INSIGHT TRAVEL TURKEY – CLIENT REVIEWS 2014

Betty L. and Family – CA, NJ

January 13, 2014
Itinerary:  Highlights of Turkey Tour

Hi Rina,

We had a wonderful time on the tour. So many highlights. I would say the best thing about the tour was Arif. He was funny, open, tolerant, knowledgeable, understanding and gets 5 stars from all of us. His understanding of social, cultural, political, and historical facets of Turkish life and surrounding area was encyclopedic and voluminous. He was more than we had expected and quite delightful. We came to appreciate him very much, especially with the many interesting personalities we had on our trip

Things that stood out for me were the simple quiet moments, like the memorial at Gallipoli, watching a Catholic Church group from Australia prepare for honoring their fallen WWI heroes, the ferry ride to Cannakale, the fish lunch cooked near our table in Assos, the tram ride up to the ruins, the swim in the Aegean, the country side as we headed into the interior, the call to prayer at Rumi's tomb, watching girls adjust their head covering in the bathroom there, having lunch at Arif's friends home and learning about the organic farming cooperative there, visiting Chez Gulip's  pottery factory and watch Jim throw a pot, the first hospital, Ephesus, the amphitheater, Cappadochia, and so much more.

What I would have liked more of was time to wonder at Hagia Sophia and various towns along the way in the journey. Cannakale looked fun and had a university there, but only 1 night. Same with Konya. Just time to be with more Turkish people and understand their life, learn about their day to day experience. There is so much in Turkey, the history, the sites of historical significance, but I would prefer less major tourist sites, keeping some of the most significant ones.  We dream of returning to Turkey and especially to Antalya area, where you are Rina. What a delightful place from photos and a few books I've read lately.

Thank-you Rina for all your help securing the tour and making it happen,

Tesekkur ederim, Betty, Jim, Toby, and Samy

Jacob F. – NY, USA
January 19, 2014 Itinerary: Special Tailor-made Tour Dear Rina, I've written this recommendation of your work to share with other LinkedIn users. Details of the Recommendation: "A few years ago when I decided to spend a month in Turkey, like most people today, I went on-line to try to find the right person who could assist me with my arrangements. Following various leads, in different directions, eventually I connected with Rina, an expat, now living in Turkey. Admittedly I was apprehensive about make the arrangements from such a distance, and even more reluctant to send the money to solidify the deal because of the distance but when it was all said and done, it was one of the best vacations I've ever taken. Rina helped me decide what to see, where to go and in what sequence. There were times when I spent time quietly and on my own and there were times when I spent times with some of her fantastic associates, who were my guides and companions, sometimes for a day and in one instance for about 10 days. Her associate Kemal, and I spent Christmas and my birthday together and even though we had just met, it seemed so natural and memorable. Rina was even able to make arrangements for me to spend three days and nights with Turkish family, who lived on the Mediterranean coast just outside the town of Demre. If you're thinking about traveling to Turkey or if you've already made the decision to do so, talk to Rina. Give her your ideas and input and then let her do all the planning and make the arrangements. I promise you, it will be one of the best vacations you will ever have." Service Category: Travel Agent Top Qualities: Great Results, Good Value, Creative
Rachelle, S – USA
February 27, 2014 Itinerary: Private tours of Turkey Hi Rina – Just returned to the USA last night and it was SUCH a great trip!!  Thank you so much for your assistance in making our trip so wonderful! Ozge was amazing and we enjoyed her so much.  We wished she could have joined in for the rest of our trip as our new friend. I want to comment that the schedule for the day when we drove to Aphrodisias & Pammukkale was really not a feasible schedule.  We arrived in Pammukkale so late in the afternoon that it wouldn’t have been worthwhile to visit the park and the Sacred Pools were already closing. We did leave Izmir a little late (due to my lost credit card) but were only 30 minutes behind schedule so this wasn’t a big factor.  Since we had nothing scheduled for the next day, Ozge suggested that we might prefer to go to Pammukkale the next day, so that we could take our time exploring the park.  I have to say, this was the best suggestion she could have possibly made because the next day, exploring Hieropolis, the Sacred Pools and Pammukkale was THE BEST DAY of our entire trip!!  We felt so relaxed and spent the entire day enjoying the park, swimming in the pools, and wading in the Pammukkale waters.  Please let Ozge know how much we appreciate her guidance and while we wished we could have had her with us, it was definitely the right decision. Our driver (I’m so sorry that I don’t recall his name) also went out of his way to accommodate us.  We wanted to be dropped at a lamp shop when we came back from Ephesus and he called ahead to get directions and make sure the shop would stay open for us since it was getting kind of late.  He even arranged with the shop owner to come out and meet us on the corner so that we wouldn’t get lost finding the shop.  We so appreciate his help! Thank you again, Rina, for helping us coordinate all the flights and tours.  We absolutely love your country!!  The people were kind, the food was delicious, the history is fascinating, and the weather was beautiful.  It really couldn’t have been any better! Rachelle
Hamed A. – Bahrain

April 11, 2014
Itineray: BA08 Classic Western Turkey Tour

Dear Rina,

I am slowly getting back to the old routine here sadly.

Yes, I have to say that I already miss Turkey because I have had a wonderful time! Even everyone here kept on asking me on my Instagram if it was really Turkey because most people are only used to seeing pictures of Sultanahmet area and Taksim Square and that's about it. Thanks to you, I got to see almost all of Turkey's beauty!

Our guide Aykut did an amazing job and hope to visit soon in the near future.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Best Regards, Hamed

Marti M – CO, USA
May 9, 2014 Itinerary: Cappadocia Package Hi Rina, I loved the trip to Cappadocia with the exception of the very late night flight and over an hour's transfer bus ride in the middle of the night getting to the hotel. I would recommend you have that be during daylight hours. I'm thinking you may not have a choice in flight times to that small a location. Our guide Turan was timely, knowledgeable and accommodating to our groups needs. He kept us out of the tourist spots during high visitation times. Much better to be in a small group, getting into out of the way places the big buses don't usually go. I haven't even started looking at my photos yet but if I have some I think you would like to see I'll forward them. Thanks so much for helping me. I will contact you first for my next trip to Turkey. When I landed in JFK New York and saw a departing flight back to Istanbul I felt regret that I wasn't on it.  :o( Regards Marti
Myra W. – NJ, USA
May 17, 2014 Itinerary: Tailored Turkey Tour with Gulet Cruise Dear Rina, Thank you so much for planning a wonderful trip for us.  Everything went smoothly and so well.  I was very impressed that the transfers, tours and hotels all worked out so great!  We particularly loved the Historia Hotel and the Local Cave House Hotel!  The tours in Cappadocia were excellent. Again, thanks for your efforts.  We were totally happy with our trip. Best, Myra
Amy T. – USA
May 21, 2014 Itinerary: Marmaris – Fethiye – Marmaris (Mini gulet cruise) Hi Rina, I had a wonderful trip!  The Blue Cruise was the highlight.  Thank you so much for putting it together at the last minute. Amy
Eugenie H. – Australia
May 26, 2014 Itinerary: Special Tailored Turkey Tour Hi Rina I wanted to thank you for a wonderful holiday in Turkey. It is a truly amazing country and gave us many wonderful experiences. I would really love to return and Khim and I hope one day to be able to do that. Your planning really made our holiday smooth and memorable. The hotels and tours you arranged were terrific. Thank you. Eugenie
Jerry L. – Philippines
May 28, 2014 Itinerary: Private Tailored Family Tour Hi Rina, Nice to hear from you. I am all well. Thank you very much for the wonderful arrangement for the turkey trip. My family enjoyed every moment Of the trip. Hotels were awesome, especially Yunak Evlerii, an experience of a lifetime staying in a cave hotel. Avangarde is a nice hotel except the day when we check in 1 am. The reception guy is not as friendly. Our booking was for triple person, the room is not ready. After few minutes of discussion he finally decided to put an extra bed. Again thanks indeed. Best regards Jerry
Victoria S. – WI, USA

June 5, 2014
Itinerary: Highlights of Turkey Tour

Hello Rina

We are in Antalya, heading to Cirali today.

The tour was most enjoyable! It was an interesting group of travelers, Kemal is a very knowledgable guide, patient, and has a sense of humor. Ali is also a nice fellow and a good driver. We saw quite a variety of sites and learned so much. I especially enjoyed Cappadocia, although the weather did not cooperate for our balloon ride. Thank you for providing a great experience.

Thank you

Vicki S.

Annette S. – Canada

June 10, 2014
Itinerary: Highlights of Turkey Tour

Thank you so much... We had a lovely time on our tour and especially liked Kemal and Ali...the history and sights were wonderful..

With kind regards,

Annette

Susan B.- NY, USA
June 9, 2014 Itinerary:  Self Drive, Tour and Hotel Bookings Your hotel selections were exactly what we were looking for.  The people in each of these places were so hospitable.  Or guides were great choices for us - not too polished, home grown, very knowledgeable and flexible giving us good information and moving on when we were ready to.
Larry L. – USA
June 10, 2014 Itinerary: Antalya tours Hi Rina, The first day trip to Termessos was fabulous.  Hakan is a really great guide.  It was VERY strenuous but well worth the effort. In any event, we appreciate your good service.  Thanks.  Larry
Melissa J. – ID, USA

June 13, 2014
Itinerary: Highlights of Turkey Tour

Hi Rina,melissa-1
Having never done a group tour before, I was a little uncertain about committing time and money to an unknown. Happily, my experience with you has made a convert of me. It was one 'Wow!' moment after another.

Kemal is an outstanding guide. Having him with us was like carrying an encyclopedia of the history, art, flora and fauna of the areas we visited. He prepared us well for everything we saw and if he wasn't certain of the answer to a question, he took the time to find it and get back to us. I learned far more from him than I would've had the time or patience to research on my own. While he was a charming and friendly host and leader, he was also very professional and dealt with the few glitches we encountered expertly. Ali's driving never gave the group a moment's concern. We felt comfortable and well looked after at all times. Hotels and food were great too. They ranged from interesting to outstanding, but all were very pleasant.

When we'd been out about a day, I mentioned how pleased I was after initial doubts about tours and the response of the entire group  (all of whom had done group tours before) was," It doesn't get any better than this," so in a sense, while I have positive feeling about group tours now, I've been spoiled for any other tour agency. I hope I'll be able to do another one with you.  Thanks for a fabulous experience.

Just a very quick note to say thanks, again, for a fabulous experience. As I look for a trip for next year, I realize how very much bang for the buck you provide. Other tour operators, large or small, in any part of the world just don't seem to be able to put together the combination of,transportation, guides, meals, sites and accommodations you offer. I'm afraid you've spoiled me for other group tours!

Steve B. – Canada
June 13, 2014 Itinerary: Hotel Bookings and Hot Air Balloon Tour in Cappadocia Hi Rina. We got home late Monday night, still in somewhat of a lag mode...the 10 days in Paris with family were more exhausting than the 3 and half weeks in Turkey. Some Comments: *Really liked the Saint John Hotel and the family which runs it.  Very pleasant, and more than helpful in marshalling their friends to locate a lost Sharon in Ephesus.  Enjoyed Selcuk, could live without Ephesus, Sirince was too Sirince for us (we got off the bus and our first question was when would the bus return to Selcuk, and got on it), enjoyed the Turkish parts of Selcuk, enjoyed Pamukkale after we got past the top pools which for some reason contained the entire populations of Moscow and possibly St. Petersburg. *Aravan Evi, the room and location and the FOOD, was fantastic.  Thoroughly enjoyed the family and pieced together enough sight-seeing to accommodate our rest times...  Did not want to leave.  AND they had a puppy.  Did it for us.  Such nice people both at the hotel as well as in the village.  The food was incredible, usually there would be small tour groups in for lunch/dinner.  Amazing food.  Did I mention the food and Panda, the puppy?  Went to the hotel in Urgup we were going to stay in, met friends there for a drink before we returned to Ayvali for dinner.  Thought the Urgup place was quite stunning, we could understand why our friends had such a pleasant stay there.  Truth is I'm pretty koylu. *Liked the Beyoglu Hotel in Ankara alot:  Great location on the quiet part of Karanfil Sokak in more of an old style of the city, very pleasant and helpful staff, nice room, etc.  Recommend it!  They excelled in recommending a good iskender place for dinner.  Enjoyed the museum and exploring the backstreets of Olus. *The staff at the Seven Hills could not have been more accommodating.  Getting that upgrade was a huge surprise:  Upon arrival we did not like the room that we had booked and returned to the desk and asked them if we could see another room.  They immediately just asked if we would accept staying in one of the suites. *Had alot of fun in Istanbul, alot.  Strongly recommend dining at Asitane, a new experience for us. As you know the Istanbul/Ankara high speed train was not open so we took a bus back to Istanbul from Safranbolu.  Made good time until we got closer to the bridge (went to Bayrampasa station.  don't say it.).  Lovely ride, enjoyed the scenery alot.   The rest stops are sure a heck of alot better than when I lived there!  But thankfully the lemon cologne was as fragrant as ever.  On all of our bus rides we were the only tourists, bus staff could not have been kinder. We appreciated your assistance in piecing this journey together.   For us it was a superb journey with exploration and surprises, interest and healthy challenges.  We simply had such a good time.  Would not have been without your patient help.  Thanks Rina, best to you. Steve
Shelly H. – USA
June 18, 2014 Itinerary: Private Ephesus and Istanbul Shore Excursions This is Shelly. We LOVED our trip!!!! Everything you helped with was fabulous. Thank you Our guide in Istanbul was Kenan. Russ really bonded with him. We were able to do so much because Kenan was such a great guide. He arranged for transportation to the airport through his company because it was cheaper than what the hotel could get for us. I also really liked our guide, Selcuk, ironically from Selcuk, who was with us on Monday. Both guides were very knowledgable!
Olivia L. – USA
June 29, 2014 Itinerary: Istanbul tour and hotel package I did have a wonderful trip, and I absolutely love Istanbul. Thank you for all of you help, Olivia
Brian and Laurie G. – Canada
June 30, 2014 Itinerary: Istanbul tour and hotel package Rina: This note is far too long in coming.  We apologize for being so tardy in responding.  Things have been a whirlwind since arriving home. We cannot thank you enough for all your assistance in planning and arranging our visit to Istanbul.  We had an absolutely wonderful time.  Istanbul is such a beautiful city – historic and cosmopolitan all rolled into one. All our arrangements were excellent – the transport from the airport, the accommodations at the Aprilis Hotel and the Bosphorus cruise. We cannot say enough about the Aprilis Hotel.  The staff were so helpful in providing directions, recommending places to eat and giving advice about places and shops to visit.  The location was very central and made traveling around Istanbul quite straightforward.  The Haghia Spohia, Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar were all within easy walking distance.  The nearby tram stop provided easy access to the Spice Market, Galata Bridge and Karakoy.  We even took the tram to Kabatas, the funicular to Taksim Square, wandered along Istiklal Caddesi, took the Tunel funicular back to Kardakoy and the tram back to the hotel. The Bosphorus cruise was also a highlight, allowing us to visit the “mini” Blue Mosque and Spice Market and to learn the history of Istanbul and see just how expansive the city really is. We had no trouble filling our four days in Istanbul.  We did many things and visited many places, but have come to realize we only scratched the surface of what the city has to offer. We would certainly recommend traveling to Istanbul and would definitely recommend the use of your services and that of Insight Travel. Thank you again for all your work on our behalf.  Your assistance made our visit to Istanbul a memorable one. Warmest regards, Brian and Laurie G.
Solange M. – USA

July 07, 2014
Itinerary: BA10 Classic Western Turkey Tour

Rina,

We just got back home after a short stop in Los Angeles but wanted to thank you for a very well organized trip. The tour was exactly as described in your itinerary; guides were courteous, on time and very knowledgeable.
I was particularly impressed when we decided to add one more tour and sent you an email in the morning and by noon not only you had arraigned everything but you had the kindness to contact the guide we were touring at that time and let us know that everything was already taken care of.
Thank you Rina, you did a great job and we enjoyed very much visiting Turkey. It’s certainly a beautiful and amazing country. I would be happy to recommend your services to my friends.
Wishing you the best,
Solange

Jianing H. – USA
July 10, 2014 Itinerary: Private Ephesus and Istanbul Shore Excursions Hi Rina, Sorry for a late reply as we just came back from Europe last week. Yes, we had a wonderful trip with your tour guides in Ephesus and Istanbul.  Everyone in the group was very happy.  There is so much history and culture to learn, really amazing.  We enjoyed seeing Istanbul from the Bosphorus cruise.  Your tour guides were very informative, patient, and helpful.  We even did some nice shopping in both places. Thank you so much for organizing the trip for us.  It is great! Best Regards, Jianing
Cathy S. – Australia
July 22, 2014 Itinerary: Tailored Western Turkey Tour Hi Rina You beat me to it - I was going to write to you. We arrived back in Sydney yesterday - we had a few days in Singapore on the way home. We had a fabulous trip. Your organisation of it was exceptional. Everything worked like clock work. From the first pick up at Istanbul airport until the last drop off, everyone was where you said they would be the. The guides were knowledgeable and very pleasant and, fortunately for us, with a number of the even the group tours it was only us so we could swap things round to suit ourselves. This came in handy as we wanted to spend a bit more time mooching round the hotels and towns. We loved your choice of hotels. Villa Konak, Minyon and Elkep Evi were exactly what we wanted. Small and individual - each had its own character and charms. Vila Konak had a great feel right down to the afternoon tea put on each day by the hosts - they were so keen for everyone to come that they arranged for  the laundry we had used to deliver our washing back to the  hotel so we wouldn't miss out on afternoon tea. Elkep Evi was also lovely. The cave room was fantastic and the veranda and terraces with big swing seats were perfect for sitting watching the sun go down with a wine or two. One evening when we were so tired (day of the a balloon ride) they organised dinner to be delivered to our balcony by taxi. My personal favourite was Minyon - it was been so beautifully restored and with so few rooms it felt like a villa - we were the only people in the pool and at breakfast and while there were other people staying there we never saw them. I could have stayed here a week. Antalya and the coast are beautiful. The Orient Express in Istanbul was a great choice. Perfectly located, and the with the roof top restaurant with views over the Bosphorus, a marvellous introduction to Istanbul. We went to the restaurant upstairs the first night just because it was there and we had got in late but when I checked later on trip advisor it is number 3  out of 10,940 restaurants in Istanbul (2138 reviews). The doorman was very helpful. The next night when we had picked somewhere else to go to  for dinner, (despite it being tempting to just go upstairs again) and he could see us looking at the map to work out which way to go, he walked us to the restaurant so we wouldn't get lost. The Hal -Tur Hotel was also a good choice. Whilst from the outside it looked pretty ordinary the rooms were spacious and ours had a balcony overlooking the terraces and pool. It was a short walk to the terraces which suited us as we left our guide so we could paddle around the terraces and walk slowly down in our own time. At dinner they set up tables round the pool - and we had a very nice dinner by candle light with the sun setting over the terraces. The only hotel you might want to not use again was the Akol at Canakkale. It was centrally located to the waterfront which was good for dinner but it is very run down. Having said that it was so not so bad it bothered us. We were only there one night and it was adequate. I seem to remember there was not a lot of choice in Canakkale. Some others on the group tour stayed at a new 5 star place which I assume was more expensive. It was also several kilometres out of town so you had to eat the buffet in the hotel, which I find limiting. Others stayed at a backpackers which I suspect we wouldn't have liked either. Anyway it was only a minor thing but thought you might want to know. The ballon ride was exceptional and we were lucky as there had been days before us when they were a all cancelled due to wind. We got a ballon to ourselves. Just the three of us and the pilot. It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. Urgup was also a good choice in terms of towns in Cappadocia. There are lots of very nice restaurants including several more upmarket ones- this was good for me as it was my birthday while we were there so we treated ourselves to a restaurant called Dimrit which was very near out hotel and had views over the town and valleys. I think Urgup was a better choice for us than Goreme which had a more backpacker feel to it. Just in case you think all we did was go to hotels and eat I can say that in terms of the tours the walking tour of Istanbul, the underground city in Kaymakli, the terraces of Pamukale and the tour of Troy were our favourites but they were all interesting and informative. We have loads of photos but it will take some time to go through. Is there anything in particular that you would be interested in seeing from a business perspective - if so I will email you some? Thank you so much for organising this for us. It exceeded our expectations and we would recommend you and Turkey to anyone that will listen (in fact we already have). Cathy
Noelene O – NZ
August 13, 2014 Itinerary: Greece and Turkey Hi Jana and Rina We had the most amazing holiday and loved everything in Greece. I am dreaming of being back there.  We loved Paros, good choice, it was perfect and relaxing.  We did a day trip to Delos and Mykonos which was a perfect day to fit in the four days we were at Paros.  I would recommend this to anyone.  While in Santorini we took a boat to the volcano and walked to the top of the island and then onto Thirius island to swim and then onto EO for the sunset.  Amazing day and evening. I may have some of the spelling incorrect as haven't got my diary on hand at work. We also enjoyed Crete very much and as we had hired a car we visited Rethyman on route to Chania.  Our accommodation in Chania was the best and this little port town is one of our favorites. We would recommend that visitors stayed in Chania and took a day / 2 day trip to Hiraklion.  We did it the other way around. I will recommend you both to anyone I know who is thinking of travelling to Greece and Turkey. I must also congratulate Rina on your organization for Turkey as that was superb and as we had guides throughout, your attention to detail for us was perfect.   I did lose my prescription glasses in a tour car during our time at Pumakkale and Mary's house but otherwise it was perfect. Turkey was very special and every experience was  a good one and we have some fantastic memories. We both thoroughly enjoyed Turkey and Greece.  We found the Turkish folk very accommodating and friendly and felt we would love to return one day.  The history was quite a surprise to us from NZ and places like Cappadocia were unique and spectacular.  We are so privileged to have been and seen. Our guides were brilliant and Torun in Cappadocia was a wealth of knowledge and a very pleasant man. My nephew joined us from London at Hotel Irene in Paros and we all went onto Athens.  I have to tell you that our pedometer recorded 38,000 steps on the one full day we got around Athens.  It was mammoth.  As my nephew knows the city well we were fortunate to see all the significant sites. Thank you both so much for suggesting the itinerary and organizing same for us to suit our needs. We would have enjoyed meeting you both but that wasn't to be. Kind regards Noelene
Reza K – Dayton, OH
August 18, 2014 Itinerary: Acra Hotel Istanbul Hi Rina, Thanks for checking with us to see if things are OK.  Yes, they are.  The hotel is very good.  The location is very nice.  And of course, Istanbul is a lovely city to be at; at lot to see and explore. Regards, Reza
Olivier L – France

August 25, 2014
Itinerary: Fethiye to Olimpos Gulet Cruise

Hi,
Thanks for all.
The Cruise was great and the crew very competent and friendly.
Transfers well organized without problems.
Regards

Olivier

Gloria and Mimi N – BC, Canada

August 28, 2014
Itinerary: Small Group Mysteries of Eastern Turkey Tour

Hi Rina,
I am sorry that it has taken so long to write and say thank you. When we came home from our Mysteries of Eastern Turkey tour, things got very busy and suddenly the summer was over -- it flew by so quickly!

This was our second tour of Turkey with Insight Travel and we have really enjoyed both experiences. Being a small group and having Kemal & Ali to guide us made the trip easy & relaxing (even with walking up & down mountain fortresses). We were lucky to have Kemal & Ali for both of our trips to Turkey -- they are awesome!
For ancient history buffs, Eastern Turkey is a place not to be missed!  It was fascinating to see the Tigris & Euphrates, the Silk Road, Mt. Ararat (to name just a few) and to learn about the civilizations that lived, conquered & re-conquered this very ancient land. It almost seems that history began here...

Looking at our photos (1000+) and trying to pick a highlight is impossible, but I think that Mount Nemrut, Gobekli Tepe, the Bald Ibis and the Archaeology Museum (Gaziantep) are memorable...there was so much to see and experience!

Having visited Western and Eastern Turkey, but knowing there is so much left to explore, we hope to visit Turkey yet again. And it will definitely be another Insight Travel trip!

Thank you for all of your assistance and for giving us another wonderful tour.
Until next time...cheers!
Gloria & Mimi

Leslye T – USA
October 2, 2014 Itinerary: Private Turkey Tour for family Dear Rina, Thank you very much for serving as our tour operator for our recent trip to Turkey.  We had great guides and drivers every where we went and the coaches they used were comfortable, lovely vehicles.  The flexibility of these gentlemen to accommodate our interests was notable and appreciated by all of us.  They were extremely helpful with my mother, thoughtful of me, connective with my sister and interactive with her daughters.  They knew their history and were well versed in stories; we found them to be like family and were so glad we chose a private tour of this manner. The hotel in Istanbul was very nice and we enjoyed the city setting where we were - an intimate European property with very good service.  The property in Cappadocia was superb, like a fine country lodge.  The rooms were large bi-level suites, very spacious, and the restaurant was exemplary with a local guitarist over dinner, indoor and outdoor dining, exquisite plate service beautifully arrayed, and a very fine buffet breakfast with the addition of two ladies who were sitting on the floor making fresh Turkish tortillas to order.  The service was at its finest and the setting and spaces created for being together and with others, was plentiful.  The hotel in Kusadasi left much to be desired from the onset of our arrival.  The manager was overwhelmed and thus not able to welcome us warmly upon arrival. I thought you would like this report to keep up on your hotels.  I know only too well how things can change at properties for an array of reasons.  Did I ever mention that my profession was hospitality?  Two of my primary roles were as an international tour operator, and a concierge at a French hotel. I also have friends that are interested in visiting Turkey and are interested to hear of our experiences with our mode of travel, as they decide how they will travel through the country. We were pleased with the three areas you sent us to, a varied expression of the bit of Turkey we saw.  Thank you for all you put into creating this itinerary for us.  As always, the pleasures of our experiences were tied to where the service was the finest.  If there is any other feedback you would like, that would be helpful in your service. I would be more than happy to address any aspect of the tour with you. In Appreciation, Leslye T
Stephanie V – Travel Agent USA
October 3, 2014 Itinerary: Customized Western Turkey Tour We had a great trip! Thank you for organizing everything! The Biz Cevahir hotel had the most comfortable beds and bedding of all of the hotels. We also liked the location. The Istanbul Old City walking tour was awesome! We got to cut the lines at the Palace. We got to go to the Blue Mosque during prayer time. Our guide was great! We also liked the hotel in Cappadocia, Goreme Inn. We spent way to much time doing tours there. We should have scheduled some free time there. I would have liked to have rented a motorcycle or ATV to explore the terrain. The tours were really long every day. We did enjoy going to Mustafapasa and we loved were they took us for lunch there. The balloon ride was amazing and worth every penny and worth getting up so early. See attached picture. If I had to do Cappadocia over I would have done only one day of tours or 2 short days and not 10am-6pm each day. That was way too much. Kusadasi- We loved having a view of the water. If I had to do the trip over I would have schedule some down time on The Aegean Sea or the Mediterranean. Just to relax and enjoy the views and the people. By the time we got to Kusadasi I was so over doing tours and being around so many tourist. We had dinner at a great seafood restaurant that night. The next day we went to Ephesus and we really enjoyed seeing everything there. We were so tired though. But that place is amazing! The walking tour of old Istanbul and Esphesus were the best tours that we did. Istanbul- We enjoyed our day of leisure. We took a ferry over to the Asian side and had lunch then we took a ferry to the area were the busiest pedestrian street is. We found some great little bars over in that area and really enjoyed that area. They had a lot of places with live music which we loved. Overall, I loved Turkey! I love the Turkish people! I loved the food! I loved the wine! We all four did! Everyone there was so nice and so accommodating and would go out of their way to make sure we were happy and enjoying ourselves. We loved the trip and saw so many amazing things! If I could do it over I would just have schedule some more down time for relaxing or doing anything besides being around a bunch of tourist. We just should have not tried to do and see so much. I am still trying to recover. Thanks again for organizing everything. Overall, it was a wonderful trip! Stephanie
Kate M – Australia

October 3, 2014
Itinerary: Mysteries of Eastern Turkey Tour

Thanks, Rina. It has been really wonderful. Every consideration for our comfort, amusement and edification has been taken. You have put a lot of thought and effort into it, and it has paid off.
Many thanks indeed,
Kate

Daniela R – UK

October 4, 2014
Itinerary: Mysteries of Eastern Turkey Tour

Can I take this opportunity to thank you once again for organising our fascinating road trip.  I have enjoyed it hugely.
Daniela

Aliah L – Canada
October  5, 2014 Itinerary: Customized Turkey Tour Hi Rina, Thank you so much. We had a wonderful time! I think one of the best countries I have ever been to! And thank you for everything that you did. It was a wonderful experience. Everything ran so smoothly. The tour guides were wonderful as well. I will highly recommend insight travel to everyone as well as Turkey!!! Thanks again! Aliah
Kirsty S – UK

Oct 8, 2014
Itinerary: Mysteries of Eastern Turkey Tour

Dear Rina

Thank you for organising a really fascinating, cultural and comfortable tour of Eastern Turkey, Erkan and Dursan made the whole trip an enormous pleasure with laughs, good food and extraordinary local knowledge.

Best wishes
Kirsty S

Adrea M – USA
Oct 8, 2014 Itinerary: Private family tour of Turkey – Mothers and Daughters Hi Rina, I think Leslye covered most of our sentiments, but I just wanted to say that it was a beautiful trip and we loved every minute. The personal guides and mini buses made it especially easy for my mother. She was able to enjoy herself and experience Turkey very comfortably. My daughters and I spent the first week exploring more of Istanbul for a couple days, and then trekking on the Evliya Celebi Way just south of the Marmara Sea for a few days. We loved Turkey and plan to return! Thank you for helping us with all the arrangements. We couldn't have asked for a better trip!! Best regards, Adrea
Nancy T – Vancouver, CA

Oct 14, 2014
Itinerary: Small group Grand Tour of Turkey

Thorneloe-2

Hi Rina,

Thanks for such a memorable trip to Turkey! Our guide and driver were very good, and the vehicle was extremely comfortable. A highlight for me was spending time with the lovely Turkish couple watching them prepare (and learn) how to make a Turkish meal. And then sitting outside with everyone to enjoy. The sites we saw were awesome and there is so much history to learn.

We did feel some of the days were a little to long, which may have been caused by our interest in the sites! It is nice to get back to the hotel around 5:30 to freshen up and relax a bit before dinner..

We would recommend your tour company to our friends, and felt that we got a wonderful introduction to Turkey.
Thanks Rina,

Nancy

Krys L – NZ

Oct 17, 2014
Itinerary: Special Customized Semi private Tour of Turkey

Dear Rina, We had the most amazing trip  to your beautiful country.LANIGAN-1
First of all it was a pleasure to deal with you and have you answer our many questions and for your cooperation in handling the ever increasing numbers on our tour.  Also it was reassuring to have had the security of being able to ring/text your  cell phone so we could clarify things in a timely way.

All transfers and pickups went smoothly.  Istanbul is a vibrant and interesting city and off course we only saw a fraction of what it has to offer. However the walking tour was a great introduction and our guide (sorry I can’t remember his name—as with the others!) was so good  with his information, negotiating queues and not overloading us too much. David’s sisters and Tony’s sister and husband are all in mid 70’s but they did very well all through Turkey. On our free day Helen, our niece had organized a tasting tour to Karakoy which we thoroughly enjoyed and we were introduced to Turkish foods and cuisine.

We were especially moved by our trip to Gallipoli . Tony and David in particular (because they had been before) found the guide to be outstanding. He had a big map and gave us a very good insight into the history of what lead up to Turkey becoming involved in the war as well as information about the landings and battles and of course we visited all the important sites. Troy was interesting but Pergamum was better. We got caught in a massive thunderstorm on the hill, scary but exciting!. We were delighted with the Ephesus Suites at Selcuk. Lovely hosts and comfortable. It was a good choice to stay in Selcuk. Loved the town, great atmosphere. The visit to Ephesus was a highlight. It was quite overwhelming. So much history and I think better than Pompeii overall. Aphrodisias and Hieropolis were interesting too although I wasn’t feeling too good that day. Pamukkale was worth seeing especially since NZ had similar terraces which were destroyed by a volcanic eruption in late 1800’s. Had a really good look at the country side on our private transfer to Marmaris. Turkey has a great motorway system. Our drivers were all good but we did have a couple of hair raising taxi rides in a couple of places.

It was great to have a week on the gulet relaxing after a hectic couple of weeks travelling beforehand. We went to little bays on the Datca peninsula, not touristy, not too many other boats but just enjoyed the peace, the natural beauty, relaxed, swam, kayaked and ate wonderful Turkish food. Three big meals a day! Stopped at a couple of villages,  The weather was fabulous, not too hot but the water was warm.

Cappadocia was  another highlight. We loved every bit of it and were totally fascinated.  Loved Assiana cave hotel. Lovely hosts. We didn’t realize the extent of the cave houses, fairy chimneys , pigeon houses etc. It covers a huge area. Our guide was excellent and very helpful. Took us to great restaurants for lunches and made good recommendations for dinners.

Only disappointment for some was the cancellation of the balloon trip. But that’s life..

There is still so much of Turkey to see and we do want to see around Fethiye, Kas and Antalya and eastern Anatolia.

Hopefully we can and we will certainly be contacting you and using Insight Travel.

Thank you once again. We have such great memories.

Krys and Tony L

PS

See photos of Davids sister Erica, david T,Tony and his sister erin keeping warm in Capadoccia

Erika H
Oct 17, 2014 Itinerary: Small group Highlights of Turkey Tour Dear Rina Thank you for your email. Our trip was all we hoped for and more. I had every intention of writing to you in detail but we have been so busy since our return from Turkey to England I have barely had the chance to catch breath. I promise to write in further detail and we can certainly send a photo or two - we took hundreds - when we return to Sydney in a week or so. Kind regards Erika
Ben H

Oct 20, 2014
Itinerary: Antalya tours and driver service

Hello Rina, Thanks for following up on our trip. I meant to thank you when I finished setting in at home. We had an amazing trip in Turkey.

Everything was perfect. The drivers, our guide Fenir in Antalya, and the roomy vans were all great. The drivers were always early and never minded when we took longer at a stop or wanted to adjust our schedule. Our bus tickets that you arranged for us all worked well and also our transfer in Istanbul.  All your hard work arranging everything was a big help in making it happen for us.

Please let me know how I can help you with any reviews or testimonials for your services. I'd be happy to give feedback on Trip Advisor or on any site that you recommend.

Thanks again Rina, here's picture of all of us having tea with the fire warden at the top of Termessos.

Yours kindly,

Ben H

Rick and Karen B – Canada
Oct 20, 2014 Itinerary: Private Turkey Tour Merhaba Rina. All  arrangements in Turkey – hotels, transfers, tours guides, drivers, vehicles, flights and yes, even the weather-were, in our opinion, excellent. Everything worked as planned and on time. All your intermediaries were polite, informative and caring. Some further comments: Please forgive spelling—Onur (Cappadocia) and Kenan (Istanbul) were both superb. They were polite, caring, joined us at lunch (at our request) and seemed to anticipate our needs. Kevanche (Izmir), though completely competent, has yet to gain their maturity. This is not a complaint, simply an observation. Your Mercedes busses, Sprinters I think, were almost overkill for our group of four, though we did feel like Royalty at times. The smaller VW? busses  used for some transfers were in fact more comfortable, I think because they don’t require high pressure truck tires. FYI. The Assiana Cave House was a delight, as were the owners and staff. Please thank them for us. The Pam Hotel was fine though of course less intimate. Efe Boutique had a nice balcony overlooking harbour at Kusadesi and was close to restaurants. Our balloon ride was fabulous as was weather at sunrise. Insight should almost insist that everyone on your tour must enjoy it because to miss out would be a huge mistake. It’s expensive but you only live once (we think). We can’t think of any other comments just now. Should any come to mind, we’ll be in touch. You live in a beautiful diverse country, rich with history, that everyone should visit. Rina, thank you so much for enduring our many e-mails and indecision while planning our trip. It was a complete success and delight and we most certainly would recommend Insight to any among our friends considering Turkey. Thank you too to your staff. Best regards, Karen & Rick.
Kathy C – MN, USA

Oct 24, 2014
Itinerary: Eastern Turkey Tour

WOW!  Where do I start with praises -- I traveled with the very best folks throughout a magnificent country with the best scenery, food, people, shopping, and truly a chance to see all the Ottoman, Greek, Roman, Turkish and ? empires coming together thanks to an amazing itinerary.  I know that you and Laney worked liked amazing crazy so newbies like me could really experience so much.  I definitely left part of my heart and soul in Turkey and have part of Turkey tucked in those spots.  Being on the go for 9 days was hectic but WORTH every minute.  Sure we could have made another stop in the South but those last days in Istanbul were peaceful for me and I needed that. You are very competent, sincere, honest, passionate, and dedicated in your job and as a person and I truly love and respect me for that.  So, I know you have lots of "Moms" so please consider me your Bigfoot Aunt!!!!  I'm having dinner with some folks tonite who I know would love Turkey so I'll be the "braggin' Aunt!"
Take special care and keep doing something magnificent for yourself each day because Awesome Hittites/Turkish/American/daughters/nieces deserve magnificent things.

Kathy C.

Taz R – Canada
Oct 25, 2014 Itinerary: Customized Turkey Tour Hi Rina! So nice to hear from you. I had a wonderful time in Turkey. It really is a spectacular place; so rich in history, very charming people and great cuisine! I see why you moved there. I will speak with Aliah and see about any feedback. We will get back to you if there is anything to add on our end. Thank you for your services and your availability. We had decided during our time in Turkey that this is a destination worth visiting again and we will definitely keep you in mind for further visits. Hope all is well with you. Take care, Taz
Keri M – Travel Agent in Canada
Oct 27, 2014 Itinerary: Classic Western Turkey Tour Hi Rina, I just wanted to say that my parents really enjoyed the trip! They were thrilled with everything. Thanks so much! I look forward to working with you again. Cheers, Keri
Connie and Tom L – Chicago, IL, USA

Oct 28, 2014

Lord-Family-1-300x200Itinerary:Highlights of Turkey

Hi Rina,

I can't thank you enough for making our trip to Turkey so fantastic!  What anamazing and beautiful country, wonderfully kind people, fantastic food and an abundance of history!  I loved it and appreciate all your help.I just wanted to send a couple of pics,so many to choose from!

 

Thanks again,

Connie

Hi Rina,

The trip was amazing!  We can’t say enough about how great Kemal was.  His knowledge of everything we saw was incredibly extensive and his sense of humor and easy going demeanor were a pleasure to be around.  He was a fantastic host and we learned so much about the rich history and culture of Turkey.  I also want to mention Ali, as he was equally great!

Tom

Pam and Anthony P – USA
November 3, 2014 Itinerary: Highlights of Turkey Tour with extension in Antalya and Istanbul Hello Rina. Our experience in Turkey was wonderful. The size of the group was perfect, and Ali our driver and Kemal our guide were both excellent. The time we spent with our daughter in Istanbul after the tour was a perfect conclusion to a great vacation We will definitely recommend Insight Travel tour friends. Thanks for all your help and reassurance. Regards, Pam and Anthony
Rita and Alex L – Madrid, Spain
Novermber 18, 2014 Itinerary: Customized Turkey Tour including Gulet and eastern Turkey Hi Rina !!! Related to our Turkey trip it was fantastic, we enjoyed it all...we have an special good time at the gulet because of the nice people and the places we visited. Cappadocia is unforgetable, the landscape and the hotel the best there...We also fell in love with Nemrut, Globetipeke, Sanliurfa( all that area is amazing and the guide was very professional), Ephesus, Miletus, Pergamon...in Pamukkale I think we should have had more time there because three hours is not enough to enjoy it but we like it all (Heriopolis, natural swimpools). Istambul is wonderful and the excursions that we had there were very good... As I told you we have one little problem in the shuttle service to our hotel in Antalya but it is nothing in such a big tailored trip. So thank you for your great job. Be sure that I have told everyone the fantastic organization that you made in order to ask you in any tour around Turkey...So see you in our next trip there! Kisses: Rita and Alex
Yasmeen and Habib K – Pakistan
Yasmeen and Habib  K - Pakistan November 27, 2014 Itinerary:  Customized Turkey tour Thanks Rina for your mail. Yes the trip was wonderful and we enjoyed a lot, there is a lot to appreciate and one thing that particularly stands out was the punctuality of the staff and the comfort in which we travelled. Thank you very much. There are no complaints but since you have talked about the importance of feedback, I can mention a couple of points.The bus trip from Urgup to Konya had a changeover at Nevshehir, we did  not know about t his until we reached the bus station at Urgup and I think for your future customers you can manage to drop them to Nevshehr bus station directly. A big thanks again to you and your team. Best Wishes Yasmeen and Habib