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Gallipoli and ANZAC Day

Help Needed! Has anyone travelled to Gallipoli for ANZAC Day commemorations without an official tour?
13 years ago, December 3rd 2009 No: 1 Msg: #95194  
We want to go to Turkey in 2010 for ANZAC Day commemorations. Friends of mine have already booked a 3 day / 2 night tour which starts in Istanbul and takes in the whole Gallipoli experience. The tour is costing them about US$370 each. The price seems absurd to me given there is really only one night of accomodation included (the other night is spent freezing cold at ANZAC Cove awaiting the commencement of formalities). It obviously includes all transport, a few guided tours and food etc, but it still seems too rich.

We would like to do the whole thing ourselves to save $$ but were wondering if it would be too difficult. We would like to hear from anyone that has been to Gallipoli on April 25 in past years that can offer us some advice. We would like to know:

1) Is accomodation in Instanbull difficult to book around April 25?

2) Is transport to Gallipoli hard to book or expensive the days prior to April 25? We would like to stay in a hostel.

3) Is entry to the ANZAC Day ceremony area difficult if you are not with a tour group or is it just a matter of turning up early enough?

Hopefully someone out there can assist us.

Cheers Reply to this

13 years ago, December 4th 2009 No: 2 Msg: #95368  
Hello Ryan and welcome to the Forum!

I did the ANZAC Day Dawn Service trip way back in 1992 - well before it was a popular pilgrimage and when the numbers of attendees could be counted in the hundreds and not the thousands. Back then, I travelled independently and stayed at Canakkale across the Dardenelles. I decided to visit the Galliopli battlefields two days before the service, so I was able to visit all the sites without swarms of people. After crossing the Dardenelles using the public ferry between Canakkale and the peninsula, I met a taxi driver who gave a private tour (after a bit of haggling).

At the end of the tour, I organised with this same driver to meet me on the morning of the service. So at about 3am on April 25, I crossed the Dardenelles by public ferry, and sure enough, there was the taxi driver waiting, who then promptly drove me to the site of the service.

Back in 1992, this whole experience cost me (including a few nights accommodation, taxi driver and ferries) no more than about AUD$50.00. Perhaps you should see what the costs of tours are like from Canakkale - it is far closer than Istanbul and you will find it strange - some of the Turks there speak with Australian accents - and they have never visited Australia!

Perhaps someone with later experience can comment, as the large crowds now may mean an 'all nighter' at the site nowadays. Reply to this

13 years ago, January 17th 2010 No: 3 Msg: #100000  
N Posts: 2
1. US$370 is absurd of course
2. do you want to see Istanbul also? ( in following steps I assume you want, therefore its probably the place you enter Turkey)
3. accomodation in Ist is not difficult at that time, but in Gallipoli region (including Canakkale) prices double at that time but it is best to find place there for a night. Its best to book it by now. Im not sure about the price but hostel can not take more than US$20
4. from canakkale or istanbul you can find many buses to Gallipoli, (nearly every hour ).Istanbul-Çanakkale=US$15, Çanakkale-Gallipoli=US$5 max, Guided Tour=US$20 max, taxi in penisula US$20max
5. food can not cost much ( lets say US$5 for a meal in Çanakkale, not in luxury restaurant of course), in historic areas food is expensive so buy snacks and maybe drink from Çanakkale.
6. its not difficult to enter ceremonical area
In total lets say US$150-200 per person. I am sorry but AUD$50 days are over. Turkey is getting expensive day by day.

I hope this information is helpfull and feel free asking please
Note: I'm from Turkey
Reply to this

13 years ago, January 17th 2010 No: 4 Msg: #100102  
Thanks for this information Munur, it is great to get an update on prices. The prices you quote of US$150-200 is much better than the US$370 that Ryan was quoted.

When I travelled to Turkey in 1992, I spent about US$600 for 7 weeks of travel, so it was much cheaper in those days.
Reply to this

13 years ago, February 5th 2010 No: 5 Msg: #102532  
Hey Ryan, I had very similar questions! We'll be in Turkey for ANZAC Day, arriving on the 23rd April and I think we'll head stright to Gallipoli from the airport. We would like to do this independently rather than join a tour group if it's not too difficult?

My main questions are: How early is early enough to get to the dawn service (especially if tour groups are camping there overnight!)...should we camp up overnight to grab a spot? Also, do you have any info on where we can find an English-speaking guide to take us around on the 24th maybe? I've been looking at the tours for ANZAC Day and they all seem to have a flying visit to Gallipoli on the 24th/25th then back to Istanbul...it would be nice to hang around for a bit longer though.

Thanks :o) Reply to this

13 years ago, May 27th 2010 No: 6 Msg: #111914  
Thanks to everyone who took the time to post in this thread. All advise was much appreciated.

I have just returned from Turkey and guess what...you can EASILY travel through Turkey independently and also take in ANZAC Day events too. It was only a short trip for us, 2 weeks, it was a special trip just for ANZAC Day commemorations at ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli.

This is how easy it was to see ANZAC Day at Gallipoli WITHOUT being on an expensive tour:

TL= Turkish Lira (at the time of travel TL2 = €1), all costs noted are per traveller.

We took a “TAKSi” from Sultanahmet (TL2.50 (TL7.50 in total), about 5 minutes) to Yenikapi.

We booked a ferry from Istanbul to Bandirma (TL30, about 2.5 hours). Whilst we did book to ensure we could make the trip, a booking in the end was not essential. Here were still plenty of tickets available when the ferry departed.

It was also possible to book a direct bus from Istanbul to Eceabat but we thought the ferry experience would be good (which it was!). A direct bus would have been cheaper and a little quicker at TL40.

We took a shuttle from the Bandirma ferry port to the “Otogar” (central bus station) (TL1, 5 minutes).

At the Otogar there were several bus companies which offered travel to Çanakkale. Basically it seemed that a bus left every 30mins or so. (TL20, 2 hours).

We then walked from the Otogar in Çanakkale to the ferry port (10 minutes) and took a ferry from Çanakkale to Eceabat – the gateway town to all ANZAC sites. No need to book just hop on – a ferry leaves every 30 minutes or so. (TL2, 45mins).

The only hitch we had was the final leg of Eceabat to ANZAC Cove. During ANZAC commemorations, the roads to and from ANZAC Cove are only open to authorised transport. Shuttles that would usually run to the site were not running due to the traffic congestion (which is absolutely crazy...200+ tour buses plus plus plus). We struck up a conversation with a local taxi driver and negotiated for him to take us and then collect us the next day. He suggested that we arrive at the north entrance to ANZAC Cove (the less used entrance) so we travelled via a small town called Bigali and there was no traffic at all. We even stopped at Bigali and went to a house where Ataturk once lived (which is now a museum) and went to a pub for a drink. We arrived at 4:30pm the day before the dawn service. Traffic would no doubt have been far worse later in the night. Driving to ANZAC Cove on the usual road through Kabatepe was murder (according to our friends who went that way on their tour), it was traffic to the hilt! The taxi cost us (both ways) TL200 but we were 5 people so TL40 each was a steal!

The return trip from Eceabat to Istanbul was a long, long bus ride (especially not having slept the night before) of 6 hours. Cost was TL40. We booked this well in advance which proved ideal. In saying that, other travellers we met did not have a ticket and still managed to get back to Istanbul the same night as us, albeit many hours later.

Turkey buses are pretty good. We went with Kamil Koç and Metro and both served drinks and snacks! The buses were modern and very comfortable.

So to conclude, my friend spent TL450 (about €225) for a “3 day” tour from Istanbul to Gallipoli. For that he got:

• a 2 hour guided walking tour in Istanbul,
• a tee-shirt, hoodie and beanie,
• bus travel to Gallipoli which I assume included dinner as the didn’t get to ANZAC Cove until after midnight,
• Commemorations at ANZAC Cove and Lone Pine,
• Return bus travel,
• 1 night hostel accommodation in Istanbul which I assume included breakfast and dinner.

To compare......Factoring in accommodation and food (that was part of my mates tour package), I would have spent no more than TL200 (about €100). Add to that the tour clothing, I think I made a great saving by NOT joining a tour.

I hope this might help others who are considering doing something similar! If anyone would like further info or has any questions, I will be happy to help out!

Independent travel is the way to go!!

Cheers, Ryan Reply to this

13 years ago, May 30th 2010 No: 7 Msg: #112087  
Thanks for the update Ryan and am glad you managed to attend the Dawn Service! Independent travel is always cheaper in regions such as Africa, Middle East and Asia and your experience bears this out. Reply to this

13 years ago, May 30th 2010 No: 8 Msg: #112088  
Yeah Thanks Shane...cheaper AND in my opinion more fun and better experiences too! There's something cool about doing it yourself and not just sitting on a bus. Reply to this

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