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Organized tour or explore on our own?

Saint Louis...
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Organized tour or explore on our own?

Our family of 5 (kids 12, 14, 16) will be in Istanbul 3 full days in early June. Staying in the Old City. Our travel agent thinks we should do day tours (mainly because she's worried about our safety and ability to navigate a strange city, I think), but we usually prefer to see things at our own pace and have no qualms about using public transportation or our own feet. Isn't this feasible and more cost-effective than an organized tour? I'd love to hear both the pros and cons of tours, especially from people who have traveled w/ teenagers. Thanks!

Mount Dora, Florida
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11. Re: Organized tour or explore on our own?

Hi Hana, While I agree with the previous posters who recommend DIY in Istanbul, I have a different perspective for Cappadocia. The primary reason I would use a guide is for transportation. You absolutely do not need a tour bus to manage Istanbul. In fact, the very easiest and certainly most efficient way to get around the city is by using public transportation.

Cappadocia is different. It is a huge area. I would be impossible to walk from one large sight to the next. You need transportation so your options are to rent a car, take an organized guided tour on a tour bus, or hire and private car and a private tour guide.

My husband refuses to drive in Turkey because he argues that he has to watch the road and gets to see nothing. On general principle we tend to reject organized tours on buses because we do not like to be herded about like animals, and we like more control over the things we see, the things we do and the places where we eat.

In Cappadocia we have always just used a private vehicle and driver as well as a private guide. I cannot walk any distance at all, and many places in Cappadocia are not available to me. A private guide can take me as near as possible to areas I will enjoy. I can then remain in the car with the driver while the guide goes with my husband into areas I cannot manage.

I just put myself in the hands of the great people at Heritage Travel at the Kelebek Hotel in Goreme. They have never failed to provide excellent transportation as well as personable and exceptionally well-informed guides who make sure I see everything possible, and do not stop at an uncle's carpet shop along the way. I also recommend Butterfly Balloons if you plan to take advantage of a sunrise balloon ride.

I do feel it is important to tell you that I have never heard a negative thing about the organized bus tours in Cappadocia. If it were not for my special needs due to my mobility issues, I think we would probably try to larger guided bus tours in spite of our general tendency to avoid them. Again, Heritage Travel can make arrangements for you with these tours.

Using a private car and a private guide is expensive, and I am not sure I would do this if I were traveling with a family. On the other hand, the private guide will probably charge the same for five people that he charges for one. It might be that the expenses for a private guide are competitive with organized bus tours. I would probably investigate both alternatives to determine which would be the best.

Kuwait City, Kuwait
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12. Re: Organized tour or explore on our own?

Thank you for your replies......

I think I will take the private tours for cappadocia - 2days and Euphesus-1 day.

Can we go to Pamukkale on our own?. Since we will be landing in Denizli go to Pamukkale and then travel to Euphesus in a Taxi.

Kelebek Hotel seems amazing. Am just worried that the cave hotel might be too cold for the kids. We stay in the middle-east where our winters are short. :)

Again thank you for the replies..... Tripadvisor truly is helping me shape up our trip to Turkey..Can't wait

Mount Dora, Florida
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13. Re: Organized tour or explore on our own?

Hana, I am sure you can manage Pamukkale on your own. I am sure you can find buses between Denizil. I think a taxi might be quite expensive. Robert or Enigma can let you know about transportation in this area.

Our son-in-law is from Kuwait and we often host his family when they visit the US so I understand that cold temperatures are not part of your daily environment. My husband also as no tolerance for low temperatures. We always visit Cappadocia during off season. We have always been very warm in the Kelebek. We like the Pasha Suite because it has a fireplace, but we do not need it for heat, we just enjoy the appearance.

While the walls of this hotel are cut from the same material as you see in the caves, the hotel rooms are constructed in a standard manner. You would not be sleeping in a cave.

I think you will be happy with a guided tour in Cappadocia. I am not so sure that you need a guide for Ephesus, but you may find that it enhances your experience. I have done it both ways. I did enjoy my guide, but I was not convinced that she was worth what I paid.

Good luck!

14. Re: Organized tour or explore on our own?

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