ANZAC 10 Day Tour with Travel Talk Tours: REVIEW
Travel. As much as you can. As far as you can. As long as you can. Life's not meant to be lived in one place.
When I was offered the chance to travel to Turkey with Travel Talk Tours, I was beyond excited. Turkey is a massive country with so many magical places to visit, and believe me – I wanted to visit them all. That’s why a Travel Talk Tour was the perfect option for me, I’d be able to travel safely, see all the places I wanted to AND make some new pals.
Here’s a completely honest review of the Travel Talk 10 Days Anzac Tour, and please note while Travel Talk hosted me, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Day One – ISTANBUL
I flew from Gatwick to Istanbul with Turkish Airlines, and can highly recommend them. Super comfy seats, heaps of leg room, awesome entertainment and even a meal! Aataturk is the closer airport, and make sure you let Travel Talk know your flight as they organise a group transfer for you. We arrived around 6pm, and got to the first hotel (5 star) and quickly got ready for a cruise on the Bosphorus. It was a great night and we got to meet people from all the different groups – make sure you’ve got cash out so you can buy drinks on the boat.
Day Two ISTANBUL to CAPPADOCIA
Early wake up call, as day two is the biggest drive in the entire trip. The 10 hours from Istanbul to Cappadocia isn’t the fastest, but the coaches are comfortable and as long as you’ve got some Netflix or a good book, you’ll be fine. They stop every couple of hours for the driver to have a break, so there are plenty of chances to buy snacks and go to the bathroom. We stopped at the Salt Lake on the way, which was super shallow and a great place for some snaps. That night we went to the Turkish Baths, which is something that I’d highly recommend. You’re scrubbed within an inch of your life, but leave feeling like a new human.
Day Three CAPPADOCIA
Unfortunately our day started off with disappointment at hot air ballooning being cancelled (damn weather!), but we still took advantage of the morning and climbed up a hill to watch the sun rise over Cappadocia. We had an absolutely brilliant day exploring Cappadocia, including the Goreme Open Air Museum, Cavusin, Uchisar and Pigeon Valley. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves, but it really was my favourite day of the tour seeing the unique landscapes of Cappadocia. That night we went to ‘Turkish Night’, which was a brilliant night watching traditional Turkish dancers, copious amounts of alcohol and making friendships that will last a lifetime. It’s an optional extra, but it’s worth every penny and I’d say make sure you don’t miss it – try and sit at the front so you get a better view of the dancers.
Day Four CAPPADOCIA to ILHARA to PAMUKKALE
Another long day of driving, but you’ll probably be hungover from the night before and thankful to have an extra-long nap on the coach. On this ride you’ll stop at Allhara Valley (stunning) and the Underground City. Make sure you take your proper camera for both, and listen to your guides talk about the history of both places. By the time you get to Pamukkale it’ll be quite late, so make sure you get into bed fast as the next day is adventure packed!
Day Five PAMUKKALE to EPHESUS to KUSADASI
If you’re like me and consider yourself a little bit of an Instagram addict, then today is the day to wear colour. You’ll walk through the Cotton Castles, explore the natural red water and have hours of free time to explore the ancient ruins. Again, the scenery is ridiculously beautiful and you’ll take snaps of everything. Make sure your phone & camera are fully charged, and wear thongs as you’ll have to walk through pools of water on your way down. The hotel we stayed in this night was my absolute favourite – it had three massive pools and was right on the edge of the ocean. We watched the sun go down as a group and I can’t emphasise how beautiful it was.
Day Six KUSADASI to PERGAMUM to AYVALIK
If you’ve got spare money at this stage, I’d definitely recommend investing in the Turkish pottery shop that you stop at on this day. I bought the most beautiful blue salad bowl, and I use it allll the time. Day Six was all about the mighty town of Ephesus, a town I’d dreamt of one day seeing. Take in everything your guide says, and really imagine what life was like here during 10th century BC, it’s spectacular. That night we stayed in a beautiful hotel in Ayvalik, and had a beach party. It was the first beach I’d seen in ages, and the water was warm, the alcohol flowing and the good times rolling. This is a great group bonding night that I really loved.
Day Seven AYVALIk to TROY to GALLIPOLI (Dawn Service)
Ahh the infamous city of Troy, made a name for themselves when they let a gigantic horse into their city walls only to be massacred by Brad Pitt (kidding). To be honest, there isn’t much of Troy left. The story is fascinating, but the city of Troy itself hasn’t faired as well as Ephesus. However, there is a gigantic wooden horse there (obviously not the real one), so get yo’ cameras at the ready. The rest of the day was spent driving to Gallipoli, and here’s a word of warning – prepare for a really late night. There are thorough checks for the entire process, and we didn’t get to put our sleeping bags down till around 1am. Believe me – it’s all worth it.
Day Eight GALLIPOLI to NATIONAL CEROMONIES to CANAKKALE
I’m not going to write too much about the Anzac Dawn Service and the activities that went on that day, because words simply won’t do it justice. I’ve never, ever cried so much in my life, and the overall emotional warmth of the Australians and Kiwis that do that walk together each year is overwhelming. Try to attend both services if you can (Au and NZ), it’s possible if you leave straight away after the Aussie one. Day Eight is a really, really big day and there’s nothing in the world that can prepare you for it. All I can tell you, is that when you leave, you’ll feel so damn proud of our boys.
Day Nine CANAKKALE to GALLIPOLI to ISTANBUL
Gallipoli is an eerily beautiful place, and the day after the ceremony it clears out pretty quickly. Day Nine gives you the opportunity to have more quiet moments to yourself, as well as read more about the tragedy that happened there. You’ll visit Kabatepe War Museum, Lone Pine, Chunuk Bair, Jonton’s Jolly, North Beach, Ari Burnu, Hell Spit, Brighton Beach, Shrapnel Valley and Artillery Road. It’s a big day, but every stop is worth it. Afterwards, you’ll hop back onto the coach (one final time) and head back to Istanbul. We had a lovely group dinner together overlooking the entire city, and then a few of us headed out to the famous strip of bars in the city. Let’s just say, it was a night to remember (though I’m sure most couldn’t, ha!).
Day Ten ISTANBUL
The final day is a free for all, but there is an optional walking tour of Istanbul that your guide will take you on. I was a bit (okay completely) hungover on the last day, but was lucky enough to have explored the city on my first day. I opted to go out for one final Turkish lunch, and then headed to the airport for my 5pm flight.
How much does it cost?
The tour costs £599 per person, and has loads of inclusions that other tours I’ve been on didn’t have. These are:
- Airport transfer for day 1
- 8 breakfasts and 6 dinners (all massive buffets that you can fill up on)
- the coach for the entire trip
- an awesome guide
- Bosphorus cruise
What are the guides like?
I can’t speak for all of the guides, but I feel like our group scored the jackpot when we landed Polat as a guide. A local Turkish guide, Polat knew the ins and outs of the tour perfectly. He was extremely knowledgeable, friendly and professional, whilst still being the life of the party and always looking out for everyone.
They say the guides make or break trips like these, but Polat was the best guide we could have ever asked for. Also, special shout out to the group I was on - #BUS105 for life!
What are the pros?
- You’ll make incredible friends on this tour.
- You’ll see parts of Turkey you never even dreamt of.
- All the accommodation (to me) felt like five star. It was more luxurious accommodation than any other tour I’ve been on.
- The coach is super comfortable and easy to sleep on.
- Every night there was something to do, but there was also no pressure not to participate.
What are the cons?
- There are a few long days on the coach, but Turkey is a massive country so this is to be expected.
- Obviously the weather can’t be controlled, but don’t get your hopes up about hot air ballooning – otherwise it might be a dampener on your trip.
- There’s not a lot of free time on this trip. The days are long and full of activities, so if you’re looking for a tour where you’d like a lot of solo time, this might not be for you.
Would I recommend it?
100%. I’d recommend this to anyone that wants to experience Anzac Day at Gallipoli and also explore Turkey. I’d say if you’re between 18-39 you’d be just fine, and the accommodation, food and guides were all just incredible. I’ll definitely be going back to Turkey to explore further, and this is the perfect tour to get a real taste of the country, people and beautiful landscapes. You can check out more details of the tour HERE.