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Travelling through eastern turkey

London
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Travelling through eastern turkey

Hi,

I am planning a trip through eastern turkey for 5-6 days and am planning to see the following:

- Trabzon - Sumela monastery

- Kars- Ruins of Ani

- Van- Akdamar Church

- Dogubeyazit - Ishak Pasha Palace

We also want to see the Georgian Valleys and Nemrut Dagi if possible, but we may not have the time. We need help with the following:

Does anyone on this forum know of good travel agents for this part of Turkey?

- We want to do it alone- but lots of people have been advising us that the connections are bad. Opinions, recommendations would be valuable

- How does one get in touch with Celil Ersoglu for Ani, we've written to him but haven't got a reply

thanks

Ashutosh

Chesterfield...
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1. Re: Travelling through eastern turkey

That should be doable in about 6 days:

1 day Trabzon and Sumela

1 day > Kars

1 day Kars and Ani

1 day Kars > Dogu and Ishak Pasa

1 day Dogu > Van and Van Castle

1 day Akdamar

I did Kars > Van 3 years ago solo with no problems. Plan to catch buses in the morning and you'll be fine. Its off the beaten path but things are pretty straight forward, and there is a bit of a backpacker trail. To get from Kars > Dogu you need to change from bus to Dolmus (shared taxi) in Igdir, which adds a small complication as you have to look for the place where the Dolmus wait. People are exceptionally friendly though and will go out of their way to help you out if you're looking bewildered. Travelling from Dogu > Van, sit on the right hand side of the bus for the best views over Lake Van.

I found Celil by walking into my hotel and immediately being handed a phone with him on the other end. He'll find you...... ;)

If you want an agent, these guys are based at the resteraunt opposite Akdamar:

http://www.easternturkeytour.org/

Its an amazing area with stunning scenery and great people, so have a fabulous time!

London, United...
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2. Re: Travelling through eastern turkey

In 5-6 days and travelling by bus, you won't have time to see any of the Georgian churches. We did this route a few years ago - but by rental car that we picked up in Trabzon and dropped off at the end at Van airport - we had to pay a supplement for the guy to come by bus to collect the car and drive it back to Trabzon (which obviously also had to include his fuel cost plus loss of hire for one day) but we considered worthwhile as it gave us the freedom to do what and go where we wanted.

If you are doing it by public transport, then from what Bedknobs has said above, it sounds perfectly doable on your own and I don't reckon you need to involve a tour agent. And yes, I am sure Celil will find you!

You also might like to look at the Thorn Tree Forum and post there - more independent "travellers" post there than here on TA. Have fun - there are some amazing sites along the route you plan.

Fethiye, Turkey
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3. Re: Travelling through eastern turkey

I've done it driving a car, so cannot really comment on the transport issue, except to say that I'd reckon that bedknobs is right, you couldn't do more in 6 days.

It's quite true that Ceil will find you - I wasn't even looking for him, although I had heard of him - I think he does the rounds in Kars looking for customers and although I didn't need his services, he was extermely helpful.

Chesterfield...
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4. Re: Travelling through eastern turkey

Lots of good info on the thorntree for independent travel, some here about getting between Trabzon and Kars:

http://www.google.co.uk/#hl=en&tbm=dsc&q=+site:lonelyplanet.com+trabzon+to+kars&sa=X&ei=geurT9zKEcW5hAeZmNnkCw&ved=0CHQQrQIwAA&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=4575d79dacb5dde5&biw=1059&bih=485

London
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5. Re: Travelling through eastern turkey

Thank you all- this is wonderful. I also chanced upon Eastern Turkey Tours and they sent me a quote for 650 euros per person for 5nights and 6 days

I've been to Turkey before but only the pricier western parts, my sense is that this is on the expensive side. Also can you comment on how much a car hire would cost

I need to be in Dalaman on 8th in the evening, so the additional thing I am trying to figure out is whether there's a good connection between the two

I am super excited at the prospect of getting to Eastern Turkey by the way

Chesterfield...
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6. Re: Travelling through eastern turkey

650E does seem rather a lot; everything is very cheap out there. You're looking at 15TL for a sit down meal in a kebap house, 10TL in a Lokanta, and 1-2 TL for a kebap off the street. Buses are maybe 15-20 TL for a 2-3 hour journey.

Petrol is very expensive, and you might have trouble (and a lot of expense) doing a remote drop off with a hire car.

Van airport is better connected than most in Turkey, but (so wikipedia tells me)still only has flights to Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Antalya.

www.bulucak.com wil be able to help with flights (there is an English option).

Seattle
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7. Re: Travelling through eastern turkey

I second that Celil will find you. I went to Ani with him in Oct 2010. Worked out pretty well. He can also help set up a hotel reservation in Kars as well. He will probably get back to you via email in a few days. If I recall, I think I emailed way in advance when I was planning my trip and then he got back to me closer to when the trip would be occurring.

Also---We did a trip around Lake Van with Alkans Tour (http://www.easternturkeytour.org) and we told them what we could afford and worked with them to make an itinerary. I think we paid lira as I recall. Bargaining was weird for me, but then I just had to remember that is what people do in Turkey. You pay if you are happy with the price. I enjoyed eastern Turkey.

Seattle
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8. Re: Travelling through eastern turkey

Also----regarding the price of anything----you can look up the prices of different hotels/guest houses in an area and that would give you some idea of what it would cost you to do it on your own. I was glad I had other people driving---it made looking out the window and the countryside a lot more fun, plus dealing with police checkpoints and such way less stressful since I do not speak the language.

Istanbul
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9. Re: Travelling through eastern turkey

Ashutosh, the best guide book I have found on Eastern and Southeastern Turkey is "Eastern Turkey" by Bradt Publishers and authored by Diana Darke. It is available from Amazon, "amazon.com/Eastern-Turkey-Bradt-Travel-Guide…".

enigma...

Adelaide
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10. Re: Travelling through eastern turkey

I have just returned from a fabulous trip to Eastern Turkey in April- 12 day small group tour proceeded by a 3 day private tour both organised through

Eastern Turkey Tour (Alkans tour agency)

I could not recommend this very professional company too highly. The guides have fabulous English, a good sense of humour and being Van locals a great knowledge of the region.

And of course Eastern Turkey is an amazing area.

Enjoy your trip

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