Turkey: Black Sea & Beyond

9 Days from $885

START: Istanbul

FINISH: Istanbul

AGES: 15 - 99

THEME: Explorer

Overviewicon readmoreicon minus

Description

Switzerland-esque valleys and mountainscapes, Sri Lankan-style tea-covered hills, crumbling churches on the desolate grassy landscape of high steppe – these are the unexpected sides of Turkey. Changing hands between Greeks, Hellenes and Byzantines over centuries, eastern Turkey is a treasure trove of architectural and cultural wonders that’s somehow slipped under the radar for years. Retrace the path of the historic Silk Road from Istanbul and explore the lesser-known areas surrounding the Black Sea to the ‘pearl of the east’ Van. Head to the spectacular Kackar Mountains, visit Turkey’s renowned dairy country in Kar, and travel to the very edge of Armenia to marvel at rugged Mount Ararat. Wild, vast and gloriously lonely – this is a side of Turkey few get to see.

Start: Istanbul

Finish: Istanbul

Ages: 15 - 99

Theme: Explorer

Accommodation: Hotel (8 nights)

Destination: Istanbul

Highlights

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Go beyond the classic images of Turkey and explore the country's north and eastern regions, places of unexpected landscapes, Silk Road past, and the mix of history and culture with nearby Georgia, Armenia and Iran
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Discover a little piece of the alps in Trabzon, a Black Sea coastal city surrounded by lush green mountains and valleys, with a long Roman and Byzantine history
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Get a taste of Turkish flavours when visiting a tea farm in the green hills of Rize and taste traditional gravyer cheese near Kars
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Explore what was once the capital of an Armenian empire, an atmospheric ‘ghost town’ of crumbling ruins above the valley of the Arpa Cayi River
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Look down over the plains of Dogubayzit from Ishak Pasha Palace with Mount Ararat soaring in the distance

Itineraryicon readmoreicon minus

icon check Day 1 : Istanbul

Merhaba! Welcome to Turkey's inspiring capital, the continent-straddling metropolis that the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans have called home. This adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 1pm – make sure you have all your important documents and details for your leader. Double check with the hotel reception or the noticeboard for meeting confirmations. Following the meeting, explore the hidden laneways of Istanbul's Old Town on a guided walking tour, visiting hidden hans and mosques along the way. Perhaps get to know your fellow travellers better over a meze dinner.

icon check Day 2 : Trabzon

Leave the hum of Istanbul behind and catch a morning flight to Trabzon, a charming port city found along the edge of the Black Sea's far eastern shore and surrounded by lush green valleys and mountains. The former Empire of Trebizond is today a busy city, harbouring a fascinating history as the place where the last Byzantine Empire held out after the fall of Constantinople. The city has also been influenced over the centuries by the Greeks, Cimmerians, Medes, Hellenes, Byzantines and more, leading to a fascinating blend of cultures. This afternoon you’ll explore the old walled quarter of the city, which can feel like a miniature Istanbul without the crowds. Stroll the pedestrianised Uzun Sokak and visit the Church of the Holy Wisdom (also known as Hagia Sophia or Aya Sofya). This was most likely built by Emperor Alexius Comnenus in 1024 and is an important surviving example of late Byzantine architecture, filled with wonderful New Testament frescoes.

icon check Day 3 : Ayder Plateau

If you've heard the term “for all the tea in China”, then think again – Turkey consumes more tea than any other nation in the world! Gain a better understanding and appreciation for Turkish tea on a trip to Rize, the country's tea capital. Travel east along the coast, passing lush tea farms along the way, before sampling the local brew in Rize. Next, turn inland and travel to the foot of the Kackar Mountains to discover rolling fields fringed by craggy, frost-tipped mountains. Enjoy a late afternoon hike through alpine meadows, visiting a medieval castle and picturesque ancient stone bridges, before settling in for the night at the village of Camlihemsin.

icon check Day 4 : Erzurum

Head off to the west after breakfast this morning to the mountain-surrounded Erzurum, one of the oldest settlement centres in Anatolia. You’ll arrive in the afternoon and make a short visit to the symbol of the city – the striking twin towers of the Cifite Minarelli Medrese. Originally built as a theological school, this splendid building is now an architectural monument to the late Seljuk period. The last part of the day is spent at the ancient trading centre of Rustem Pasa Bedesten, a showcase for the region’s famous black amber Oltu stone, used in jewellery and tespihs (rosaries). In the evening, maybe sample some authentic Cag Kebab, a juicy log of lamb roasted on a horizontal spit. Travel time today: approximately 5.5 hours

icon check Day 5 : Kars

This morning continue to Kars.  Another day of beautiful scenery, enjoy the spectacular mountains, rivers and villages before arriving in Kars there’s time for one more stop,  and it’s a delicious one – cheese tasting. The village of Bogatepe has become so famous for its cheeses that they’ve built a museum dedicated to it. Up on a high plateau of meadows, this is dairy country, and a lot of the local cheese here is still made using traditional methods.  Arriving in Kars in the late afternoon take a walking tour around town to see the castle and Kumbet Camii, a beautiful Armenian church now converted into a mosque. In the evening, perhaps enjoy some roasted goose, a local specialty, for dinner, and you may even be lucky enough to catch some local musicians playing the baglama. Travel time today: approximately 4 hours.

icon check Day 6 : Dogubeyazit

Begin the day with a visit to the important site of Ani, the ruined capital of the medieval Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia. This kingdom originally had its capital in Kars, but in the 10th century King Ashot III decided to move it to this new location, which was closer to the main trade routes. Surrounded by rolling steppe on a headland above the valley of the Arpa Cayi River, and right on the border with Armenia, this atmospheric ‘ghost town’ of crumbling ruins makes for one of the most romantic sights in Turkey. Grab some lunch before continuing to the town of Dogubayazit, colloquially known as the 'doggy biscuit'. The three-hour drive will take you through the plateau village of Agri, which shares a name with the nearby Mount Agri (Ararat), the highest peak in the country at 5,165 metres. The mountain has biblical ties, as its said to be where Noah’s Ark rested while the world flooded. You’ll stop here to capture some photos of the magnificent scenery. Continue east to Dogubayazit and spend the afternoon exploring Ishak Paşa Sarayı (Ishak Pasha Palace). This semi-ruined former palace and administrative centre sits among rugged mountains with a magnificent view overlooking the plains below and Mount Ararat in the distance. Take time to wander the restored rooms and take in the stunning scenery. The rest of the evening is spent in Dogubayzit, offering a great opportunity to mix and chat with the locals. Todays travel time: aproximately 4 hours.

icon check Day 7 : Van

Apart from gifting the world with exotic cats, Van has a deep-rooted history going back as far as 5,000 BC. The city has been moulded by different civilizations and kingdoms throughout history, including Urartian, Armenian, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman influences. You can find their fingerprints scatted throughout the city, such as the Urartian Van Fortress and Armenian Holy Cross Cathedral. Nature has also blessed Van with an idyllic location right next to the largest body of water in Turkey. Travel to Van before taking a boat trip across the lake to Akdamar Island and visiting the Holy Cross Cathedral. This 10th century Armenian construction houses impressive faded frescos, while the exterior stonework is carved with epic biblical scenes. Afterwards, make the most of free time to wander town, visit the bizarre Lake Monster statue, and spot the occasional Van cat. Todays travel time: aproximately 2.5 hours.

icon check Day 8 : Istanbul

It’s time to farewell eastern Turkey as you take a flight from Van back to Istanbul (approximately 2 hours). After checking into your hotel you will take a public bus to the historical district of Balat and Fener. Located on the Golden Horn this area is listed on the Unesco World Heritage List due to its historical buildings. We will start our Tour at the Fethiye Museum which was the church of Pammakaristos built in the East-Roman period, from here we will stroll down to the Golden Horn taking in the local neighborhood and the colourful architecture. Have your camera well charged for this locality is a photographers dream. The rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore the city or relax. Perhaps explore the labyrinthine Grand Bazaar – a haven for bargain hunters with more than 4,000 shops – soak up the aromas of the Spice Market, take in the view of the Blue Mosque, head underground to the subterranean Basilica Cistern, or walk along Istiklal Caddesi, arguably the city’s most popular strolling, shopping and snacking street. Maybe relax with a steam, sauna and massage at a traditional Turkish hamam, or just sit at a cafe and take in the unique atmosphere. Istanbul offers a plethora of great eating spots and lively night venues; your tour leader knows all the best places, so they can recommend some great options.

icon check Day 9 : Istanbul

This Intrepid adventure comes to an end today. As there are no activities planned, you are free to depart your accommodation at any time. There is so much to see and do in and around Istanbul, so you may want to consider extending your stay here. Perhaps join one of our Urban Adventures and explore the city's thriving night markets. We are happy to book additional accommodation for you, subject to availability. Please enquire at the time of booking. 

What's Included?icon readmoreicon minus

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Meals

8 Breakfasts, 1 Dinner
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Transport

Private Vehicle, Plane
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Accommodation

Hotel (8 nights)
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Included Activities

  • Istanbul - Balat Walking Tour

Important Detailsicon readmoreicon minus

icon readmoreicon minusJoining Point

Golden Horn Hotel - Istanbul

Hocapasa Mah. Istasyon Arkasi Sk. No 9

Sirkeci

Istanbul

TURKEY

Phone: +90 2125141544

icon readmoreicon minusFinishing Point

Golden Horn Hotel - Istanbul

Hocapasa Mah. Istasyon Arkasi Sk. No 9

Sirkeci

Istanbul

TURKEY

Phone: +90 2125141544

icon readmoreicon minusImportant information

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT

A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights on your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.

INCLUDED FLIGHTS

This trip has two internal flight luggage restrictions of 15kg checked and 8kg cabin apply on most internal flights in Turkey.

TURKEY

We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest information on travelling in Turkey before your departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas of your itinerary. We have links to prominent government travel advisories and regular updates on issues affecting this trip on our Travel Alerts page - www.intrepidtravel.com/au/travel-alerts

icon readmoreicon minusGroup leader

All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. You can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. In Turkey, in accordance with local regulations your Leader will also be a licensed Tour Guide and will not only have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip; but will also have specialised knowledge on the sites visited and provide full guiding services.

icon readmoreicon minusSafety

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field: www.intrepidtravel.com/safety

FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms. BALCONIES: Some hotel balconies don't meet western standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm. TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware! SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts. PICK POCKETING & PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking at night and encourage you to walk in groups and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing. WATER SAFETY: Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water. TRAVEL ADVICE & TRAVEL INSURANCE We recommend that you check your government's advice in relation to the areas you will be visiting for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers.

SAFETY IN TURKEY: We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before your departure and that you ensure your travel insurance covers you for all areas in your itinerary. We have links to all major travel advisories and regular updates on issues affecting your trip on our safety page (link above). The safety of our travellers and staff is our first priority. We continue to monitor the situation through official travel advisories and our local operations team, and we’re able to quickly change arrangements if for any reason we become concerned. If there should be any changes to the situation you will be advised immediately. Whilst travelling in Istanbul before, after or during your tour we would recommend avoiding crowded areas like Taksim Square, Galatasaray and Kadikoy Meydan after 6.00pm especially on a weekend. If using public transport in the city please refer to http://www.iett.gov.tr/en for the latest updates and announcements.

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PASSPORT

As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required. Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.

VISAS

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

TURKEY:

Australia: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go

Belgium: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go

Canada: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go

Germany: No - not required

Ireland: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go

Netherlands: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go

New Zealand: No - not required

South Africa: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go

Switzerland: No - not required

United Kingdom: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go

USA: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go

Most nationalities require a visa to enter Turkey. Visas must be obtained through the e-Visa system. To apply for an e-visa, please go to https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/ at least two weeks before you arrive in Turkey. This multiple entry e-Visa costs USD60 as is valid for 90 days. Please note, visa costs can change at any time and with little notice depending on the political climate of the region.

Some countries do not require a visa at all. This includes passport holders from New Zealand, Argentina, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland for stays up to three months. We recommend all nationalities check with their local consulate o embassy as this information can change.

Entry Requirements – Passport Validity:

Foreigners entering Turkey must carry a passport with at least 60 days validity beyond the expiry date of their visa.

icon readmoreicon minusWhy we love it

Go beyond the classic images of Turkey and explore the country's north and eastern regions, places of unexpected landscapes, Silk Road past, and the mix of history and culture with nearby Georgia, Armenia and Iran

Discover a little piece of the alps in Trabzon, a Black Sea coastal city surrounded by lush green mountains and valleys, with a long Roman and Byzantine history

Get a taste of Turkish flavours when visiting a tea farm in the green hills of Rize and taste traditional gravyer cheese near Kars

Explore what was once the capital of an Armenian empire, an atmospheric ‘ghost town’ of crumbling ruins above the valley of the Arpa Cayi River

Look down over the plains of Dogubayzit from Ishak Pasha Palace with Mount Ararat soaring in the distance

icon readmoreicon minusIs this trip right for you

We recommend packing light, as you’ll need to carry your own luggage on and off transport and to and from hotels and please refer to the luggage restrictions on internal flights.

You’ll need your walking shoes, a hat, some sunscreen, and a daypack to explore some of historical sites. All site tours are guided, but you can wander at your own pace if you prefer.

There are some long travel days but the scenery is mighty spectacular so put your head phones in and enjoy the ride.

It can get very cool in this part of the country, April, May, September and October you will need a sweater and we recommend a waterproof jacket just in case.

icon readmoreicon minusHealth

All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip.

DRINKING WATER:

As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it may contain much higher levels of different minerals than the water you are used to at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Many hotels and lodges provide safe drinking water, while bottled water is another alternative. Water consumption should be about two litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.

icon readmoreicon minusFood and dietary requirements

Your group leader or representative will endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements where possible, and vegetarianism and gluten intolerance will be catered for in most instances. There are, however some meals and activities that are fixed in advance and therefore cannot be modified to suit dietary requirements.

Please notify your booking consultant of any dietary requirements at the time of booking. For those suffering from particular food allergies, your group leader or representative will endeavour to disclose to their fullest knowledge the main ingredients in dishes being consumed. It is, however, your personal responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any foods to which you are allergic.

icon readmoreicon minusMoney matters

When it comes to money matters on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities, tipping and laundry. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need.

Also make sure you’ve read your trip details thoroughly so you know what’s included in the trip price and what isn’t. This should make budgeting a little easier. You’ll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that’s this document).

CURRENCY

The Official currency of Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TRY). Most goods and services can be paid for using the local currency. The EUR is also acceptable as is the USD. For the supply of everyday services like meals and general shopping we recommend the local currency.

BANKING

ATMs are widely available in all major towns and cities throughout Turkey. Credit and debit cards are the best way to access money throughout most trips (note though that charges are made for each transaction). Credit cards are generally available in tourist shops and restaurants. Visa and MasterCard are generally preferred over American Express, Diners, etc. Smaller venues take cash only.

TIPPING

Gratuities aren’t compulsory on your trip, but they can make a big difference to locals employed in the tourism industry. If you are happy with the services provided, a tip is an appropriate way to thank them. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.

Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, your leader might raise the idea of a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips as you go. The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This amount is usually €2-4 per person/per day.

This kitty does not include tips for your leader and crew.

You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however, as a guideline of €2-4 per person/per can be used. Of course, you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. 

SHOPPING

There are many opportunities to purchase souvenirs and handicrafts while on this trip, they can be a fantastic memento of your trip, and often these purchases help to support local artisans.

Your Leader may suggest visits to different stores during your tour.  Rest assured that these vendors have been selected by our team on ground.  They provide good service and good quality products at fair market prices.  It also means that after sales service is available should you get home and have a problem with your purchase.  Some visits may be included as part of your itinerary where we feel the making of the craft is relevant to the destination and interesting for everyone to visit.  If this is the case you are under no obligation to purchase anything, simply enjoy the demonstrations and learning about the local craft.    We do also encourage you to enjoy shopping in the markets to compare prices and quality.

EMERGENCY FUNDS

We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.

TRAVELLERS TO TURKEY PLEASE NOTE:

Turkey is often misjudged when it comes to the cost of goods and services and prices can vary considerably, between regions. Cities like Istanbul and Antalya are very European and as such the standard of restaurants and cafes is very high and the cost equivalent to its European counterparts. Eating in local restaurants, road side stalls and markets is still inexpensive and lots of fun. Budgets are a personal choice but please bear in mind that you should not expect Turkey to be a budget destination.

icon readmoreicon minusWhat to take

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances.

Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip.

GENERAL PACKING LIST:

• Travel documents: passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, air tickets or e-ticket receipts and a copy of this document.

• Photocopy of main passport pages, visa (if required), travel insurance and air tickets.

• Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes and bandaids.

• Daypack

• Watch/Alarm clock or phone that can be used for both.

• Power adaptors

• Insect repellent

• Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses

• Earplugs and eye mask (you might be sharing with a snorer!)

• Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.

• Warm clothes including hat and gloves - When travelling in cooler climates

• Wind and waterproof rain jacket

• Toiletries/travel wipes

• Travel Towel

• Closed in, comfortable walking shoes. As most of our trips include some walking elements, we highly recommend that you take a pair of comfortable, closed-in walking shoes. Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings.

• Camera with spare memory cards and batteries

• Swimwear (itinerary dependant)

• Clothes! Bear in mind that laundry facilities will be widely available throughout this trip. The cost varies in each destination.

LUGGAGE LIMIT:

On this trip, you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and, although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage, we strongly recommend keeping the weight under 15kg. If your itinerary includes a flight, please keep in mind that some domestic airlines have checked luggage limits of 15kg.

CLOTHING & CLIMATE:

Please note that as a desert region, the Middle East can have extreme weather. Temperatures are generally hot with little rain. This can become extreme during the summer months of June to August. In the months of December to March it can be very cold, particularly next to the river or the ocean and out in the desert where night temperatures can drop dramatically. Even in the hot months, it can get cold in the desert at night. Consider bringing a sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in this period, especially on itineraries which include camping such as on a felucca, in a desert camp, or at a Red Sea beach camp. A light water and windproof jacket is useful and a hat is essential.

VALUABLES:

Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safes to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.

BATTERIES/POWER:

Most of our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras regularly. We always recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera just in case. Charging of batteries is advised before checking out of your hotel rooms. Please bear in mind there may be some nights were electricity may not be as readily available as you might be used to – home stays, beach and desert camps etc.

RESTRICTED ITEMS

Generally drones are not permitted into any Middle East destination or they require registration and pre approval please refer to your airline carrier if you are considering taking a drone on your travels or check out drone laws by country on line.

We have had some reports of binoculars being confiscated or causing delay in customs if carried in hand luggage.  

icon readmoreicon minusClimate and seasonal

Turkey is a large country split into seven regions, as a rule of thumb the Marmara, Aegean and Mediterranean coasts have typical Mediterranean climates with hot summers and mild, wet winters. In the east it is more mountainous with warm summers and very cold, snowy winters. Central Turkey (Cappadocia) ,has low rainfall  and very dry hot summers and cold or very cold winters.

Istanbul and coastal centres can experience very high humidity.

Winter (approx. November to February) can be very cold. Not all of our hotels have heating so consider bringing thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in this period. Summer (approx. June to August) can be very hot. Not all our hotels have air-conditioning, and in those that do, it's not always functioning. Please consider the seasons when planning your trip.

RAMADAN 2020

In 2020, the important month of Ramadan or Ramzan in Turkey will be in progress from 23 April through until 23 May, and the Eid ul-Fitr festival or Bayram in Turkey will be held directly at its conclusion for 3-4 days. Ramadan is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan, business hours are shortened, including opening hours at some tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. Please note that although the Eid ul-Fitr festival can also be a fascinating time to travel it's a period of national holiday. Most government offices and businesses will be closed and some tourist site opening hours may be affected.

Ramadan month can differ from country to country and region to region, it can be a wonderful inclusion in your vacation. If you have concerns about travelling at this time, please check with Intrepid or your booking agent before your departure.

icon readmoreicon minusA couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden.

Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.

The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips.

By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund.

If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

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After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

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GENERAL ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below:

Intrepid's Local Operator: +905326412822

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http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.

Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel

When packing be aware that dress standards can be conservative in some parts of Africa. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means covering shoulders and no short shorts in culturally sensitive areas: Mosques, small villages, etc. We recommend a mixture of loose, lightweight clothing and warm clothing for the evenings. Topless sun bathing is unacceptable through out the whole of Africa.

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Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

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As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

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ITINERARY CHANGES:

Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist.

Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

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Hotel (8 nights)

Kenya Safari!

Win a Classic African Adventure Tour to Kenya Overland Safari. Every NOVICA product purchased through the end of the year qualifies as an entry. Let the journey begin!
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