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13 destinations in Turkey that you must visit

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Of our travels so far, Turkey is my favourite country! With crystal blue waters, warm weather and some amazing wonders of the world, how could it not! Fortunately all the main attractions can be reached by travelling in a loop, either clockwise or anti-clockwise. We chose to travel in a clockwise direction, starting and ending in Istanbul.

Istanbul + Buyukuda 2 (800x600)

 

13 destinations in Turkey that you must visit

We were very fortunate to spend an amazing 9 weeks immersing ourselves in the culture and falling in love with Turkey’s coastline. Below I have listed the main attractions and attempted to suggest the amount of time to spend at each. However, of course if you have more time up your sleeves, then stay as long as you can at each destination.

 

Istanbul

While in Istanbul, I highly recommend visiting Buyukuda Island. Suggested time: at least 2 nights in Istanbul

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Cappadocia

You can choose to either fly or bus to Cappadocia from Istanbul, we found cheap flights which cost a similar price to the buses. Suggested time: Spend at least 3 days in Cappadocia.

Related blog posts:

 

Antalya

You can catch an overnight bus from Cappadocia which you can book upon your arrival to Cappadocia.  There isn’t much to do in Antalya, but if you are looking for a big night out at the bars, this is the place to visit. Suggested time: Spend 1 day in Antalya.

 

Olympos

It has an eternal flame, which is a natural wonder that you can take a night tour to, or if you are up for an adventure then you can walk there – we did! The tombs are unbelievable and the water is great for snorkelling. We even saw phosphorescent plankton one evening – It looked amazing through our mask and snorkel! Suggested time: Spend at least 2 days in Olympos.

 

Kas

If you are fit and up for an adventure, catch the ferry to the other side of the harbour and take it as far as you can, then snorkel the rest of the way to the underwater plane wreck! We saw a tonne of huge turtles on the way and even if you can’t freedive, you can still see the plane while snorkelling from the surface (on a clear day). Moss was freediving next to the scuba divers! Suggested time: spend one day in Kas.

 

Fethiye

From Fethiye you can step aboard a 7 day sail Turkey cruise with V-Go Yachting. We also highly recommend a day trip to Saklikent. Suggested time: have one full day to explore, plus 7 days for sail Turkey.

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Marmaris

It is a popular destination for Brittish tourists and we did not like it. Suggested time: stay a maximum of one day in Marmaris.

 

Rhodes Island (Greece)

You can catch the ferry to Rhodes Island from either Fethiye or Marmaris. The island is part of Greece and even though it is cheaper to visit for a day trip, we highly recommend riding a scooter around the island. The entrance to the harbour is also known for the Colossus of Rhodes wonder of the world. Suggested time: stay for at least 2 days.

 

Datca & Knidos

It is hard to find budget accommodation in Datca, so Airbnb might be your best choice. We hired a scooter and did a day trip to the ancient ruins in Knidos. Suggested time: Give yourself a full day to explore Knidos.

 

Bodrum

As well as being home to the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus wonder of the world, Bodrum also has an amazing underwater museum located inside a castle! Suggested time: Give yourself a full day in Bodrum.

 

Ephesus (Efes)

While Ephesus may make most people think of the local Efes beer, it is also a historic site containing a wonder of the world, the Temple of Artemis. It attracts a huge number of tourists and is very impressive. Suggested time: Give yourself half a day to explore the ruins.

 

Pamukkale

A magical place that is truly one of a kind. It is inland from Izmir therefore you can choose when it suits you best to visit. It costs 25TL per person to enter Pamukale and gives you entrance to Hierapolis archaeological site which is certainly worth a look! Suggested time: one full day to explore (we wish we were there from sunrise to sunset).

 

Canakkale & Galippoli

For those fellow Australian’s and New Zealander’s, Galippoli is where the ANZACs battled with the Turks. I highly recommend a day tour – we joined one in Canakkale and the ANZAC Hotel was fantastic accommodation that did not break the bank! From Canakkale you can also visit Troy, however in my opinion the smaller version of the wooden horse in Cannakkale looks cooler. Suggested time: one full day with a paid tour.

Cannakale2 (800x600)

 

What to wear in Turkey?

First of all, you will see a lot more men in the streets than women. Some people may tell you that dressing respectably is not necessary, but unless you enjoy having every man on the street gawking at your bare legs, and shoulders I highly recommend packing a maxi dress and tshirt/shawl to wear during your stay in Istanbul (it is far too hot for jeans!). In most other locations outside of Istanbul, I felt fine wearing typical beach attire, however I did receive some harassment from local boys while swimming off the rocks in Antalya – anyone would think they had never seen a girl in a bikini before!

Public Transport in Turkey

I highly recommend catching the buses everywhere! Avoid taxis if you can. For peace of mind it is probably best to book the bus at least one day prior if you have to reach a specific location. But there are usually enough seats to be found on board, just be aware of Ramadan in July as all the locals will be visiting their family, making seats very limited. Booking is easy, simply go to a bus station and choose from the many different bus companies that are going to your destination.

General cost during 2014:

  • Olympos to Fethiye cost 32TL per person
  • Bodrum to Kusadasi cost 33TL per person with Pamukkale buses
  • Izmir to Denizli (near Pamukkale) cost 30TL per person with Pamukkale buses
  • Denizli to Fethiye cost 28TL per person with Pamukkale buses
  • Fethiye to Kas cost 20TL per person with Bati Antalya

Turkish Food

When we first arrived in Turkey I was excited by the food, however, after 9 weeks of eating on a budget with no kitchen available to use, I never wanted another Turkish breakfast or kebab ever again! However, I wouldn’t mind a secret stash of Browni Intense! It is a chocolate brownie bar sold at most stores/supermarkets which are very cheap and delicious!

Budget accommodation in Turkey

For our travels we set ourselves a budget of $NZ25 pp per night. In Turkey, this generally meant we had a private room due to it always being within our limit. There was never a kitchen available to use, however breakfast was nearly always included in the price and purchasing lunch and dinner from street vendors certainly did not break the bank.

Since May 2014, Rebecca has been wearing out her jandals. She loves anything that involves the ocean whether it be scuba diving, wakeboarding, jet skiing or more recently - sailing! Consider following her via RSS Feed, Twitter and Facebook.

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Adventure Travel

Medieval Towns with German Castles Near Munich & Frankfurt

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Heidelberg Castle

Our favorite castles in Germany near Frankfurt and Munich:

Neuschwanstein Castle is there somewhere amongst all the fog!

Neuschwanstein Castle is there somewhere amongst all the fog!

We were crazy enough to visit Neuschwanstein Castle on a public holiday. This meant that along with all the Asian tourists, there were an awful lot of Germans. Plus, even though we arrived by 11 am, the soonest tickets we could buy were for the German tour at 2.30 pm, as the terms in English were sold out until 4 pm. So, if you don’t have German friends at hand to translate the tour for you, we recommend booking in advance online. The castle was impressive, and the time was undoubtedly fascinating! Don’t worry, I won’t spill the beans, but the manmade Grotto room made my jaw drop!

Mespelbrunn Castle

Mespelbrunn Castle

Mespelbrunn Castle is located on a pond between Frankfurt and Wurzburg. Unfortunately, we arrived 30 minutes after its closing time of 5 pm, but it looked cool from behind the fence!

Lichtenstein Castle

Lichtenstein Castle

Lichtenstein Castle is located on a clifftop near Stuttgart and costs 6 euros per person for a tour in German; however, they did give us a very informative written guide in English. This castle is small compared to Hohenzollern castle, but its story is fascinating. Tanks shelled it in World War II, and today you can still see the cracked mirror from where a small fragment of a tank grenade ricocheted!

Hohenzollern Castle

Hohenzollern Castle

Hohenzollern Castle is not too far from Lichtenstein Castle. It is located on a hilltop near Hechingen, and we enjoyed the guided tour. Along with getting to wear GIANT slippers, make sure you explore the casemates and secret passages. One sign made me want to learn more. It read, “Exactly where these steps lead to is unknown. More casemates and secret passageways are likely waiting to be discovered in the heart of the mountain”!

Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg Castle was a lot larger than we expected! Unfortunately, we had spent far too much time at the Auto & Technik Museum in Sinsheim, so we did not have time to explore this castle. But if we get the chance, we will explore the town and its castle next time in Germany.

On our drive from Munich to Frankfurt, we also loved:

Andechs Monastery

Andechs Monastery

The beer garden at Andechs Monastery was just like Oktoberfest but amongst trees and more family-friendly. The beer was cheaper, and the food was great, including the giant pork knuckle, which Moss could not finish. It was also fun walking up multiple flights of stairs to the tower’s very top.

River surfing in Munich

River surfing in Munich

Rothenburg

Rothenburg

Three hours in Rothenburg was not enough to explore this wonderful medieval town! We recommend getting your hands on a city map from the tourist information office. We enjoyed Roder Gate, walking along the wall and exploring the 17th-century spital bastion, plus Moss lost me in the Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas shop for over half an hour, and I didn’t even buy anything!

Bamberg

Bamberg was a neat town with old buildings in the center of the river and had a famous smoked beer which Moss just had to try!

Auto Technik Museum in Sinsheim

I’m not the hugest car or plane fanatic, but even I enjoyed the Auto & Technik Museum in Sinsheim. A highlight for me was sliding out of an airplane (from the museum’s roof)!

The worlds narrowest street

Don’t go out of your way to see it, but the world’s narrowest street in Reutlingen is worth a photo if you are passing through.

Frau Rauscher spitting statue Frankfurt

In Frankfurt, go to the old part of town for an apfelwein and see the Frau Rauscher statue – watch out, she spits about every 12 seconds!

The average person would Google Munich to Frankfurt and see that it only takes about 3 ½ hours depending on how fast you wish to drive on the autobahn! However, we are NOT typical. We took one look at train prices and decided that hiring a car wouldn’t cost too much more.

Suppose you’re interested in traveling to Germany for a damn good deal. In that case, plenty of tour companies have some pretty unique and affordable vacation packages to Berlin, Munich, and Bavaria.

It may be small but this building on Trappensee Lake is classed as a castle!

It may be small, but this building on Trappensee Lake is classed as a water castle!

We aren’t going to tell you our exact route. Still, after surviving Oktoberfest in Munich, we did a giant zigzag to see as many castles and medieval towns as possible. So to save you doing so much driving, we have picked our favorite cities and castles. First of all, ‘Ausfahrt’ is not a destination accessible from every off-ramp! It means ‘Exit’! Another word of wisdom to keep in mind is that the autobahns with speed limits do have speed cameras… and the flash is blinding!

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Adventure Travel

Running with the Bulls Video

Our shaky Running with the Bulls Video footage from the Festival de San Fermin in 2012. Experience it first hand in Pamplona. Enjoy.

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San Fermin Running with the Bulls still

We recently wrote about our life or death experience of Running with the Bulls this year at the Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona. On that run, I carried along with our GoPro video camera and tried to shoot some footage for our running with the video of the bull.

Running with the Bulls Video, Pamplona

Running with the Bulls

All our travel video shooting techniques went out the window when the bulls’ hooves started to shake the ground beneath our feet.

Once we had lined up for the running with the bulls, there was no escape from it as we were walled in by apartment blocks, shopfront windows, and 3-meter high wooden barriers packed with photographers along the entire length. At one end lay the relative safety of the bull ring pulsating with the cheers of the crowd who were still partying from the night before. Behind me, a dozen wild bulls pawed the stony ground looking for freedom.

Unfortunately, I was standing in their path. 

What we ended up with is below. However, I think what we filmed for our running with the bull video captures the chaos, craziness, and complete madness a lot better than if I had stood my ground.

Enjoy it and watch for the guy that nearly gets trampled to death near the beginning!

Running with the Bulls Video

Would you ever consider running with the bulls?

While we are very aware that not all people agree that the San Fermin Festival should be allowed to go ahead mainly due to animal cruelty, we think there are two sides to every story. We wrote a post about the controversy surrounding Bullfighting in Spain and the Festival de San Fermin.

We would love to hear your thoughts on the Festival de San Fermin and whether you would ever consider running with the bulls.

If you want to join the next Festival of San Fermin or any other wild festivals in Europe, such as Sail Turkey, book with our partners Busabout.

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Adventure Travel

Outdoor Activities in Bangkok – Adventure City Guide

Find out how you can explore the streets, canals and local markets within minutes of Bangkok with our Outdoor Activities in Bangkok Adventure City Guide.

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Outdoor Activities in Bangkok - The Klongs

Are you looking for an insider’s adventure travel guide for the best outdoor activities in Bangkok?

As part of our Adventure City Guide series, Ian from Where Sidewalks End shares his expert insider tips on the top adventure and outdoor activities to do in Bangkok.

Outdoor Activities in Bangkok - Adventure City Guide

Outdoor Activities in Bangkok – Adventure City Guide – Photo by Evoflash

Why visit Bangkok for adventure?

Bangkok is one of the world’s largest metropolises and a gateway for most of the world to access the rest of South East Asia. With numbers surpassing 14 million people in the Greater Bangkok Region, this is no small player in the world’s super-cities. Of course, having such a long history with foreign visitors, the city has become incredibly established in the world’s tourist sector.

This has allowed it to grow many facets of adventurous activities – making access to something for everyone!

Outdoor Activities in Bangkok

Exploring the Klongs

Outdoor Activities in Bangkok - The Klongs

Outdoor Activities in Bangkok – The Klongs

Klongs are canals that used to feed the entire city with life-giving water, branched off from the city’s main artery – the Chao Phraya River. Today, the locals wouldn’t drink the water if you paid them, but there is still a fascinating life along the Klongs’ banks. There is so much to explore, from floating markets to old houses on stilts, and it gives insight into this ancient way of life!

What’s it cost, and how to get to the Klongs?

You can usually arrange the Klongs from the pier “Saphan Taksin” along the Chao Phraya River. This is conveniently a stop on the Skytrain, making it very easy to access. Usually, you will be renting the entire boat for the day (about 1000 THB, or USD 35) and not paying a per-person rate. So if you can find a few people to go with, the price will drop significantly per person.

Rickshaw City Tours

If you’ve never been to Asia before, Rickshaws are one of the most fun ways to get around. Although they can often be a little more expensive than metered taxis, you get an experience (and a view) that is unparalleled, especially in the busy streets of Bangkok.

What’s it cost?

Occasionally, you can even haggle a deal for a city tour for next to nothing (50-100 THB or $1.50-3 USD), as long as you visit a couple of affiliated ‘custom suit tailors’ throughout the day, as they’ll get a kickback from the shops just for bringing you there… No purchase is necessary.

You can often find Tuk Tuk drivers willing to do this standing along the perimeter of the Kings’ Palace. It may take a few attempts of asking for a ‘special city tour,’ but you will be bound to find someone ready for a cut of this business.

Outdoor Activities in Bangkok - Rickshaw Tours

Outdoor Activities in Bangkok – Rickshaw Tours

Local Secret Spot

Chatuchak Market

Though most people wouldn’t consider going to a market an adventure, they probably have never experienced the likes of Chatuchak (also known as JJs). This is one of SE Asia’s LARGEST outdoor markets. It’s so prominent that you can find maps of the market to help navigate. It’s roughly the size of 4 city blocks and is divided into various sections.

You’ll find everything under the sun here, from clothing to handicrafts, food, mobile phones, and even puppies and other cute critters for sale!! It’s bonkers. If it gets too much for you, you can take a break in one of Bangkok’s most famous parks (Chatuchak park), located next to the market.

How to get there?

You can get here via Skytrain (BTS), subway (MRT), taxi, bus, you name it – it’s very accessible! But it’s only open on weekends, from about dawn until 5 or 6 pm at its peak. Some shops stay open longer, but most will be closed by dusk. It’s free entry and a perfect place to buy ANY souvenirs at the end of your time in Thailand.

Suppose you can coordinate to be here on the weekend. I generally hate shopping for ‘stuff,’ but I love this market and its energy!

Outdoor Activities in Bangkok - Chatuchak Markets

Outdoor Activities in Bangkok – Chatuchak Markets

Best time of the year to visit Bangkok for adventure?

Bangkok is in the tropics and quite close to the Equator. Of course, this means it’s hot on a year-round basis.

It’s considered the rainy season from May to October, though showers can happen at any time of the year. This is generally a less busy time for tourists, though the rains are not quite as bad as expected and often only last 30 mins-1 hour, cooling the city’s heart. Peak season is in December-January when temperatures are at their most astounding ad driest… though it’s still pretty hot!

And if Bangkok isn’t to your taste, the luxury Koh Samui will be. Endless sandy beach, beautiful clear waters, and nightlife that could be lived in forever. The luxury rental properties are stunning, and we recommend Tempston Luxury villa rentals.

Finally, the reason I love Bangkok for adventure is that…

It’s never-ending. This city is SO BIG that you could get lost in a new neighborhood almost every day. Single. Day. And still find new, exciting things to explore. On my list for the upcoming weeks, I’ve got the Scala Cinema, the Thai Air Force Museum, Papaya Vintage Shop, and the Erawan Museum – to name a few. Every time I explore one place, I learn of 3 more!!

BIO:

From a young age, Ian was always a wanderer. He’s since travelled to all 7 continents, and has spent the majority of his life pursuing this passion. You can follow him in his off-the-beaten-path adventures and discoveries on TwitterFacebook, Google+ and his travel blog Where Sidewalks End.

Have you been to Bangkok? What were your favorite outdoor activities in Bangkok?

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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