Thursday, June 5, 2014

My Post-Exam Turkey Trip - part 2 (Pamukkale and Paragliding!)


Okay, so I have brought you all through my days in Istanbul.
On our second day in Turkey i.e 20 Jan 2014, we set off to Pamukkale on a night bus.

Day 2 Monday 20th Jan 2014 ; 2130hrs to Pamukkale
At 2130, the bus departed. They were only around 10 of us in that huge bus.
Each of us have our own mini TV screen in front of us, like the ones on the plane. A headphone was also provided. I sit next to Kiew but because I want to stretch my leg, I went to an empty row of seats nearby. We can watch movies or listen to music on the mini screen but unfortunately the anime were translated into Turkish, and there was no subtitle.

About 2 hours after boarding, the bus stopped at another station and there were sooo many people boarding. I had to give the place away and returned to the seat next to Kiew. It wasn't that cramped but it will be better to have two seats to yourself, won't it?

To my surprise, the bus waiter and came with a trolley and gave us drinks and sandwich!
Juice, carbonated drinks or simply water. Diana told me that the buses have drinks but I thought this tour company of mine will buy us a cheaper ticket hence they will not provide drinks.

Anyway, we slept throughout the journey until at around 5.30am we stopped at a rest station and prayed Subuh. At around 8.30am, we reached Denizli. 11 hours of bus ride! When I got down, a man was already with my friends, taking our luggages. Apparently he was holding a cardboard bearing my name. Haihhh...popular btul my name in Turkey. He drove us to Pamukkale, but his driving was craaazyyy~ We screamed a few times in the car when he almost hit a dog and took deathly turns.
Halfway, I remembered that I left a plastic bag in the night bus. Haihh.. It contains my dirty clothes and toiletries essentials ie facial wash, facial cream etc.
I dared not ask the man to return to the bus station.
1) I dont want to trouble him. 2) I also don't want to go thru that crazy dangerous journey again.

Anyway, we reached the office of the tour company.
I then realised that Troublefreeholiday is a small company. He subbed a lot other tour company. Eg, the man that drove us from our Istanbul hotel to Otogar was from another company, the tour company that will bring us around Pamukkale is another tour company. That means, we paid for his service of searching. And he gave us better price because he gets cheaper price from the tour company.

Anyway, the tour company briefed us on our activity of the day and also promoted to us paragliding! I was very enthralled and wanted to go for it. Fortunately my friends had the same thought (but later I found everyone were actually scared). We paid 150 Euro / £42 per person for the paragliding.

You know paragliding? That activity where you go to the top of a cliff and run towards the edge and FLYYYYY~

Since check-ins are usually 2pm, the tour company manager decided to bring us to his uncle's hotel so that we can change and have breakfast. I think this was a bad idea, but I wasn't aware when he made the decision. We should have just insisted on trying to go to our hotel, if they have empty rooms I am sure they will let us check-in.
He was trying to get our money for the breakfast.

In his "uncle's" hotel, we were given a room which has been made into a store room to change!
We can't shower, the room was full of clean bedsheets and blankets and towels. Thank God we can have a toilet to wash our faces and brush teeth.
Haihh.. and the auntie then gave us each a plate of Turkish breakfast for 10 Lira.
The auntie cant speak English so we cant cancel the plate. We planned to order only 2 or 3 plates for the 4 of us.

Anyway another man fetched us and headed to fetch another couple that will also join our tour.
Guess what, the man greeted Kiew "anyeong ha seyo!"
Hahaha.. He was Korean and he thought Kiew was one too. When we said we are from Malaysia, he told us he went to a place with big casino. Oh Genting rupanye. Kesian plk Malaysia, famous with casino haih.

Pamukkale Itself
Anyway, the tour guide named Hayati brought us up to Pamukkale.
He explained to us that Pamukkale was first a pagan country, which was then "transferred" to the Rome but with heavy Greek influence. Hence this historical city has many Roman ruins.
The first city was called Necropolis, which means the "City of the Dead". Well, that make sense. In medical term, "necro" is death. This was a city full of coffins. It was essentially a large cemetery.

He explained to us about the different structure of the coffins, which ones are more expensive and what they all meant. It was a good historical trip.

We separated from the tour guide at around 1pm and he told us to be at the bottom of the cliff by abt 2pm so that we we have time to go paragliding. We walked down the beautiful travertine terraces! Some of the water pool had cold water, some warm and some very very excruciatingly cooold.. It was very beautiful and I can't believe the travertine was very hard! It looked very soft, almost like snow.

This surface is actually very very hot that my tears come out having to walk on them!

This water is ironically cool~

It looks snowy soft yet hard at the same time, doesn't it? These are called travertines.

Kiew, me and Syahidah

Now, here comes the exciting part.
Each of us paid 150 Lira for this once-in-a-lifetime paragliding experience.
Kiew is the height squeamish type, she can't even bare the thrill rides at Alton Tower but somehow she got dragged into this whole paragliding drama with us so for the whole day she has been complaining about it.

Two paragliding instructors came to fetch us from the foot of Pamukkale and drive us up a very high mountain/hill, and the road was very scary. They kept making jokes and told us how brave Malaysian girls are, they always bring Malaysian girls up here for paragliding and none of them cried etc etc.
Out of the two, only one can speak English.

When we arrive up there, he said only two of us can go at one time so Kiew quickly said "I'll go first!".
Wow, she really want to finish this whole thing fast, doesn't she?
So the instructors prepared the two of them. Kiew got the non-English speaking instructor.

Both of them putting on the paragliding gear
Kiew looking cute with her massive "turtle" bag

There were many paragliders on the hilltop, many of them came in groups wearing the same tshirts.
I think they must be those outdoor people whose hobby include paragliding, bungee jumping and stuff.
They sang like a group of scout boys and they played games.

The hilltop itself was bare, with one small cafe with a smelly toilet attached to it.
Whenever the wind blows strong, the strong smell of the toilet came with it. Ugh~
Apart from that, there is not even a single tree that we can sit under for shades.
Bare, everything is bare.
And there was one windsock pole and all eyes seemed to be glued there, looking for the perfect wind.

The environment.

We waited for the "perfect wind" for what seemed like forever.
Ibrizah and I looked for a spot with our cameras ready in hand, and waited...and waited...

and waited....

and waited....

and waited....

Then Syahidah's instructor came to us. He said the wind is not good now.
Without good speed and direction of wind, the paragliding parachute will not expand properly and stuff.
After updating us, he goes back to Syahidah and waited.

and waited...

and waited...

and waited...

Many paragliders were waiting too, sitting down in their gear.
Then suddenly a pair of paragliders started running towards the hill edge, their parachute expanded nicely and then within a split second both of them tumbled down like a huge rock collecting snow on the way down a snowy hill, stopping just before the edge.
Everyone was shocked, Ibrizah nearly screamed.

We started to be anxious, should we call this whole thing off?
Will the instructors try dangerous things i.e. flying even without good wind and take the risk to get the €150 from each of us?
But I really want to try paragliding!
While we were discussing, suddenly Kiew and her instructor started running off.
We were so shocked and looked at her intently that I forgot to take my phone out to record the moment as I intended to.
I can see both of them running and Kiew's legs were already up in the air while the instructor was running with all his might (well, we can safely say that Kiew's height is just 2/3 of the instructor's) and their parachute was opened nicely in the air, making the crescent shape.
But within seconds, both of them tumbled down just like the pair before!
I was so shocked and scared!

What happened?
What happened to Kiew? Why did they fall down?
Kiew is so small sized, what if she broke something?
How do I contact the Malaysian High Commission? They will surely help us, won't they?
Will the medical fee here be expensive? We do not have any travel insurance!
We stood up but dared not go to the middle of the field.
Kiew and her instructor were still wrapped in their parachute.
Then the instructor came out and unwrap Kiew from the huge parachute.
Both of them walked back to us. Kiew looked okay, she wasn't limping or holding any of her arms in pain.
Ok initial assessment so far so good.

When she came to us she was quite breathless and in shock. She said she didn't know what happened.
One second she was not touching the ground and the other second she was already on top of the instructor.
She thinks the instructor purposely fell to the ground in such a way that she will fall on top of him, so that he bears most of the injury. She had a bruise on her shoulder, from where the turtle bag pulled her down but apart from that, she survived unscathed. But the instructor looked uncomfortable but not in so much pain. He looked like he injured his legs but has not fractured anything.

With his minimal English, Kiew's instructor tried to explain what happened and asked if Kiew is alright. He looked so concerned, maybe because Kiew is small-sized. He must have felt some kind of need to protect Kiew, like me.

He then asked Kiew if she would like to try again and when Kiew did not know what to answer, he suggested to go and wait again at the place where they waited before. But after some discussion among the two instructors, they came to us and said they had to cancel this off. The wind was not helping and it will be dangerous to try again.
So they drove us down the hill. I did not ask about the refund, because we paid the tour company not them.

They drove us back to the tour company office and bid goodbye saying we should come again. They are nice people.

The tour person then returned my money (I paid using £ in cash so he simply returned my money) but since Kiew, Syahidah and Ibrizah paid by card, the man said he will cancel the transaction the next day. It turns out much later that only Syahidah and Ibrizah received their refund. Kiew did not. Pity her.

He then sent us to a restaurant for lunch (at 5pm!) because it is included in our tour package and sent us to our hotel.
Our hotel was nice, we stayed at Artemis Yoruk Hotel. There were 5 beds in the room so the one extra bed was used as a platform to put all our stuff.

We were so bored of Turkish food by then and were very relieved that there was a restaurant serving Korean + Japanese food and it is halal!
So yea, I ate bibimpbap in Turkey, lol.
The lady is a Japanese who married a Turkish man and have stayed there for almost 10 years.

All in all, I actually enjoyed this trip and if possible I would want to come again.

'til then!

-Because life is a test-

A nice view of Pamukkale from top



  1. Hi,
    Do you still remember the travel agency in Pamukkale? Or do you have their email? We will be going to Pamukkale soon. Tq

  2. Hi anonymous.
    Yes I remember, the agency is called Troublefreeholiday. I can give you the person's contact details.

    But you did not leave any of your contact details?

  3. HI , You had a great fun . Thanks for this outstanding post . This is incredible . Beautiful pictures . Turkey Tours Packages from India