It was a hot afternoon when I stepped out from the small aircraft at the Denizli airport. But all my tiredness disappeared when I saw shadows of the mountains loomed around me, and I suddenly felt like I was in some other world. This is the beauty about Turkey which I came to find out later. Every parts of Turkey that I visited all felt like going through different countries, because they are all so different from each other.
Pamukkale for example, is famous for its travertine terraces, dubbed as “white cotton castle”. The word Pamukkale itself means cotton castle, and that is my destination.
I took an airport shuttle from Denizli to Pamukkale (about 1 hour drive). The driver stopped directly in front of my hotel called Hotel Sahin (Hotel Sahin) which was just conveniently located at the bottom of the travertines terraces. Here, I reunited with my old college friend from Canada whom I haven’t met for nearly ten years 😀 It cost about £28 a night for a double-bed room, and the facilities in the room were basic, but comfortable enough for both of us.
We had a lunch at the hotel’s rooftop terrace where we could see the spectacular view of the snow-white limestone terraces, and we ate quickly in order to explore the place! We changed to dresses and skirts (for the pictures of course – I’m an instagrammer and blogger after all haha). It was a very short walk to the entrance of the travertines, and paid 35TL for the entrance. There was an ice cream parlour nearby which we stopped for ice cream (recommended to try and it cost only 3TL), and we also purchased a bottled water each (1 TL). I would definitely recommend to bring a small bag for you to put your food/drinks and also your shoes, as we have to take our shoes off when entering the travertines. Bring a towel as well if you plan to take a dip in the calcium-rich springs.
We went at around 4.30pm to catch the sunset. If you follow my other blog posts, you will find that I would always try to find the best spots to witness the sunsets or sunrises. I am obsessed with them. There’s this feel that is almost magic, when I get to witness the moment where day and night meet like long-distance lovers who could only have that one touch, one glimpse of each other, before they are ripped away by time. The display in the sky was like a banquet of all warm, serene colours splashed on the blank canvas to make a beautiful masterpiece. There was peace in this moment, and I was all about chasing peace.
It was quite crowded when we went there. I think it was the annual holiday for Chinese so there was a large number of them. It was difficult to get a clean shot without anyone photobombing the pictures. I would suggest if you have clean slippers, then wear them because the stone ridges on the ground hurt like hell. The view at the top was breathtakingly beautiful. There were other parts of the travertines which were closed off to the public. We watched the sunset going down the hill, and its warm light bathing on the white limestone rocks and it was insanely beautiful.
So, a bit history on Pamukkale which I think you guys will find it useful (always try to discover the history behind the places that you visit as it will bring a lot more meaning than just taking pretty pictures). You will see a lot of Roman influences in Pamukkale, because it used to be an ancient Roman city. The city of Hierapolis lies a vast source of water heated by volcanic lava. The water dissolves pure white calcium, becomes saturated with it, and carries it to the earth’s surfaces, where it bursts forth and runs down a steep hillside. Once they are cooled, they form white calcium cascades frozen in stones called travertines. This water has been bursting for more than two millenia! This place was famous for its Romans baths. (source: Turkey Travel Planner).
After the sunset, we went down to one of the restaurants in the small town (just minutes away from our hotel). We sat at a communal table and had soup and bread.
The next morning, we woke up super early and got a taxi at 6.30am to take us to the other entrance of the travertine called the south gate. This is the only entrance that opens at sunrise, and we wanted to go early to avoid the crowd and also to witness sunrise. And the view did not disappoint us! I would definitely recommend you guys to watch the sunrise here, because there was so much magic compared to yesterday’s visit. I could almost hear the whispers of the ancient Romans who once inhabited this place. We were greeted and followed by two dogs whom I believed belonged to one of the guards. There was one dog who looked like a wolf and with striking orange and blue eyes, and he loved getting under my skirt and had me shrieking like crazy haha.
When the sunrise was over (we stayed till around 9am), we took a short walk to another famous site called Cleopatra’s Pool, where Cleopatra used to reside here whenever she took a visit. The pictures from pinterest were amazing but we were disappointed when we saw it. The pool was very small, and it was quite pricey to swim in it, so we went and took a small hike to the Hierapolis theatre which was located further up the hill. It was a very well preserved theatre with series of steps leading all the way down to the stage. Tourists started to pile in when we sat down to have breakfast on the steps, and I believed some of them were Malaysians! 😀 I just smiled when I heard them talking Malay amongst each other.
I would definitely suggest that you explore the rest of the hills nearby. Not many people were there (many were only attracted to the travertines and the Hierapolis theatre), so we had a great time having the places to ourselves, and there were so many broken ancient walls, and ruins which felt like walking on the great wall of china.
Much later, we took a bus to Denizili town (40TL). We had lunch at this posh restaurant called Varol Gurme (tripadvisor). The food was extremely delicious and cheap! The restaurant was so comfortable and we just spent hours chilling on the rooftop terrace, whilst waiting for our night bus to Cappadocia.
At the bus station, I would recommend you to buy a travel pillow for the bus ride (travel pillow only cost 15TL). The bus ride cost about 10 euros to Cappadocia, and it was such a pleasant and comfortable trip. There was a host on the bus that would serve us hot drinks, and the bus took periodic stops for toilet breaks.
Tip: Spend one night at Pamukkale so that you can witness the magnificent sunrise, and have the place to yourself, without many tourists.
The photos were taken using Samsung S9 phone, and also Canon Rebel T3i. Most of these pictures were taken by my friend (IG: @kydieuworld).