Top-notch travel guide Busabout Review
Busabout had me at “free Lonely Planet.” With the promise of a complimentary top-notch travel guide, assistance obtaining an international SIM card, and an itinerary jam-packed with the best of Turkey, I was totally sold on booking my Turkish exploration through this travel agency. Out of all their amazing trips, I opted for the 9 day “ANZAC Turkey Adventure.” The trip ended up being the perfect mix of party, nature, history and food.
I met my new travel buddies and tour guide when boarding the bus in the busy city of Istanbul, after spending a few days exploring on my own. I was ready to leave the hustle and bustle behind and see the rest of what Turkey has to offer. The tour guide immediately had us feeling comfortable, and he explained every leg of the trip in detail, putting any worries to rest.Our first stop on the tour was at Gallipoli, the famous ANZAC battlefields site. We were treated to an awesome Turkish barbecue, complete with kebabs, tons of bread, yogurt, rice and fresh vegetables. My booking guide at Busabout made sure to tell me to bring a sleeping bag or tent, because we spent our first night snoozing under the stars.
The sound of the Last Post bells woke us up bright and early, and the ANZAC ceremonies began. We spent the day touring the region and participating in the various ceremonies commemorating the historic event. There was so much history and significance to this event, and I truly learned a lot before we headed to the hostel for the night.
The next leg of the trip was Ephesus, one of the most spectacular open air museums in the world. It is no secret that Turkey holds the key to so many ancient civilizations and ruins, but I had never anticipated how astonishing they would actually be. After seeing Troy on the way, I didn’t think the ruins could get any more impressive. Ephesus proved me wrong. Our guide provided us a tour of the ancient Roman city. We walked the city streets, saw the coliseum, visited the latrines, and even got a peek of the harem. Most grandiose of all was the library, which apparently had a secret underground passage to the harem. That’s my kind of library. We escaped the sun’s rays that night when we went back to our hotel which had an awesome pool!
Once again, we had a bright and early morning for the journey to Pamukkale. Pamukkale has one of the most unique natural landscapes that I have ever seen. At first glance, the mountainside looks like it is iced over, as if it were a glacier. However, once we entered the location and got a closer look, you can see that they are not frozen at all. The calcium travertines create a white landscape with turquoise thermal pools. We took our shoes off and walked along the formations and then weaved our way through the ruins to Cleopatra’s Pool, which apparently has the best water in the world. A swim with the ancient ruins completed the day at Pamukkale, and it was back to the bus for the leg of the trip to Saklikent Gorge.
After a night spent in a tree house (yes, a tree house!) we awoke amidst the canopy and amazing views. We headed back down to ground level and jumped in a tube to get wet in the Xanthos river. The end of our rafting adventure dumped us near mud pools. My skin was feeling amazing after two days of treatment! The combination of Cleopatra’s holy water and Saklikent’s muddy river had me feeling as soft as a baby’s bottom!After rounding up the gang at Saklikent Gorge, we headed down to the seaside village of Fethiye. Quaintly settled on the coast of the Aegean Sea, Fethiye is also home to ancient ruins. We saw the ancient medina before settling down for yet another delicious Turkish dinner before boarding our home for the next three days, the sail boat. It was good we had already gotten to known each other on the tour, because now there would truly be no escape from one another.
The three day cruise kicked off with a stop at Cleopatra’s Baths, Hamam Bay. We had a dip in the warm salty waters, once again amidst ancient Roman bath ruins. The next stop was Sarsala Bay, where a few of us decided to take our tour guide’s recommendation and hike to ancient Lissa. It was a picturesque 45 trek with incredible views. We then sailed to Bedri Rahmi Bay for another swim and had free time to explore the tiny island. We were treated to more delicious Turkish food and quite a few shots of the famous Turkish liquor Raki before passing out in our cabins.
The last day of sailing led us to the Yassica Islands, which are so tiny that they haven’t received individual names. The white sandy beach was a perfect way to lay out and give ourselves an escape from our Raki-induced hangovers. There was a beautiful pool cape off a nearby lagoon, and then we headed to the famous Gocek Islands, a hugely popular Turkish vacation destination. We went snorkeling and had a look at the colorful world underneath the water and then went swimming at Red Island. Samanlik Bay was our final destination for the night, where feasting and rinking once again ensued.
We were dropped back off at Fethiye as our final destination. The tour guide gave us some great recommendations on places to see, and even helped us to organize our transportation to various locations. Busabout made my trip in Turkey truly unforgettable. Everything was so organized, and that was extremely valuable, especially in a country which I do not speak the local language. This trip was the perfect combination of education and party. We started off slow with tons of information, and we ended the trip with a real group bonding experience and tons of sun and fun. My ANZAC Turkish Adventure was truly a worthwhile investment and helped me to enjoy every single minute of it.
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