I left my heart in Istanbul. Somehow, I felt mesmerized over the beauty of the city. Coming to Turkey with no expectation and no knowledge of the country, have left me feeling awed. A country that lies both in Asia and Europe, is not only beautiful in nature but also rich in history. It is definitely one of those places where it’s worth coming back for. These are 10 amazing things you will experience.

  1. Being in a country that lies in both Asia and Europe, that holds history from the ancient Greek to the Roman Empire where Catholic was the main religion, before taken over by the Ottoman Empire where Muslim became the main religion until now where it has become the Republic of Turkey.
  2. Ephesus Escavations. It is an ancient city from the Greek Empire and continued to flourish during the Roman Empire. There were still quite a lot of beautiful ruins to be seen. We can only wonder how grand it was during those era, where until now the architecture, high pillars, marble floors and walls still seemed relevant and grand in today’s standard.
  3. Hierapolis in Pamukkale. This site was amazingly beautiful, an archaelogical museum designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site sitting closely to an alluring natural setting. Pamukkale itself translates into cotton castle where hot spring pools emerges from travertine terraces. There was also Cleopatra’s bath where the hot springs contain minerals that is also drinkable.
  4. Caravanserai (caravan palaces), which were used for resting by businessmen involved in trading and commerce along the Silk Road. Listening to the guide providing information about Caravanserai, I imagined that it would be like a small inn or motel. Apparently, I was wrong, it was instead a large chunk of building with high walls and one large entrance gate. Seeing the size of the Caravanserai, I can only imagine how many travelers and camels were there on a given night.
  5. Cappadocia, where rocky landscapes with shapes of cones, pillars, pinnacles, mushrooms, and chimneys, that stretch as far as 40 meters into the sky lies. How nature can come in a beautiful landscape such as that is beyond me. Cappadocia has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  6. Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia. Seeing the beautiful rocky landscapes from the ground is one thing, but seeing the landscape from up above with hundreds of hot air balloon around you is simply breathtakingly beautiful. It is one of those things that make you feel so grateful and blessed to have experienced such a thing in your life.
  7. Goreme Open Air Museum. The rocky landscapes of Cappadocia is utilised to build monastery. Shaped through the courses of nature, the rocks in Gerome looks like a fairy chimney, where it was then carved and built for church and monestary. Inside the rocks the nuns and monks studied religion. The walls was painted with paintings as a media for the learning session. Some of these paintings can still be seen until now. Sleeping and eating were also done inside of these rock caves.
  8. Underground city. There are several underground cities that can be found in Turkey, which were used as a hiding place. It can be up to 6 levels down and can hold up to thousands of people with doors that can be closed from the inside and ventilation to support all the levels. The rooms inside include stables, wine cellars, kitchen, rooms, church. It is astonishing to see how big the underground city was and will just make you wonder how it was made in that era.
  9. Bosphorous Cruise. Istanbul is such a beautiful city with a magnificent view over the Bosphorus Strait. Taking a cruise over the Bosphorus Strait is sublimely beautiful. It gives you a view of the buildings circling the strait.
  10. Topkapi Palace. A UNESCO World Heritage, Topkapi Palace is a large palace in Instanbul that was used as the major residence of the Ottoman Sultans. It is not only a place for the Sultan but also for the government during that era, where up to 4000 people once stayed in here. It consists of four main courtyards and other smaller buildings that lies along the Bosphorus Strait. Now there is a cafe where you can enjoy the stunning view of Bosphorus Strait after going through the areas in Topkapi and the jewellry that remains from the previous eras.