Going to Turkey in 3 weeks - advice welcome!

Discussion in 'EMEA' started by Marta-GS, Apr 27, 2014.

  1. Marta-GS

    Marta-GS Discovering the world

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    In 2 weeks, Rita (my little F650GS) and I are going to Turkey, this time together with my very best friend 'M' and his bestial KTM 1190.

    We're riding from Switzerland to Italy, taking a ferry from Italy to Greece, riding through Thessaloniki and finally we're entering Turkey by the Gallipoli peninsula.

    We've put together a long list of things we'd like to see/do while in Turkey, but we're aware we don't have much time there (2 weeks), so we won't go crazy about seeing/doing everything. We'll take it easy. Our plan is that we don't have a fixed plan :D.

    We have some overarching principles for this trip though:

    • we're not visiting big cities
    • we'll try to avoid beachy touristy areas in the south-west coast
    • it's mandatory to spend at least a coupe of days in Cappadocia and ride a balloon
    • we'd love to get to the very far east, but seems a bit faraway to reach (AND come back) in 2 weeks while enjoying the ride :(:

    And as I'm sure you were already anticipating, I have some questions/doubts and would welcome any feedback either from riders that have traveled to Turkey before, or from native riders... Here they go!



    BORDER PROCEDURES:
    I'm wondering how much paperwork is needed at the Turkish border to temporarily import the motorbike? (we'll stay in Turkey 2 weeks only) Haven't heard many complaints, so I'm assuming this should be easy. Is this the right assumption to take? Anything important we should know?


    INSTABILITY
    I trust everything will be fine in Turkey but I can feel my parents are a bit worried. They bring up from time to time the topic of instability: political/social instability due to corruption scandals, turmoil near the Syrian border, Turkish-Kurdish conflict... Is there something I should really worry about?


    CAMPING
    How safe it is free-camping in Turkey? I'm looking forward to enjoying nights under the stars and getting close to spectacular nature, but wondering how safe it really is... Any thoughts?​



    I'd really welcome your thoughts on the 3 topics above, and of course, anything else you'd be happy to share.

    Can't wait for the 17th of May to come!!! :ricky:ricky:ricky
    #1
  2. the venturer

    the venturer Long timer

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    To cut it as simple and short as possible, I am just laughing at your questions. People ride in Afghanistan and even worse places. :lol3Come and see for yourselves. You ll have unforgettable moments. In March, more than 3.8 million tourists visited TR.:deal
    #2
  3. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

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  4. catweasel67

    catweasel67 RD04

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    I spent a bit of time backpacking in Turkey with a woman (and a lot of time working there) ..

    The furthest east we went was Cappadocia and it was beautiful, well worth the time it took to get there. Found an awesome hostel that was built into a cave and cost next to nothing, had an amazing balcony overlooking the town...I digress..

    We did wander into a local, and bigger town, but the woman I was with felt a little bit uncomfortable - Turks stare in a very obvious, and direct, manner, and she said that she wished she'd brought more conservative clothing along - long trousers/skirt a headscarf for example. Don't wander off on your own - an ex of mine did when I took her to Istanbul - she ignored all of the advice and went for a walk on her own. She was never in danger but, again, Turkish men have a very direct style that can feel threatening and she felt she had no choice but to retreat to the hotel until I arrived. She felt totally secure when she was with me as those self same men who made her feel so insecure had nothing but respect for our relationship - and if you think she's a girlie girl - she's not - backpacked solo over most of Europe, very capable and confident - but Turkey's not, despite what some may have you believe, European.

    As for heading further east, whilst I'm certain that some inmates would suggest that you could, I'd be reticent to suggest it given the current regional issues. Besides, there's a heck of a lot to see and do to the north, south and west.

    Have some respect for the local culture, dress appropriately, be sensitive with your camera (ie no military and be sensitive when you're taking pictures of the locals). Be prepared to be "dry" outside of the major tourist areas.

    And have a heck of a good time :) I love the place and I'm sure you'll both love it as well. I look forward to seeing the pictures.
    #4
  5. Marta-GS

    Marta-GS Discovering the world

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    Hi the venturer, thanks for your reply. For sure we’ll come and see for ourselves, we’re eager to learn more about Turkey. We already have the ferry tickets and visas and we’re itching to leave... Very much looking forward to this trip!

    Yes, I know there are very rugged riders traveling in very rough places. I admire ALL of them. I’m not that brave… And since I’m very ignorant about Turkish reality (only thing I’ve seen so far is Istanbul a couple of times), I thought I would ask some questions to some immates, to help me better understand what to expect.
    #5
  6. Marta-GS

    Marta-GS Discovering the world

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    JohnnyTh, thanks for your thoughts.

    You’re confirming what we’re already thinking: we won’t have enough time to get to the far east…
    Well, of course we could get there if we did some more additional km per day but… we also want to enjoy some time off :D (e.g. having a bath in Pamukkale, hiking in Cappadocia, having a lazy day if we feel for it…). Afraid we’ll have to leave the East for the next trip to Turkey

    Been reading your RR. Had to laugh when you explained the ‘road block passing’ in Transfagarasan. Would have paid to see the guy in the truck improving the road block! :clap
    #6
  7. Marta-GS

    Marta-GS Discovering the world

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    Catweasel67, thanks for your reply as well.
    Will take good note of your advice.
    This time I’m traveling with a friend, not on my own, so I’m guessing my life will be very easy! :evil
    Will start a RR for this trip and will be sharing some pics there. I'll try to keep it updated while we're on the road. But not sure if I'll succeed, there are always so many things to do when you're traveling! :D
    #7
  8. Erol

    Erol Adventurer

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    Hı Marta
    If you will come to Turkey via Greece you will only need Green Card (International insurance) and Driving licence, and bike's documents. To pass the border. And also passport too.
    On the other hand Turkey is Totally safe for visiting.
    #8
  9. catweasel67

    catweasel67 RD04

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    Documentation is a good point - an IDP is also recommended either way but is mandatory if your driving licence doesn't' have your photograph on it.
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  10. Rob Farmer

    Rob Farmer Long timer

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    I rode there two years ago. I forgot to check my green card cover only to find it didn't cover turkey when I was at the border. Took around 1 hour to sort out and I bought a green card and insurance fairly cheaply at the customs office.


    Free camping wasn't an issue

    [​IMG]

    Lots of this

    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. catweasel67

    catweasel67 RD04

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    FWIW my green card covers every European (and some ME) country except Israel, Iran, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey.

    I'm guessing that's pretty standard.
    #11
  12. Marta-GS

    Marta-GS Discovering the world

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    Erol, Rob Farmer, Catweasel: thanks!

    Hadn't thought about checking whether my green card covered Turkey or not, had taken it for granted that was covered... :shog:shog:shog

    I'll check it asap when I get home in a couple of days!
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  13. Rob Farmer

    Rob Farmer Long timer

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    Marta,

    I rang my insurance company before the trip and asked them if it was covered and was told it was, stupidly I never read the document. Turkish customs did :D

    If you have recovery insurance read the small print very carefully, if anything goes wrong east of Austria you are pretty much on your own, fortunately the Romanian and Bulgarians are good people and "no problem" really does mean no problem. You just may find your bike on a medieval cart being towed by a donkey with a few glasses of fiery plumb brandy inside you :1drink

    I'm sure you'll have a great time.
    #13
  14. the venturer

    the venturer Long timer

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  15. Kagi

    Kagi n00b

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    Hi Marta
    be prepared for tons of fun :) well the very first thing to say is that you definitely won't be able to make it to the far east and back in 2 weeks. even with more km per day, you'll want to stop by every village, every waterfall, every plain with beautiful landscape view so take that idea out of your mind :)
    since you are not planning to visit major cities and the south west, you'll either ride through north on the blacksea region or middle anatolia (which seems more likely since you are riding for cappadocia). black sea region will absolutely be rainy so be prepared if you chose that way. on the other hand you'll fall in love with the landscape.blacksea on onw side, forests & mountains on the other. middle part of anatolia is more plain when compared to north or south. there won't be any issue finding a safe camp spot which are plenty. you might want to check Steph's blog or even contact her https://www.facebook.com/OneWomanOneMotorbikeOneWorld to get more solid info on whatever you need and make your (or your family's) doubts go away. Steph is on a solo journey around the world and we met her here in Istanbul a few weeks ago. as for the, syrian border stuff, kurdsih concerns etc., well you'll be far away from all those if you stay away from east & south east border regions. the only issue might be the anniversary of May 31st the Gezi Protests which you'll also be away by staying out of Istanbul. apart from that you'll have a trip of a lifetime.
    have fun.
    #15
  16. Marta-GS

    Marta-GS Discovering the world

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    Promise I'll carefully check before leaving!!!
    You made me smile with the description of my motorbike being towed by a donkey ;) Better this than having to push it! :D
    #16
  17. Marta-GS

    Marta-GS Discovering the world

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    the venturer, if PMing the campspots is not too much effort, it would be appreciated!
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  18. Marta-GS

    Marta-GS Discovering the world

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    Kagi, thanks for the reality check about getting to the far east :D... Yes, I'm afraid we'll have to forget about getting there with the limited time we have (because we really want to enjoy every kilometer we do!).

    Thanks for the tip about rainy Black Sea. As you've already guessed, we were planning to go through middle Anatolia. And I'm reaffirming on this decision now that I know Black Sea will very likely be wet :D

    I'll make sure I'll check Steph's FB page. Sure I'll learn something from her!

    And thanks for the 31st May heads up. We'll make sure we stay away of big cities that day.

    Guys, you're very helpful, this is why I love this forum!!! :clap:clap:clap
    #18
  19. Marta-GS

    Marta-GS Discovering the world

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    This is the approach to Turkey we have in our minds:

    Day 1: North of Switzerland - Ancona (Italy) - about 800 km of boring motorway
    Day 2: Ferry from Ancona (IT) to Igoumentisa (GR)
    Day 3: We arrive early morning (in theory) to Igoumenitsa. Then about 700 Km of Greek motorway until we get to Turkey. Hopefully border crossing at Ipsala in the evening!

    [​IMG]
    #19
  20. Marta-GS

    Marta-GS Discovering the world

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    And so that you know the travellers, let me introduce the team:

    This is Rita:
    [​IMG]


    That's me:
    [​IMG]


    This is my friend M with his super-duper KTM:
    [​IMG]


    And this little guy is Racebeast, he will also be travelling to Turkey:
    [​IMG]


    Cheers!
    #20