We did a private tour with a company called OTTI Travel. Our tour guide was BANU. It was awesome, probably one of the best tours we have been on. It was a full day tour and we went to Ephesus, Kusadasi, the house of the Virgin Mary, The ... Read More
We did a private tour with a company called OTTI Travel. Our tour guide was BANU. It was awesome, probably one of the best tours we have been on. It was a full day tour and we went to Ephesus, Kusadasi, the house of the Virgin Mary, The church of St. John the Baptist, the temple of Artemis and many places in between.
We arrived in Kusadasi Turkey at 0900 and met our guide Banu at the gangway. She was a cute, vivacious young girl in her twenties, who spoke very good English with a Turkish accent. She took us around in a large van even though there were only 4 of us, a driver and Banu. We weren't cramped and we each had a window.
We liked Banu immediately. Banu had a great sense of humor and her knowledge about her country was phenomenal. She guided us to the van and then explained that our first stop was Ephesus. It took about 35 minutes to get to the ruins in Ephesus, and during that time, Banu explained to us all about the history and culture of Kusadasi including why the Muslim women that lived there were more modern and had more freedom than the Muslims in other countries. I think that we now know more about Turkey than we do our own country.
When we got to Ephesus, it was very crowded but BANU was a master at knowing when and where to stop to avoid the crowds. Each time we stopped, she explained that particular part of Ephesus. Ephesus was awesome. We liked it even better than Pompeii. There was an amphitheater completely intact that seated over 25,000 people. As a private tour, we were shown historical sites within Ephesus that tour guide with 40+ people could not do.
Next we went to the House of the Virgin Mary. The history about the house was fascinating. This place is visited and considered holy by not only Christians but also by Muslims All People that believed in the god-like qualities of the Virgin Mary come here and drink the water that they believe to be sacred.
Our next few stops were the church of St. John the Baptist, the Temple of Artemis, a pottery factory and a leather factory. I think the tour would have gone on all night if we hadn't been getting tired.
The nice thing about booking with this company and Having BANU as our guide is that even though we went to all the major attractions, she took us to local sites that we wouldn't have seen with the group tours. We even modified the tour while we were on it. As an example, My husband mentioned that he was looking for a leather jacket, so she took us to a leather factory, where they put on a private fashion show just for us. Their leather jackets were excellent quality at very reasonable prices. She also took us to one of the local places to eat rather than where all the tour buses go. The food was great and the people were very friendly. She really went out of her way to make sure that we saw everything we wanted to. I would definitely recommend seeing Ephesus and everything that goes with it and if you do do a private tour, I would recommend OTTI Travel and ask for Banu as your guide. Read Less