turkey travel

Guest Testimonials

...from Costa Rica to Belgium, from New Zealand to Texas, our guests are raving about their travel experiences with us!

Here's what they're saying:

Dear Chevy,
We are now back home in Sweden, as you surely understand.
I just wanted to give you feed-back that the tour round Turkey that you arranged, was an extraordinary experience. I found your peopleso hospitable and very friendly, it was a delight to deal with them. I think you must convey this to those involved.
We were just a bit disappointed that when we left the Ayder / Black sea region we had to leave very early for the airport and that the driver could not communicate with us, as we then wanted to go down to the sea for a look. Anyway, you were also exemplary in helping us when we had trouble in Ayder and for this I thank you dearly. The people there were truly generous and attentive.
All in all, it was great experience and I fully agree that your country is truly beautiful and interesting and your people are so welcoming and so pleasant to meet.
I hope we will be able to do other tours later in Turkey, with your help.
Thank, all those involved, not least Yalcin, that helped us through in Istanbul.

Kindest regards.

Andrejs


Andrejs Landsmanis
Chef, Strategisk Asset Allocation


Dear Chevy,

I don't know if your ears are warm, but we've been telling all our friends (as well as the agent at United Airlines Cruises, Desiree Parks) what a wonderful excursion you designed for us in Turkey, and how perfectly it was executed.

We were under the false impression that a group of tourists had begun a tour a day before, and we would join them. So we were surprised when Salim picked us up at the ship dock, and then gave us a dozen envelopes with vouchers and instructions for 11 days of touring, with all hotels, transportation, guided tours, etc.

Every thing took place as arranged without a hitch! We were extremely pleased with the whole process. The hotels were all interesting and well located, especially the Stone Hotel in Istanbul. And the guides were all knowledgable, friendly, very courteous and helpful.

Dottie and I were particularly impressed with one of the guides in Istanbul. She worked for SHE tours, her first name is Anil. Please let SHE know how terrific she is. In fact, it would be a good idea to have her train other guides, for she enunciated clearly and slowly. We decided that speakers of Turkish talk very rapidly, and so some of the guides talked quickly in English as well. But Anil, whose grasp of the grammar in English was perfect, spoke distinctly and slowly. We caught every word she said, which, by the way was also good, for she was very knowledgable as well.

Something you might like to add to your list for your tourists: we asked at the desk in the Stone Hotel about Roman Catholic churches. He didn't know, of course, but Googled and found St. Anthony of Padua (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_St._Anthony_of_Padua,_Istanbul). It has a mass in English on Sunday morning. The church is respectful of its setting in a virtually total Muslim country, for it has no images on its windows and has minaret-like additions to the building rather than steeples. It was one of the unexpected pleasures of exploring Istanbul.

Oh, we had baklava every day at Hafiz Mustafa 1864 every day; they gave us extra treats and drinks on our last day. And we had a wonderful dinner at Kalamar in the Fish Market area (Salim's recommendation). It was great fun to see all the local people sitting out all along that street of restaurants.

We will post on Trip Advisor as well, expressing our total satisfaction with the program and how well it was executed.

Thank you so much.

Jerry Smith

hot air balloon

If you're looking for a tour company for Turkey, you need to look NO further.

"We are happy if you are happy". That is what they say, and they mean it. Chevy and his staff are friendly and charming, but more importantly, they are accommodating, helpful, and generous. They want you to love their homeland - and you will.

We were amazed at the "bonuses", small additions to or deviations from the itinerary that always delighted. Our driver and valet surprised us with happy hour by the pool, a roadside stop to pick ripe mulberries, dessert by the Aegean (kazandibi, yum), snacks and fresh flowers in the coach. Giorgio and Neco spoiled us. Encounter Tours makes everyone feel special; I believe it is just their "corporate culture". If they know of an event or see something that would interest or please you, they add it for your enjoyment. They even took us to a big annual music festival in Istanbul.

The tour accommodations are nice (how we loved our water views), and the food is very good - we relished several special lunch stops. Our expert guides at the various historic sites were patient, friendly and interesting. This company puts together a great total package to enjoy."

Becky M
Portland, Texas

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Hi Chevy:

Just wanted to thank you for your great service and making our trip to Cappadocia so great.
You really went out of your way for us and we enjoyed meeting you.
Also you have a real asset in George Clooney who took us to the Hamani and Dervish show in the rain and set up the cab to airport.
Keep us posted on your renovations near the coast.

Thanks again,

Jim and Sue

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Hello Chevy,

This is a very belated "thank you" for our wonderful evening with you. Truly is was one of many highlights of our Turkey trip. I also wanted to share with you how special the tour you put together for us was. From the hotels, to the places we visited, to the tours, to everything about Our Turkey experience - it was all perfect. Also, I want to give extra special kudos to our guide, Murat. He was professional, knowledgeable, and all-around delightful. Can't wait for someone to tell me they want to visit Turkey. That's when I will give them your email.

Thanks again,

Mary

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Hi Chevy,

Just wanted to thank you for the trip. Everything went smoothly and we had a great time. The guides were all excellent, and the drivers meeting us from planes and buses were there as planned.
Great work, loved Turkey and the delightful people, food and the whole country.

Best regards,

Lyn

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Hello Chevy S. Noratli,

Thank you very much for the excellent tour.

The boat, service, snacks and program were great!

I would like to express my special thanks to captain Ali who was very kind, participative and easy going.

We really enjoyed the picturesque bays and the Mediterranean sea!

I wish you good luck and prosperity!

With best regards,

Georgy Lebedev

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Just a quick note to thank you and your team for looking after us in Turkey. You made it into a wonderful holiday

that in general ran very smoothly. I really appreciated the care you gave us in Istanbul. We felt very welcomed into that small corner

near your shop front. I am sure that I speak also for Viv, Monica and Lakshmi.

Wishing you all every success for yourselves and those whom you love.

Peta


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Dear Chevy,

Hope you are doing well.

I wanted to share with you what a wonderful experience we had in Turkey & would really recommend your company services

to our friends that plan to travel in the near future. Kamal had already shared your details with his colleagues & they too

used your services & have a very positive feedback.

The hospitality granted from Mr. Selim right from the time we landed until we left was remarkable. Many Thanks to Mr. Selim to

take good care of us during our visit.

The tours of Pammukale & Cappadocia were amazing. The place is so beautiful that it will live in our memories forever. The tour guides

at both the locations were amazing.

Pamukkale Tour Guide really extended his hospitality for us. He went out of his way to help us get some clothes when we

left our baggage in Istanbul. They really extended their hospitality with extra services. Place to freshen up, serving tea coffee,

place to relax; its been very very memorable & the tour guides did a fantastic job in granting their hospitality.

Cappadocia was equally great with an amazing tour. I would also like to highlight that we were taken well care of right

from the time our bus reached until the next day when we reached the airport. Facilities were made convenient to us

especially as our tour was organized the moment we arrived.

Over all the trip was fantastic & very memorable. We shall possibly contact you next time as well when we plan to visit Turkey.

Have a Pleasant Day ahead.

 

Kind Regards,

Meera Manek

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Dear Chevy,

Our trip was wonderful. The hotels you chose were outstanding and so centrally located. We especially enjoyed

Fanis and Chris's hospitality at the beautiful Aroma Suites. The excursions in Turkey were awesome – Ephesus and Pamukkale were unforgettable...

Your representatives met us at every airport and that was very smooth. Your tour guides were very personable...

 

Sincerely,

Dorothy Foley
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Chevy,

We have returned safely home after our two week adventure in Turkey. I must say that the trip exceeded our expectations. Our time with our guide Izmet was just awesome. The knowledge that he shared was tremendous as well as the hospitality. We have many wonderful memories and a whole lot of pictures that we can share. I did want to share two things with you about the accommodations. All of the hotels we stayed in were very nice, but I wanted to especially highlight two of them. The Ada Hotel in Istanbul was fantastic. The hosts could not have more gracious and helpful. Also the Assiana Hotel in Urgup was awesome. Again the hosts there went well out of their way to make us feel welcome, plus the food was fantastic. Both of these hotels should be listed in travel guides so that others can share the same experience we had.

I will say that the service at the restaurant at the Rumi Hotel was lacking when we were there. I don't know if they are always that way, but is was poor service at the restaurant which was one of the meals that was furnished per the itinerary.

I can't say enough about our guide Izmet. We met as strangers, but left as friends.

Thanks.

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Hi Chevy,

Our trip to Turkey was very exhilarating, and memorable. It is was lots of fun.

We enjoyed all the places very much. Alkep Eve cave hotel was quite wonderful

experience. We took lots of beautiful pictures and I'm in the process of making a beautiful

online album. My kids are addicted to apple tea and other fruit tea. We also enjoyed Whirling Dervishes

show in Cappodocia. The drive from Cappodocia to Konya was long but quite beautiful and scenic.

We wanted to squeeze in the trip to Mt Nemrut but not enough time. Ephesus was very

mesmerizing. Walk on the Pamukele hot spring calcium carbonate was quite an experience.

Hotels were quite comfortable.

 

Thank you,

Varsha Bhatt

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Dear Chevy,

Greetings from Medora Travels - Ahmedabad !!

Thank you vey much for all the wonderful arrangements you made for us in Turkey. Yalcin was really nice, help & co-operative all times. Am really impressed with your team. We are going to try our best to promote Turkey.

SPECIAL THANKS TO EMRE (our guide in Istanbul), SULEIMAN (our guide in Pamukkale) & MEHMUT (very helpful & co-operative, at Cappadocia) and our drive , I cant recollect his name but he drove us all the way from Pamukkale to Cappadocia and we were very comfortable

 

Thanks / Regards,

Delnaz Medora - 9825255634

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Hi Chevy!

I just want to thank you so much for all of your assistance this summer. It was a pleasure meeting you and talking to you. First, let me say there was no comparison between the Stone Hotel and the Speectre....the Stone was much nicer! You were right! And the ceremony of the Whirling Dervishes was one of the highlights of the trip for me. Of course, I loved it all..the Bodrum peninsula was so beautiful. There is no doubt I will return to Turkey in the near future to see more..I would love to go to the Black Sea area and Cappadocia and Konya. But it was the hospitality and friendliness of the Turkish people I met that impressed me the most. Everywhere I went people were nice and helpful, happy and full of life. You truly belong to a spectacular country. Thanks for everything.

Wendy

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Dear Chevy,

I wanted to thank you for arranging such a fantastic tour of your amazing country. From our trip on the Bosphorous on Day 1, to the trip up Nemrut Dagi towards the end of the tour, the arrangements were all excellent - all the hotels/accomodation/food/transfers etc were first class.
I would also like to thank you for providing us with a fantastic guide and driver. Our guide Ismet did everything he could to ensure we had a great time. He was a warm, friendly man whose knowledge of his country was amazing - he brought the sites we visited to life, with his passion and knowledge. By the end of the tour, he was part of our family.
Also I would like to thank you for providing us with such an excellent driver. Nego was kind, considerate and patient and always provided us with little extras - he was an important part of our family.

We will never forget our holiday in Turkey and are considering a trip in 2 years time.

Thank you for making our holiday special.

Martin, Merril, Lucy, Sam Cochrane
Wales, UK

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Chevy,

Just a quick note to let you know we both arrived back safely and that the Turkey tour was an experience of a lifetime. The sites were spectacular, with such a deep history, the accomodations were very good, and the people were just lovely. The staff at the Stone Hotel (Aziz Gift and Selim Karaga) were especially important in making us feel comfortable and secure when we arrived. Also, Ainek Turmali Kizi, who accompanied us on an evening outing and checked up on me on her own during my final day, was delightful to spend time with.

We both enjoyed your country immensely and look forward to visiting again in the future.

I also want to thank you personally for taking care of the airfare overcharge. I understand why the people in Turkey speak of you so highly. Thank you for arranging this wonderful adventure.

Nancy H.

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Dear Chevy,

I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful tour you arranged for our group. We enjoyed it so very much much. The Arcadia Hotel in Istanbul was charming and the Elkep Evi in Cappadocia was more than wonderful. Kutay was an excellent guide and very helpful to individuals in the group especially in getting through the airport on our flight to and from Cappadocia. He was well versed in the history of Istanbul as well as the sites we saw. Memet, our guide in Cappadocia, was also terrific. He arranged for a car to drive my husband back to the hotel when he got sick during one of our tour days in Cappadocia which was greatly appreciated. We loved the cave dwellings and underground cities as well as the wonderful rock formations in the area. The restaurants in Istanbul and Cappadocia were excellent. We enjoyed the food very much. We appreciated the arrangements for the additional single room in Cappadocia and in Istanbul. We would have loved to have been able to spend more time in Turkey.

I'm sorry I didn't get to meet you personally to thank you for making all these arrangements. We will always remember this wonderful tour and would gladly recommend your company to others."

Anonymous

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Hi Chevy,

Just a short note to say thanks for a great trip you put together for us. We were also very greatful for the good hotels we stayed in and the family room set up was very convenient.

Besides the one transfer in Marmarais that left us stranded, everything else was well set out perfect and we had a really great time.

From our side, thanks again for a great experience and yes, we left with Turkey fully in our hearts and minds.

Regards,

Charl, Elize, Ivan & Charlize Cuyler

 

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Hello Chevy,

This is Alvaro Miranda from Costa Rica, well after some days of resting and getting things up back here in Costa
Rica, I just wanted to say THANK YOU VERY MUCH for all your help and assistance during our trip to Turkey, my father and I enjoyed very much your hospitality and all your professionalism and caring about our itinerary you made our vacation the moust memorable, specially for my father in which Turkey was one of his dreams to visit. I surely will contact you and recommend all your services to our friends and family here in Costa Rica. In fact my friend Karlina Morera will be making a visit to Turkey and I already recommended you as the best option for enjoying Turkey.

Hope to see you in the future and if you have some time available, make it to our contry for vacation, you work very hard and you deserve some days off.

Again thanks very much for all.

Alvaro Miranda and father.
Costa Rica

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Hi Chevy,

I cannot thank you enough for the well planned itinerary that you put together for our 12 day stay in that beautiful country of yours –and the people that you had looking after us all the way –with the transfers and the Tour Guides
At all times we felt that we were well looked after every step of the way—the accommodation that was chosen for us to stay—especially our beautiful Cave Room at the Cappadocia Palace in Urgup

The only downside was our long Bus trips however the Bus Companies provide very comfortable and professional service and we both fell in love with our attendants on the trip back to Istanbul from Cappadocia on the Metro Bus Co.

The only disappointment was that we did not see any of the coast and seaside –perhaps some other time
Istanbul is a truly beautiful and interesting City and I will remember our experience there always

Give our regards to Georgio who also looked us very well

Kind Regards,
Sandra Forrester

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Hi Chevy,

Thanks for all your help with our bookings in Turkey! We had a fantastic time on our holiday! We particularly liked the Akol Hotel in Cannakale, and also Kismet Hotel and Oyster Residences.

We will definitely recommend you to any friends who want to travel to Turkey.

Thanks again for all your help!

Regards,

Anna & Simon
New York NY

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Chevy,

Dan and I would like to thank you for such a beautiful tour of your country. Turkey is the most favorite and a memorable one of all my travels. We hope to see you soon here in the states and than in two years back in Turkey. We had so much fun and the fact that you conformed to my times of medical issues was truly a major plus. Going out of your way to accommodate when I had medical problems was such a blessing. Thank you for making a dream of mine and making it less stressful for us come true.


Many hugs and much friendship for the future.


Dan and Anna.
San Jose, CA

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Greetings from very beautiful Cape Town in the Republic of South Africa ! We do hope that you are keeping well.

Well, where does one begin to describe our experiences during the incredible two weeks we spent in your country?! Reviewing the approximately 9,000 photographs taken, and added to the collection, reveals so many wonderful moments during this short period of our lives. The overwhelming impression is that of a intermingling of so many fascinating civilizations which have left their footprints on Turkish soil. The friendliness of the people was most obvious, as was the difficulty in communicating in English. There were many times when one wished that one could speak Turkish which appears to be an incredibly difficult language! We were very fortunate to have been in Turkey during the holy month of Ramadan which gave us the opportunity to understand more fully the complexities of the Islamic faith.

A striking feature was evidence that the Turkish government and other organizations are really trying to expose and preserve the history and culture of the country for us, as well as future generations, to appreciate and enjoy. Hopefully, Turkey will not become “Americanized” and rather assume some of the characteristics of European culture. As discussed, I do not believe that the country will benefit from joining the EU in the near future.

Chevvy, thank you for all your kindness, consideration and efforts in making our “Turkish Delight” experience one to treasure now and for many years to come! We do appreciate this. Also, thank you for the gifts you gave us by way of Giorgio who saw us safely back to the Ataturk Airport . We were also fortunate to have encountered many special people during this period. I have written to some of them and have forwarded them some relevant photographs.

We have no doubt that our paths will cross again in this life. Please keep contact with us!

Sincerely,

Jerzy and Mary

Cape Town,
South Africa

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Salam Chevy,
I hope you are well and good and enjoying your time in America. I just wanted to say thank you for the excellent service given on the tour. We were very pleased with the tour and all the people of your company. It was very enjoyable stay in Turkey and we hope to visit again in few years time inshaAllah. Please pass our thanks to Hakem whk was very helpful in transporting us and Georgio and Mohsin. Please give thank them on our behalf and we wish we had more time to spend with them. Many thanks to you all.

Mohammed

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Hi Chevy,

Thanks for organising a wonderful trip for us to
Pamukkale and Ephesus, everything went very well and
we are really pleased wýth the tour.
Thanks also for your little gift. We will
definitely recommend your organisation to others and
will take new tours in the future.
Good luck and Keep up the good work.

Regards,
Venu and Neelima

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Dear Chevy,

How are you? We hope you're doing fine?

We have never been better since we made a wonderful trip in Turkey! It has been splendid!
Beyond our imagination actually. Our compliments, it has been well organised.
We liked all the spots of interest which we reached in a luxury way.
The air conditioned Mercedes was marvellous way of transport in this heat.
All the best of compliments on our driver, Ersan. He was really super!
An incredible extended English vocabulary and a serious amount of kindness.

Thanks again for everything,

Kind regards,

Tatienne Smet and her family, Belgium

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Aloha Chevy,

What a great trip your arranged for us. The Cyrpria hotel in Athens, Santorina Palace and the upgraded suites at the Gamirasu hotel (thank you –those rooms
were awesome) were perfect for us. The Euro Plaza was a good hotel – amenities etc. but would have preferred a renovated room. Carpet worn and stained,
Clean room but shabby – great view of the Golden Horn. We walked thru the renovated areas to our rooms so could see the renoavated rooms. We all loved meeting
you, seeing your office, Michaels shave. Our guide for our 1st day tour in Cappadocia – Mahmet was outstanding – very professional, knowledgeable, warm,
and seemed to really enjoy sharing this beautiful area with us. The balloon ride was so incredible. Thank you for the folk, belly dancing show. The dancers
were great – too bad they have the comedian/singer comes out at the end with his bad jokes and bad imitations of the songs from our indivual countries. I had
the same experience and formatted show when I visited Ireland - River Dance. Thank you again for all your hard work putting together this incredible experience
for us. I will defiantly recommend you to those who want to book on the internet. You have to make it to Hawaii oneday – you can see the Oregon coast from
our Hawaii shores ………

MAHALO, (thank you)

Sharon & John Woodbury

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Chevy,

We are now back in the U.S., as scheduled, after the wonderful tour of Turkey that you arranged for me and my wife (Rama). Little did we realize, until we were well into our tour, how geographically large Turkey is and despite spending 12 full days, we have hardly seen less than one-half of this vast country. Likewise, we were pleasantly surprised by the rich history, culture, religious practices and the natural beauty of Turkey. The tour was a revelation and it dawned on us how little we knew about Turkey before we embarked on this sojourn.

Despite the frantic call to you after our arrival and checking into the Stone Hotel in Istanbul about the safety of the narrow cobble-stoned alleys and the throngs of people that were walking about at midnight (because of Ramadan observance, as we later found out), your assurances about our safety and crime-free environment and the close proximity of the hotel to the Blue Mosque, reassured us to move on with our planned tour.

The next morning's breakfast laden with fresh cut tomatoes, cucumbers, water melon, honey dew, varieties of cheeses constituted from goat and cow milk, fresh yogurt, a bevy of pickled olives and and fresh bread with an assortment of fresh jams and honey was indeed an eye-opener. While we expected the customary American breakfast loaded with eggs and sausages, etc., the Turkish breakfast grew on us and by the end of the trip we were hooked on it and wondered why don't we Americans eat such wholesome and nutritious breakfast!

The tours that you arranged not only within Istanbul, but also in every other place that the tour took us, were fast-paced and literally kept us on our toes. The tour guides spoke good English and were well informed, some more intellectually gifted than others to imbue the narration with valuable history and culture. Particularly, our tour guide who spent 3-4 days with us as our personal guide for me and my wife from Pamukkale to Cappadocia and the sights in between (Ismet Turan) was outstanding. He was well read, spoke excellent English, had a good sense of humor and was aware of the political sensitivities of the nationalities. Ismet added a new and useful dimension to our tour in many respects including educating us on the rich history of Turkey and the religious confrontation of the regions over the centuries, and exposing us to some good Turkish food.

The amazing landscape, as we drove over fifteen hundred miles from the coast along the Aegean Sea in to the deep interior of Turkey, was fascinating. The limestone formations built over thousands of years and the natural mineral waters in Pamukkale, the Byzantine churches, chapels and monasteries in Capppadocia as well as the formations of mountains during volcanic eruptions from which livable houses were carved out were totally impressive. (The one afternoon that we spent touring the Gallipoli battlefield and memorials is something that we could have avoided. It was less interesting in comparison).

Chevy, I and my wife would like to thank you for the care that you personally took, being available by 'phone to address our small concerns and providing assurances and meeting our needs. On the day before we completed the tour back in Istanbul, we are grateful that you picked us up at the Hotel and personally took us to the most important sight (that somehow we missed in the regular tour) which is Hagia Sophia. Topping this with your personal escort to the Istanbul airport the next morning to bid goodbye to us was an extra personal touch which we appreciated.

The entire tour was a memorable experience. We are so glad that we did it. Again, thank you for arranging it.

Rao
San Jose, CA

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Dear Mr Noratli,

Many thanks for the great tour you organized for us. Please thank the office staff in Istanbul for their hospitality and care of us. Everything went so smoothly and the guides for Gallipoli, Troy and Ephesus were really exceptional. Please pass our thanks to them. We will certainly tell our friends about you!

Regards

Mary De Gabriele

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Dear Chevy,

We would like to thank you very much for your attentiveness and professionalism on our Cappadocia tour! Besides having a wonderful and unique experience, we could feel how seriously you take your job, as you were very kind and helpful starting in Brazil! It exceeded by far all of our expectations!! Yours is an agency we can really trust!! We already miss the wonderful country that is Turkey. Thank you very much!! A big hug,

Loriane Azeredo, Danielle Gonçalves, Fernanda Sanches e Márcia Vogel

(translated from Portuguese)

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Dear Chevy,

What a nice tour and time I had! Thank you so much for your good and fine arrangements. Oh, Safranbolu was so beautiful, but so the other places. Everyday was a joy .
Thanks for the very nice gift , I appreciate it.
It was nice to meet you in person. I am always very curious to see someone from face to face.! Thank you for being so friendly, I know you have a busy schedule and I know I have many, many questions..Thanks for understanding and helping mer to get what I had in mind.
No travel or journey can have meaning without the PEOPLE . So kind and friendly!. I enjoyed Turkey and there were always such nice people around, sitting next to me in the bus or where ever..Sharing something to eat, trying to communicate.. that gives a heart to a country and a travel..
Thanks Chevy, I hope it will be possible for me to come again to Turkey.. There are so many countries that I visited, and I ernjoyed them all, but I don"t have this same strong longing to go again and again..This I have with Turkey. It touched my being.

And thank you very much: Baie dankie.

So now I am going to say goodbye in Afrikaans:: Totsiens (it means till we see again)

Junita Joubert

If you see some of the people that did things for me, drive me or whatever, tell them I appreciate it and send my regards.

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Dear Chevy,

I would like to thank you for your efforts in organising my holiday.

I appreciated very much the quick change of hotel at no extra expense.The organisation of my trips,pick ups etc worked fine,your staff where most helpfull, I will have no hesitation in recommending you to anyone at all.

Thank you again.

Regards.

John Dolan

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Hello Chevvy & Sedat, Greetings to the Yuksels,
Sorry it has taken so long to put this together. We certainly enjoyed our trip to Turkey and we wanted to let the folks whose books we so often depend on for vacation planning know of a few of the special experiences we had that were NOT in the books.

-- Sammie Buben

FYI: I have sent the following email to Insight Guides, Frommer's Guidebooks, Fodor's Guidebooks, Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, and Rick Steve's Travel Company (Yes, Sedat, Rick Steve really does influence A LOT of American travelers ! ) :

My husband, mother-in-law, and myself just returned from a trip to Greece and Turkey, and I wanted to let you know some of the groups we worked with and places we stayed that really made an impression on us. We used books on both countries by Insight Guides, Frommer’s, Fodor’s, Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, and Rick Steve’s to plan ahead for what we wanted to see, and we carried these books with us to use as references as we traveled. Although the books were great sources of trip planning and gave us most of the information we needed (things to do & see, and places to eat & stay), we found a few additional references that we thought you might like to add to or update on the lists.

We spent 10 days in Greece and 10 days in Turkey. Since we were traveling in the shoulder season, we did NOT make arrangements for a formal total package tour in Greece. We simply planned our itinerary as we went along, using the above listed references for hiring local guides and arranging lodging and meals. The books were great and, along with and local recommendations as we traveled from place to place, provided us with pretty much everything we needed to know. The time we spent in Greece was easy, relaxing, and everything worked out well.

We did, however, go through a tour agency to pre-plan our itinerary in Turkey as we felt it would be more difficult for us to make on-the-spot arrangements in Turkey. I do have to say that using Encounter Tours LLC to plan our Turkish itinerary was the best decision we ever made. We had a wonderful time and we got to see and do not only everything we asked to be a part of our tour, but additional sites and experiences as well, thanks to the agency’s personal tour package designed specifically for us. I would HIGHLY recommend Encounter Tours (www.turkeytravelcompany.com) as a resource for anyone planning a trip to Turkey, especially since this group is run by a native Turk and has a Portland, OR, branch so they fully understand both American and Turkish viewpoints. (In North America: Encounter LLC, 1132 SE Fir Grove Loop, Hillsboro, OR 97123 USA, tel 1-503-729-9455; or in Turkey: Encounter Tours & Kaletur LTD, Cankurtaran Mey. No 7/2, Eminonu, Istanbul, tel +90-212-5178115.)

Although we thoroughly enjoyed Greece and we had no problems seeing everything we planned to see, we wish we had spent the whole time in Turkey and saved Greece for another trip because Turkey was so incredible and deserved much more time than we were able to spend there. The organizer of the Turkish portion of our tour, Chevy Noratli of Encounter Tours did such a good job on our itinerary that it left us feeling like we really needed at least another week in Turkey to see more of the country that we just couldn’t get to in 10 short days. We just didn’t have time to fit enough of Turkey into our schedule after spending time in Greece.

The package that Chevvy put together for us was customized to what we wanted to see and do based on the information we gleaned from the tour books we purchased, read through, and chose to be part of our trip. We had provided the details we chose to use to Chevvy ahead of time and he put together the package to accommodate our choices within the economy to mid-range budget allowance. Ours was not a big bus tour, but combined with different tour groups daily depending on the sites visited, to give us a variety of tour group sizes and nationalities (in English language presentation). We were especially impressed with the coordination of the various Turkish tour agencies that Chevvy contracted with for us to assure us a thorough overview of the prominent Turkish sites in the areas we visited. This included a series of tours over 2 ½ days in and around Istanbul, a wonderful tour to Gallipoli (along with a group of Australian tourists that really enhanced our appreciation of the site), and a tour of Troy and a visit to Pergamon. The tour guides used in each of the locations were well informed, entertaining, and sensitive to our needs. Each tour seemed especially designed for us personally. The lodging was comfortable and more than adequate, but within the budget constraints we had requested. Half to full board was provided, but when it was convenient for us to seek out our own meals using the recommendations of the books we had brought, that option was already planned into the tour package as we had requested. We were also amazed at how efficiently the distances we needed to travel were included in each day’s package so that we made good time traveling, but still had plenty of time allotted for the tour sights, and always got to our destination in time for dinner and some free time to unwind. We were more than pleased with the trip by the time we reached Kusadasi.

But the best part of the Turkey portion of the trip planned by Chevvy actually began when we left Kusadasi on a private tour (just the 3 of us and a guide/driver). The guide/driver was a Turkish gentleman named Sadat Kirkan and he devoted 5 days to giving us an insider’s view of his country. He was quite knowledgeable of the sites he showed us (including Ephesus, Konya, Pamukkale/Hieroplis, and Capadoccia), very attuned to our needs, and a good driver as well. Sadat never hesitated to deviate from the planned tour if we requested a change, but he did make sure that we got to visit the sites delineated in the tour package without compromising our “free” time. We were especially pleased with unplanned trips to a free local Whirling Dervish performance in Konya, birding sites my husband requested at the last minute, and a crater lake that we spotted on our drive. One of the highlights was a visit to a private home in Cappadocia to see how modern Turks have adjusted to life in the fairy chimneys. Sadat also took care to make sure that my mother-in-law and myself, both having some sight impairment, were able to navigate the landscape, and gave us time to do so without being rushed or feeling as if we had compromised the itinerary due to our limitations.

We thought that when we were in Pamukkala, we hit the jackpot as far as hotels. We stayed in the lovely Pam Thermal Hotel (tel 0.258-271 41 40 PBX, www.pamhotel.com). The thermal pools at the hotel and the guest services were first class, unbelievable for our budget itinerary, and the meals were incredible. The dessert bar had more and better offerings than most bakeries anywhere !! It was a heavenly place and catered to our every need.

We were ready to say the Pam Thermal was the top hotel our trip … until we arrived in Urgup for our tour of Cappadocia. We stayed at the conveniently located, very small and very personal Antik Cave House (Esbelli Mah, Dolay Sok, No:14, 50400 Urgup, tele: 0090.384 341 44 28, www.antikcavehouse.com), where we were treated like royalty. The owners, Abdurrahman and Ulku Yuksel are both retired workers from the tour industry and they were most gracious hosts, offering us great tips on the area and providing us with wonderfully appointed and comfortable cave rooms, complete with Turkish delight and coffee/tea in the evenings. We felt very fortunate that we got to stay with the Yuksels for an additional night before our flight back to Istanbul because it gave us a chance to really rest up for our trip back home and at the same time made us feel like we were there visiting old friends and catching up on all the news and daily life in Turkey.
Some additional notes on our stay at the Antik Cave House included the meals. The breakfasts were the best and the largest of our entire trip. Anyone lucky enough to spend a few days there might get a special treat at breakfast of Ulku’s homemade tiramisu, which was the best tiramisu we had ever had, even better than in NY or Rome !! We liked the Antik Cave Hotel so much that we elected to eat our evening meals there, even though we had originally planned to visit different restaurants in the area on our own. We had a delicious dinner there both nights (not part of our tour package, but it should have been if we had known to ask for this ahead of time!), complete with Cappadocian wines, a wonderful Turkish dining experience, and good conversation. We have to say that dining with Sadat and the Yuksels was a great experience, not only for the delicioous Turkish food, but also for the intimate dining experience in a Turkish home with our Turkish hosts.

The Antik Cave House was the highlight of our trip and a wonderful way to cap off our time in Turkey. PLEASE check out this small, private hotel for future recommedations for your Cappadocian travel itineraries.

In summary, we would like to recommend that you contact Chevvy Noratli and his Encounter Tours LLC tour agency for planning trips for American tourists who want to see the real Turkey at their own pace and budget. Be as specific or as general as you choose and Chevvy will work out a customized itinerary to fit the budget and the time schedule you specify. Ask for Sadat Kirkan to be on the agenda as a knowledgeable guide with wit and humor, and an appreciation for your personal agenda. Ask to stay at the Pam Thermal Hotel if you spend time at the thermal area of Pammukkula. And if you are in a small group and you go to the Cappadocia area, DO NOT miss the Antik Cave Hotel if you want to really experience the comfort of the caves and a glimpse of Turkish life and culture. And most important of all, enjoy as much of Turkey as you can and then plan another trip to this incredible country when you can see even more of the sites and experiences that Turkey has to offer. You can be sure that we will not mark Turkey off as one of those “ been there, done that ” places. We will be going back to tour more of Turkey when we are planning our future vacations.

Sammie & Michael Buben, South Bend, WA USA
Marilyn Buben, Fort Worth, Texas USA

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Dear Chevy,

I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful tour you arranged for our group. We enjoyed it so very much much. The Arcadia Hotel in Istanbul was charming and the Elkep Evi in Cappadocia was more than wonderful. Kutay was an excellent guide and very helpful to individuals in the group especially in getting through the airport on our flight to and from Cappadocia. He was well versed in the history of Istanbul as well as the sites we saw. Memet, our guide in Cappadocia, was also terrific. He arranged for a car to drive my husband back to the hotel when he got sick during one of our tour days in Cappadocia which was greatly appreciated. We loved the cave dwellings and underground cities as well as the wonderful rock formations in the area. The restaurants in Istanbul and Cappadocia were excellent. We enjoyed the food very much. We appreciated the arrangements for the additional single room in Cappadocia and in Istanbul. We would have loved to have been able to spend more time in Turkey.

Thank you for making all these arrangements. We will always remember this wonderful tour and would gladly recommend your company to others."

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Chevy,

Thanks so much for making our trip to Turkey such a special one! We appreciate all you did for us, and especially the night out in Istanbul with cruise and dinner. Again, we'll be happy to leave comments on internet sites, just let us know where. And, if you need a referral, or someone to reassure a potential customer about Turkey, we'll be happy to do that for you.

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Dear Chevy ,

We just got back from Turkey this afternoon and we had a really great time
there.

The transfers, tours and hotels all worked out very well and I would like to thank you and your company for a job well done. I will recommend your agency to my friends and I look forward to visiting Turkey again myself with the help of your agency.

I would particularly like to mention the Pasha Han hotel which was really excellent. We had a very spacious cave style room with ensuite bathroom
facilities. The hotel is very well located right in the centre of Goreme and the owner makes you feel very welcome there.

Thank you,
Francis.

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Dear Chevy,

How are you? We hope you're doing fine?

We have never been better since we made a wonderful trip in Turkey! It has been splendid! Beyond our imagination actually. Our compliments, it has been well organised. We liked all the spots of interest which we reached in a luxury way. The air conditioned Mercedes was marvellous way of transport in this heat. All the best of compliments on our driver, Ersan. He was really super! An incredible extended English vocabulary and a serious amount of kindness.

Thanks again for everything,

Kind regards,

Tatienne Smet and her family, Belgium

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Dear Chevy

Thank you for arranging our holiday in Turkey. In particular your hotel hosts in Sanfranbolu and Amasya were very friendly and gracious to us. The Sanfranbolu hotel owner drove us himself with his wife to a wonderful afternoon in Amasra. In Amasya we even had a guide who wanted to learn English supplied to us for free. After being caught in hazelnut riots in Orun on the bus I liked the arrangements made for us by your partner in Trabzon who arranged a cab rendezvous at 2 in the morning to the bus and thence quickly to the bus. You
have a good team on your Black Sea Tour.

My thanks.

Jeff Nutting
jnutting@gprc.ab.ca

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Chevy,

Thanks so much for making our trip to Turkey such a special one! We appreciate all you did for us, and especially the night out in Istanbul with cruise and dinner. Again, we'll be happy to leave comments on internet sites, just let us know where. And, if you need a referral, or someone to reassure a potential customer about Turkey, we'll be happy to do that for you.

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Dear Chevy,

Just wanted to let you know that we are almost finished our wonderful visit to your fabulous country. Your associates here in Turkey have done an outstanding job for you and us. You can be very confident of your business with people like, Mushin, Kutey and Nacdet working with you. We cannot compliment them enough for the care and attention that they provided us while in Turkey. Maureen and I still have another 2 months of travelling in Europe before we return home on June 30. We will be writing you a detailed letter when we return about your tour and the great job that was done. Until then we just wanted you to know that we have been very satisfied with the tour and will be recommending your tours to anyone travelling to Turkey.

Many, many thanks Maureen and Ivor Frederiksen
Gulle, Gulle

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I'd be more than happy to give a recommendation for Chevy Noratli and his tour services...and an outstanding recommendation at that!

Just a bit of background...I'm in my early 60's and have traveled extensively, and almost always independently, through many parts of the world. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in South America right after college, backpacked around Asia for two years when I was in my 40s, and take at least one major overseas trip a year. I have driven around Morocco, been to Tibet, had my own business importing from Nepal and India, lived on a beach in Thailand for a year, and wandered the bazaars of Cairo on my own, to name a few of my experiences. Though I frequently make all my own arrangements, as I've gotten older I've enjoyed the ease of working with companies located in the country I plan to visit, and having them make many of the travel arrangements for me. After gathering information and listening to suggestions, I tailor the suggested itinerary to what I want to do. I've also found that travel agents offer ideas on things to do that I might not otherwise have considered.

I came across Chevy and his company on the internet...in fact, I think I first read about him on some sort of tourist message board, but, sorry, I don't know remember where I saw it. Though I usually contact several companies to compare services, prices, and attitudes, I knew from the references and after the first communication with Chevvy that I wanted to work with him and his company, and thus didn't bother to contact anyone else. So, I can't comment on his prices in comparison with others, but I can say I thought them very reasonable and great value for what I paid. I do know that I've learned from the past few years that travel agents like Chevvy can frequently get lower hotel rates than individuals contacting the hotels on their own, and on other services as well.

We dealt with Chevy personally and used his company's services for our first trip to Turkey last September. We had done some research on our own ahead of time on what we wanted to see and do, and adding in some of Chevvy's suggestions, we ended up being extremely happy with our Turkey travel experience. So happy in fact, that we will be returning to Turkey this year, with Chevvy once again making our arrangements for us.

Chevy is enthusiastic about his country and his work. He is as sincere an individual as I have met, and is committed to making his clients' experiences in Turkey outstanding ones. He went the extra mile for us on numerous occasions, and was always there, day or night, if we had any questions or needed him to do something more for us. He was able to tailor our tour program to what we wanted, and throughout the trip, he made several last minute changes as we requested. As we can be a bit fussy at times, and some of the changes were very last minute, I can say from first hand experience that his patience was admirable, and he never once exhibited any feelings other than his willingness to try and satisfy us.

Turkey itself was fascinating. We visited Istanbul, Cappadoccia, Konya, Pamukkale, and Ephesus, traveling by plane, bus, and car. People were polite and friendly, and the sights were impressive and exotic. In Istanbul and the other places we visited, we never once felt afraid or in danger, even when out on our own at night.

The only thing we did wrong, and it was totally our fault, was not to allow for more time visiting there.

We had private guides on several occasions, including two of our six days in Istanbul. The other four days we managed quite well on our own. As we always read up ahead of time on places we're going to visit, we don't usually have a guide, but we appreciated the convenience of having someone to act as a buffer from others at the more touristy sites trying to get us to use their services...and to navigate ticket lines, get taxis, and the like. Even so, please note that what I call the "nuisance factor" is minimal to non-existent in Turkey, unlike our experiences in Morocco and India, for example. Still, it was nice to be pampered.

The only complaint about anything on our trip, and this is a very minor one, is that one of the private guides we had in Istanbul did not have a great command of English and was difficult to understand. The other guide in Istanbul and those around the country spoke adequate to good English, and, again, all were personable and polite. We did have some outstanding lunches at local places the guides took us to, which we would not have discovered on our own. Make sure your guide in Istanbul, if you hire one, takes you to the bean restaurant by the side of Suleymaniye Mosque. And, be sure to ask Chevvy how to get to the restaurants in Ortakoy.

Please feel free to contact me with any other questions. If you'd like to talk by phone, send along your telephone number and I'll give you a call as I have an unlimited calling plan and am always happy to talk with fellow travelers.

Above all, contact Chevy, go to Turkey...and have a wonderful time!

Safe travels!

Bauer Knight

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Hi Chevy!

I just want to thank you so much for all of your assistance this summer. It was a pleasure meeting you and talking to you. First, let me say there was no comparison between the Stone Hotel and the Speectre....the Stone was much nicer! You were right! And the ceremony of the Whirling Dervishes was one of the highlights of the trip for me. Of course, I loved it all..the Bodrum peninsula was so beautiful. There is no doubt I will return to Turkey in the near future to see more..I would love to go to the Black Sea area and Cappadocia and Konya. But it was the hospitality and friendliness of the Turkish people I met that impressed me the most. Everywhere I went people were nice and helpful, happy and full of life. You truly belong to a spectacular country. Thanks for everything.

Wendy

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To Staff at Encounter Tours

- - - - I would like to thank you for your kindness and help during our stay in Istanbul at the Stone Hotel. The tour of the 7 Churches was amazing it was a real answer to our prayers.

- - - - Since we arrived back in South Africa everything feels so unreal, tiny bit dull. I miss all the people I met during our trip. It would be nice if I could establish long-distance friendships with everybody. Thanks again.

Regards,

Lisé-Marè Botha
Mahanaim Worship Dancers

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Dear Mr. Noratli & Staff at Encounter Tours

- - - - We have a fabulous trip!!!!!!!! Your partner made sure that all the details worked out and even the weather cooperated for us. Thanks a million!!!!!!!

Mrs. Hamilton / Long View Washington

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Dearest Safak,

This is just a quick email to keep in touch with you and to thank you immensely for all your wonderful help whilst we were in Istanbul. You really were a saviour and we would not have had such a good time in Istanbul without your help! Dont forget that if ever you make it over to sunny Australia, you have a place to stay, two even! And you have to bring Doctor Attila with you, of course. Please pass on our fondest regards to The Doctor and Laima and I wish you both all the best in all your endeavours. Keep cooking in Oregon and maybe one day I may pop in to say hi! Take care,

Evette and Laima Crook / Sydney, Australia

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Dear Mr. Noratli,

Just wanted to let you know that I had a wonderful time on my tour . Ali was an amazing guide. I was little apprehensive for going on a organized tour. I was quite surprised how much I enjoyed having a guide and everything that was ready for us on each place we went. Now I don't think I would have felt that way about any tour. Ali was just so much fun to be with!!! He is so knowledgeable and accommodating and easy going. He and all of your representatives took very good care of us and that made our trip amazingly wonderful. I'm sure you are aware of all this but I thought I would give you the feedback anyways!

Kathy Wilson
San Jose CA

----------------------------------------------------------

To All of the Staff at Encounter Tours and its representatives
"Once again, I had an amazing experience! I'm definitely hooked! And, I am fortunate to <have> traveled with a great group of people." -

Wellington, NZ

---------------------------------------------------------

I had a wonderful time and learned a lot from the tour guides all throughout the country, Not only were they knowledgeable in ancient history, they consistently positioned us in excellent locations where we can take great pictures, I definitely would go on another tour with Chevvytours, if the opportunity presents itself. Chevvytours staff and their representatives were friendly and always willing to answer any questions we had.

John & Elizabeth Aolburg
Portland, Maine
USA

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I would like to respond to this message by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed my experience so much with Encounter tours meeting in Istanbul , in May 2003 that I am planning to go again in May 2006.  Encounter tours and its representative agents are all certainly a group of professionals and they are knowledgeable about the history of each sight we have visited on our tour.

Jimmy Watson

Perth AU

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Dear Mr Noratli & Muhsin

"This has been my best vacation ever! I've had a lot of fun and I've learned a lot! Thank you so much for a great week! Hopefully I can come back next year! Thanks again!"

K. Walker,
Missoula, MO

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"Great experience to share with my grand daughter. The group was fun to be around."
hot air balloon ride was awesome, highlight of the tour. I'm satisfied!"

Wendy, Colette, Los Angeles, CA

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"Indeed, the trip of a lifetime. Encouraging, informative, educational, fun - and most of all - exciting! Thanks heaps to Encounter Tours ! I'll be back for sure!" -

Heatons, MI

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"I had a great time with a great group of people."

Jim, Clayton, AZ

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"We have always wanted to see Turkey, but we didn't want to go either by ourselves or with a large tour group. When a friend from Denver told us about Encounter tours we had a look at their website and spoke with Mr. Noratli manager of the company. Mr. Noratli, an incredibly likable guy, lives 7 months of the year marketing his tours in Portland Oregon and spends 5 month operating in Turkey. Shortly thereafter, we joined 13 other adventurers and headed off to Istanbul to join 14 day tour organized by Chevvytours and its representatives. The Culture, history shown to us by the guides made our trip to Turkey a wonderful experience.
Would definitely go again !

M. Andersen Houston, TX

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"I really didn't know what to expect on this tour because my friend Mike researched and found it on the internet and then talked me into joining him. The tour was better than I could have imagined. As well as learning a lot about the history we both had a lot of fun “Cappadocia was definitely highlight of the tour” Loved it!" –

Terry Simpson, Sydney AU

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My husband and I have been on a lot of tours before this one, and your Turkish Delight tour program is definitely the most fun tour we've been on so far."

Laura Hamilton, New Hampshire

 

 

 

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