Fethiye to Kusadasi via Pamukkale & Ephesus: Day 08 & 09 Topdeck Turkey Explored Tour

Topdeck Turkey Explored / Turkey

On this next leg of the Topdeck Turkey Explored Tour we leave behind the sea and head to our next destination of Kusadasi. During our travels over the next two days we experience the fascinating carbonate terraces of Pamukkale and check out the ancient Roman city of Ephesus.


14 SEPTEMBER, 2013 – Fethiye to Kusadasi

This morning we leave bright and early, departing the costal town of Fethiye and heading towards another costal town, Kusadasi. We spend a couple of hours travelling on the bus inland first, before a visit to the UNESCO world heritage listed Pamukkale site which means Cotton Palace in Turkish.

Arrival in the town is around lunch time, so we head down to a local restaurant which has been set up to cater for big tour groups before heading to the actual site. On arrival we pay our entry fee and head on into the site and at this point be very aware of the inappropriately clothed Russian tourist lurking in their not so natural habitat, they are everywhere and not wearing much, leaving very little to the imagination.

People have been bathing in these white pools for thousands of years. Before the site was world heritage listed, hotels were built over the ancient Roman ruins and people were fee to do what they pleased within the pools. Since being given world heritage status, all buildings have been demolished and artificial pools have been constructed so the natural forming pools are not destroyed by the thousands of tourists visiting each year.

Signs clearly state that no one is to venture out onto the pools, but of course in the time we were there many people were caught doing just that. Guards are patrolling the area and if you hear a loud whistle being blown, someone is in the wrong. It is amazing though that a simple solution would be to build a small waist high fence.

Apart from the white terraces the area is surrounded by the ancient city ruins of Hierapolis, with one of the main attractions being the Theatre of Hierapolis which is still largely intact. Cleopatra’s Pool is another major drawcard to the city with its warm pools attracting swimmers for a small additional fee. Most of those people being attracted were the skimpily clad Russian tourists.

We were given plenty of free time to explore the area on our own, it was quite a hot afternoon so some of us sat under some trees in the shade after having a good look around making a game of commenting on what everyone was wearing (or not wearing) as they passed us.

Back on the bus we continued our journey towards the city of Kusadasi and checked into our hotel on arrival which was pretty large and quite modern, not in the best location to go out and see the town but it had impressive views of the sunset from the high rise tower. Our hotel is the Royal Palace Kuşadası Hotel which contains a pool and an impressive buffet every night for hotel guests, probably the best of any hotel on any stretch of this trip.

Tonight was party night for the Topdeck crew with our tour leader Tarik making it clear to everybody that it was compulsory for everyone to come out tonight for a bit of fun. We were picked up from the hotel by a mini party bus which had music pumping as loud as possible as we navigated the streets of Kusadasi. We then arrived at a club where we would spend the next couple of hours. Personally, as a non lover of the whole clubbing scene I went back to the hotel after few hours with the first bunch of people that wanted to return, but many others continued into the early hours of the morning.

15 SEPTEMBER, 2013 – Kusadadi  & Ephesus

Today our day is devoted to exploring the fascinating ancient Roman city of Ephesus a short 30km bus trip from our hotel. For our visit here we will be taken around by our guide and will learn about the importance of the city and the impact it had on the Roman Empire. This is one of the many important sites within Turkey, attracting thousands of tourists all year round and would have to be one of the best places to visit to see with your own eyes what an ancient Roman city looked like (excluding Rome itself of course).

On arrival we pay our entrance fee (while waiting check out the shop called “Genuine Fake Watches“) and start at one end of the city. The great thing about the site is that there is no need to backtrack over areas you have already looked at as you enter from one end of the city and exit from the other end of the city, great for not being overcrowded. Many of the ancient ruins are still being excavated to this day and are being reconstructed as close as possible to their original form.

As we navigate the main thoroughfare of the city we are told the many different stories behind significant parts of the city and it is explained to us the purpose of each of the main buildings that we pass. A lot of the time you will need to use your imagination and try to reconstruct the city with your own eyes.

The main part of the city that has been reconstructed is the façade of the Library of Celsus and this is where the bulk of tourists will gather and will be in the way of taking photos. Make sure you take photos of this area as you come down the hill, this is where your get the best view and the other people will not be recognisable in your photos.

One of the amusing stories for this building is that across the road from the Library was a brothel, so it is said that there used to be a tunnel running under the road from the library to the brothel in order for married men to tell everyone that they were going to the library to do some reading. When in fact they were going into the library to access the tunnel so they would not get caught out going to the brothel across the street.

Another largely intact part of the city is the massive theatre which is located at the end of the city tour. They say that the theatre was capable of holding 25,000 spectators. This figure is then used to estimate what the population of a city this size would have been back in those ancient times. The main road to the city is also in front of the theatre that lead down to the sea, which back in those times used to come right up to the city. It’s hard to believe as Ephesus is no longer a costal city, but the lands in the distance are all swamp land now as the water has receded.

After we have finished exploring Ephesus we jump back on the bus and head back into town, we are taken to the main city foreshore where we are free to grab our own dinner and look around the city. Most people head off and do their own thing while a small group of us had dinner with our tour leader Tarik at a restaurant he recommended serving all sorts of different meats. This was actually one of the best restaurants I had visited in Turkey and just demonstrates that you should eat where the locals go.

Some people then decided after dinner to stay in the city and wonder around, there is an old castle within walking distance while most people including myself were exhausted especially from all the walking around today and went back to the hotel for an early night.

Tomorrow we head off once again as our tour comes to a close in a few days, we get to see another ancient city this time Troy and we spend the night in the city of Canakkale near the Gallipoli battle fields.

NEXT: Kusadasi to Canakkale via Troy: Day 10 Topdeck Turkey Explored Tour

PREVIOUS: Konya to Fethiye via Saklikent Gorge: Day 06 & 07 Topdeck Turkey Explored Tour

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