North Korea (DPRK) Tour

I really don’t know how and where to start this article. Only thing I would like to underline before I start is that there is a lot that I would like to say out at once, but I would like to be as objective as possible. So I will try to tell everything the way they happened, without adding any opinion. Alright, if you are ready to learn what’s going on in the most totalitarian country in the world, here you go…

The tour which was planned to be 5 days actually started a day earlier in Koryo Tours office in Beijing. As everybody know, DPRK is a sensitive country on certain aspects. So we had to join a pre-tour briefing which lasted around an hour. To give a short note at this point; you must join a tour to go to DPRK, aka North Korea. You are not allowed to enter the country as a single tourist; you are not even allowed to go out of the hotel yourself. A lot were explained, but for me the real highlight was where we were taught how to fold the newspaper. James, as one of the tour guides explained how we should fold the newspaper so that the picture of leader stays flat. Otherwise is disrespectful was what we were told. 

James explaining how to fold the newspaper

So the big day had arrived. It was 9:30 in the morning when we took the bus bound for the airport. Our visas, which were named as tourist cards were distributed on the bus. Due to diplomatic issues, DPRK doesn’t stick the visa on your passport. For the exact same reasons, they don’t stamp your passport at anytime. The small bag you see below contains a couple of stickers and a handbook for the tour. Handbook consists a basic dictionary on how to communicate simple things in Chinese and Korean, and the manual of how to fill the entry/exit, customs declaration, health inspection cards. 

Koryo Tours Bag and Tourist Card

Frankly, what I was mostly worried about this trip was the flight itself. DPRK national carrier Air Koryo flies with Russian Tupolev airplanes instead of Airbus and Boeing, which most of us are used to. The plane is not old, and I can’t really tell the difference between it and a Boeing 737 in terms of both exterior and interior. In fact, knowing that Air Koryo is the one and only one star airliner in the world, it’s pretty intimidating. A mate from the tour called François told me that the ranking has to do with the service quality instead of safety record. He claims that Air Koryo has a clear safety record. It’s a little hard to take this as a benchmark when you consider Air Koryo is only flying to a couple of destinations though. On top of that, service quality was very good; stewardess were all pretty and smiling. The chicken burger they served was mediocre, but I have seen much worse than that. I definitely can’t say it’s a one star airliner in terms of service quality, only if that one star was given for service quality reasons… 

Air Koryo Tupolev Tu-204
Air Koryo

What I’m going to talk about right now might be the most subjective part of this article, but if I don’t say out what I feel like saying out right now, I think I will have betrayed you as a reader by the time you are done reading. The flight I was afraid to take because of safety record with questions in my mind on whether the plane is old, was nothing compared to what I figured out after we landed in Pyongyang International Airport. The airplane wasn’t an airplane; it was a time machine. 

Pyongyang Tram

The time we got out of airport, it was 1965. I’m not exaggerating, I felt like I did time travel. Buildings, streets, people, the way people wear, their hair styles etc. everything was like out of 1965. I literally couldn’t believe my eyes. Picture was even more clear when we reached the hotel; starting from the lobby, it was all 60’s.

Yanggakdo Hotel

We had our first dinner in the hotel. Food was much more tasty than I expected. Chicken, rice, fish were served one after another. I can say I was completely full after we were done eating. In the meanwhile, we finished bottles of North Korean beer. Considering we were not allowed to go out of the hotel, the best tool to kill time was alcohol. I think you can imagine the profiles of people dare joining North Korea tour. They all had very interesting backgrounds and personalities, so we had amazing times chatting and drinking. Before the night ended, we went for a game in billiard room, which was one of the countless leisure activities that the hotel provided for guests, who weren’t allowed to go out at all. 

North Korea Beer
Enjoying beer with tour buddies
Billiard saloon at Yanggakdo

On the second day, we went to one of the most interesting spots of the trip, Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, aka mausoleum of Kim Il-Sung.  The palace which was built in 1976 was initially eternal president Kim Il-Sung’s residence, but his son and successor Kim Jong-Il turned it into a mausoleum after his death in 1994. Some say renovation cost was $100m, some say $900m. As you can guess, there is no way to confirm any of these information. 

Kumsusan Palace of the Sun

If you ask what’s going on inside the palace, first of all, you have to pass a very long hallway to reach the main building. On the walls of both sides of the hallway, you can see pictures from the time country was found, till Kim Jong-Il’s death in 2011, in chronologic order. Pictures are mostly of leaders visiting different parts of the country.

Speaking of mausoleum, the palace which was renovated by Kim Jong-Il to be the eternal residence of his father, became his eternal residence too. Inside, you can see embalmed bodies of two leaders in glass caskets being shown to visitors in separate rooms. You are asked to make lines of four, then in front of each side of the casket, bow once to show respect. Putting taking pictures, bringing cameras in aside, no one is even allowed to put hands into pocket. 

Kumsusan Group Picture

After we were done with our visit to Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, we went back in time to the beginning of DPRK history, where we could learn about their independence war against Japanese. Our first stop was the memorial cemetery. This cemetery was for all who sacrificed their lives for something that would be fulfilled after US and USSR declared wars against Japan in 1941 and 1945 respectively. 15 August is celebrated both in DPRK and also Republic of Korea(ROK; South Korea) as national liberation day.

War Memorial Cemetery
War Memorial Cemetery

After War Memorial Cemetery, next stop was a circus. Yes, you have read it right, a circus. Starting with this event, from time to time we joined certain events that weren’t directly related to DPRK visit, but somehow showing DPRK citizens were normal people, doing normal things like we do. To speak the truth, show in the circus was just amazing.


After the show, we hopped on the tram, did some sightseeing around the city, and then went up to Juche Tower, which was named after the ideology based on self-reliance. We saw the whole city from birds eye view angle. 

Pyongyang Tram
Juche Tower

Now is the time for the highlight of the day that makes everything even more meaningful; amusement park! If someone had said one day I would come to North Korea and hop on a rollercoaster, that’d crack me up big time. But I did! Not only rollercoaster but even bumping cars!

Bumping cars at Pyongyang

The day was over with dinner. We visited so many places that by the time we arrived in the hotel, no one had energy even to walk. Hearing that we have to be on the bus next morning at 7:30, we rushed to our rooms to have some rest.  

On day 3, first stop was Kaesong city close to South Korea border, then Panmunjom village, where armistice agreements between DPRK and UN were held. After that we went to Demilitarized Zone between DPRK and ROK, which is also known as DMZ. On the way to Kaesong, we stopped to see Arch of Reunification, which was opened as a symbol of endless reunification debates that started on July 4th 1972. The arch was opened in 2001, and the main reason to build it was actually Presidential Joint Declaration of June 15, 2000.  

Arch of Reunification

After 3 hours of super bumpy bus ride, we reached Kaesong. Like most of the other spots of the tour, we went into a shop to by gifts and stuff; contribute to DPRK economy let’s say. Afterwards, a military guy, who accompanied us during Panmunjom and DMZ visits started to tell what’s what on the map.


After the briefing, we took the bus to Panmunjom. We went into cottage like buildings to see where armistice negotiations and agreement took place. We were constantly informed on how Americans and UN manipulated the process to lengthen and gain power that they lost during the war. 

Place of Armistice Agreement
Negotiations Ongoing

After we were done signing the armistice agreement, we were on our way to DMZ. Briefly, it was like a joint area composed of prefabricated small rooms that separates DPRK and ROK with marble line on the outside, and microphone cable on the inside. Those rooms are the places were negotiations after 1953 took place. Both sides of the area, there are observation decks for the tourists.

Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)

After we were done at DMZ, we went back to Pyongyang. It started raining half way into the ride and we found ourselves in an embroidery house. As there was nothing super interesting over there, I’m just skipping that part. So here comes the most hilarious part of the trip; flower exhibition! After the tour guide told us that we will be going to flower exhibition, my internal response was “WTF! Why are we going to flower exhibition!?” Embroidery house was like a place to sell tourist some stuff only, not really related to DPRK itself. What we saw in flower exhibition was just appaling. The place they were naming as flower exhibition was a place, where only two kinds of flowers were exhibited. Those flowers were named after the president, and his son; the general. The most intriguing part of it was that they were selling the seeds with a manual on how to cultivate. It was 5 euros for each seed. Names of the flowers? Hold on tight; Kimilsungia, and Kimjongilia.

Flower Exhibition
How to Cultivate Manual

After a dinner accompanied by bottles of beer the day was over, so we came back to the hotel. I guess last thing we did was playing cards and having fun at hotel’s cafe. It was fun.

On the morning of 4th day, we packed all our stuff and checked out of the hotel. We were supposed to be in Pyongyang in the daytime, then in the evening we would be off to a city called Nampo. Nampo was a couple of hours bus ride from Pyongyang, and the reason why we were going there was a hot spa hotel. First stop of the day was Pyongyang Metro.

Pyongyang Subway Entrance
Walking Stairs at the Pyongyang Subway
Pyongyang Subway

The subway has 2 lines and 17 stops in total. You can see how Soviet style fancy everything is. This style is almost identical to the one I saw in Kiev, Ukraine. We hopped on the train, passed one station, got out, checked out that station and hopped back on again. The last stop was at one of the symbols of Pyongyang; The Arch of Triumph. 

Pyongyang Subway, Inside the Car

The most intriguing thing I experienced in metro was at the time we got out of the car you see on the above picture, and then hopped on a modern one like we have in western countries. Today as you know, most of the cars in metro have those little screens that mostly show commercials and stuff. In Pyongyang Metro, it was showing footage from different parts of the country on how things were going well, and narration was exactly nightclub sound level. I’m not exaggerating, I wasn’t able to make the person next to me hear what I was talking about. 

Next stop that was worth talking about was Mangyongdae Children’s Palace. We went to an art gallery, and then a shooting range before that, but I’m skipping those as they weren’t super interesting. Children’s Palace was definitely worth talking about. The palace was designed for children to be engaged in extra-curricular activities like music, painting, embroidery and so on. The show that they performed for 45 minutes was flawless. I don’t know how they educate, or train these kids, but they were as perfect as German engineering. What really appalling was that they kept showing nuclear test videos on the big screen behind them while they were performing. Showing missile launch videos during the performance of kids below age 15 is something that’d only happen in DPRK I guess.

Children’s Palace
A class in Children’s Palace
Children’s Show
Mock-up Missile

We headed to the hot spa place where we were supposed to spend the night. Before I start talking how hot spa was, actually how it wasn’t, I would like to say something about what we saw on the way there. As we were in the bus and it was super dark outside, I couldn’t take a lot of pictures, but the houses by the road had no electricity at all. It was dark, windy, super cold. When you think of how people survive in those houses, it makes you feel very uncomfortable. Coming back to the hot spa, I can say it looks like anything but hot spa. The one in our room didn’t even work at all, something was wrong with the tap I guess. Outside is another horror story; cold, dark, no one at all… On top of that, we lost the way back home after dinner, it was tragicomic. 

Fifth and the last day, we woke up early in the morning as usual and went to Nampo Dam, also known as West Sea Barrage. We went up to some hill that we could see the dam from the top. They also showed some footage about how it was built, but I passed out thanks to rock hard bed from previous night. The video was about how they built a dam at the end of the day, no rocket science behind. We clicked a couple of pictures and moved on.

Nampo Dam
North Korean Lady in Traditional Outfit

Right after the dam, we went to somewhere called cooperative farm. The most interesting thing we saw there was a small kindergarden. Little kids played games with us, made us dance with them. I can’t describe how cute day were. 

My Little Friend
One of the Walls in the Kindergarden

Now is the time to tell you about “on the spot guidance”. Wherever you go in DPRK, you can see Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il,  or even both of them on the pictures. On most of these pictures, at least one of the leaders is pointing at somewhere, trying to show something. This is what’s called “on the spot guidance” by North Koreans, as well as DPRK mass media. Briefly, it’s telling people what and how to do things, on the spot. What you see on the below picture is two middle easterners giving on the spot guidance to the workers in mineral water factory.

Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il
On the Spot Guidance

What was left for the day and the whole trip was Mansu Hill Monuments, War Museum, and Workers Party Monument. Interesting experience here was that as a result of rehearsals for the upcoming Workers Party congress, our bus got stuck and we had to walk through the crowd. I can’t share pictures of people on the streets as we weren’t allowed to take close shots. Only thing I would like to say here is that there were thousands, ten thousands of them on the streets, and one could easily read on their faces that they were bored a lot.

Congress Rehearsal
Mansu Hill Grand Monuments

After Mansu Hill Monuments, we went to War Museum. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but I can definitely say it was one of the best designed museums I have ever been. They made us feel the Korean War thoroughly. There was one part that we were in a room, where the platform under us was turning 360 degrees and we watched what happened on the war with some special effects on painted walls. It was literally amazing; I haven’t seen such thing in another museum so far. 

War Museum DPRK

Before I share Workers Party Monument and some last shots from the trip, I would like to sum up my feelings. DPRK trip probably wasn’t the most relaxing, most fun, most pleasant trip I have ever been. In fact, without a seconds hesitation, it was one of the most interesting things I have ever done. Even staying out of telephone, internet, outside world were different experiences. I saw a world over there that you can’t see anywhere else. I learned how grateful I should feel for what I have. I’m so glad that I took the once in a lifetime chance and visited this country.

Workers’ Party Monument
Me at the Sunset

Hope you liked the post. For all your questions and whatnot, you can either e-mail me over, or contact me through my social media accounts.


Till next!


Cappadocia In Two Days

I know the fact that my website has become a platform full of travel posts, and I decided to give a break right after I share this two day trip I made a while ago to Cappadocia; probably the hottest of the tourist spots in Turkey. This will be a full 2-day itinerary to all you can do in this UNESCO World Heritage site that’ll take you to another level of falling in love with various landscapes, as well as Turkey. Before I start, I would like to state that I ended up here thanks to a foreign friend visiting. All the trip was actually planned on a very short notice -even though I knew she was coming long before- and I believe the details I’ll be sharing in a while will help a lot to whomever is thinking of seeing this world of wonders in a parallel situation.

What will you read?

+ History of Cappadocia
+ Hot Air Balloon Experience w Rainbow Balloons
+ Accommodation
+ Food
+ Uçhisar
+ Love Valley
+ Paşabağ Fairy Chimneys
+ Devrent Valley
+ Three Beautifuls
+ Turkish Night
+ Derinkuyu Underground City
+ Selime Monastery
+ Ihlara Valley
+ Pigeon Valley

Cappadocia Balloons and Fairy Chimneys


The history of Cappadocia dates back to 6th century BC, and the timeline that reaches today includes Hittites, Persians, Roman and Byzantine Empires, and finally Turkish starting with the Battle of Manzikert in 1071; the date when Turks started to rise in Anatolia. The place was formed by the volcanic activities happening in the mounts of Erciyes, Hasan, and Melendiz surrounding the area. Some say, the name Cappadocia is derived from Haspaduya, the ancient Persian word, meaning “Land of Beautiful Horses”, but some of the sources claim that it comes from “Ketpatukh” meaning the country people of Khepat.


A huge part of Cappadocia is located in Nevşehir city in central Anatolia; in other words, the center of Turkey. In fact, the area is scattered around the cities of Kayseri, Aksaray, Kırşehir, and Niğde as well. The easiest way is landing in Kayseri Erkilet Airport in Kayseri city, and then taking a shuttle bus or a rental car from there. Reaching the accommodation locations of Ürgüp, Göreme, and Avanos takes about an hour after that. There is also another airport, which is named after Cappadocia, but that isn’t operative year round. The shuttle buses are pretty cheap, but I would definitely recommend you to get your own ride to have more flexibility, thinking that your time will be limited.

Cappadocia Map


Ok, this is a pretty long story actually, which I’ll explain in plain details in a while. To give you a basic picture though, the most important two attractions you should do are the hot balloons, and seeing the fairy chimneys around. To accomplish both in the rightest way, I would strongly suggest to talk to your hotel and ask for daily Cappadocia tours, and agencies for hot balloons. There are three major routes for Cappadocia separated into groups as green, red, and blue, all of which are day trips each. For the hot balloons, you book with the agency a couple of days in advance, and they come get you very early in the morning from whichever hotel you are staying at – around like 5am- and according to the wind forecast, they decide whether to take off or not. Now I’ll explain all the crucial details that you’ll have to know along my experiences with Woop Woop Travel for Cappadocia city tour, and Rainbow Balloons for the hot balloon…

Cappadocia Attractions


So my friends were coming via Greece, and I was coming from Istanbul. I landed in Kayseri Airport late in the evening, got the car below from Garenta, and started waiting for them. I don’t have any connection to Garenta whatsoever, but they are probably the most convenient and cheap rental company that we have in Turkey. My friends arrived around midnight and our an hour trip to Çavuşin/Avanos was on…

Rental Renault Megane from Garenta


Normally, most of the tourists stay in Göreme, the heart of Cappadocia to have a genuine experience of the cave hotels and stuff. Even though they have great views, especially in the morning when the balloons are all up, those hotels are fully booked year round, and it’s very hard to find any available rooms if you aren’t booking far in advance. We chose a cave hotel at a place called Çavuşin, a bit out of the city center, which was still just perfect. It’s actually a small family business run by a very sweet lady called Müyesser, who helped us big time to have a great experience in Cappadocia. Their lobby is just like a combination of the living room and kitchen of your house. Amazing Turkish breakfast, coffee, tea, cookies, and Turkish style cake all day long, makes everything just awesome. Müyesser arranged our 2-day city tour with Woop Woop Travel as well as Turkish Night, which I will get into the details of in a while…

Jacob’s Cave Suites



There are several balloon companies operating in Cappadocia, and you do an advance booking by calling them, or mailing them. They send you a mail order form to lock the expenses, but you aren’t charged anything until the time you take the ride, because when the wind isn’t in the right condition, the Turkish Association of Aviation doesn’t let these companies operate. Even though I knew that it’d be around 2am when we make it to the hotel, I decided to book the balloon ride for the same morning so that we have two chances. Who would know that it would work the other way around… When making the reservation for the balloons, companies ask for the hotel you’ll be staying at, and the night before, they tell you what time their bus will be picking you up. The news might even be direct cancellation if the weather forecast is very negative. We were picked up around 5:30am by Rainbow Balloons and made our way to the open land, where the balloon was supposed to take off. Waiting for about half an hour over there didn’t help us take the ride though. Wind was pretty strong, and as it wasn’t safe, we had no chance but going back to our hotel to nap a little, and then have breakfast.

Me pouring Turkish Tea

After having done with our super tasty breakfast in Jacob’s Cave Suites, it was time to leave for the tour of Northern Cappadocia, which they call the RED TOUR. The tour bus of Woop Woop Travel took us from our hotel around 8am, and we picked up several people from the hotels around and stopped at the tour office two pay up. It was around 35 euros at the time. This tour included Uçhisar Panorama, Göreme Open Air Museum, Love Valley View Point, Paşabağ Fairy Chimney Formations, and Devrent Valley. So let’s move on with the details…

Jacob’s Breakfast


Uçhisar is the highest point of Cappadocia and the castle named after this place is a unique one with many cave rooms and stairs connecting to each other like a maze. The panorama tour doesn’t include going up there, as most of these rooms aren’t open to tourists. We just stopped somewhere close-by, listened to the history from our tour guide, who explained everything about the history of Cappadocia into all of the details. To be honest, some of the info he was giving out was a bit too much, so we decided to take a look around, have a couple of funny pictures as you can see below and moved on with the next stop.

Uchisar Panorama


This place is called an open air museum, and it has been listed on UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1984, but most of its historical beauties are located inside the churches located next to each other. Visitors aren’t allowed to take pictures inside, not to harm the paintings and frescoes dating back to 10th-12th centuries. You can see all the details of the life at those times from the first hand by looking at these pictures. These pictures mainly tell stories from Byzantine Empire times as they are named after the stories that the frescoes are telling. For instance, there is one called Snake Church, and inside, the Killing of the Snake by St. George and St. Theodore is depicted. The museum is located at 1.5km distance from Göreme.

Göreme Open Air Museum From the Bottom

Göreme Open Air Museum From the Top
Göreme Open Air Museum From the Top and Me


Love Valley is where you get to see many fairy chimneys located next to each other, with a 4900m long land full of chimneys. Even though people come from Göreme and hike around for hours and enjoy the different landscapes formed millions of years ago, what we did at this part of the trip was just to overlook at the valley for about half an hour. I researched a bit to find out why this is called Love Valley, but there is no real evidence to that. Some say that the reason is it makes you fall in love with the beauty of the views as well as the beauty of these fairy chimneys. If you have time, you can roam around the vineyards and fruit trees located around these chimneys about 2 hours to have the greatest experience of all.

Love Valley Viewpoint

Our stop right after an open buffet lunch was traditional handicrafts of Avanos, which was actually a contribution to Turkish Economy stop. We learned how rugs were handcrafted, how it can take years to make some of the rugs, and how the ingredients were naturally made. None of us were keen to buy rugs even though they were all beautiful, so we just enjoyed the history of rug making while drinking the super tasty apple tea that we were treated.

Apple Tea and Handmade Carpets


This might be one of the most picturesque spots of all trip along with the balloons. Located on the road to Zelve that comes from Avanos via Göreme, Paşabağ lets you wander through narrow and steep ways of some distinct volcanic formations. The name means The Vineyard of Pacha(General in Military), and it is also called the Monks Valley. This name was derived from the vineyard by the road, and the tuff stones standing apart. A chapel dedicated to St. Simeon and hermit’s shelter was built in one of the chimneys with three heads. One of the most iconic spots is a fairy chimney that looks like a horse. You can go inside if you are a bit fit and climb the little cave on the second floor, then have an amazing picture taken by someone standing outside. This was also the place that we saw some couples having wedding pictures.

Me in Paşabağ
Horse-like Chimney
Hilly Paşabağ


Close to Paşabağ, there is the valley called Devrent, where you let the chimneys widen your world of imagination. Animal-like shapes, Virgin Mary holding Jesus Christ, lunar landscapes, moonscapes and the lot. This stop of the trip was actually very short, and it was all about taking pictures.

Devrent Valley


I believe this wasn’t on the itinerary but the tour wanted to do us a favor. Close to Devrent, there are three special chimneys stated next to each other, and their shapes are assumed as father, mother, and the child. Standing apart from all the other chimneys around, the Three Beautifuls has many tales. One of them tells that once upon a time a beautiful daughter of a king fell in love with a shepherd. They couldn’t convince the king to accept the situation so they run away, then eventually had a kid. After a while, they decided that the king would forgive them when seeing his grandson. Though at the entrance of the castle, the king ordered his men to kill the family. The daughter begged God to save them from getting killed by his father’s men and they were eventually turned into stones; the chimney in front is the shepherd, the one in between is the kid, and behind them is the daughter of the king.

Three Beautifuls

The RED TOUR was over with this last trip and we went back to the hotel to rest for a while, then head to Turkish Night in Göreme.


So this Turkish Night concept is actually made for foreigners to have a better understanding of Turkish traditions from all around the country. The restaurant is inside a cave, and there are  little rooms where the guests have an elevated view of the circular dance floor surrounded by these rooms. While having your dinner and drinking, you can enjoy the show of belly dance, Turkish folk dances, groom and family asking the girls family for the marriage, henna night and various related shows. The shows start around 8pm and takes about 2.5 hours. The drinks are inclusive to the price of around 20 euros.

Evranos Outside
Turkish Folk Dance
Final with the Turkish Flag



We finally had the chance to get on the balloons on day 2. The story until getting into the balloon basket was all the same, so I’m skipping that. Only thing I’d like to mention is the take off place was different, because locations are selected daily according to wind directions.

Hot Air Balloon Before Take Off

Even though the history of ballooning dates back to 1783, France, it wasn’t before 1990 that the hot air balloons started to operate in Cappadocia skies. A British lady called Kaili Kidner, and her husband Lars Eric More were the first people to fly a balloon over Cappadocia and they started the very first balloon company called Kapadokya Balloons in 1991. There were many other balloons next to ours waiting to be pumped up to fly over the fairy chimneys. Our balloon had around 15 people on it, and we were standing in cubicles of four people. The pilot stands in the middle, firing up and changing direction using the ropes according to his view and the radio; receiving direcitons from the ground. The ride takes about an hour, and although it was a bit chilly as we were there on October, the staggering views without a second of hesitation made it totally negligible. We couldn’t stop taking millions of pictures while up on the skies as high as 1000m. In the middle of the tour, the pilot even placed the basket on the cap of a chimney to have a look around. If you ever visit Turkey, I can clearly say that this is one hell of an experience that you will never ever forget.

Balloon From Its Corner

After an hour of ride, we landed on a pick up truck, and then treated with glasses of alcohol free champagne as our balloon ride certificates were presented. It was time to go back to our hotel to enjoy the breakfast, and then move on to with the GREEN TOUR.

All the Balloons Airborne
Hot Air Balloon Lift Off


The first part of the GREEN TOUR was almost identical to Love Valley viewpoint part of the RED TOUR. We overlooked at Göreme instead of Love Valley, which had chimneys as well. If you put the pictures side by side, it’s very hard to differentiate what the difference is to be honest. Only thing I could say that there was a little hill that you could climb on in Göreme Panaroma to have a cooler picture then the one you can have at Love Valley overview.

Göreme Panorama


Cappadocia has 36 different underground cities connecting to each other. This might have been the most interesting part of all the trip, as it is also the biggest underground cities among all 36. Thought to be built around 7-8th centuries BC, Derinkuyu is an underground city with a depth of 200m that includes stables, wine cellars, storage rooms, refectories, chapels and so on. It’s a comprehensive city built under the ground, no shoot. The complex was found by accident in 1963, when a resident realized a secret room behind the wall of his house, and by 1967, it was open to tourists. According to official statements, it can accommodate 20.000 people, but the gateways and rooms are super tiny that you can’t help thinking the Phrygian people who made all this were actually hobbits, and that number doesn’t mean much. Historical records say that it was used intensively by Byzantines during the war between Muslim Arabs, in centuries of 7th-11th, till the battle of Manzikert I presume. The city has 20 floors under the ground, though, only 8 floors are open to visitors. Anyway, it’s truly a must see in Cappadocia.

Derinkuyu Underground City
Derinkuyu Underground City


Closer to Aksaray city and at the end of Ihlara Valley(next stop), Selime Monastery is one of the biggest religious buildings in Cappadocia with a rock-cut cathedral size church. To reach the top section that has a staggering fortress-like structure, and the rooms, first you need to pass a tunnel-like corridor, which was part of the caravan path for camels. After that, there is a protective waiting section for them. It was thought to be built for people to pray while the camels were resting at this part. The monastery requires steep climbs and going through very narrow passageways, but it’s definitely worth it.

Selime Monastery
Flexing Inside the Cave
Pit Stop
Out of Monastery Look


After a traditional sort of lunch with kebabs, we headed to Ihlara Valley. The 100m deep, 45km long valley was formed by Melendiz River riding across, and has four different entrances. Although there is an entrance close to Selime Monastery, we entered from the one nearby Ihlara Village to walk down 300 steps, and have a better understanding of the landscapes and the depth. During our 3.5km hike, we saw several rock cut churches with many sorts of frescoes, listened to the beauty of rushing Melendiz River, took pictures on huge stones, chilled on top of wooden logs drinking Turkish Tea…

Ihlara Stairs
Top of The Rock


The last stop of the GREEN TOUR was Pigeon Valley. This could have been a hiking trip as well, but as the time was very limited, we only had time to look over the valley with hundreds of pigeon houses. The reason why so many pigeon houses were carved on the rocks of the valley was that pigeons were used as a source of food and fertilizer. The advent of chemical fertilizers have reduced the use of pigeon dung, but there is still some locals using them stating that the dung, I mean pigeon poop, makes food tastier. How yummy, isn’t it!

Pigeon Valley

Actually before we made it to the last stop of Pigeon Valley, we had the stopover of Contribution to Turkish Economy Part 2. Below are the videos of ceramics and clay artistry, that also have hundreds of years of history dating prior to Ottoman Era.


So we were done with the tour around 5pm, and after getting off all the dust with quick showers at our hotel, we went to a restaurant close by recommended by the hotel owner Müyesser. The restaurant Seyyah Han was nested in a cave by a huge rock formation lit up from the bottom. The two floor restaurant has an open terrace upstairs for a wider view, and a cafe downstairs to enjoy the Turkish Coffee after dinner. They said the specialty is Lamb Neck cooked on wood fire so we didn’t resist. Traditional serving, wood burning stove nearby to heat the room, and super tasty local wine made everything just amazing.

Seyyah Han/Çavuşin

So after having our Turkish Coffees along with Turkish Delights, our super intensive Cappadocia trip was finally over.

Hope you liked the post. For all your questions and whatnot, you can either e-mail me over, or contact me through my social media accounts.


Till next!