Destination Turkey: Travel to Turkey

Mary Rose Dalocanog

Destination: TURKEY


Travel to Ephesus in Turkey

What is the destination known for?

Turkey is known for being transcontinental, a country spanning more than one continent. Due to its huge size, Turkey has many cities and regions and most of them are famous by themselves. Istanbul, historically known as Constantinople, has been declared as a European Capital of Culture in 2010. This city is full of history and glimpses of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires are found everywhere. The region of Cappadocia is famous for its amazing geographical formations such as rock cut churches and fairy chimneys as well as its underground cities that could sustain thousands of people. Pamukkale town is known for its white travertines and the healing powers of its cascading waters. Ephesus is the best preserved classical city in the Mediterranean, even better than Rome itself and it is also where you can see the house in which Mother Mary spent the last years of her life in Nightingale Mountain.

How to get there?

There are daily direct flights from Dubai to Istanbul on Emirates and Turkish Airlines. For budget travelers, FlyDubai has very affordable fares. Travelling within Turkey is also very convenient with their efficient train system as well as comfortable buses. Since Turkey is big, approximately 1700 kilometers from East to West, the best way to travel internally is through their domestic airlines. Pegasus, Anadolu Jet, Onur Air and Sun Express are some of the few airlines travelling domestically.

Where do you stay?

Istanbul has a vast choice of places to stay. Cost varies from Euros 30 to 300 depending on which district. To get a feel of the Old City, it is best to stay at the numerous hotels in Sultahnamet where you can get a room for Euros 60 and wake up to a view of the Hagia Sophia! We stayed at the Holiday Inn in Topkapi, where food was 30% less compared to the more touristic places and a tram stop was just in front of the hotel.

Sultahnamet in Turkey

In Cappadocia, one must stay at a cave hotel and live like a Flinstone! The best ones are in Goreme town where you can have breakfast while gazing at hundreds of hot air balloons flying over the horizon. Rates range from Euros 50 to 300 depending on whether you want a standard room or a suite. In Pamukkale town, most of the hotels are directly in front of the travertines so you can wake up around 9am, have breakfast and take a walk to the travertines and the ancient city of Heiropolis. Since it is just a small town, hotels are considerably cheaper – from around Euros 20 to 80. Ephesus hotels range from Euros 20 to 130 and it is best to take a room overlooking the Kusadasi Bay where you can relax and watch cruise ships passing by after a full day of exploring the ancient city.


Must do and must see

Turkey being such a large country, there are so many things to do and so many things to see. In Istanbul, a walking tour of the Sultahnament district passing through Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern and the tomb of Sultan Mahmud, is a must. Do also shop at the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar, and take a Bosphorus cruise to see the European and Asian side of Istanbul.

Dolmahbace Palace

While in Cappadocia, ride a hot air balloon at sunrise, and join a North and South Tour if you have three days to spare. A north tour includes the Goreme Open Air Museum, Uchisar Castle, Pasabagi Fairy Chimney, and Imagination Valley. The south tour consists of a lot of hiking at the Derinkuyu Underground City, Selime Cathedral and Ihlara Valley.


In Pamukkale, we travelled for 12 hours just to trek the travertines. Some parts were slippery but the 30 minute barefoot walk from the top to the bottom was a once in a lifetime experience. If you have enough time, it is nice to take a dip in the sacred pools where Cleopatra used to bathe.


We took a 4-hour bus ride from Cappadocia to Izmir just to see the ancient city of Ephesus whose amazing well-preserved architecture takes you back in time. Afterwards, we went for a drive to Nightingale Mountain where we prayed at Mama Mary’s house.


Do it like the natives

Eat a testi kebab – a dish from Central Anatolia consisting of a mixture of meat and vegetables cooked in a clay pot or jug over fire. The pot is sealed with bread dough or foil and is broken before your eyes when served. Heavenly!

How to dress

It depends on the time of year as well as which city to visit. Always remember that appropriate clothing is required especially if you plan to visit some churches and mosques. For ladies, always bring a light scarf. Since Turks are used to tourists all year round, clothing is not an issue, but remember that anything too revealing would get you uncomfortable in crowded places.

What to bring in Turkey

Aside from a digital camera with lots of memory, number one on the list should be comfortable and sturdy shoes. With all the walking and hiking, comfort is a must. During winter, make sure you are prepared with warm clothing for the outdoors.

What to avoid in Turkey

Turks are exceptionally friendly people and you often get invited for Turkish coffee or tea in their homes. Though it is generally safe to travel in Turkey, one must look out for the usual pickpockets and bag snatchers so make sure you have your bag securely held close to your body especially in crowded areas. Make sure you stay with your group during tours, as getting lost and asking for directions might be difficult with some Turks unable to speak English.

Trip budget to Turkey

Since most hotels and tours can be booked online, you can pay for everything in advance. Average daily cost range from Euros 60 to 300 depending on where you stay, eat, and what you want to see and get around in. Bring Euros aside from Turkish Lira, although most establishments accept credit cards, as well. There are also a lot of ATM machines around. Don’t forget to include tips in your budget.