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English Speaking Tour guide in VAN

San Francisco
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English Speaking Tour guide in VAN

Can anyone recommend an English Speaking tour guide for Van, one that could take two people around to the various cites in this area?

Thanks

-RK

NY, NY/Istanbul...
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1. Re: English Speaking Tour guide in VAN

Hi RK: I am always glad that people are going to Eastern Turkey as I am a big fan of that area. Traveling in East Turkey is different from traveling anywhere else in Turkey and the area around Lake Van is certainly wonderful to see. Do you plan to go elsewhere in Eastern Turkey: Mt. Nemrut, Sanli Urfa, Ani, Dogubeyazit, Mt. Ararat.

I always advise visitors not to travel alone, to always go with a group. Please contact Rina at Insight Travel in Turkey, info@tour-turkey.com and see if she can help you with an English speaking guide.

A few things about Van, I would stay at the Buyuk Urartu which is a good hotel in the center of Van. Very good rooms and service there.

Of course you want to see the sites: don't miss the statue of the famous Van cat. Also sites associated with Urartians, including the fortress. Don't miss the Tirsin pasture.

Of course you will go to Akdemar Island, the wonderful churches have just been restored. You get their by boat and don't forget to look for the monster in Lake Van, they say he's rather like the one in Loch Ness but I have never seen him in multiple trips.

Here's a helpful link: www.adiyamanli.org/vangolu.html and another: http://www.allaboutturkey.com/van.htm

You don't want to miss the mysterious city of Ani, truly a high point of any trip to the area. turkeytravelplanner.com/go/East/Kars/Ani.html

Happy Travel, LemonLady

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2. Re: English Speaking Tour guide in VAN

Oops, forgot to mention to avoid the Hotel Aslan in Van. People's rooms have been ripped off there and their guide is not an accredited one. LL

San Francisco
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3. Re: English Speaking Tour guide in VAN

Lemon Lady, thank you for the links and recommendations.

I'll be travelling first to Kars to see Ani, of course, then on to Dogubayazit to get a closer view of Mt. Ararat, and finally Van, and I'll be travelling with a friend, so I won't be going alone. Our plan is to hire an English speaking guide in each city to take us around, but travel from city to city using the dolmuses and minibuses. Its just been tough to find recommended english guides. I hear a guy named Celil is a good guide for Ani.

I'm going at the end of this week, so I'll need to find some soon. Perhaps the hotels will have guide recommendations.

Thanks again, I appreciate the help.

-RK

NY, NY/Istanbul...
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4. Re: English Speaking Tour guide in VAN

Hi RK: you will have a fabulous time, I guarantee it. I have been in Eastern Turkey 4 times and have made a tv film there.

I think your idea to ask the hotel about guide recommendations is a good one but you run the risk of the guide not being accredited. You know, they just ask someone they know.

As for hotels, in Diyarbakir we stayed at the Allstar Class Hotel where I got stuck in the elevator twice.

In Dogubeyazit near Ararat the place to stay is the Sim Er hotel where all Ararat adventures begin. Don't miss Ishak Pasha palace, my favorite place in Turkey a few miles away. There is also a restaurant in the center of town above a carpet shop and a grocery which is not to be missed.

I must mention that Kars has fabulous butter, cheese and honey, so try them while you are there.

http://www.allaboutturkey.com/kars.htm

For hotel in Kars opt for the luxury one, the other is just ok.

travel-library.com/hotels/europe/turkey/kars/

A few tips. Parts of Eastern Turkey have a large concentration of Turkish troops. Also lots of jandarma in evidence. They stop cars and board busses to ask people for their papers. Never travel, even for a day trip out of town WITHOUT YOUR PASSPORT, very important also to cooperate promptly with any request from jandarma or military here. They mean business. Avoid traveling at night.

The above is why I always stress people go with a tour group.

Local people are friendly and interested in you. Food is good and the scenery is beyond beautiful. If I can think of anyone who can help you further I'll post. Take good care and of course Happy Travel, LemonLady

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5. Re: English Speaking Tour guide in VAN

Hi RKKSanFrancisco,

You can NOT find OFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE in the east of Turkey because many of them prefer stay in Ankara Izmir or Istanbul for their tours then in the winter they go back to their home town because Tourist guides can not have any enough tour in winter for their expenses. I recommend you ask your hotel receptionist or Tourist Office (every city have Tourism Information office belong to Goverment).

Have a nice trip in Turkey

Sinan Akdeniz

Gocek, Turkey
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6. Re: English Speaking Tour guide in VAN

You're right about Celil Ersoglu as a guide for Ani, he was helpful to us even though we did not hire him.

Unfortunately both the tourist offices in Kars and Ani were what you might term "low key" affairs, with virtually no information material whatsoever when compared to the ones I've been in in Madrid or, recently, Pamukkale, but they are probably the best place to try to find a guide.

San Francisco
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7. Re: English Speaking Tour guide in VAN

Thanks to everyone for the great info! I'll let you know how it goes.

-RK

Gocek, Turkey
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8. Re: English Speaking Tour guide in VAN

Sorry, I meant "Kars and Van", not "and Ani" - there's nothing there except a ticket office.

San Francisco
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9. Re: English Speaking Tour guide in VAN

Just to follow up. My buddy and I (also american) traveled to eastern turkey on our own last May and it was a great trip, probably my best experience in turkey, the "real" turkey, if you will. Little difficult getting around due to language issues, but we made it.

In Kars, we hooked up with Celil, as a tour guide for Ani, and he was great. Totally accommodating and a very knowledgeable guide, he also gave us good advice about traveling in the east in general. In Kars we stayed at the Hotel Güngören, which was cheap and fairly clean, not very well lit, but a good value in general. Recommend it. Also traveled to Dogubeyazit, Van and Erzerum, by bus.

There were some military checkpoints that we encountered when travelling from Dogubeyazit to Van, but this was mainly due to some recent Kurdish issues. The Soldiers were non-threatening so it was'nt that big a deal.

Recommend eastern turkey for the adventurous traveler.

-RK

Gocek, Turkey
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10. Re: English Speaking Tour guide in VAN

Nice of you to let us know how things went.

Our experience with checkpoints was much the same in May 2006.

We drank our hotel bar in Kars dry - 2 bottles of Efes!

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