    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 refer to your agent for further information. On the following nights the Single Supplement is not available:
    - Days 4-5 Ayvalik
    - Day 15 Homestay
    Accommodation
    Hotel (11 nts), Pension (6 nts), Homestay (1 nt)
    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.
    TRIPLE-SHARE ROOMS:
    When we have three single female travellers or three single male travellers on a trip we occasionally make use of triple-share rooms.
    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.
    Meals introduction
    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
    Meals
    18 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
    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.
    EUR 300.00
    Breakfast is generally a very simple affair and typically consists of bread, jam, tea / coffee and on occasion tomato, cucumber, and juice (or similar).
    Transport
    Dolmus, Bus, Ferry, Van, Plane, Private minibus, Gulet
    Public buses in Turkey don't have toilets on board. Breaks are normally scheduled at rest stops every 2-3 hours.
    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. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
    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
    Hatay Hotel
    Nobethane cad. Serdar sokak no 5/7
    Sirkeci
    Istanbul
    Istanbul
    34110
    TURKEY
    Phone: +90 212 5270404
    Fax: +90 212 5270407
    Joining point description
    Located in the heart of Sirkeci, Hatay Hotel is in close proximity to a great selection of restaurants, cafes and shops and only a few minutes walk to the Bosphorus.
    Please note that on occasions due to shortage of availability you may be accommodated in the adjoining Antioch Hotel, which is in the same hotel rating category and under the same management.
    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 TRY40 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. You could also take the light rail from the airport to Aksaray and then walk to the tram line and catch tram to the eminonu stop. From there the hotel is a 5 min walk. The tram and train will cost you 1.75TRY for each ride.
    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
    Mob: +90 539 243 0185
    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.
    If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
    No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
    Finish point description
    Located in the heart of Sirkeci, Hatay Hotel is in close proximity to a great selection of restaurants, cafes and shops and only a few minutes walk to the Bosphorus.
    Please note that on occasions due to shortage of availability you may be accommodated in the adjoining Antioch Hotel, which is in the same hotel rating category and under the same management.
    Finish point instructions
    Taxis can easily be hailed to the airport and cost approx TRY40.
    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 the following numbers:
    - Office: +90 (0) 212 512 7144
    - Mobile: +90 (0) 532 641 2822
    For further contact details please use the following page:
    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, and the process for obtaining a visa is due to change on 10 April, 2014.
    Those planning to arrive in Turkey on or before 9 April 2014 will be able to obtain a visa on arrival. Costs vary depending on your nationality:
    Australian & Canadian: US$60
    US & UK : US$20
    Other nationalities should check the cost via your local consulate or embassy.
    For those planning to arrive in Turkey on or after 10 April, 2014, the following will apply:
    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
    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.
    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.
    TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT:
    It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary to store your luggage separately (and unattended) from the group. The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers, for when it comes to travelling on local buses and trains it's often only the smaller bags that will fit into the storage areas. If your bag does not fit in these areas then often the only place to put it is on your bed or seat. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.
    Where Intrepid covers the cost of luggage storage for included day trips, we allow for one bag/backpack only, so it's advisable that you travel lightly and keep luggage to a limit of one item (plus your day pack). Extra luggage storage will be at your own expense.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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:
    Carbon offset
    Carbon Offset C02-e 625.00 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.