Turkey Active Trip Notes

An adrenaline charged tour of Turkey. Visit the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, tour Anzac Cove and hike the Turquoise Coast on a Turkey holiday like no other.

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    • ERXT
    • Total price tool tip
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    • Cycling, Explorer, Walking
    • Original
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There is a later version of this trip also available for travel from Jan 1, 2015 to Dec 31, 2015. View later Turkey - Hike, Bike & Kayak.
Print Version
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2014
Turkey Active
Trip code: ERXT
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
Abandon the well-worn route to forge a path through unexplored terrain, deep into the historical heart of Turkey. From the minarets of Istanbul experience the real Turkey firsthand - cycle through lush landscapes, hike forgotten trails and kayak over a sunken city. Take up the challenge and be amazed by all that this travel adventure has to offer.
Table of Contents
StyleImportant notesFinish point instructions
ThemesGroup sizeEmergency contact
MapYour fellow travellersEmergency funds
ItinerarySingle travellersVisas
We also recommendAccommodationIssues on your trip
Itinerary disclaimerMeals introductionWhat to take
Culture shock rating MealsHealth
Physical ratingTransportSafety
Physical preparationGroup leaderTravel insurance
Included activitiesJoining point Responsible Travel
Optional activitiesJoining point descriptionA couple of rules
Money ExchangeJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyArrival complicationsResponsible Travel projects
TippingFinish point Carbon offset
Departure taxFinish point descriptionFeedback
Style
Original
  • Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Themes
Walking, Cycling, Explorer
Map
Turkey Active
Itinerary
Day 1 Istanbul
Hosgeldinz! Welcome to Istanbul.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 1:00pm on Day 1.
Check-in time at our joining point hotel is after 2:00pm. Early check-in is not guaranteed, however if you arrive early, luggage storage is available. Speak to the hotel reception on arrival.
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.
After the meeting your leader will take you for a stroll around the streets of Istanbul. During the orientation walk we will discover the hidden charms of Istanbul, the city that bridges Europe and Asia, including the areas around Sultanahmet and Eminonu. This could include the narrow streets around the Spice Bazaar and Grand Bazaar - an amazing covered complex and maze of more than 4000 shops and Suleymaniye Camii - a mosque built by the great architect Sinan and sitting high above the Golden Horn (one of the world's greatest natural harbours flowing into the Bosphorus). We will see the myriad traders selling their wares and ferries departing for many destinations from the port of Eminonu. Each leader has their own hidden secrets to show you that they have found in their time in eclectic Istanbul.
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.
It is well worth taking the tour of the Royal Harem at Topkapi Palace to see the opulence and extravagance the Ottoman court. Visit the Archaeology Museum which contains an incredible array of ancient exhibits of particular interest the artefacts from infamous Troy. Shop till you drop in the Grand Bazaar a shopper's paradise. Maybe head down to the Bosphorus, grab a fresh fish roll for lunch and take a ferry cruise on one of the worlds most celebrated waterways. You could travel over to the stylish Taksim Square area and stroll along the main street with the local hipsters. 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.
Included Activities
  • Istanbul - Leader-led walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Istanbul - Aya Sofia - TRY20
  • Istanbul - Basilica Cistern - TRY20
  • Istanbul - Chora Church - TRY15
  • Istanbul - Whirling Dervish show - TRY50
  • Istanbul - Archaeology Museum - TRY15
  • Istanbul - Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts - TRY10
  • Istanbul - Turkish Hamam (incl. massage) - TRY100
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 2-3 Gallipoli Peninsula
The morning of day 2 is free to explore on your own perhaps a visit to Aya Sofya, the best preserved example of Byzantine Architecture in the world, the Islamic Arts Museum, or some extra taste testing in the nearby Spice Bazaar.
We depart our hotel at midday for the Gallipoli Peninsula. Our bus ride (approx 5.5hrs) will take us through Thrace with fields of sunflowers and excellent views of the sea of Marmara. We will arrive on the Peninsula late afternoon and transfer to our hotel in Eceabat, the nearest town to Anzac Cove.
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 nightlife options if you choose.
On day 3 we take a guided tour of the Gallipoli Battlefields, but we do it with a difference. We walk, 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. In the afternoon we go snorkelling - you may even see a ship wreck.
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.
Included Activities
  • Gallipoli and snorkel tour
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 4 Selcuk
Today we travel by bus (approx 7.5hrs) to Selcuk and venture further back in history to the once capital of Asia Minor, Ephesus, some of the best preserved Roman Ruins on the planet.
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.
Then in true active fashion we walk back to town.
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.
Selcuk is a great place to try a hamam. The Turkish bath is just the tonic after all that walking.
Included Activities
  • Selcuk - Ephesus Archaeological site
Optional Activities
  • Ephesus Guide - TRY90
  • Selcuk - Basilica of St John - TRY15
  • Selcuk - Archaeological Museum - TRY15
  • Selcuk - Ephesus Terrace houses - TRY15
  • Banya - TRY50
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 5 Fethiye
On day 5 we travel to Turkey's Mediterranean seaside town Fethiye by public bus (approx. 5.5hrs). Enjoy the laid back atmosphere of this friendly town and stroll the impressive harbour filled with traditional Gulet, fishing boats and cruise boats that day-trip the pretty harbour islands.
With Lycian rock tombs carved into cliffs, a beautiful coastline and a renowned market, Fethiye is a laidback, friendly town full of wonderful Turkish cuisine and culture.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 6 Faralya
Today we take to the ancient pathways of the Lycian Way. Our day-long hike will have you gasping, not because it is difficult but because around every corner and through every gap is a vista more stunning than the last. Our hike takes us past wild olive and carob gardens, incredible relics of ancient civilisations and through remote villages where we are greeted by renowned Turkish hospitality. We spend the night in Faralya.
The village of Faralya lies on one of the last undeveloped stretches of the Turkish Mediterranean.
Included Activities
  • Lycian Way hike
Optional Activities
  • Fethiye Museum - TRY5
  • Saklikent Gorge - TRY20
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Days 7-9 Kas
Once we have checked in take a leader led walking tour of the town.
Followed by a hike to Kabak which means zucchini in Turkish. This three hour walk this morning gives us some of the best coastal views along the entire length of the 509km Lycian Way. In the afternoon we head back to Fethiye to collect our bags and take a local bus to Kas (approx 3 hours).
With its cobbled streets and whitewashed walls, Kas has a distinctively Mediterranean feel. The best places in town to swim are from the waterfront restaurants that have their own private water access. For the price of an occasional drink, you get your own deck chair, umbrella and unbeatable views. When the sun goes down there is the chance to explore the handicraft markets where you can find beautiful handmade wares with a distinctly Turkish flavour.
On day 8 the adventure takes to the water as we move down the coast to Ucagiz and take to our sea kayaks to check out the Byzantine Sunken City. We explore the many islands and coves, taking in the ambiance of a village that has thankfully been placed off limits to developers, before returning to Kas.
On day 9 pedal power is required as we collect our bikes, load them on our jeeps and head to the hills. The 36km cycle takes us through valleys and farming communities. The cycle is a moderate ride with a small section (8km) uphill, along the way we'll get to see village life and enjoy lunch along the way.
Returning to Kas in the afternoon why not relax and enjoy this funky seaside town.
May we suggest an evening hamam and oil massage? You deserve it.
Included Activities
  • Lycian Way hike
  • Sea kayak excursion over sunken city of Kekova
  • Mountain bike riding
Optional Activities
  • Kas - Handicraft market - Free
Accommodation
Hotel (3 nts)
Days 10-11 Pamukkale
We travel inland through mountainous landscapes to one of Turkey's most photographed sites - the gleaming white travertine terraces of Pamukkale; the best time to see them, of course is sunset.
Day 11 is free to explore this natural phenomenon 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.
Located at the top of the gleaming white travertines of Pamukkale is the ancient 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.
Catch a comfortable overnight bus to Istanbul. Bus services in Turkey are excellent by world standards. The coach is air conditioned, modern and comfortable, has a food & beverage trolley service, and stops every 2-3hrs at rest stops for toilet breaks and food. Most coaches have TV's in the back of each seat and free WiFi.
Please be aware that while the seats recline they are not fully reclining.
It's possible to book a flight for this journey if you would prefer. A number of flight services run between Denizli and Istanbul. A flight would be at your own expense and can be purchased on arrival to Istanbul (ask your group leader to assist) or online: http://www.thy.com/en-INT/index.aspx
To avoid missing any of the group activities, we recommend you book this flight for the following morning of your trip. This will require an extra night's stay in Pamukkale and also transfers both to and from the various airports. Your group leader will help you organise these things, again at your own expense. (The cost of these extra services will be determinant on the number of passengers sharing the transfer service but budget approx 60TRY per person). Please let your group leader know if you are taking this option at the group meeting so as to give time to make the necessary arrangements.
There's currently major engineering works on an equivalent overnight train journey for this leg. As soon as the train line re-opens we will start taking the train, however no date of completion has been announced yet.
Included Activities
  • Pamukkale - Hierapolis & Travertines National Park
Optional Activities
  • Flight from Denizli to Istanbul (prices from approx) - TRY200
  • Pamukkale - Hierapolis Cleopatra pool - TRY35
  • Pamukkale - Hierapolis Museum - TRY3
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt), Overnight bus (1 nt)
Day 12 Istanbul
Arrive back into Istanbul at approx 9am (subject to delays).
For your comfort and convenience, day rooms are provided on this day until 12 noon, for luggage storage and an opportunity to have a shower and freshen up. Once settled consider joining the rest of the group in a farewell breakfast. Otherwise there are no activities planned and you're free to depart any time after our arrival.
We don't recommend booking flights any earlier than 3pm to allow for any arrival delays, time to transfer to the airport, and check-in time required at the airport.
    We also recommend
    If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
    • Best of Turkey (ERSI)
    • Turkey Express (ERSA)
    Itinerary disclaimer
    Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
    Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
    Culture shock rating

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

    This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
    Physical preparation
    We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the weeks before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trip to its fullest.
    There will be treks of up to 8 hours per day in steep terrain. The fitter you are, the more you will enjoy your holiday.
    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 approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
    Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
    Money Exchange
    The official currency of Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TRY, although prior to 2005 the currency code was TL).
    ATMs are common throughout the main cities and these are a safe and convenient way to withdraw money. Credit cards are also widely accepted. Cash in any of the major currencies (EUR, GBP and USD) is easily changed. Travellers cheques in major currencies (EUR, GBP and USD) can be changed at selected local banks but it can be time consuming and subject to high fees.
    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.
    Tipping
    If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.
    The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
    Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change. More up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill.
    Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest 2-3 euro per person per day for local guides.
    Drivers: You may have a range of private drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however 2-3 euro per person per day is generally appropriate.
    Gulet boat trips: If you are travelling through southern Turkey on a gulet boat trip we suggest 2-3 euro per person per day for the boat staff.
    Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline 3 euro per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
    In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
    Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members.
    Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.
    Departure tax
    All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
    Important notes
    ISTANBUL AIRPORTS:
    If booking an airport arrival transfer please inform us at the time of booking which of Istanbul's two airports you will be arriving at. Sabiha Gokcen is on the Asian shore while Ataturk Airport is on the European side and much closer to our hotels.
    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 effects.
    AIR-CONDITIONING:
    Some hotels charge an extra YTL5 for air-conditioning, however fans can be provided free of charge.
    RAMADAN & THE EID UL-FITR FESTIVAL (BAYRAM) 2014:
    In 2014 the important month of Ramadan will be in progress from the 27th June through till the 27th July, and the Eid ul-Fitr festival will be held directly at its conclusion for 3-4 days. Ramadan is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan business hours are shortened, including opening hours at some tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. Please note that although the Eid ul-Fitr festival can also be a fascinating time to travel it is a period of National holiday. Most government offices and businesses will be closed and some tourist site opening hours may be impacted.
    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.
    Accommodation
    Hotel (9 nts), Guesthouse (1 nt), Overnight bus (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.
    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.
    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.
    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
    9 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches
    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 200.00
    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
    Bus, Dolmus, Overnight bus
    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
    Arrival complications
    We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
    Please also make sure have a copy of the local operator's emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
    Finish point
    Hatay Hotel
    Nobethane cad. Serdar sokak no 5/7
    Sirkeci
    Istanbul
    Istanbul
    34110
    TURKEY
    Phone: +90 212 5270404
    Fax: +90 212 5270407
    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 +90 532 641 2822
    Emergency funds
    Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
    Visas
    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
    We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
    TURKEY (ALL TRIPS):
    Please note that many nationalities require a visit to enter Turkey:
    Australia: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
    Belgium: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
    Canada: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
    Germany: No - not required
    Ireland: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
    Netherlands: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
    New Zealand: No - not required
    South Africa: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
    Switzerland: No - not required
    United Kingdom: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
    USA: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
    Other nationalities should check via your local consulate or embassy.
    To apply for an e-visa, please go to https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/ at least a few weeks before you go.
    The visa costs can change at any time and with little notice depending on the political climate of the region.
    From 01 January 2015, foreigners entering Turkey must carry a passport with at least 60 days validity beyond the expiry date of their visa or residence permit.
    A valid passport is sufficient for citizens of most other countries including New Zealand, Argentina, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland for stays up to 3 months. All other nationalities please check with your nearest Turkish embassy.
    Issues on your trip
    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
    We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
    You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
    What to take
    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
    Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
    You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
    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:
    Temperatures are highly variable depending on the time of year and the region you are travelling in. Winters range from freezing in the central and eastern areas, cold in Istanbul and relatively mild on the west coast. Summer (June to August) can be extremely hot all over the country. Spring and autumn tend towards warm days and cooler nights. A light water and windproof jacket is useful and a hat essential. You will always need a towel.
    WATER BOTTLE:
    Consider bringing 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 ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day
    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.
    Safety
    Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
    We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
    Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
    For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
    While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
    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!
    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.
    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.
    BALCONIES:
    Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
    WATER SAFETY:
    Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water.
    Travel insurance
    Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
    When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
    If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
    Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
    Responsible Travel
    We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
    When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative and you should dress accordingly. To respect the local culture and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. As a guideline, shoulders and knees at the minimum (and everything in between including midriff and cleavage) should be covered at all times. Wearing shorts and singlet tops is not appropriate and may well restrict your entry into sites of a religious nature, family homes, and will limit your local interaction opportunities in general. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly warm climate.
    A couple of rules
    Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
    The Intrepid Foundation
    Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
    The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
    Responsible Travel projects
    Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Turkey include:
    * Mavi Kalem provides the children of rural immigrants, in the poorer areas of Eastern Turkey, with additional weekly classes through its Children's Education Program. These lessons, by trained teachers in all areas of formal education, give unprecedented educational opportunities in a region where the uneducated face limited prospects.
    Carbon offset
    Carbon Offset C02-e 143.00 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.