So thank you a lot for all of the things and the great adventures Mr Ertunga see you soon again in a different trip.
Ertunga was a wonderful guide; incredibly knowledgeable and easy to understand. Our personal tours with him around Istanbul, Ephesus and Hierapolis were chock full of interesting facts and historical anecdotes. Although he could not guide us personally around Cappadocia, he arranged for an equally great guide named Mehmet to show us around the area.
We were initially skeptical of traveling to 3 cities over the span of our short visit but the trip was well planned and we never once felt rushed or overwhelmed. A perfect balance of sightseeing and time to relax; just the way a vacation should be.
All the accommodation that was arranged met our standards and the tour as a whole was, without a hint of a doubt, great value for money. Our friends and family expressed concern for our safety upon hearing we would be visiting Turkey. However, now that we’ve been there ourselves, we’ve learned the true beauty of Turkish culture and its people. We would definitely encourage anyone to visit this gem (often misunderstood by the media) and, of course, recommend for them to book with Ertunga!
They were prompt with communication and happy to take on board where we would like to go.
We went from Istabnbul to the black sea,then down to Mt Nemrut,Cappadocia,Antalya,Pamukkale and ended in Selcuk to visit Ephesus..
The twelve setter BMW van was extremely comfortable especially as there was only four of us and Mustafa the driver was a very careful thoughful driver. A bonus is that there is free wifi as well.
We saw sites that other people would not have seen if on a conventional tour eg Sagalassos.
Our accomadation was a mixture of B&B’s and hotels which were all extremely good.
Ertunga and Mustafa were very keen to show us and let us eat the local food which were all delicious. We organised with Ertunga that he provided breakfast and lunch in the quote and we found our own evening meal which we like to do.
It is with sadness that with the troubles (which we saw none) that tourism is devastated and I would like to emphasis that we did not feel endangered at anytime.
I would thoroughy reccommend Ertunga as a very knowledgable and polite guide.
We have travelled and lived in many different countries and I would like to say that we found Turkey to be vibrant,clean,great food,unbelievable architecture so please do yourself a favour and visit.
Thankyou Ertunga,Maria and Mustafa for an unforgettable experience we will be back.
We chose Ertunga’s Tour company as Ertunga and Maria responded readily to all our emails as we negotiated our two week tour from Istanbul to Amasra, Safranbolu, Bozengale/Hattusas, Sivas, Mt Nemrut, Cappadocia, Antalya, Pamuklae, Ephesus and dropped us off at Fetihye. We also liked the way Ertunga was keen to find out exactly what we were interested in and the type of accommodation we preferred.
As a result we stayed in some lovely small family owned boutique hotels enabling us to meet local people and try a range of local delicacies. They were all clean and comfortable and with modern bathrooms.
Our van, owned and driven by Mustafa was a modern, 14 seater Mercedes van that was meticulously clean, very comfortable, and with continuous wifi.
Ertunga was flexible, kind, thoughtful of pur interests and needs and patient throughout our trip. He was extremely knowledgeable about archaeology and history even in areas that are off his usual route and his enthusiasm was infectious. He did not overwhelm us with information and answered our enquiries about political and social matters objectively and informatively. His English is excellent and he also speaks Spanish and Serbian. He also had a great sense of humour and smile.
We really appreciated that he introduced us to many Turkish experiences from trying the foods and specialties of a town or region, drinking Raki with fish, having a Hamman in the ancient buildings in Safranbolu and having lunch in a family home at Sirence, Mustafa producing a birthday cake when needed, and a bottle of red we had had previously praised to celebrate at the top of Mt Nemrut.
It was this care for detail that we really enjoyed, the fact that we felt safe in their company and that Ertunga and Mustafa make a great team.
Our tour of Turkey was an incredible experience. Ertunga’s passion and encyclopedic knowledge of the remarkable sites and ancient ruins kept us in awe much of the time. He and our superb driver Mustafa are obviously a very experienced and savvy team. Ertunga was attentive to details, enthusiastic and positive, perceptive and sensitive to our needs. In addition he was creative and imaginative in adding sites and experiences that were not on our itinerary, all of which greatly enhanced our experience. Ertunga and Mustafa introduced to us a number of small, local Turkish restaurants with wonderful food, but where there was little English spoken and no one not Turkish in sight. These meals were a delight.
Ertunga perceptively realized that we were open to new experiences. One of us asked about a site, Magnesia. Ertunga said it was an obscure site despite its magnificence. We walked down a farm path about a ½ mile dodging cow pies and cows/sheep and rounded a corner and found another jaw dropping scene, a 35,000 seat capacity stadium. It was all that was visibly left of a large 2,500 year old Greek/Roman town. At another site, Labraunda, he asked if we minded if two nomads could ride in the bus down the mountain to catch a ride. So ‘Maw’ and ‘Paw’ Turkish nomad cheerfully rode with us the 8 miles or so back down the mountain. Later in the trip, we met one of Ertunga’s former colleagues from his Turkish Army service. The stories they shared about their service on the wartime Iraqi border were entertaining. These were treats far outside the normal guided tour experience. He always checked to see if these deviations from the itinerary were acceptable to us.
Ertunga Ecir. Just by the name alone, it’s already hard to forget something so unique.
For 10 days, he, together with our trusty driver, Mustafa showed our family a trip of a lifetime. The family is composed of different personalities: elderly, teen, easy-going and the history nerd. So you can imagine the diverse dynamic that a tour guide must appease.
I could go on for days what an excellent tour guide he is but let me list down a couple of high notes:
Ertunga is highly intuitive. He can sense when he needs to extensively share his wealth of knowledge or stay mum.
My sister worked seamlessly with his wife, Maria to create an itinerary that brought us smoothly and safely from Izmir to Pamukkale to Antalya to Cappadocia and Istanbul, to name a few.
We only wanted to eat at local places, not the typical tourist stops or nothing fancy. Every restaurant he brought us to were excellent choices: comforting home made Turkish cuisine in Bergama or a resto with a breathtaking view by the sea in Dogan Bey.
Ertunga is very easy going. Some tourist guides will have you feeling rushed and give you a sense they just want to get it over with. Not him, he was very patient with every whim we wanted.
However, he is also fun!
I like to take videos and silly photos for social media and he was happy to join in the silliness like when he and I pretended to be gladiators fighting in a Roman coliseum in Miletos or when we shook hands like the politicians did in Regnum Hotel for the G20 Summit in Antalya, to name a few.
Ertunga knows when to turn on or off the tour guide button. When needed, he taught us about history and another minute he is chatting with us about the little things in life.
He never once took us to those tourist shops where tour guides get commission. He never pressured us to go to such places. He shared that even when he tours on his own to various places, he doesn’t like that. So he would never practice such things that he himself doesn’t like.
He is thoughtful. I has asked Ertunga to help me find dried figs at a local price. One time he had surprised me with a big bag without questions asked.
During dad’s birthday dinner at the Old Town in Antalya, he and Mustafa got the staff to sing happy birthday and even surprised us with a cake!
He is very helpful beyond his duties as a tour guide: from helping get a discount at tourist shops or making phone call arrangements for us in Turkish that we needed assistance with and even following up on his own.
Ertunga knew his boundaries. When you spend 10 days with someone, some boundaries can blur out. Yet he never made us feel that despite how close we became that he overstepped his bounds of comfort with our family.
We never felt taken advantage of. He was always very transparent with prices, negotiating and planning. What you see is what you get with Ertunga and that is rare to find in a tour guide, especially in a freelance business where one understandably tries to make the most of whatever opportunities come in.
He is very flexible. Despite a set itinerary, be it the change of weather, tourist attractions being suddenly closed, crowded or whatnot, he was very quick to adjusting to make sure the day was productive and enjoyable.
His team of tour guides scattered all throughout Turkey were no less than excellent as well. From Sibel in Cappadocia, to Ali and Akin in Istanbul, his recommendations made us feel that even if he was no longer our tour guide in the latter part of our trip, he was still very much present.
In fact, he still kept communicating with us daily to ask how our tour was doing.
He and Maria make a great team as they respond quickly to emails, texts and phone calls. Very efficient and easy to coordinate with.
It came to a point where, despite my family being quite reserved and private, we were all teasingly calling one other brother and sister and to my parents, mother and father.
Our nearly 3 weeks in Turkey left us bonded stronger and with more historical trivia to last quite awhile.
To end this, I told Ertunga, “what you have is a gift and can never learn in tour guide school. The way you connect with people is sincere. You are the benchmark of excellence for all future tour guides I will encounter! Now it will be so hard to top that, hahaha!!!””
Highly recommended is an understatement as he is more than just an excellent tour guide, he is a good man. We miss him and Mustafa and will forever consider them both, FAMILY.
PS: To be honest, this is the first review I’ve ever posted on Trip Advisor. Never once have I felt so moved to make one because Ertunga’s services are just that exemplary.
I wish we have more time and money to explore the rest of Turkey, it is truly beautiful – both country and people!! You are so lucky to live there and know all of its significance; glad we found you . I told Maria, as much as I would love to ask you both to help us plan for our next Turkey visit (of everything else that we haven’t seen), we have to save up money and vacation hours first. In the meantime, you have to plan for your US visit . You all are more than welcome to stay with us if you visit Washington DC; we’ll definitely show you around
My husband and I recently did a 10-day Turkey tour early October 2015. So I/we wanted to go especially to Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus, Pamukkale; other places include Hierapolis, Miletus, etc. Due to the multi-city itinerary with some of the places 1-2 hours (or more!) away from the airport, I decided to go with a private tour to ensure we have a ride to/from the airport/hotel/sites and of course, a private guide all to ourselves. I believe that going to a place without knowing the history/culture defeats the purpose of the travel. Mere photos are meaningless without the story behind them. Hence, I thought a tour guide is worth investing. I found this agency through Trip Advisor with all its high marks and great reviews(!). I got in touch with Ertunga’s wife Maria right from the start (~3 months in advance) and she helped me so much in getting the itinerary straight. Most of the time she is very prompt in responding, patient, and very flexible as well. Because PayPal fee was a lot, I paid via Western Union which was probably out of their way, but they never complained; and it worked out pretty well. When we arrived in Istanbul, someone was already waiting for us at the airport, and we had our own private van(!) that my husband was surprised we didn’t have to share with anyone at all . En route to the hotel, Maria called (the driver) to make sure we arrived safely, and informed me of the plan for the next day’s tour. I thought that was very thoughtful of her. Maria is very well organized and is very professional. All this follow up calls were consistent until we reached Kusadesi (as her husband Ertunga came to pick us).
In Istanbul, Ugur (all the while I thought his name was Onur, sorry) was our tour guide, who picked us up PROMPTLY at the hotel with the private van (a very presentable & fairly new VW). We however, had a little hiccup at the beginning of our tour – there were NO museum/site passes available anywhere(!). We ended up walking from one site to the next and back looking for a pass which we thought took some of our tour time but I didn’t think it was anybody’s fault; the city simply has a lot of tourists . And we were still able to see everything as scheduled. Ugur is very easy going and wonderful, as well as down to earth. He related the history/significance of each place fairly well, including some of his personal experiences in the city. And he had also read Dan Brown’s Inferno so I think he can relate to my excitement. I would have loved it if the day’s tour also included Chora Church, Bosphorus cruise, and maybe Dolmabahçe Palace though I am not certain how feasible it would be to fit it all in 1 day. Also, I don’t know if it would be possible to purchase the museum/site pass the day before to avoid recurrence of the above incident. But these are only my suggestions. Ugur taught us how to use the public transport (funekuler and tram) and we were able to roam around independently thereafter. Maria was also nice & honest enough to recommend watching the belly dancing/whirling dervish in Cappadocia as well as the Turkish bath as they tend to be overpriced in Istanbul.
In Cappadocia, again we were met with a private driver Mehmet who was SO kind and humble(!); & we had our private ride – a Mercedes! We had a late flight, and arrived at our cave hotel (1 hour away) around midnight. En route, Çihan (our tour guide) called to ensure our safe arrival, as well as confirmed our itinerary for the day starting w/ a hot air balloon ride at 0500(!) which was an amazing experience ! Çihan was very nice and accommodating as well, they were very prompt (that we were caught finishing our breakfast) and professional, and very considerate of our time. He discussed the plan for the day, made sure we see the nice views, explained how things/sites evolved, etc. Though my husband and I were not so sure how the tours in Cappadocia were supposed to be, we noticed mostly he would just explain things at the beginning, walk with us initially, and the rest of the time we were on our own exploring and taking photos; in the meantime, he would wait with the driver until we were done. The next day he was booked for another group, so we had another tour guide, also named Mehmet, and he was wonderful! He is slightly reserved, simple, and low key, but very well informed answering all of our questions, and truthful with his views. He has passion for the outdoors and what is beyond the usual and predictable routes which is cool! We got to see more than what a regular tourist would (or so we think ).
After Cappadocia, we flew to Izmir excited to see the ruins and hear from the ‘tour master’ himself, at the same time uncertain whether this was really worth the cost. I told my husband (not of the total cost ) of the high ratings and the great feedbacks people have expressed re: this tour agency. Ertunga met us at the airport himself as we planned to start the tour right away. He seemed a little intimidating at first UNTIL he started talking; we then can’t keep our ears off of him. He is very knowledgeable in the history of every ancient city we visited (and beyond). His passion is so palpable that I think it would do him injustice to transplant him to another country. As previous reviews pointed out he is very considerate that he always finds a shade when he explains things, that is so true and I appreciate it very well…though honestly I think he hates the heat too just like us . As my husband is vegetarian, he always makes sure that the place we’re going to for lunch has a good selection (or a tasty dish) for him. Since he found out I love donër, on our last day we explored the city of Didima for any donër, he wanted me to savor it again. With Ertunga, he makes every effort so we can be comfortable, so we can find stuff we need (camera memory card, grocery, etc), he is consistently prompt in every meeting…bottom line, Ertunga took very good care of us when we were there. With this trip, we not only gained knowledge of his country and the people, but we gained a friend for life as well! Thank you Ertunga, Maria, and everyone above named, for everything! You all are simply wonderful!
Vanessa and Steve
It was my first time in Turkey along with my sister. We were on a 6-day trip (Istanbul-Kusadasi-Cappadocia) and getting the best Turkiye experience lies on booking the best private tour we can find. Turkey Tours (ertungaecir.com) gained most top ratings and rave reviews from tripadvisor so we went ahead.
I had a lot of email exchanges at the beginning with Maria Ecir – booking queries, optional tours, even small questions, but she was not only patient but very prompt in replying, sometimes even real time. Above all, she was very transparent and honest when I ask her opinions- no hardsell. That for me was very encouraging. The price of the whole tour was very reasonable. We were impressed with the hotels assigned to us and we were attended to all they way, there was never a moment we felt like we are left on our own.
We met Ertunga, who was our guide in the Ephesus leg of our trip, and we were instantly treated like family. He has a vast knowledge of history and has a very intesting way of narrating stories that gets us amused everytime – facts that are usually not on history books. But what I appreciated the most is how he goes out of his way to assist us with our personal travel issues.
When you leave a country you traveled and can count only the best of memories, both places and people, you know you made the right choice. I am so happy I came across Ertunga Ecir. I am now on the plane, flying home but already thinking of going back to Turkey with Ertunga.
On the day 2nd day into the trip, there was a bombing incident in Ankara. We felt sorry for the lost of those family. Despite fearing for our safety, we decided to carry on the trip.
Many thanks to our awesome tour guide Ertunga. With his proficiency in English and owning a wide knowledge on Turkey’s history, we never had a dull moment throughout the trip. He explain the Turkey and and ancient city history to let us able to understand the history, culture and beauty of the places we visit.
Ertunga also gave good advice to enjoy the trip to the fullest. During Ihlara Valley walking tour in Cappadocia, instead of normal short route, he brought us walk through the longer route which we were able to enjoy the beautiful valley.
The peacefulness and friendliness within the community allowed me to feel relaxed throughout the trip. I really had a great time in Turkey and this will be one of the most memorable trips I have ever been.