Melissa C. Koh

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Cappadocia Travel Guide

Turkey

Cappadocia, a mythical land in Turkey, is one of those world wonders like no other. It look as though it came straight out of your dreams. Absolutely stunning landscapes, a majestic work of mother nature, the magical sunrise and sunsets, hundreds of hot air balloons in the sky are among a few things that make Cappadocia so fascinating and so special. This trip, without any doubt, was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life.

We went during quite a cold season, and were freezing our asses off for most of the time, so I’d recommend visiting just before or after summer. We were there for just two days, but it was hardly enough. So I’d say take at least three or four days to fully explore, relax and discover.

#1: Get on a HOT AIR BALLOON!
Cappadocia is a geological oddity of honeycombed hills, looking as if it were plucked from some whimsical fairytale. You get the best birds eye view of towering bolders and seemingly endless stone plateaus, valleys and otherworldly beauties from the balloon ride. Not to mention the right before your eyes, a close up of other flying balloons in the sky and a sunrise view that is like no other.
The whole experience was absolutely surreal and insanely magical. We booked our ride with Turkiye Balloons where we were up in the air for about an hour, contemplating on the spectacular sights of Cappadocia and taking in every single bit of the moment, wishing for it to last forever.

#2: Stay in a CAVE HOTEL!
I heard that the locals protect themselves from the extreme weather (high temperature and strong winds in summer, heavy snow in winter) by carving their houses into the stone pillars. Many houses, churches, and in fact the whole city was built in that way in the Roman period. Nowadays, these buildings are still around but most of them are being used for tourism. Cave hotels are quite the perfect way to live like a local in Cappadocia. We stayed at the Museum Hotel this time and had one of the best and most luxurious and unique stays in our lifetime. It was really cosy, comfortable and the service was impeccable. We even had a massage with a stunning view of the landscape. I felt like I was in a teleported to a forgotten fairyland separated from the modern world.

#3: Visit Gorëme and the MAGIC CARPET SHOP!
The pristine beauty of the arid plateau and peaceful way of life here are greatest draw to Cappadocia for me. The locals’ lives are so rustic and simple. Their primary occupations are farming, producing and selling handicrafts like carpets and pottery, and providing tourism services. I found them to be extremely friendly and hospitable. We chanced upon this carpet shop that sold the most beautiful hand-woven carpets I’ve ever seen and I was so intensely drawn to the beautiful and intricate work of the carpets that I bagged home two pieces for our new place. The beautiful hand woven carpets in our house has a nice story behind it.

How to get there:
From Istanbul Atatürk Airport, you can book a flight to Kayseri Erkilet Airport. It is about an hour’s drive to Museum Hotel which is in Uçhisar — The highest point of the region with it’s natural rock castle.
It’s easy to arrange a transfer or shuttle bus from Kayseri Airport to Cappadocia. Museum Hotel arranged the transfers for us.
You can also travel to Cappadocia by bus or train but I’d really recommend a flight as it is the fastest way and relatively inexpensive.

Where to stay:
I would definitely recommend a cave hotel like Museum Hotel for a holistic experience. There are many other beautiful cave hotels in the area and they’re definitely on my list for future trips.
There are also many accommodation options in Urgup, Goreme, Uchisar and Avanos towns for every budget of traveler. I believe looking for accomodation in Cappadocia wouldn’t be too difficult but it’s advisable to block your dates and book early!

Thoughts:
I wish that we had a little more time to experience the many other things that Cappadocia could offer us. We wanted to go horseback riding at sunrise but we only had two mornings to spare– so one morning was spent in our hotel with breakfast and a swim and the other was spent going on a hot-air balloon.

Cappadocia is probably the only vacation you’d take and forgo sleep. There are also many outdoor activities to do like hiking, which we will definitely keep in mind during our next visit in the summer. We also missed some very famous sights like the Göreme Open Air Museum, but I guess we have many reasons to return in the near future!
Cappadocia is a serious natural beauty with historical and archaeological wonders that date back to ancient times. It was nothing like a usual day in my life. I’m so blessed and thankful to have had this honeymoon of my dreams turn to reality.

This has got to be one of the most incredible and memorable trips I’ve taken in a long time.
See you again, real soon, Cappadocia!

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