This was a very special trip for me. It is the first time I traveled with my younger brother (just the two of us), and it was also his first trip to Europe (I know Turkey is Asia, but we also covered Malta).
We flew in from Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW) on Pegasus airlines. We arrived Kayseri Airport (ASR) early in the morning 0110 hrs. We booked for ourselves into this very nice and quiet neighbourhood Imperial Cave Hotel. And made sure they arranged airport transfer for us (10 EUR). The 88 km drive from Kayseri Airport to the hotel takes about 75 minutes.
Tips: Goreme (where you’ll want to stay, near the hot air balloon attraction) is quite a distance from Kayseri Airport. Be sure to pre-arrange / plan for your airport transfer, and make sure to set aside ample time.
Hot air balloons
We booked our hot air ballons tour with Cappadocia Voyager Ballons. They picked us up from the hotel at 0515 hrs.
Tips: Book through your hotel to get a discount. I think we got a 25 EUR discount (compared to internet booking).
The tour organiser brought us to the office, where we had light breakfast (biscuits and coffee). You don’t want to overeat, to avoid any unnecessary bowel discomfort up in the air.
After completing some paper works, we were brought to the hot air balloon site. Seeing our hot air balloon being filled up, we were so pumped and ready to go.
The take off was exhilarating. And everything after was just amazing! Our pilot was very skilled and conversant in English. He was very kind to explain all the different sightings to us. We flew for about an hour (it really depends on the weather and air temperature which affects the fuel efficiency). But, it felt like the hour just passed us by without knowing.
Our skilled pilot landed us perfectly, with no bumps or hard impact. And we were greeted by ground staffs with champagne.
This is definitely one of my defining moments in life. Up in the air (500 m above ground) looking out and away to the vast valley, only to be reminded how big and majestic the world is, and how small my existence (and problem) is.
There are 3 standard tour routes offered by many tour operators in Goreme, i.e. Green, Red and Blue. All routes will take up a full day.
- The Red tour covers the central area of Kapadokya
- The Blue tour covers the Old Greek towns, finishing with Derinkuyu (Underground city)
- The Green tour covers Derinkuyu and Ilhara valley (and Selime monastery)
We had Derinkuyu and Selime on our wishlist. Hence, we chose the Green tour.