Tag Archives: turkey

Three Must See Hidden Gems in Turkey

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Turkey is a country I am so not done with! Although (through my experience) Turkish airlines will most likely have you experience delays of 3-5 hours, but oddly enough, still get you to Istanbul Ataturk Airport at said time (which is 10 hours from New York) I kid you not – lol!

Next time you decide to visit this stunningly beautiful and culturally rich country, you definitely should take the path less travelled and check out these 3 hidden gems within the country:

BUTTERFLY VALLEY

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The coastline of Turkey is usually bustling with tourists and luxury resorts. On the contrary, the Butterfly Valley (or Kelebekler Vadisi in Turkish) is serene, untouched and completely secluded.

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Located in the south of Turkey on the west coast, the valley is only accessible via water taxi or boat. So picturesque, you will find majestic waterfalls, a wide beautiful beach with turquoise water so clear and calm it looks like a painting, treehouses, magical sunsets and forests that appear straight out of a fairytale all tucked away in the valley, waiting to be discovered by its explorers.

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It’s no surprise that the valley, rich in flora and fauna, takes its name from the large number of butterfly species found here.

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Butterflies of many varieties in a wide range of colors can be observed in the valley between June and September.

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ISHAK PASHA PALACE

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Located in the isolated region of Dogubeyazit, this palace is a striking example of rare historical Turkish palaces. It is one of the most distinguished and magnificent examples of the 18th century Ottoman architecture and is very valuable in terms of art history. According to the top of the door inscription at the Harem Section, it was constructed in 1784, according to the Islamic calendar.

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The palace, set on a hill, is grandeur in many ways than one; it has several rooms and courtyards just waiting for a glance. İshak Pasha Palace stands at a desolate valley today and the fact that it was the subject of various legends and stories add to its magnificent atmosphere some colour and mystery. It’s haunting beauty will definately allure you, and the view from the palace is a striking bonus!

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Entrance from the outer to inner courtyard

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Inner courtyard

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DERINKUYU UNDERGROUND CITY

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The deepest underground city in Cappadocia, this ancient city was built during the Byzantine era between 780-1180 AD, when it was heavily used as protection from Muslim Arabs during the Arab–Byzantine wars. The city was connected with other underground cities through miles of tunnels. At a depth of more than 250 feet with a capacity of up to 20,000 people, this multi-leveled city, with over 600 entrances, contained everything an entire population would need to survive a history riddled with invasions. The tunnels were rediscovered in 1963, after a resident of the area found a mysterious room behind a wall in his home.

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~Karen Bahri

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Alacati, Izmir, Turkey – add this to your bucket list!

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Alacati, Izmir, Turkey – add this to your bucket list!

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Alaçatı is a unique Mediterranean town on Turkey’s Çeşme Peninsula, on the Aegean Sea. It’s known for its beaches, old stone houses, narrow cobblestone streets, vineyards and windmills.

 

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Alacati made its name in the world of windsurfing and kitesurfing, with its crystal clear water and consistently steady wind for over 150 years now. The Professional Windsurfing Association (PWA) Windsurfing World Cup is held here every year in August.

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What stands out the most about Alacati is that it is largely undiscovered outside Turkey, yet, many Turks, including several national celebrities, spend their holidays to escape the more touristy scene in Bodrum.

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Quiet and sleep a beach town it lays by day, but Alacati buzzes at night!

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The pictures do all the talking. Definitely something to consider adding to your 2018 travel itinerary!

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The best time to plan a trip is from the end of April through May or from September through October, when temperatures are still high (reaching over 20C), and prices are at their best value.

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-Karen Bahri

 

 

Sultan Cave Suites – Cappadocia, Turkey

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Set on a hill with breathtaking views, experience Cappadocia cave living in modern-day luxury!

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Terraced above the village of Goreme, this exotic hotel offers the modern traveler a unique cave hotel experience. Relax & enjoy breathtaking views from the many stone terraces. The most picturesque experience is taken place in the early morning at sunrise, where one can bask at the sight of hot air balloons adoring the sky! You may also enjoy the panoramic view overlooking the village and surrounding valleys, mountains and the Erciyes volcano in the background. Heavenly!

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Aside from the view, the hotel itself is a visual delight with each room, corner and terrace charmingly decorated with simple artifacts showing the unique history of the area.  Built over the ancient cave dwellings used for centuries by locals, all the original cave walls have been preserved and integrated harmoniously into the room designs.

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In addition to preserving local architecture, Mehmet Dasdeler (of Sultan Cave Suites) opened the Cappadocia Cultural Center in the hotel. The three gallery rooms showcase antiques from across the ages. The Cultural Center also supports local and international artists by offering classical concerts, local traditional music concerts and art exhibits by local and international artists.

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I highly recommend staying here if you are looking for a non-traditional, adventurous accommodation!

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Location: 50180 Göreme Belediyesi/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey

-Karen Bahri

The Land of Legends

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The Land of Legends

Imagine staying at a beautiful hotel that had the works – spa, shopping, fitness center, pool, restaurants, wifi, ect. Imagine all that with a theme park included!!!

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The Land of the Legends Theme Park is a unique concept that effortlessly blends all the aspects of a vacation into one!

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The hotel itself is custom designed with whimsical touches of fantasy to reflect the tales that have inspired the experience at the parks. Featuring a 5D Cinema throughout, which offers guests a really unique, multi-sensory experience!

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The park includes thrilling as well as more relaxed rides as well. From waterslides to rollercoasters. There’s even a dolphin show! They even have a mini Ocean called the “Wave Shock”. Prepare to get your splash on! There’s definately something for everyone!

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Semi-Olympic indoor pool and Kids Pool are also available. Custom-designed guest rooms and suites offer dual-screen LED TVs and Play Stations as well!

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The hotel’s spa provides holistic therapies and massages, Turkish Bath and fitness facilities. Aqua park offers a complimentary access to adrenaline-pumping rides and relaxed explorations including 55 water slides. There are also concerts held here, as well as premium shopping and spectacular views atop the Legends Tower! You can also swim with the dolphins or go snorkling.

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There is also a 24-hour front desk, valet parking service and gift shop as well at the property.

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Land of the Legend will cater to every traveler, presenting a spectacularly curated serious of luxury, lifestyle and entertainment! Child friendly, so bring your kids or bring out your inner child! Definitely worth looking into if traveling to Antalya and you’re looking for something out of the box, exciting and full of adventure!!

-Karen Bahri

Trips within Trips!

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So in my last blog entry, I mentioned my secret (well, not so much anymore!) idea of scoring a mini trip (otherwise known as extra long layover) on your way to your destination. I’ve done this twice now and I love it! It’s challenging in a fun way and I seemto spend a lot more time trying to plan out the 6ish or whatever hours I have on the layover trip than the actual trip!

Sometimes this idea doesn’t turn out as well as planned, other times it’s fabulous! I’ve dealt with both lol. On the two times I’ve done this!! So the first time, I was taking a weird flight to the UK and it stopped in Istanbul for I think 7-8 hours or something. I know, stop making that face! It was a cheap flight and I didn’t mind bc I’ve always wanted to go to Turkey!!! Now this layover was sooooo difficult to plan because there are SOOO many amazing places to see in Istanbul that when you are short on time and have to pick ONE bloody spot…ughhhhhhh!!!! I can’t!!!! And I’m seriously the most indecisive human being on this planet!!!!! I had a coworker who was Turkish so I asked her if there was maybe like a “suburb” that was close to the airport so I wouldn’t get stuck in traffic as everyone kept warning me about. She suggested her old neighborhood called ” Yesilkoy”. So I figured why not! It’s a local area & it would be cool to go to a complete local spot and get a feel for “real” Turkish life.

I did hardcore research on this place and found a coffee shop that looked nice that I figured if anything, I could sit there and people watch if I felt I would get lost walking around.

So now let’s fast forward to d-day! When I arrived in Turkey it was veryyy early a.m. I think like 5 am. The Istanbul airport is huge and extremely confusing!!! On top of that NOBODY SPEAKS ENGLISH!!! I also remember waiting a rediculous and unnecessary amount of time to exchange currency at the desk – which was painful because the rude lady didn’t speak English either.

Anyways, I got in a cab and I remember how beautiful Turkey looked from that cab ride! The ride was short and he dropped me off on some crooked road with not much around. To make a long story short, this Yesilkoy place was TINY. I took a little walk around. I guess it rained overnight because everything was damp. It was so early all the shops were closed too. I found a pier/harbor type area on the back end and walked around. I was soo done after about 20 minutes!!! I waited a bit though as I noticed shops were opening. The shops were cute. Streets were small and narrow and so were all the shops lol. There was a market/ grocery store that had opened, so I thought I would check it out as it’s usually fun going inside foreign grocery stores and seeing Mexican Cheerioes. All I remember is it was superrrr awkward!! They were still doing their morning set up and I was in the way…like everywhere I moved in that store!!! I was still in the way!!!! UURGHH! So I got back into a cab disappointed and just went back to the airport.

I’ll tell ya one thing though, I’m glad I did because as I mentioned earlier, that airport is super confusing, it took me 45 mins to figure out how to get past security!! Nobody could help me. Not a bloke spoke English and I couldn’t find an information desk!!! I have never cursed so much while traveling!! Omg!! I finally got on the other side and stayed put lol. I def want to go back and visit Turkey properly, and I willl! My experience sucked but it still was nice and I’m sure next time when I go I will have a better time! This was actually the first time traveling to a foreign country all alone and I am proud of myself for that! I did manage to grab some photos though. I can’t seem to find these funny pics of all the dogs sleeping on the street! Aahhh well! Take a look:

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So my other “trip within a trip” was discussed in my previous blog. Abu Dhabi!! That was success. Abu Dhabi was soo clean, so gorgeous, didn’t feel as foreign as Istanbul did, as weird as that sounds! Here are a few pics from that trip within a trip. YES there are way too many pics. NO, I can’t help myself 🙂 you will soon discover I am a picoholic 🙂 in fact, message me directly if you would like to see more photos. I took tons from the Grand Mosque. It’s just tedious to upload on here!

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