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Pamukkale/Ephesus on our own from Istanbul

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Napa, California
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Pamukkale/Ephesus on our own from Istanbul

I've been talking to a travel agent about a two day one night trip to Pamukkale and Ephesus and he has quoted me a price of 495/person Euro for a private tour. This tour will have us flying to Izmir from there to Ephesus, then to Kasidasi overnight, Pamukkale all day and evening flight from Denizli to Istanbul. I would just open up my wallet to do this, but my boyfriend is really determined for us to do this on our own. After checking the Pegasus flight tonight, I was shocked to find how inexpensive it is to fly! (I know you guys have been saying this in most posts, but I really didn't believe it until I saw this!)

My question is, should I just go with the tour or can you suggest a better way to achieve the same on our own. (I was thinking that I probably should just copy the tour operators itinerary above. But if you have a route, that would be great.) If you can also give us advise on whether it is doable to rent a car at Izmir or Denazili that would be great, not only because my boyfriend loves to drive, but also I have issues with my knee and it would be easier to travel that way. Any detailed way that you can assist would be appreciated! Thank you in advance!

Istanbul
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1. Re: Pamukkale/Ephesus on our own from Istanbul

noirjet, I definitely advise you to do this trip on your own. You will achieve it at half the cost of that tour. Just get a couple of good guidebooks (like DK Eyewitness Turkey Guide) and good road maps and you will be on your way. First of all have a look at my recent trip to Selcuk/Ephesus and beyond: "tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293974-i368-k5874…". I rented a car in Selcuk but you can rent one at Izmir Airport and visit Ephesus and other attractions at Selcuk, spend a night at Selcuk and then drive to Pamukkale (I strongly advise you not to miss Aphrodisias on the way), and spend another night there. You can drop your car at Denizli and fly back to Istanbul from there or you can drive your car back to Izmir Airport (3 hours) and drop it off there and fly back to Istanbul from Izmir. If you drop it off at Denizli, there will be remote drop off charges.

Driving in Turkey is very pleasurable (outside big cities) and the roads are good and well signposted. For your rental at Izmir airport you need cars equipped with OGS or HGS stickers for the toll highways. No cash accepted. For an excellent blog on driving in Turkey, have a look at : "nobleanarchist.com/blog/…".

For flights to Izmir or Denizli, check "www.aerobilet.com". If you use Onur Air or Atlas Jet, they provide free shuttle buses from Izmir airport to Selcuk and Kusadasi.

I think you should give at least two nights for this trip, one at Selcuk and the other at Pamukkale, however it is doable also with overnight at Selcuk or Pamukkale.

If you are looking for budget hotels really inexpensive but friendly, I recommend Paris Hotel for you at Selcuk. Here are its reviews including two of mine for two different visits: "tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g293976-d174525…"

good luck,

enigma...

Napa, California
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2. Re: Pamukkale/Ephesus on our own from Istanbul

Thank you so much, Enigma! This is truly helpful!

Kayakoy, Turkey
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3. Re: Pamukkale/Ephesus on our own from Istanbul

O yes, it is so easy to do it on your own! Either rent a car or take buses, or fly! Personally İ think 1 overnight is a bit of a rush, if you have more time spend at least one night in each place. You should see Pamukkale at sunset and Selcuk is just a lovely town to hang around and see a bit more than just Ephesus!

Renting a car is a good option, İ enjoy the road trips in Turkey so much! The landscape is just as fascinating as the destination where you are heading to. You have freedom, you can take pictures...

Just fly to İzmir to avoid the long trip around the Sea of Marmara, though it would be possible to rent a car and take the car ferry to Bandırma from Yenikapı in İstanbul. İn that way you will not be using the İstanbul roads at all (well just to the ferry).

From Selcuk to Pamukkale is easy, almost all motorway or dual carriage way. And you could leave the car at Denizli airport. Well worht the trip and well worth the money spend! Good luck!

Selcuk, Turkey
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4. Re: Pamukkale/Ephesus on our own from Istanbul

You've had great advice here. The mention of Kusadasi suggested by your agent rings alarm bells for me. Apart from taking a lot of money off you, I can't think why you would overnight in Kusadasi instead of Selcuk (where Ephesus is), unless they hope you will be buying carpets, jewellery, porcelain and leather jackets from the outlets they just happen to pass.

Your boyfriend loves to drive ? No contest - do whatever he says.

Mount Dora, Florida
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5. Re: Pamukkale/Ephesus on our own from Istanbul

Hi noirjet, In this case I agree with your boyfriend. This is exceptionally easy to accomplish on your own, particularly if your boyfriend is willing to drive. My husband refuses to drive so we have to take public transportation or hire a car and driver. Even using a car and driver we can do this trip for much less than the 495Euro your travel agent is offering. Frankly I am not sure why you are using a travel agent. It is so easy to use the internet and make your own travel arrangements for much less than you will pay using a travel agent.

You have received great advice on how to do this. I would have to agree with Robert. I think that Kusadasi is not the best over-night spot. This is a beach/cruise ship city, and I, personally, dislike the entire atmosphere of this town. It is filled with every kind of tourist trap, bars and restaurants, which are generally not particularly good restaurants. I much prefer Selcuk as an over-night location because it is much less focused on commercial tourism. Think of the most tacky beach town you can in California and times it by two and you will have an image of Kusadasi.

I hope the two of you make this trip, and I would love to read your report when you complete your vacation.

6. Re: Pamukkale/Ephesus on our own from Istanbul

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