Nemrut Dagi with the Gunes Motel

Independent travel to Nemrut Dagi in 2011 was seemingly impossible without either renting a car or renting a car and driver.  Neither of these appealed to us, so we signed up for a 22 hour transport, hotel, dinner, and breakfast package with Gunes Motel (TL100/person).  Gunes Motel is 90km from Malatya and 2km from the Nemrut Dagi peak.  When we visited, about 75% of the road from Malatya to the motel was unpaved, rough gravel.  However, the motel mentioned that some or perhaps all of the road might be paved in the near future.  This would make the trip easier, but it will also lead to more tourists which could change the experience.

The van left Malatya shortly after 12:30pm.  All of our luggage was strapped to the roof, but the van was still pretty tight.

 Loading the luggage onto the roof of the Gunes Motel van

Slowly climbing up into the mountains

The restaurant and store where we took our lunch break

A river that looks calm now, but apparently floods terribly when the snow melts in the spring

75% of our 90km trip from Malatya looked like this. The road looks like it could crumble in a rock slide at any point.

We had to stop multiple times for animals to cross the road
We eventually reached the motel, and had some time to settle into our assigned rooms. JT and I had a simple room, but it was perfectly adequate for coming to see the mountain.  There was no air-conditioning, but there was a window.  We had a great view of the peak from our window!  We had a private shower and toilet but, as is common in many parts of Turkey, no curtain for the shower.
After settling in, we all loaded back into the van and drove the remaining 2km on rough, unpaved road to the parking area near the peak.

Sign for the national park

The view of the peak from the motel

The rough, 1-lane road leading to the peak

JT with the burial mount behind him

Katie on one of the gravel trails around the peak

One of the stone heads on the peak

In addition to the strange stone heads, one of the coolest parts of visiting Nemrut Dagi for Katie was the fact that the mountain was rather remote.  No houses, besides the motel, were visible.  Only two roads were visible.  Very little signs of human touch could be seen.  And the mountains were beautiful.

 Katie with the beautiful mountains

Nemrut Dagi is know for its sunsets

The peak was crowded for sunset, but it did not feel like it from our perch

The moon rising above the statues

After sunset we all loaded into the van and headed back to the motel.  We ate dinner at a long table, and all got to chat and just relax together.  Dinner was a simple but adequate meal of chicken and rice.  Some people stayed up playing cards after dinner, but we were tired and opted to head to bed in preparation for the early morning.

Beautiful sunrise picture (that is now framed in our bedroom)

The statues with their heads in front.

Driver’s view of the road from the peak back to the motel

After returning from our sunrise trip to the peak, we all ate breakfast together and then loaded up the van for our trip back to Malatya.

Loading Katie’s duffel bag into the van

The front of the Gunes Motel

Our van group in front of the Gunes Motel

We slept almost the entire drive back to Malatya.  We arrived back in Malatya before 11am, but were too tired to see much of the city.  We dropped our larger luggage at the Sun Express airlines office (apparently airline offices in the city will keep your luggage in Turkey!) and then wandered for a bit.  We found a café to chill in for most of the day.  Near the end of our visit, the café owner treated us to some free tea as a kind gesture.  We eventually left the café to find some dinner, and were surprised when the waiter at that restaurant also gifted us tea near the end of our meal.

Malatya was a city with very dark, strong tea.  But surprisingly, the women were still dressed in conservative Western clothing.  The norm seemed to be long pants and short/long sleeves with or without a head scarf.  It was surprising and refreshing after seeing so many fully veiled women in Istanbul.

Many people visit Nemrut Dagi as a day trip from other places, but this (1) gives you a lot of time in a bus or van for a short time on the mountain and (2) only lets you see sunrise or sunset.  We really enjoyed our time at the Gunes Motel, and on a longer trip might consider staying an extra night or two to have time to hike in the beautiful, remote mountain area.

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