Pamukkale, meaning "cotton castle" in Turkish

Trip Start Dec 26, 2009
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Trip End Feb 02, 2010


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Flag of Turkey  , Denizli,
Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pamukkale means cotton castle in Turkish, is a famous destination drawing over a million visitor every year to see it's travertines (carbon carbonate shelves or pool created when warm mineral water cooled and deposited calcium as it cascaded over the cliff edge). The Romans built a spa city Hierapolis here to harness it's healing power.

There's no flight direct to Pamukkale, only limited flight from Istanbul to Denizli, the gateway to Pamukkale. The only way for us to get to Denizli from Cappadocia is by bus, 10hr overnight bus arriving Denizli 5:30am. From there, you can catch a dolmus or mini bus to Pamukkale. First bus at 7am, TL2 for 40mins journey. Make sure you catch the right bus cause there will be lots of people claiming to be your friend but up to no good. The mini bus will drop you off at the foot hill of Pamukkale then you need to crawl your way up the slope (5-10mins walk) to get there. Wow was the word I said when I first saw it, the morning sun reflecting on the white hill will just blow you away and put energy into the tired body. We went to a restaurant asking whether breakfast is available, the next thing we know, they're already preparing Turkish breakfast. It seems like, breakfast to them means only Turkish breakfast so beware. We took a stroll on the lake just below the hill before walking up the travertines. We highly recommend you to walk up the travertines, even though it can be very cold and tiring. We've seen tour group that drove people all the way to the top of the hill, take a picture then leave, that's not the way to see Pamukkale and by our standard, you haven't been to Pamukkale until you walked up the travertines. The entrance fee is TL20, be there early so you can have the travertines by yourself. You have to take off your shoes as you walk up the travertines. The water was amazingly cold, as if we were walking bare foot on ice. As you walk up, the water gets warmer. There are also pools along the way and it feels great to soak your feet in the calcium mud. In fact, you're not allowed to wear shoe or wonder off into the pools due to the conservation effort in making the pool snow white clean. The pools are also constantly drained and dried under to sun to get rid of algea which cause discoloration, so you may get disappointed to find the pool dried. Soaking our feet in the warm spring water gushing down a drain on top of the hill... feels good! At the top of the hill is the remains of Hierapolis, the Roman spa city. You can choose to have a swim among the ruins in the Antique Pool for TL18. The other place of interest is the well preserved Roman Theater. If you exit the place via the main entrance on top of the hill, there's no public transport to get you down to Pamukkale town. We paid TL12 for a ride in a shabby taxi down to Pamukkale town. We then catch the same bus that we took this morning at the same place to get back to Denizli. Beware that they'll be people offering you "assistance" to get back to Denizli Otogar, forget about it, the bus come by every 20mins and it cost only TL2.

We had lunch at Denizli bus station before boarding our 4.5hr bus to Antalya (TL25) for sunshine and beach.


~ By Philip
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