How are you traveling to Cappadocia?
If your entry route takes you through the Kayseri airport to Cappadocia, you need to read this post.
Photo courtesy of Photos.com - Helder Almeida
Kayseri, the largest city in the region, is about an hour’s drive from so-called central Cappadocia, which comprises the most popular towns of Göreme, Avanos, Ürgüp, Uçhısar, Ortahısar, Mustafapaşa, and Çavuşin.
Transferring from the Kayseri airport to your Cappadocia hotel can be tricky if you have not prepared ahead of time. Let me tell a story…
YOU CAN RIDE WITH ME
I was at the Kayseri airport recently to pick up a friend who was arriving from the U.S. While I was waiting I noticed a lady sitting on the curb surrounded by her luggage with a telling frown on her face. On a hunch I asked her if she needed a ride. Her husband was on the phone a few feet away, and she said that their ride was a no-show. Hearing they were headed to Avanos, I let her know they could ride with us if they did not find another solution.
My friend’s flight was late so I went back to wait in the car. When I returned a half hour later the couple was still in the same spot and the husband was clearly frustrated with the unhelpful hotel clerk. The final answer was that no shuttle was coming for them. They happily accepted my offer for a ride.
WE’LL TAKE CARE OF THEM
A few minutes later a Turkish man approached me representing the airport taxi drivers, and made it clear that I did not need to take the couple to Avanos. A taxi would take them. I replied that I had already agreed to take them. With a smile on his lips and a murderous look in his eyes, he said in a calm, even tone that I should just get my friend and leave the couple to the taxi. We went back and forth a bit, and I asked if the taxi was free. He said the price would be 140TL. I actually laughed out loud saying they were expecting a free shuttle and even if they had to pay for the shuttle it would have been 15-20TL per person so they had no desire to pay 140TL.
Honestly I was feeling a bit nervous as I had unknowingly entered hostile territory and was dealing with property issues I did not understand. The taxi drivers felt that I was stealing their business, and they were not happy about it (understatement).
NEED TO KNOW
All of this is to relate to you that you need to be aware of the situation when you arrive in Kayseri (and I expect the same is true of Cappadocia (Nevşehir) Airport.
* There is no regular shuttle. You must make reservations (you should be able to do it through your hotel). Make sure to get a confirmation and as much information as possible (names, phone numbers,…) in case there is a mixup.
* Many hotels offer free shuttle service if you stay up to 3 nights, but you have to book it in advance.
* If you do have to pay for the shuttle, the price is 15-20TL (as of June 2012).
* If you do not have a shuttle, the taxi price is around 140TL (this could vary depending on your negotiating ability).
* If you do not have a shuttle booked, do not expect to hitch a ride with a shuttle that happens to be there for other passengers. The taxi drivers are very territorial. They make their living by driving people from the airport. They have an agreement with the shuttle services that if your name is not on a piece of paper, the shuttle cannot take you.
* If you arrive during the day, you can take a taxi to the bus station and then take a 10TL bus to whichever town you wish. You may have to wait up to a couple of hours for the bus to depart depending on the time of day. If you arrive in the evening this is probably not an option unless you want to sleep at the bus station.
* If you are having trouble booking a shuttle, e-mail me, and I will make sure you get a reservation. Of course, once you are at the airport it is too late for this.
MAKING A LIVING
Lastly, I want to make it clear that I understand the perspective of the taxi drivers. I am not trying to denigrate them. The situation is what it is. We must work within the system. They need to make a living, and they only have so many potential customers. They do their jobs well. If you take a taxi, you will arrive quickly and safely. As they say, “Forewarned is forearmed.”
I understand this now much better than I did before I entered the airport taxi minefield that evening. In my case, a minesweeper saved me.
By the grace of God, an angel came to our rescue. A Turkish tour guide who was their to pick up someone intervened and started talking to the leader of the taxi drivers. A few minutes later he informed us that the taxi drivers said it was okay for my new friends to ride with me. I have no idea what he said or did or offered to get them to relent, but I hope to meet him again and learn. We had a great drive to Avanos, and I was thankful the hotel messed up as I made two new friends.
Have you ever found yourself in a figurative minefield in a foreign country?
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