Ayodogdu Karadeniz: Hire a Knowledgeable Guide
I highly recommend hiring a guide. A good guide will take you to all of the important sites in a logical manner saving you precious time. To save money, try to get a small group of people together before hiring your guide.
What to buy: We found Ayodogdu Karadeniz at the entrance to the park and since it was early in the morning, we had him all to ourselves. He charged us a fair price for his services, and he spoke very good English.
- Historical Travel
Art Cini Ceramics: Avoid Art Cini
I had a similar bad experience with Art Cini. I had bought a plate and bowl (over $200 for both) and had it shipped home. The plate arrived with a large crack. I immediately e-mailed the company, sending pictures showing the crack and returned the plate via FedEx (at great expense!) I received several e-mails from someone supposedly named Jasmin who assured me that they had finished my new plate and I would receive it shortly. That was almost two years ago. Skip Art Cini and go to the Bazaar!
On the other hand, a friend had her items shipped home and they arrived in a timely manner and in good shape.
I really didn't want to diss the company, I just wanted my plate back! And overall I'd rate my trip to Turkey as one of my favorites. This one experience really took away from the pleasant memories, though.
Art cini: Art cini warning
The shop looks to all intents and purposes to be a genuine business, but don't be fooled. I and many other people have ordered goods and paid for them to be shipped home. When you get home, no parcel arrives and there is no response to emails or phone calls. It's as if the company doesn't exist. Don't deal with them you will lose money.
We were taken to the shop as part of a day trip to Ephesus.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Black Sheep Carpets: Turkish carpets -- your visa out of Turkey!
Description: In an overrun trade, Black Sheep carpets sets itself aside from the usual throng with its unique pieces (not just carpets) and its salespeople (not the typical pushy crew). It is a place you can hang out for days and drink apple tea without feeling the pressure to buy anything. You can mingle with Turks and view the most unique carpets, kilims, shawls, etc. for prices below the rest of the competitions. Its a place where backpackers, students, and travelers avoid because of the carpetsellers reputations, but once inside, can never leave!
What to buy: Among 70 carpet shops, with small town prices (as opposed to Istanbul), Black Sheep Carpets is a great place to shop for carpets, kilims, and other handiworks. Also pick up a bottle of Sirince wine from a nearby village.
What to pay: depends on what your are interested in!
- Arts and Culture
Olive oil in Turkey
A tipical place to buy olive oil at is the village of Sirince (say: Sheereenjeah). You can reach it by minibus from the bus station of Selcuk. Nice mountain village (formerly greek inhabited) where you can taste and buy regional wines (even true peach wine!!).
What to buy: If you want to take a bottle of Turkish olive oil with you, be shure to read the word "sizma" on the label, which means virgin oil. The "riviera" is raffinated and you could be disappointed about it' s taste.
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
A Shirt Shop: Ephesus Shopping at the Exit
I purchased a shirt at a shop where I was quoted a price of 87 Euros. I explained that the most I could pay was 15 Euros. I stuck to my price and the salesman gradually came down to 40 Euros. I thanked him and told him that that was, for me, a very high price and I could not afford to pay so much. I exited the shop and met my nephew outside and began to discuss our plans. The salesman came out and told me "Final offer. 30 Euros." I said, again, that that was too high. I paused and said that I would be willing to pay 20. He nodded his head in acceptance of my offer, and I bought the shirt for 20 Euros. It's a great shirt made of very lightweight Turkish cotton. Since coming home I've looked up wholesalers in Turkey and found that shop owners pay between 1 and 7 Euros per shirts in quantities of 500 or more. Assuming that the shop paid 7 Euros, the mark-up to 20 Euros was reasonable. I had been told that in Turkey a 75% discount is roughly where the bargaining should end. I did slightly better, but the shop still did fine on the sale.
What to buy: Lightweight cotton shirts.
What to pay: 25% of the asking price.
- Historical Travel
Art Cini: Caution: Art Cini and shipping ceramics home
We stopped at Art Cini while on a tour of Ephesus, and purchased over $200 of ceramics, and paid additional shipping fees. The items never arrived, and nobody answers our emails, faxes or phone calls. Purchase your Turkish ceramics elsewhere!
As in many other places, you can also buy some Pashmina's here, but they are much more expensive than in Istanbul.