Sorry that this blog post is a bit delayed, been getting back to the swing of things at work. I also am preparing for a month and a half trip to Malaysia in a few weeks. I will be going for a week of vacation, followed by a conference and research collaboration. Before I head out on this adventure I hope to finish up my Turkey blog. By the way, I made a Youtube video, feel free to watch it!
Where I last left off was my trip to Pamukkale. While doing Google searches, people made it seem like it would be super difficult to use public transport to get there, and they recommended hiring a driver, which would have been around $150. But after asking around (and hearing different recommendations) and reading several online blogs, we found out that there is a bus station in Antalya (called the Antalya Otogar) which is a stop along the tram. This bus station have trips to many of the cities around Turkey. I found a website on the internet that suggested using an app called “obilet” where you could search for a destination and see results from several companies. The app was all in Turkish, so we used Google Translate to find out what to type. We were super careful to get the correct time and date, but it was pretty straight forward. We found that most of the seats were full, but there was space for us in the back of the bus. We reserved it the night before, and it was just 50 lira ($9) for this 4 hour journey. In the morning we got to the Otogar about an hour before our bus departure, got some breakfast in the terminal, and then found our bus. The company we used was called “Pamukkale” and it was a super easy and harmless bus trip. We stopped every hour to use the bathroom and walk around and get snacks. The bus also had free coffee and tea and snacks which was lovely. We left Antalya at 7:30 AM and arrived to Pamukkale around 11/11:30ish. There was a service at the bus station where you could leave your luggage there, so we paid a few dollars so we didn’t have to go to the hot springs with all our bags. We asked around and eventually found an English speaker who told us which smaller bus (dolmas) that brought us right to the hot springs. The bus was only like 4 lira/person ($0.70). The bus took about 20 minutes to get there since there were several stops on the way. But still way cheaper than a taxi, and it was super easy. We arrived at our destination, and walked through the cute village passing by several restaurants. After about 2 minutes we could see this hill/mountain covered in white, literally looking like a snow resort in the middle of nowhere. It was super cool to see. Of course the white matter was not snow, but actually an accumulation of minerals from a spring on the top of the hill.
Pamukkale is considered a UNECO world heritage site. The white terraces are what makes this site one of the most visited tourist attractions in Turkey. It is located in Denizili in Southwestern Turkey. The travertine pools were formed by rock and minerals depositing from seventeen naturally occurring hot springs.Part of the travertines are off limits to prevent damage from tourists. But there is a set path that tourists can take. You have to remove your footwear and walk barefoot, which was fine with me. We started on the bottom of the hill, which was significantly less crowded than the top, so we took photos, and dipped our feet in the pools. It was such a weird/cool sight. I absolutely loved it and highly recommend coming to see it for yourself. The entrance was 50 lira ($9) which is steep for the country but definitely worth it. We took about an hour to reach the top, where there were some cafes and museum. On the way up you can an amazing view of the surroundings, it is very beautiful, I can really only describe with photos.
We skipped the museum and walked directly to an area called Cleopatra’s Antique Pool. Here, you can pay to swim around in crystal clear spring waters. Unfortunately, you had to pay and it was full of tons of tourists so we decided to skip that and just look instead of swim. Apparently, the pool was a gift from Marc Anthony to Cleopatra, hence the name. It was once surrounded by a Roman temple with an ornate roof, but now you can still see columns in the pool. George and I got a gelato and sat next to the pool and cooled off.
After this snack break we headed to the theater, called Hierapolis. Hierapolis is an ancient city, including a theater and several ruins. It was believed that the theater was constructed around 60 AD.
After walking to the theater and enjoying the views, we headed back down to the travertines and did a quick walk along the dried side of the mountain. Eventually we decided it was time to head down to catch out 3:30 bus. On our way down we took another hour to appreciate the landscape, take photos, and rub the clay on our legs for a bit of a spa experience. We made our way back to the cute village, and went on a search for yummy vegetarian food. After several failed attempts with finding an open spot, we found an Asian restaurant. They had veggie pad thai, complete with homemade tofu and noodles. We got it to go since we were running a bit late. We found the small bus back to the otogar, and only had to wait a few minutes. Luckily, there were no stops and we went directly to the bus station in only like 10 minutes. We arrived at the bus station, picked up our luggage and bus tickets, and then while we waited to ate out late lunch. This bus was a bit smaller, and the company was called Fethiye. (Fethiye is also the name of the next city we were heading to), this time a 3 hour drive away. This transport we also arranged the day before using Obilet, and we were glad we did since all the seats were full. This bus was a bit more cramped, but it had wifi! We last minute emailed our hostel to see if we could come a day earlier and the owner was super kind and said he had availability. We arrived around 10:00, and took a taxi from the Fethiye Otogar to the guesthouse. The location of the hotel was incredible, with a beautiful view of the harbor. He gave us some recommendations on how to get to our destination the next day (a hike we wanted to do), and we had a great night sleep. We even got to “sleep in” until 8:00 because we wanted to get the free breakfast.