Cappadocia | Hot Air Balloons in Fairytale Land

Dreamy Cappadocia, it’s one of those places where it looks like photoshop in real life. It is also one of the 32 (3%) places which are both UNESCO cultural and natural heritage sites. Half of the people that pass through Istanbul (7million) will continue to Cappadocia, and the number of visitors have doubled in 2017.

This has been on the top of my lists of places to go to and I am so glad I finally made it there! And I can tell you, no camera can capture how magical it is, being there for the sunrise with hundreds of hot air balloons flying over you.  

I was there for a pretty intense 3-day packed schedule, as this was a part of the 2-week trip through Turkey, Italy, and Switzerland. But I was very lucky in a way that everything worked out just as planned. Here are some things you should note before going:
  • Sunrise time in summer is 5-5:30am, so if you want to capture a photo of all the balloons, be on a rooftop by 5am.
  • Balloon flight times are 5-6am
  • Balloons don’t fly every day, on windy days they will cancel. But Cappadocia is one of the rare places in the world where balloon flights are carried out year-round
  • Göreme Valley is right in the fairy chimney rock formations where the best view of the balloon flights will be since you are close
  • It gets really hot between 11am – 4pm, so make sure you have sunscreen and stay cool
| Stay here |
Sultan Cave Suites, Museum Hotel

| Go here |
 Rose Valley (sunset hike)

| Recommended tour |
Red tour

How to get to Cappadocia
There are 2 airports serving the area, Kayseri International Airport (ASR) which is 1hr drive or Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport (NAV) which is a domestic airport 40minutes from Göreme Valley. Most hotels will offer transfers to and from the airport at a low cost as they pick up large amounts of visitors in vans.

Stay here: Sultan Cave Suites, Museum Hotel
There are many really amazing hotels in Cappadocia, but here are the 2 I had a chance to stay at, and they both have their advantages. The thing is you can see the spectacular sunrise hot air balloon flights from both these hotels.

   ↟ Sultan Cave Suites
If I could sum up the advantage of Sultan Cave Suites, it would be the fact that they have a large balcony right at the heart of the valley with hot air balloons flying over pass your head. Some other things I liked are:
  • The guests staying here are friendly, let me say that again, the guests staying here are friendly 
  • You can have drinks and sheesha on their balcony anytime from after breakfast till 10pm or so 
  • They have a cozy restaurant with amazing food as well as delicious home made red wine 
  • Their staff are really friendly, and they have a cute Dachshund called Izmir regularly wandering around the premise 
  • It is a quick 5 min walk down to the town center


Back to the point about guests staying here are friendly, there is a reason why I say that, it is so important when everyone is trying to take loads of photos. The Sultan Cave Suites had a social media marketing success after famous Instagram travele couple Gypsylust x doyoutravel stayed there, since then it has become a popular spot for those chasing the perfect Instagram photo to go to. That being said, the hotel does an excellent job at regulating this. First off, only hotel guests are allowed on the balcony, so you have to state your room number. They also have staff regulating to make sure that no one is hogging the photo spot for too long. There are also a ton of Instagram husbands, along with those chasing the Instagram shot, but there is a general understanding from guests to line up. Everyone was really nice, patient, with an exception of a few Chinese tourists who were asked by staff to stop hogging one single spot.


If you’d like a photo on Sultan Cave Suite’s balcony, here’s what you need to do:
  1. Get to the balcony by 5 am 
  2. Have your room number ready for the staff 
  3. Patience: prime time for shots are after most balloons have risen. I’ve seen some people shoot too early and all of the balloons are small and jumbled together. They will fly over head later on. 
  4. Don’t worry about the breakfast tray, Sultan Caves prepares that in advance and the food is not for consumption 
  5. Oh, and dress up!
  ↟    Museum Hotel
This is a 5-star luxury hotel, so you’re looking at a budget of 200 Euros a night, however it is well worth it. It sits at a hill top at one of the highest points in the area, so you are looking down into the valley with a Panoramic view on all sides. Here’s what I liked about this hotel:
  • They have this half indoor balcony area with lounge chairs, and you can have your early breakfast there with a view, or you can choose to have a “picnic breakfast” on the roof of the bar below. 
  • Their hot pool which feels like a giant Jacuzzi, so you can go even during chilly early mornings and nights 
  • You’re treated like royalty, ground floor rooms have a private front yard where you can sit and smoke sheesha or have a drink, 2nd floor rooms have balconies. 
  • Their restaurant has outdoor seating with a great view 
  • They have 2 pet peacocks, one of which is all white




Breakfast with Balloons at the Museum hotel: 
  1. Book at least one day in advance. You can only book through the events manager and she is generally around the check in desk or pool area. Because of issues with breakfast trays being mistakenly taken by guests who have not made reservations, they only do 3 breakfast trays in a day, 2 on the upper deck balcony and one on the roof of the pool bar. 
  2. Get to the balcony by 5 am (people staying at this hotel seem to be less nice, more snobby and more me me me, so get there nice and early so you get your turn!)
  3. Enjoy your breakfast tray after the photos, the sun should rise over the valley shortly after 5:30am in summer time, so book your breakfast tray to arrive at 5:30am.

*Note about a rude Museum hotel guest*
Firstly this involves a black chick. (I'm only going to say this once before people get all sensitive with race and racism. That was the only information/description I had of her. I am merely describing her appearance since that is all I gathered from a brief interaction, on top of the fact that she was rude, a lier, and an appalling human being. And I don't get why people lose their shit when I say black chick, and lets say if today someone said this involves a Chinese chick, no one bats an eye. So if you think I'm racist when I'm using my only frame of reference and merely describing someone's looks, then think again because YOU might be racist.)

Now that is cleared out of the way.. I had booked breakfast on the upper balcony spot the day before, the events manager was there in person to confirm the location and also the time of my booking. When I arrive the next day, a Chinese couple was shooting there, but it wasn't breakfast time so it's ok, I let them shoot. Then this rude black chick arrives, claims it is her spot and shoos the Chinese couple away. So I go up and told her that it was actually my spot. She said "No, I spoke with the manager and confirmed it was my spot, she was here." I insisted that I had the same booking as well, and then she pointed at the bar roof where there were food and said "Maybe that's your spot". The bar roof on that day was booked by a Russian couple, rightfully. 

At this point I'm confused, either the Black chick is lying, the Russians are lying, or the events manager has made a mistake. After finding the hotel staff, we finally confirmed that the upper balcony spot was in fact my booking. So the hotel staff asked the black chick to leave. She hurried away with no peep. 

10am and we bumped into the events manager. She apologized about the situation, and said that she specifically told the black chick that her breakfast tray was on the lower balcony area on the left hand lower deck of the pool. At this point both me and my partner were livid, and swore if we saw that black chick again, she was going to have a hard life lesson. (Lucky for her, we didn't run into her)

So she 1.Told the Chinese couple to go away even though it wasn't her spot to begin with. 
2. Outright lied to me that she had made a booking 
3. She was willing to ruin someone else's breakfast for her own selfish reasons
3. She didn't even go to her own booking and just walked away, wasting food 

What a shady b*tch. I am appalled that even at one of the most high end hotels, there is this grade of despicable person staying there. If she would've done anything BUT what she did, I would've gladly let her take some photos at that spot. If she would've just said, "sorry I misunderstood, it's really nice here, can I just get a quick photo" I would've totally let her. 

Whoever that shady McShades was, I really hope that she gets banned, and other businesses she deals with in the future will see straight through her bullshit. 

Go here: Rose Valley (sunset hike)
In between swapping hotels, we had an afternoon to fill in, so it was perfect to go on a Sunset hike with New Goreme Tours. It takes you into the beautiful Rose and Red valleys on a leisurely hike of around 6km and takes less than 2 hours at a slow pace. In between, you can get up really close to the rocky formations which used to be resided by people. There are even churches you can still see old paintings within the inner walls of the cove inside these large rocky boulders. Around 75% through, you stop at this small cafe on a hill top between two rocks (more rocks) where a guy squeezes fresh orange juice, and offers you some beer too. You can see along the way some people opt to take this route by horse and others by ATV rides. Personally I think a hike is the best since you can stop, take pictures, go inside the caves, and spend as much time as you want. Here's what I liked about the hike:
  • Being able to get up real close inside the valley 
  • There were very little people inside the valley, and our tour was just my partner, myself, and our 2 guides
  • I say guides in a loose way, they were just there to point direction, point out the churches. They were in the 20s, so it felt more like hiking with 2 friends 
  • There wasn't any selling of anything, which is rare in tours. (I was expecting a carpet shop in the middle of nowhere because you never know, but that didn't happen.

Red tour
There are two main tours in Cappadocia - the Red and Green tour. The main difference is that on the Red tour, you are mostly spending time in the many different rocky valleys, and on the Green tour you will be spending time exploring the deepest underground city in Cappadocia. Me being slightly claustrophobic, I choose the Red tour instead. 
  • What to expect: rock formations, open air museum with more rock formations, view on top of the love valley with fairy chimney rock formations, learn how pottery is made (and buy some), have food, some more rock formations, learn how carpets are made (buy some). 
  • Cost: €28 per person with transportation, food, entrance tickets included. 
  • What I liked: although there were clear spots where we are being sold to, there was no hard selling, simply buy some if there's anything you like. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and gave us a lot of free time to wander around individually
  • What I didn't like: it was a big group of around 16 people, too many people means there's always idiots in the group who get lost, don't come back in time, or have the dumbest conversation about iphone vs android phones and cannot fathom how the carpet shop makes money (clearly has not an ounce of intelligence in these little brains of people we had to endure for the whole. entire. trip.) It was very hot in the valleys, and we were going to too many of them, at the end I was just done with seeing more of the same rock formations and just chilled at a near by shop and drink lots of ice cold water. 
  • Conclusion: it was the best option if you'd like to get a really quick understanding of Cappadocia in a day. 
  • What I would've done differently: Instead of taking this group tour, the private tour would've been a much better experience especially if you have the budget ( €120 per person). That way you would've have to be rushed, can avoid annoying people, and stay/leave a place as you wish. Another option is to just book a taxi driver for the day. 
Here are some photos from the Red tour:

Uçhisar Kalesi

Goreme Open Air Museum
(The Ice Cream Man, go buy some ice cream from him, he is hilarious)

Love Valley
(And the Wishing tree)


Konak Ceramic


Paşabağ Valley / Monks Valley / Fairy Chimneys 

Next up, follow me to the city of water, Venice. 

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