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Time on bus during RS Turkey

A concern I have is the number of hours spent most days on long bus rides.

Could someone who has taken the 13 day tour please offer your thoughts.

Posted by
2267 posts

I've done the tour.

There are definitely some days with a good chunk of bus time, but it never felt onerous. There were plenty of stops to break things up, Lale, our guide, had lots of interesting insights to share. And sometimes I just popped in my headphones and took a nap.

Some of those stops were at the Turkish equivalent to highway rest stop cafeterias. I love having those kinds of quotidian, local experiences. And way better food than the Arby's off the Jersey Turnpike.

Posted by
2495 posts

The bus stops every two hours at a roadside restaurant, etc. and you get a bathroom break, a snack or meal depending on the time of day. The long bus rides are a good opportunity to get a little rest if you need it. Just accept it as part of your journey. You are on the road and have to get from point a to point b somehow. We enjoyed seeing the countryside.

Posted by
83 posts

Thank you. This is my first tour vacation as I have always traveled independently. But since I no longer have my travel partner I felt this is the best way to see and experience Turkey.

What special moments can anyone share they had during free time.

Posted by
2495 posts

One thing we enjoyed was Cleopatra’s (thermal) baths at Pammukale when we visited the travertine terraces. You will have to ask your guide if you will have time to go for a dip while you are there. As I don’t know when you will be there, it will also depend on how warm a day it is. It is truly unique as you are swimming among submerged columns and the baths/pool are surrounded by pink oleander. Really beautiful. A number of us on the tour did this. There are changing rooms and keyed lockers for your belongings. You may also want to do the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia. The landscape is unlike anywhere else in the world. There is also the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul and the fabulous archeological museum near Topkapi Palace. We went to the archeological museum twice before and after the tour as there was so much to see.

Posted by
2267 posts

I'd spent a few days in Istanbul pre-tour, and stayed near Taxim, so when the tour covered that area I peeled off and toured the Dolmabahçe Palace. Galatta Tower is not on the tour's agenda, and I highly recommend you get there on your own. (Early, to avoid the crazy line. Like, when it opens or even before.)

During the 'day off' in Antalya the guide was arranging hamam visits in the afternoon for those who were interested. A simple ask and she was glad to make my arrangements for the mid-morning, which left me free to enjoy an introverted, peaceful, leisurely birthday lunch overlooking the harbor and the Leventine Sea.

A note on being a solo traveler on the bus- we had a full-sized bus for a half-sized group, so I was able to pass those miles comfortably solo in a seat pair.

Posted by
2455 posts

I took the RS Turkey tour in 2018, and it was great. The distances are large, so yes, there are some longer than usual bus trips. The bus is very spacious and comfortable, I had a double seat to myself at all times, no problem. As others have said, the bus stops every two hours, to visit a mid-day site, or have lunch, or just a pit stop with coffee or snacks. (note: I remember some of us nicknamed our excellent guide Yaren “wakey, wakey”, as after late-day quiet time on the bus, she would get on the mike and gently say “wakey, wakey everyone”, we’ll soon be arriving in xyz, listen for your room numbers!”) I would say the biggest downside of this for me was that were two or three days when we arrived early evening with just enough time to check in to our rooms, then gather and hurry off to dinner. I always enjoy arriving and taking a walk on my own to explore the new town or neighborhood and “get the lay of the land”.
One thing to keep in mind: the tour spends little time in Istanbul at the beginning, which ended up feeling quite rushed to me. Istanbul merits a lot more time to explore, so if you take the tour, I would recommend you spend a few extra days in Istanbul at the beginning of the tour (or maybe the end), to visit not only additional world-class sites, but some of the many diverse neighborhoods throughout this very large and interesting city. There are a variety of food tours available, in different neighborhoods, and these can be a great way to explore, with a guide and great food.

Posted by
2499 posts

I took this tour in mid-October 2018 and agree with others that the bus days can be long but you have lots of room to yourself and the bus stops every two hours. This breaks up the bus time. I loved my time in Antalya as I opted to take the boat tour and a visit to a Hamam for an amazing massage, a cultural experience par excellence! I also opted to take the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia. I’m dreaming of the peaceful, easy feeling as we were floating high above the moonscape valley. A lovely experience.

This is a wonderful tour full of unexpected surprises. The bus time is necessary to traverse a big country.

We arrived 4 days early to Istanbul which gave us time to adjust to the new time zone and to explore places we would otherwise not see on the tour. If you can arrive 1 or 2 days pre tour, you will glad you did! Enjoy!

Posted by
2495 posts

I would also suggest the whirling dervish “performance” at the Hodjapasha (sp?) Cultural Center. This is an authentic religious experience. It lasts about an hour.

Posted by
83 posts

I’m planning on 2 days pre tour in Istanbul one of which (Sunday) will be a food tour on the Asia side. The other day is open for suggestions. My plan is to stay the additional nights at the Acra Hotel (tour hotel). May look for another half day tour for Saturday or maybe roam on my own.

Posted by
46 posts

I just returned from the March 28 to April 9 Best of Turkey tour. Yes there were a few days of 5-6 hour bus rides when we went from one city to the other, but as others stated, usually every 90 minutes or so, we stopped for bathroom breaks and/or meals. There was some quiet down time when we could nap or watch the landscape, and hours where we heard entertaining stories and history from the tour guide, as well as plenty of info on what to expect the rest of that day and the next day. The tour guide gives ideas and instructions on what to do during free time. Once in Istanbul I had a couple of hours at the end of one tour day and I went on the commuter ferry to the Asia side and did one of the two Rick Steves 'Asia Side' Walks. Super fun to walk along the promenade, get an ice cream sandwich, step into a couple of mosques and people-watch! Gave me a needed dose of the independent travelling I'm usually used to!