- Middle east
One Day In Pamukkale, Turkey
At first, I did not plan to go paragliding on this trip but as I was doing a day tour in Pamukkale and we had some time to kill, I told myself "Why not?". After all, I was at Pamukkale, one of the oldest tourist attraction that dated back thousands of years and what would be the best place to do my first ever paragliding than here, so I and a couple friends decided to give it a go. It was beyond amazing!
Other than jumping off the cliff and flew like a bird, we also visited the famous travertines, the terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water and the ruins of the city of Hierapolis. Without further ado, let's explore the city and the hot spring that captivated travelers from around the world since the age of the Greco-Roman and the Byzantine.Table of Contents
Where to Stay in Selcuk
Selçuk - Boomerang Guesthouse - 9.90 USD/Night
Spending a Day at Pamukkale
Early at 8, we were picked up by a coach that would take us to Pamukkale. It was a 3 hours one-way ride from Selcuk and joined me in this journey was David, a fellow nomad, Jonathan, an engineer from Canada, and Caroline and Sumin, students from England. The tour set us back 80 TRY while lunch, transportation, and entrance fees were all included.
After arriving in the city of Hierapolis, we went straight for a walk through the city. Not much of a city if you ask me. It looks almost like I was back in Ephesus again.
We went through the city pretty quickly so that we could spend more time at the travertines. There were so many people on the top level, you won't believe your eyes when you see it. Tourists from around the world flocked the first few levels of the traverntines like crazy.
In order to avoid the crowded area, I decided to walk bare feet through the travertines down to a lower level pool. The white colored terrace, combined with the sun almost blinded me so be sure to wear your sunglasses when you are here!
The many pools on the terraces were not as deep as I thought. It was also filled with white-colored mud.
Legend said that once there was a girl who was unable to find the love of her life and get married so she decided to commit suicide and threw herself off the travertines and fell into the natural pool. Apparently she did not die and the water turned her into a beautiful woman and caught the attention of the lord of Denizli while he was passing by. I need not tell you the ending.. because if I do, it would spoiled all the Disney movie's ending.
Because of the legend, I saw a lot of people went in and swim in the natural pool while covering themselves with mud.
You can either swim here or in the artificial and the source of the water hotspring, which was much cleaner than the natural pool on the travertines.
I did neither of them because I forgot my swimsuit so I decided to walk down as far as I could to avoid people screaming, shouting and swimming on the top level.
And because of that, I was able to snap this photo with no one but me in it. If you want to avoid the crowd, you will have to work a little harder and walked further down than most people would care to do.
While we were walking in the city, we saw a few people paraglided down from the mountain above. We asked the guide if we could do it and she said yes and she got us a minivan to take us there. After the travertines, me, Jonathan, Caroline and Sumin hopped on a minivan and got to the top in no time. There were a few people waiting in line to go paragliding so we decided to wait at the cafe nearby.
Thank god for that because the wind picked up a little too much and right before we had to cancel all trips that day, they were a Korean girl who decided to do it anyway and the takeoff was abysmal. They had to run right almost to the cliff before the wind picked up and they were unable to control and land in time so they had to be up there for quite a while. We did not mind it being canceled because we did not plan to do it anyway. As I told you before:
"No plan is the best plan"
After a long day in the sun, we came back to the hostel, grabbed a few beers and went straight to bed.
Paragliding above Pamukkale
Early in the morning, me, Sumin and Caroline decided to catch the first bus going to Pamukkale to give paragliding a go again. Since we were all heading to Antalya after, it made sense to stop in Pamukkale and rest for a bit before taking another leg to Antalya.
I'm glad to say, we were able to do it the second time around. Since it was not too late in the day, the weather is much more stable and we were able to take off perfectly.
Sumin went first, followed by Caroline and then me. It was a smooth ride for me and Caroline but not for Sumin though. For some reason, she had to do an emergency landing inside the city of Hierapolis. It was very dangerous to land on a crowded area like that. Thankfully, there were not many people in themorning, and they landed safely.
At this point, I did not know that something went wrong for Sumin and I thought I would be landing at the same spot. My instructor told me it was not the case, and that was when I realized something went wrong with Sumin's flight.
The whole trip took 15 minutes and the view of the travertines from above was quite a sight to behold. The scale of the travertines was incomprehensible from the bottom.
Me and Caroline landed safely but we were pretty worried about Sumin. No one knew where they landed except me and my instructor so we had to coordinate between the team at the top to get a van to pick them up.
They landed safely though and we were reunited in no time. After that crazy adventure, we went to the bus station and waited for our bus to Antalya. We sat on the bus for the next 5 hours and we went separate ways as they were going to one of the coastal towns while I stayed in Antalya thinking that I would be able to go do some hiking around the area. I was so wrong. Antalya is a big tourist city and in order to do some hiking in the Lycian way, I would have to go on a multi-day trip. I did not know that when I arrived and so I was left with a choice whether to backtrack my way back to Fethiye or carry on with my trip to Cappadocia.
Further Reading for Turkey
Turkey is a country that stands in the middle of Europe and Asia. Empires after empires rose and fall on this land and in order to see Turkey as a whole, you will have to go further than just Istanbul.
Here is a selection of articles and travel guides that you might need to further plan your trip to Turkey:
- Looking for a complete itinerary and travel guide for Turkey? One Month Itinerary for Turkey.
- You will likely be flying into Istanbul when you are traveling to Turkey. Check out my 4 days itinerary for Istanbul.
- A lot of Roman-influenced can be seen throughout Turkey. One of the big ones is Ephesus, a Roman ruin near Selcuk, south of Istanbul. Here’s a quick guide on how to get to Selcuk and visit Ephesus.
- The southern coast of Turkey boasts a vivid turquoise colored sea, stunning cliffs and the Lycian trail, one of the best long trekking trails in the world that runs along the coast. Check out our travel guide on hiking the Butterfly Valley and Kabak in the Southern port town of Fethiye, Turkey.
- Cappadocia is a big area full of amazing things to do, from hot air balloon to hiking the valleys. Here’s a complete guide on how to spend 4 days in Cappadocia, Turkey.
- Mt. Nemrut and a collection of stone heads of gods atop the mountain are not easy to visit. The question has to be asked, Is Mt. Nemrut really worth visiting? We have the answer.
- It’s time to go off the beaten path with a visit to Van, a city in Eastern Turkey known for its massive breakfast and an Armenian temple on an island. Here’s a travel guide on how to visit Van, Turkey.
- The Northern coast of Turkey, below the Black Sea is also a great place to go off-the-beaten-path. Trabzon is an important ancient port city full of history waiting for you to explore. Check out my travel guide on how to visit Sumela Monastery in Trabzon.
- Kars is a city located on the easternmost part of Turkey and along the border with Armenia, there’s an ancient Armenian ruin called Ani that will blow your mind away. Here is a complete guide on how to visit Ani from Kars, Turkey.
- Not convinced by my words? Maybe these photos of Turkey will help! 45 Photos that will inspire you to travel to Turkey.
- Since you are already all the way east, why not cross the border from Turkey to Georgia and make your way to Tbilisi, a vibrant capital city of Georgia. Check out my Georgia Travel Guide to plan your next trip to Georgia.
- For all articles about Turkey, visit Turkey Travel Guide page.
- Looking for more travel guides for the Middle East? You can find more on my Middle East Travel Guide page.
- For more of my travel guides, visit my Destinations page.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by Pete Rojwongsuriya, the founder of BucketListly Blog where we will follow his solo journey around the world as he experiences different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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