I spent 18 days in Turkey and an average of $50 per day. The hot air balloon ride increased that average pretty significantly, and I also treated myself to a lot of amazing Turkish food! I absolutely loved exploring Cappadocia and kayaking on the Mediterranean. The UNESCO sites of Ephesus and Pamukkale/Hierapolis were also places that I will remember forever.
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Pamukkale and Hierapolis
From Selçuk it took about 3.5 hours to get to Pamukkale, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is home to travertine terraces and bathing pools. I camped out in the backyard of Özbay Hotel, whose owner Öner was very friendly, and enjoyed some of the traditional Turkish food in the small town. The travertine terraces are pretty incredible to view from afar and from up close. You can walk on them and bath in their pools provided you buy a $10 ticket and agree to take your shoes off.
Above the travertine terraces is the 4,000-year-old city of Hierapolis. Here you can visit the 12,000 seat theater, several tombs, and even an olive press.
Ephesus and Selçuk
From Istanbul I took an overnight bus to the town of Selçuk, near the city of Izmir on the Aegean coast. Located just a few kilometers away is the ancient Greek and Roman city of Ephesus (Efes in Turkish), which is by far the top attraction in the area and where I spent a lovely morning. I happened to meet Dennis and Lisa, a wonderful British couple, on the overnight bus, and I spent the day sightseeing and having lunch with them. It was nice to have a bit of company for a change!