For the next leg of my trip I flew from Kayseri(Goreme) to Izmir on the West coast of Turkey to visit a few archeological sites and the thermal pools of Pamukkale. The closest airport to Pamukkale is Denzil but I choose to stay in selcuk and rented a car which not only gave me more autonomy but provided the freedom to stop anywhere I pleased and subsequently meet new people. Frequent questions I got on Turkey were : Is Turkey safe, is Turkey safe for a solo female traveler , is it safe to drive alone in Turkey and Is Turkey dangerous for a woman? My answer to these questions, yes. While travelling the country,I didn’t feel any treats as a solo female traveler but Turkey does have a different gender dynamic that requires a certain level of awareness. I got many curious stairs and a few arched eyebrows when they knew I was travelling alone, but for the most part the people were friendly. I had one creepy encounter with a fisherman at a deserted beach and I quickly left .
Izmir not only has beautiful beaches , it’s also an agricultural region with many farms growing fruits, vegetables and cotton. As I drove around, I frequently stopped to chat with the workers and though we didn’t speak each other’s language we found a way to understand each other. I was invited to tea (chai) , offered bags of mandarins, and eat so much pomegranate I was a walking POM bottle 😂 .
After dropping my bags at my hotel and freshening up, I spend the day wandering the streets , market squares , trying out street food and getting a better lay of the place. I watched the locals to determine the best food spots and eat at a quaint little bistro by my hotel then drove 15 minutes to visit the Ancient City of Ephesus which is the second largest excavated city outside of Pompeii and its cute furry residents – cats.
The next day I woke up early to drive to Denzil , whose main attraction is the Pamukkale thermal pools, Cleopatra pool and ancient archeological sites including the St. Philip church and tomb. I wanted to get to the pools early before they became crowded. Some sections are open to visitors and you can swim in them but to preserve this natural beauty, some sections are cordoned off.
The Cleopatra pool is a heated pool and I highly recommend you bring along a swimsuit but if you didn’t, you can purchase one from the vendors nearby. I really wanted to do an underwater video to capture the immersed columns but cameras are prohibited in the pool and you can only be photographed from the poolside.
Tips and Resources for Pamukkale
|> Best place to stay for visiting Pamukkale is in Denzil|
> Closest Airport to Pamukkale is The Denzil Cardak Airport(DZN) which is 1 hour away
> Best time to visit the Pamukkale pools is early (8AM) before if gets crowded.
> Best views of Pamukkale are through hot air balloons rides.
> Make time to visit the amphitheater and archeological sites around Pamukkale.
> Cameras are not allowed in the cleopatra pool.
> The main attractions in Denzil are Pamukkale so to experience more of this region I recommend staying in Izmir so you can visit the beaches and other sites.