Updated on August 26, 2017
Day 2 of Turkey Vacation: Pamukkale on August 20th, 2016
Second day in Turkey.
Today our plan was to visit Pamukkale, a world natural heritage site not far from the city of Denizli, then catch an afternoon bus to Fethiye.
The images in this post are hosted on Imgur. Email me should there be any display problems.
By the way, I know some people preferred to spend the night in the village of Pamukkale rather than the city of Denizli. But since we arrived from Selcuk by train (yes, we liked the certainty of published timetables) late at night, we figured out a hotel near Denizli Bus Station was the better option for us. If you arrived at Denizli by bus, I guess the shuttle to Pamukkale is free.
Having finished breakfast on the beautiful balcony of our hotel overlooking Denizli Bus Station, we headed for the bus station. With the help of a wonderful local gentleman, we found a minivan to Pamukkale. (There’s no sign whatsoever about destination in Denizli Bus Station, but since Pamukkale was only a 17km shuttle away, it wasn’t hard to find a minivan, and neither was the wait before the van was full and ready to go.)
By the way, the increased security at Turkish bus stations after the terrorist attacks was simply a metal detector gate, that’s guarded by nobody and easily bypass-able.
Half an hour later, we were dropped off the beautiful village of Pamukkale.
There’s two visitor entrances to Pamukkale, the South entrance is just next to the village and down the hill, while the North entrance is some 3.75km away and up the hill (with shuttle service to the bus station at unknown interval).
The bus station at Pamukkale Village is half travel agency, as they operated some sort of day tours (or half-day) of Pamukkale, dropping us off at the North entrance and walked us down the Pamukkale. But a number of reasons (our museum passes, starting time and duration, and the liberty of sightseeing), we turned them down and walked towards the South entrance.
Again, we used our museum passes for the admission.
To preserve the wonders of Pamukkale, no shoes were allowed inside, although socks are permitted. But since everyone would be setting foot in its numerous pools, wet socks really didn’t fit comfortably on my feet. So it turned out that the best way to walk Pamukkale was just barefoot.
And one thing to mention, it’s actually quite comfortable to walk on the grains of Pamukkale. But as we walked up the hill, there’re more and more gravel that stung. So more use more caution as you walk uphills.
That’s the end of walkable Pamukkale. There’s more travertine around, but they weren’t as well preserved, so they were just off-limits.
Once we walked up the hill, we were at where the ancient city of Hierapolis once was. Sadly, only its amphitheater and pool (which, amazingly, was still in operation) were in reasonable shape till this day. Since we didn’t bring along bath suits, we just walked around the pool, and that was free.
Well, it must be quite phenomenal to swim around ancient ruins.
Then we headed for the Hierapolis Archaeology Museum, which was included in our museum pass and offered exhibitions unearthed in the ancient city of Hierapolis.
Hierapolis Archaeology Museum
One thing I’m not so sure, it seemed that the Turkish museums would just put some of the less significant marble antiques in the open air. I don’t think that’s how ancient relics should be treated. Perhaps there were simply too many marble antiques, that the ones in the open air just don’t qualify?
After the Hierapolis Archaeology Museum I walked uphill for the amphitheater.
Most visitors would choose to walk the Pamukkale again downhill at this moment (if they ever chose to pay a visit to the museum or the pool or the amphitheater), or another option was to take the 2TL (if I remembered correctly) shuttle to the North entrance (or it’s a 2.5km walk). But since the path to the North entrance would pass along the ruins of Hierapolis, walking didn’t sound that bad to me.
The idea of having another exit so that people don’t need to walk the Pamukkale (and
massage torture their feet) twice is nice, but the North entrance of Pamukkale was nothing more than a parking lot and a ticket booth and some unoccupied sales booth next to nothing but a 2-lane country road.
Thankfully, the guy at the ticket booth told us there would be shuttle operated by the Pamukkale bus company back to town, and we should wait for that shuttle on the main road.
Fortunately, by the time we reached the main road, there’s a Pamukkale shuttle van just passing by, and that van took us directly back to Denizli Bus Station.
The emblem of the city, Denizli Rooster, can be seen anywhere in the city. What interested me was that, there’s the year 1876 on the emblem as the founding year of the city, and there’re years like 2007, 2010 on overpasses as the years of their construction. This city must be very fond of chronicling (like me).
We returned to Denizli Bus Station at 1412, and purchased tickets to Fethiye that would depart at 1530 from the Pamukkale counter (that was in fact operated by Fethiye Seyahat). Well, the convenience of Denizli as a city compared to Pamukkale as a village means we could easily kill this time by ice creams from a nearby grocery store.
Having settled down at our Fethiye hotel, we booked tomorrow’s paragliding over the phone (Well, since it’s not peak tourism year given all the turmoil in Turkey, so throughout the trip we were in no hurry of reserving things), and called it a day. (To be honest, the paragliding booking didn’t go that smooth and easy, but I don’t want to be name-calling here.)