Turkiye – Antalya & Pamukkale

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As soon as we touched down Antalya at around 10.30pm (local time), we were pleasantly surprised by the state-of-the-art architecture and the enormous size of the airport. As we made our way to collect our luggage we passed by a few advertisements stating that this airport was voted the best airport in Europe. We were very impressed needless to say. However, we were quite put off by the fact that we had to wait for more than 45 minutes for our luggage; and as a result, we missed the pick-up service by our guesthouse. Out of desperation, we took a taxi to get to our guesthouse – White Garden Pansion (booked through Hostelworld).

Like most guesthouses or pensions in Antalya, they are mainly located within the vicinity of the Old Town area (Kaleici) and they are built in beautiful vintage houses and often come with swimming pools! We got ourselves a really gorgeous room equipped with air-conditioning and an en-suite bathroom for just 18Euros and breakfast is inclusive, and that’s quite a steal :)

Our 18-euro ensuite bedroom :)
Guesthouse pool

The next morning, we were treated to a hearty Turkish breakfast consisting of goats cheese puff, olives (of at least 10 different types), yogurt, bread, etc. After breakfast, we set out to explore the old town and beyond. Antalya, though not as huge and bustling as Istanbul, it has her own charm and history. It is the largest city on the Southern Turkish Mediterranean costline and is also known as the Turkish Riviera, the juxtaposition of the Old Town charm and the Mediterranean sea is one of the highlights of Antalya. The Hadrian Gate which was formerly built by the Roman conquerors,  is also one of the attractions to look out for. The Old Town as of today is pretty much a tourist hub/hotspot where most Turkish businessmen congregate to set up establishments/stalls touting or pestering tourist passers-by to buy their goods. And be warned! Roads and alleys are poorly signposted and hence you will have a hard time finding your way out of the labyrinth, so armed yourselves a map (which in most cases do not help much), compass and a good sense of direction (or GPS if u have one).

One of the streets in the labyrinthine Old Town
Hadrian’s Gate

Basing ourselves in Antalya gives us some benefits; and one of them being able to organise a day trip to Pamukkale. Getting to Pamukkale is easy if you sign up for one of the many packages offered by the guesthouses that you are staying; just a mere 3-4 hour bus ride will get you to the UNESCO Heritage Site. Getting there on your own might not be convenient due to the lack of public transportation going to the site.

Pamukkale which literally translates into “cotton castle” in Turkish, famed for the natural phenomena of warm, mineralised water, travertines and  calcite terraces which altogether form the breathtaking sight of white “castles”. Of course, the terraces are not the only sight, the site was formerly an ancient city of the Roman Bath known as Hierapolis where people have been bathing in these pools for thousands of years. It was believed that the mineralised water confers healing and therapeutic properties. Today, you can enjoy the hot springs and even walk barefooted along the travertines and terraces; and not to mention, ancient bath ruins, temples, amphitheatres of Greek/Roman architecture are aplenty.

Me at Pamukkale :)
Today you can enjoy the warm mineralised spring water barefoored.

 

 “Cotton Castle”
Amphitheatre at Hierapolis
Thermal spa at Hierapolis

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