The most obvious question to be asked when I have finished my recent trip is, “Why Turkey?”. This was also a topic of discussion even when I met travelers in Turkey. Everyone asked each other why did they chose Turkey as travel destination. There were couple of reasons that helped me decide.
1. Not many Indians travel there as tourist. I met a lot of people going to Istanbul but everyone had connecting flight to some other place in Europe. I wanted to explore a country not visited yet by Indian Tourists.
2. It was my first entry in Europe. I had never been outside Asia. Though only 3 % of country is in Europe but it still counts :).
3. Weather condition matched my travel time. It was summer season and as Indian I felt it will be easy to adjust to weather than some other time in chilly winters.
4. Cost of living though higher than Asia is still considerably lower than Europe specially popular destinations of Western Europe.
5. Turkey has large number of interesting tourist places other than Istanbul. Most of the people will associate only Istanbul with Turkey but surprisingly Istanbul was not my favorite part of trip. It was the unknown Cappadocia region.
So once the destination was decided the next step was to finalize the itinerary. I was surprised by the number of options available to choose and number of days I had appeared very less. Since this was my first solo trip, I decided to stick to popular tourist places. I chose places that are a mix of Natural Scenery, historical places and Urban Cities. Moreover the three cities I chose had good connectivity among them with multiple modes of travel like flight and overnight buses so that even if I miss a bus or flight on a particular day, I can easily reach by alternate possible option/way.
I started my research from Official Tourist website of Turkey and then took help from various bloggers across the world who have been there. I rely more on feedbacks from bloggers as they present a practical picture of place and also some useful tips. E.g. One blogger had advised to go to Izmir directly from Istanbul on arrival so that to and fro airport transfer in Istanbul is only once. Which turned out to be both time and cost saving tip.
Based on various reviews and my interests, I included Izmir and Cappadocia and obvious choice of Istanbul in my itinerary. It is also a round trip starting from Istanbul by moving first to south-west then Central region and finally back to Istanbul. The first hop was at Izmir which is also close to various tourist places and thus acted as a base for day trips. The second hop was in Cappadocia region and the base was Goreme town and the last hop was Istanbul.
In subsequent posts, I will describe in detail how to execute this plan. Till then you can go through the pictures in Photo Album giving an idea of what is coming next.