Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

Istanbul is the Asian version of New York. Being the only city in the world that spans two continents, it is a true melting pot of cultures and flavors, and the urban energy is dynamic and absolutely energizing, just like NYC. Want to escape the maddening crowd at the Grand Bazaar or Blue Mosque? Then you must definitely check out the quirky cafe scene in hippie Beyoglu district in Istanbul!

CİHANGİR
Cihangir is Istanbul's trendiest neighborhood and artistic enclave, similar to SOHO in NYC.  The bohemian culture draws artists, writers, actors and expats, and with that, a strong coffee/cafe/drinking scene is borned.
If I have to pick my favorite business class lounge, it will have to be the Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul at the Ataturk Airport (for now)! Sorry Changi Airport and Singapore Airlines, TK wins hands down! Why? Read on!
Traveling in business class on any Star Alliance flights allows you to fast track through an otherwise insane immigration queue. Access to the sprawling 5900sqm Turkish Airlines Istanbul Lounge (THY CIP) is made available to Turkish Airlines business passengers, Elite and Elite Plus members TK's Miles and Smiles frequent flyer program. Star Alliance Gold members departing on a Star Alliance flight are also entitled to using the lounge. 
Cappadocia (Kappadokya) is a fairytale, complete with whimsical fairy chimneys, magical hot air balloon rides, and mystical sunsets over valleys. It's the reason why i fell in love with the country i've not been to (Turkey), until i made it a reality of course. Well long distance relationships just don't work for me, so i made this city, in the Anatolian region, my first stop on my Turkey trip.

STAY
Upon arrival, take a 1h transfer from the airport to one of the towns and check yourself into a cave hotel. A trip to Cappadocia isn't complete if you don't stay in one. It is certainly part of the charm of the place. The hollowed out soft volcanic rock accommodation is anything but shabby. Most of these lodging are luxurious with all the modern comforts you can imagine- electricity, wifi, baths, central heating, ac, beds etc. Each cave room has its own character- stone (made from blocks)/cave/chimney, with windows or not, view etc. so it all depends on what you prefer. It was a real headache deciding which town, which hotel and then which room! 

I decided on Goreme because it is fairly accessible to sights and activities (Goreme Open Air Musuem and Hot Air Balloon rides). Considering we only had 48h (or less) in Cappadocia, we didn't want to waste it on traveling around. I would love to check out Ürgüp and its boutique caves but it's just a little far off.

Here are some Goreme Cave hotels that i considered. 
1. Kelebek Hotel (I stayed here)
Room 5 and 6 are in the top of the fairy chimneys and for only 55 Euros (what a steal)! However, they do not come with ensuite bathrooms and are on the smaller side but hey, it's in a fairy chimney! Go for the Junior Suite Room 4 if you want a chimney experience with a bathroom. If you're claustrophobic, pick the Junior Suites (85 Euros) with windows. They come with lovely views of Goreme. I like Room 19, 113, 18 and 15 (somewhat in order). The organic breakfast spread was amazing (love the pides) and facilities include a Turkish hamam and a pool! (more on Kelebek later)

This is a small home boutique, family-run guesthouse located just a short stroll from the city center. Double rooms are from 70 Euros onwards. I liked Room 10. For suite rooms (100 Euros), I'd go for 12, 3, 8, 9, 5 in order of preference.


If i were to visit Ürgüp, i'd pick one of the following: hotels for your consideration: 
Esbelli Evi- Charming place. The first cave hotel in Ürgüp.
Selçuklu Evi Cave Hotel- Near good restaurants.
Kayakapı Premium Caves- Very grand. Super lux! Some caves have private swimming pools.

DO
The Goreme Open Air Museum is a short 1km walk away from Goreme city center. Do not miss this UNESCO World Heritage site which was once a Byzantine monastic settlement and 17th Century pilgrimage site.
It was hard not to be wowed by the rock-cut churches, chapels and monasteries on site.