Exploring Cappadocia, Everything You Need To Know About The RED TOUR

One of the most popular and cheapest tours in Cappadocia is the red tour. This tour mostly bring you to places/attractions around the town of Goreme. The duration of the entire tour is 2 hours shorter as well as 10 Turkish Lira cheaper compared to that of the Green Tour, so you only pay 90 Turkish Lira or 25usd for the whole tour which already includes entrance fees, transportation, lunch and guide. 

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Click here for Capadoccia Green Tour Itinerary guide.

The Red Tour usually starts around 9:30 in the morning and ends around 4:30 in the afternoon. You will be picked-up around 9:20am-9:30am; so make sure you’re already prepared before the pick-up arrives to avoid causing any delays as you’re not the only person whom they will be picking-up.

The red tour consists of seven destinations which includes the following:

Uchisar Castle is a rock-cut castle riddle with tunnels, which was used by the early settlers as a place of refuge when their enemies overtook the surrounding plains. And now, it is one of the most famous landmark in Uchisar. 

Goreme Open Air museum is an essential stop when you visit Cappadocia for the very first time. It is an open complex composed of different rock-cut monasteries and churches. 

Pasabag Chimney also know as the ‘Fairy Chimneys’ are rock formations which mimics the shape of a giant mushroom. 

Avanos Pottery is a great place for those who admire the art of pottery. In here, you get to experience watching veteran potters shape a magnificent pot from scratch.

Devrent Valley or commonly know as the ‘Imagination Valley’ is where you can find different rock-formations which mimics some animal shapes and some objects’ shape. The most famous of all the rock formations here is the Camel/penguin/snail rock which mimics all three animal shapes depending on which angle you are looking it from. 

Urugup Valley is where you can find the Three Beauties rock formation. Back in the days before the internet, photos of these rock formations were used to promote tourism in Cappadocia.

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Important note:

Sometimes each tour company follows a different itinerary per vehicle to avoid bringing in too much tourists in one attraction at the same time. They somewhat created a scheme to prevent all these visitors from flocking in in one area at the same time which is great!

Thanks for reading. Hope this will help you with your Cappadocia Itinerary. 😀

New to the Blog? Click here to get to know me more.

Things to do in Cappadocia, Full-day Itinerary, Green Tour Info

My first stop on my recent trip in Turkey was in Goreme, a small but magnificent town in Cappadocia. So upon arriving, I checked the tours which I can avail on the following day. Upon checking, I can see that there are several tours being offered  like ‘Green tour’, ‘Red tour’, ‘Rose Valley Tour’, ‘ATV tour’, ‘Horse riding tour’, and ‘Hot Air Balloon Tour’. But in this post, I will be discussing about an itinerary which you can avail if you want a whole-day tour while in Cappadocia, it’s called the Green Tour I will be discussing the price and the different places and stops included plus the start time & end time of the Green Tour.

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Continue reading “Things to do in Cappadocia, Full-day Itinerary, Green Tour Info”

Exploring Istanbul | Things to do in Istanbul | Top City to Explore

Istanbul, modern day Constantinople is one of the most beautiful cities which I’ve visited. It’s quite a big city to explore, so when you visit, make sure to allot at least three full days. Istanbul is situated between two continents! Yes, you’ve read that right, two continents! ASIA and EUROPE to be specific and it is separated by the Bosphorus River. This Turkish City is one of the easiest cities in Europe to get in to, as it is one of the biggest aviation hub in both Europe & Asia and there are lots of flights from almost any parts of the world flying to or through here. 

The two main airports in Istanbul are Ataturk Airport and Sabiha Gocken Airport. Istanbul’s old town in its Euro-side can be reached within 30-minutes from Ataturk Airport and 2-hours if you’re coming from Sabiha Gocken Airport. There are actually multiple shuttle buses from these airports going to Istanbul’s Euro-side which departs every 30 minutes. And the best thing about these shuttle-buses is that it stops near Taksim Square where you can start your stroll around the old town!

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Below are some of the best things to see and do when in Istanbul!

TAKSIM SQUARE

Taksim Square is the most famous square in Istanbul, it is one of the main gateways to Istanbul’s magnificent streets and avenues. Here you can spend a good 20 minutes for photos. You can also buy some bird-feedS from some of the local vendors in the square if you want to feed the thousands of pigeons roaming on the square, trust me, it’s therapeutic!

Istiklal Avenue

So after spending some time in Taksim Square, you can directly head to Istiklal Avenue from there, you just need to follow the railway from the square stretching all the way to Istiklal Avenue . In my opinion, I think Istiklal Avenue is the most beautiful avenue in Istanbul and one of the best in the whole world. Here you can walk past hundreds of cafes and shops. It is estimated that there are about three-million people in total which passes through here in the course of a weekend.

TAKSIM NEVIZADE

Taksim Nevizade is one of the highlights of Istanbul’s nightlife. It is the Red Light District in Istanbul. You can find it in the middle of Istiklal Avenue. Just enter the alley beside MAC Cosmetics Shop in the middle of Istiklal and there you can find the Nevizade.  Here you can enjoy a great local beer and lots of amazing Turkish Cuisines.

GALATA TOWER

Galata Tower is a medieval stone watch tower built centuries ago. It is situated at the other end of Istiklal Avenue. You can climb the tower to get a magnificent view of Istanbul. Tip: Head there in the morning to avoid long queue during busy hours. You know what they say, you have never actually been to Istanbul if you didn’t have any photo of Galata Tower in the background.

BOSPHORUS RIVER CRUISE

After exploring the streets of Istanbul, head over to the Bosphorus River Bank and get yourself a Bosphorus River Cruise Ticket! Your Istanbul trip wouldn’t be complete without going on a Bosphorus River Cruise. This is the best option if you want to witness the real beauty of both Istanbul’s Europe and Asian side from the middle of the Bosphorus. 

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THE BLUE MOSQUE AND HAGIA SOPHIA

The Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia are some of the most beautiful pieces of architectures in this modern world. These structures were built during the Byzantine Era, so imagine how much history these places have. They are both located on Istanbul’s European Side, so when exploring the old town, make sure to include these in your itinerary. The two are just situated quite near to each other.

ISTANBUL GRAND BAZAAR

According to wikipedia.com, the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 4,000 shops on a total area of 30,700 m2, attracting between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. Must be quite an attraction! So why not include it on your list of places to visit when in Istanbul!

Istanbul, a universal beauty where poet and archaeologist, diplomat and merchant, princess and sailor, northerner and westerner screams with same admiration. The whole world thinks that this city is the most beautiful place on earth.  – Edmondo De Amicis

Have you been to Istanbul? How was your experience? Share it with us through the comment section below!

New to the blog? Click here to get to know me more! 😀

What’s Inside My Camera Bag | My Ultimate Travel-Photography Equipments

For the past days, ever since I posted my first post on this blog, I’ve been thinking of writing about the essentials I bring whenever I travel since a lot of people has been asking what camera body and lens I use- I’m not an influencer! There really are several people who have asked me this, lol. So here is what I came up with. But first, let me start with what camera bag I use.

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National Geographic Rucksack

I instantly fell in love with the design of this bag. It has a lot of compartments including a laptop compartment and several pockets which is ideal for photographers who has a lot of accessories. It’s comfortable and fashionable to carry around and It can accommodate one big DSLR Body with up to three standard-size lenses plus a 13-inch MacBook computer as well as one speed light together with other accessories. I have this bag for a year now, so far it’s still in-tack despite being used all the time and carrying almost 12 kilograms of weight each time. I can say that it will still last for the coming years. 

Click here for the latest price of the National Geographic Racksack

Camera Body Nikon D850

This is my main workhorse as of the moment and basically the best camera body I’ve ever used. Prior to this, I have been using a Nikon D610. The Nikon D610 is a great machine, its just that I needed to let it go since it’s so difficult to be bringing two full-frame camera bodies when traveling(just imagine the weight of the Nikon D850 and the Nikon D610 combined) and I don’t think I would ever need to use two camera bodies in my travels, only maybe when I have some gigs like an event or a wedding to avoid changing lenses all the time.

Click here for the latest price of the NIKON D850

Going back to the Nikon D850, I had this camera for almost a year now. So far I never had any complaints with it, basically living up to its name as the best DSLR camera in the market. If ever I would reach its shutter expectancy, I think I would still opt for the same model. 

Camera Lenses | Sigma 35 and 85 Art | Tamron 24-70 G2

Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art

Sharp, fast and just the perfect focal coverage. The Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM is a state of the art lens designed for full frame cameras but can also be used with APS-C sensors as well. It is also my very first ever full-frame lens. It accounts to most of the photos of my travels. Definitely one of my favorite lenses for Travel, portraiture, etc. 

Click here to check the current price of this lens.

Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art

As a portrait  and travel photographer, this lens is definitely one hell of a beast! Ultra-sharp, fast and beautifully designed. The Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art is an ideal lens for a variety of photographic subjects, particularly portrait photography, both in-studio and on-location. For me, I use it mostly outdoors and I’m always impress by the way it performs. The only issue I have is the weight of the lens, plus most of the time, it’s mounted on my Nikon D850 which is already a very heavy camera body.- So imagine my neck and my shoulders at the end of the day. Those are only minor issues, as long as I’m happy with the images I take with it, then I can endure the pain. haha

Click here for the latest price of the Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art Lens

Tamron 24-70 f2.8 G2

 I bought this lens to solve my problems of changing lenses all the time when I’m covering events. It looks amazing when it’s mounted on the Nikon D850. Performance wise, it doesn’t disappoint. It’s widest angle coverage is great for landscapes and interior photography. The highest zoom coverage can deliver sharply focused subjects with amazingly blurred background. Definitely a must-have lens for Travel and event Photographers.

Click here for the current price of the Tamron 24-70 f2.8 G2 Lens

See full technical specs here. 

Gopro Hero 5

I have this action camera for like almost three years now. I needed to have it since I have been traveling solo most of the time before, and you can conveniently take wide angle selfies with the Gopro attached to a GoPro stick. 

So far I’m not planning to upgrade it anytime soon, I’m still happy with the quality of the images it provides- not much of a difference from the latest model. 

Click here for the latest price of the Gopro Hero 5 Black

Tripod

Vanguard VEO 235AB Aluminum Travel Tripod 

Light, compact and heavy duty, basically one of the best tripods I ever owned. I always bring it when I travel as it is so portable and doesn’t add much weight on my luggage. It also comes with a very nice bag. A must for every travel photographer. 

Click here for the latest price of the Vanguard VEO 235 AB Aluminum Travel Tripod

Computer

Macbook Pro 13 2017 without touch-bar. 

I opt in with the 13-inch version since it’s more portable when traveling. I process pretty much all my images here through Lightroom and photoshop. I have this for almost two years now and I haven’t had any issues of it lagging, just overheating a bit- but that’s only when I run several application at once or deal with really high data media files, just like a normal computer which overheats when running multiple applications. I highly suggest that if you plan to buy an apple computer, better buy this than the latest Macbook Air. Though it has been released few years back, it still performs better than the new MacBook Air. 

Click here for the latest price of the MacBook Pro 2017 without touchbar

Accessories

128 GB SanDisk Extreme Memory Cards

I have three of these ultra-fast memory cards. It’s a necessity to have ultra-fast memory cards to keep up with  huge file sizes of DSLR images nowadays. As a photographer, we cannot let any delays to happen, especially when we are photographing crucial moments. 

4TB WD Passport Hardrives

I have two of these external hard-drives. I have been using them for almost a year now, and believe it or not, I think I will be needing another one soon. I love the portability 

Camera Flash V860II

An external flash like no other. Easy to carry along my travels. I use it most of the time when I’m covering events when the ambient light is not sufficient. I love its performance, I have been using it for a year now and no complaints so far. 

X1T TTL Wireless Flash Trigger

One of the most used accessories I have- I use this to trigger my flashgun wirelessly when I’m trying to be creative with the lighting. The same as my comment on the Godox Flashgun, It’s easy to bring when I’m traveling and I have been using it for like a year now and I have no complaints so far. 

So what are your travel essentials? Share it with us through the comment section below. 

New to this blog? Click here to get to know me. 

How To Apply For A Schengen Visa for Philippine-passport holders.

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How to apply for a Schengen Visa (Step by Step Procedure, Documents required and Tips on how to successfully obtain a Schengen Visa)

Applying for a visa can be one of the most-tedious task to do, especially with visas for highly-industrialized countries. Aside from the inch-thick documents we need to collect & submit and the time it takes for it to be processed, there is also a certain amount we need to pay. And above all these, there is still no guarantee that our application will be approved.

Anyway, in this article, I’ll be discussing mainly about the different procedures and documents required  in obtaining a Schengen Visa.

First, what is a  Schengen Visa? Well basically, a Schengen visa is a short stay visa allowing its holder to circulate in the Schengen area. The Schengen area covers 26 countries (“Schengen States”) without border controls between them.

Below are the Schengen States:

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia,Finland,France,Germany,Greece,Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland

Aside from the Schengen States, you can also use your Schengen visa to visit other countries like:

Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia,Cyprus, Georgia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Turkey

Documents Required:

Fully Completed and Signed Visa Application Form

Cover Letter Stating the purpose of the visit.

Original Passport and passport Info Page Copy

Residence Visa Copy (if you are based abroad)

ID Photos (Bring at least 2 copies)

Roundtrip Flight Ticket Reservation

Travel Insurance

Proof of Accommodation(hotel bookings, etc.)

Proof of Financial Means (latest 6-months bank statement)

Employment Certificate if Employed

Day to day Itinerary

Invitation Letter if you’re invited by Someone from the EU

Affidavit of Support if someone else is paying for your expenses

Enrollment Certificate if you’re a student.

Step by step guide in getting a Schengen Visa

Basically, the first step in getting a Schengen Visa is to choose your main country of travel or the country of which you’ll be spending the most time (if you’re planning to travel to several Schengen States) as this will determine which Visa Application Center you will need to go.

For Schengen Visa Applications, it is mostly handled by VFS GLobal, although there are some countries where the Visa application is handled by the country’s embassy itself, there are also those which are handled by a different agency. So it is important to make sure to decide which country is your main country so you can go to that specific Visa Application Center.

Book an Appointment Online. Well after choosing the country, you should set an appointment where you will submit all your documents for your application. As mentioned on the first step, you should book an appointment based on your main country. In my case, I applied for a Schengen Visa for the Netherlands, and VFS Global handles visa application for the Netherlands, therefore, I booked an appointment on the VFS Global Website.

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I highly suggest that applicants should apply for at least 60-90 days before their intended travel dates to have ample time to fix any problems if there will be any.

On your appointment day at the Visa Application Center, representatives will collect and scan your documents, they will also assess what else may be lacking from all the documents you have submitted. After this, once everything is ok, you will then be called for biometrics collection (fingerprints and photo). Once everything is finished, you will then be given a receipt for you to claim your passport once the result of your application is ready. A tracking number is also written in the receipt for you to be able to track the progress of your application online. You can also opt for an SMS message update with an additional fee.

Processing time takes up to 21 days, so I advice that you only contact the Visa Application Center if you haven’t received any result yet after this timeframe. In my case, I received my passport with a Shengen Visa after 8 days.

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Shengen Visa Fees varies from each country of Application, Since I applied for The Netherlands through VFS GLOBAL in the UAE, then here is the breakdown of all the fees that I paid in the local currency:

99 AED around 26 USD – Appointment fee paid at the VFS Global site

260 AED around 70 USD – Shengen Visa Fee to be paid during the day of application

30 AED around 8 USD – Courier Service (Optional) – the passport will be delivered to your desired address.

I hope you find this article helpful. For questions, feel-free to ask it on the comments below and I will try to answer as soon as I’ll be able to read them.

Thank you for reading!