Pamukkale: a getaway right up on the cotton castle



As I locked the doors of my car and kicked the speed up, all my thoughts were focused on reviving any memory of self-defense moves I could use. They were 12 men, definitely local, on 7 scooters following me. I did all I could to block my self from listening to whatever they were yelling. As I entered the town, the roads of Pamukkale were narrowing down my speed and those men on me. I thought I didn’t stand a chance as once or twice they did come right next to my car and kept signaling me to stop the car. Either peril lied ahead or with these men, so I finally caved in. And to my peaceful astonishment, all 12 of them started ranting about cheap hotels, restaurants and souvenirs.

And this is what the town of Pamukkale was like. As you enter the town, you will be greeted by frantic local sellers and the breath-taking, majestic views of the famous calcium travertine.

I was fortunate to have gone in the spring season because the town wasn’t facing any tourist flood or draught and the weather was suitably moderate. Situated at the base of the travertine, my hotel was cozy, cheap and had its own mineral water swimming pool like many other in the area. The sacred pool remains how it was since the roman era with its water pleasantly warm and safely deep for anyone to stand in. It still contains remains from the temple of Apollo and is rightfully claimed to be a world heritage site.

Famously known as the “cotton fortress”, the travertine offers a picturesque and heavenly view. At the first sight, I felt like I was looking at solid clouds in front of me. As a backpacker, I’m glad Pamukkale featured on my map as despite being a tourist destination, it did also provide a calm, slow and peaceful life.

However, like any other city reaching the sacred spa has its own problems. The south entrance is very disappointingly planned and you get measly travel alternatives to enter from the north entrance. I would like to recommend that having your own transportation would be a very rational option.

In my 4 day stay, I was scarcely disappointed by this serene roman town. Seeing the spa city of Hierapolis also included getting a chance to see vast Roman tombs (called necropolis), the Arch of Domitian at the Colonnaded street, the roman theatre and Hierapolis museum.

The roman theatre, which is just 5 minutes away from the pool, makes for yet another “dry” and magnificent sight. Although slightly ruined, it still provides seats to as many as 12,000 people.

As a single female traveler, I was a bit apprehensive to be there, but a little cultural background check kept me comfortably at holiday.  I could comfortably wear skirts and dresses since Pamukkale is a tourist spot and carrying a jacket turned out to be clever as there was anticipated spring rainfall.

When all’s said and done, I would advise anyone to put a visit to Pamukkale on their “bucket list” and earn a deserved, sacred retreat.

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