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active 13 hours ago

Murat Ornek

Thanks to my Turkish and Guatemalan family spread around the world, when I was younger traveling was all about visiting relatives in different countries. Since my early 20s I have been doing trips in search of the good food, history and hiking trails.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"Specializing in adventure and experience-based travel, we do tours all around Turkey. We are the right address for those who want to pursue the less-taken paths and look for authentic experiences. Be it a lunch with the nomads after hiking, a road trip covering ancient cities as Troy and Pergamon, or simply get lost in Istanbul chasing the best street food."

How did you get involved in travel?

"Previously I had a job related to loyalty programs and direct marketing in travel industry. I used to spend long hours extracting and analyzing traveler data or working on travel promotions. Later realized that I definitely wanted to create travel experiences and spending more time out from the office. By the end of 2011, establishing a travel company specialized in active travel and elaborate cultural tours became my dream. Since 2013, I am lucky enough to have worked with some pioneer tour operators of the industry and designing customized tours for travelers around the world."

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"I still cannot forget the trip that I made to Morocco when I was 21 years old. It was a life changing road-trip with four other friends, where we slept in the desert, trekked and meditated in Dades Valley, discovered the amazing cities and got to know a climate of desert, snow and tropic in a single day."

Murat is part of the following groups: Turkey Travel Agents
See Cappadocia from another vantage point, your personal hot air balloon!
Highlights of Cappadocia - 5 Days

See a different side of Turkey on a 5-day visit to Cappadocia, one of the most incredible regions in the country. Located in the plains of Central Anatolia, it's known for beautiful valleys dotted with unique rock formations and cave dwellings. You'll see it all on valley hikes, tours of ancient underground cities, and even a hot-air balloon ride where you can marvel at the entire region stretched out below you.

Visit Turkey's Thrace region and sample local varietals
Wine Tour & Highlights of Istanbul - 5 Days

Do Turkey a little different when you discover its less-heralded yet world-class wine region of Thrace. This sweet spot in the northwest of the country, bordering Europe, has been known for wine-making for thousands of years, and you'll get to taste the top varietals borne of this fertile terroir. In addition, you'll wind down the trip to Istanbul with tours of its historic Byzantine and Ottoman monuments.

Turkey's otherworldly Cappadocia landscape
Highlights of Turkey - 5 Days

Even in as few as five days, you can see two highlights of Turkey in two distinct regions. First, you'll tour the historic streets of Istanbul, visiting Byzantine and Ottoman landmarks and browsing massive covered markets. Then it's off to central Turkey and the lunar valleys of Cappadocia, where you'll walk in underground cities and fly high over the plateaus in a hot-air balloon.

Visit Turkey's Library of Celsus
Explore Historic Turkey - 10 Days

Experience the full breadth of Turkey's deep history on a 10-day adventure through multiple regions. It begins in Istanbul, where you'll visit incredible Byzantine and Ottoman monuments. Then, after touring World War I battlefields, you're off on a road trip to see ancient Greek and Roman sites like the city of Troy and Ephesus. The trip finishes at the incredible lunar landscapes and "fairy chimneys" of Cappadocia.

Istanbul
Highlights of Turkey - 10 Days

Over 10 packed days, you'll experience the highlights of Turkey, from the Ottoman and Byzantine monuments in Istanbul to the lunar valleys of Cappadocia. It's an itinerary that includes adventurous hot air balloon rides and explorations of ancient city ruins. Plus, between the fun city tours and outdoor excursions, you'll even have time to relax in a natural spa.

Hadrian's Gate in Antalya, Turkey
Turkey Off the Beaten Path: Adrasan, Pamukkale, Urgup & More - 10 Days

Forgo the major cities and focus on Turkey's natural beauty and historic landmarks. This unforgettable 10-day adventure combines hikes along the famous Lycian Way with tours of ancient ruins and road trips to natural wonders like the thermal pools of Pamukkale and the lunar valleys of Cappadocia. It's an active adventure that showcases a side of Turkey most tourists never get to see.

Recent trip reviews for Murat

Unforgettable experience
Turkey | Nov 20 - Nov 27, 2022

J
Jose T.
Little Rock, AR | Reviewed on Nov 30, 2022

This experience was amazing. We have traveled to many places before, but it was the first time we used KimKim. Murat did great putting our schedule together and helping us to make reservations to great restaurants. Our local guide Andy (Onder) was wonderful. Always on time, and ready to make recommendations on trustable shops. His historical knowledge of all the places we went was just great. It is so difficult to pick just one favorite place from our visit to Turkiye. I choose all of them.... read more

This experience was amazing. We have traveled to many places before, but it was the first time we used KimKim. Murat did great putting our schedule together and helping us to make reservations to great restaurants. Our local guide Andy (Onder) was wonderful. Always on time, and ready to make recommendations on trustable shops. His historical knowledge of all the places we went was just great. It is so difficult to pick just one favorite place from our visit to Turkiye. I choose all of them. We would definitely want to return. I would definitely recommend this itinerary, and ask for Andy to be your local guide.

Hotel Reviews
Kayakapi Premium Caves
Urgup / Cappadocia
Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Pera Palace
Istanbul
Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Reviews
Visiting Göreme Open Air Museum (UNESCO World Heritage)
Cappadocia
Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Avanos: Discovering the Ceramic Tradition and Light hiking in the Love Valley
Cappadocia
Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Kaymaklı Underground City
Cappadocia
Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Eminönü Heritage Tour: Explore the Historical Bazaars and Ottoman Architectural Sites of Istanbul
Istanbul
Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Discover Byzantine + Ottoman Istanbul
Istanbul
Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Local specialist: Murat Ornek

Best of Turkey highlights tour!
Turkey | Nov 12 - Nov 17, 2022

P
Ploy U.
Thailand | Reviewed on Nov 24, 2022

We initially planned this trip pre-pandemic and had to postpone until Nov 2022 so it has been a long time coming. Murat, our local specialist, has been very accommodating throughout this whole period and we were finally able to make it happen! Communication and coordination leading up to the start of the trip were only slightly delayed but everything turned out great. The final call(s) to touch base put everyone on the same page and was quite helpful.

Our local guide, Onder (Andy), was... read more

We initially planned this trip pre-pandemic and had to postpone until Nov 2022 so it has been a long time coming. Murat, our local specialist, has been very accommodating throughout this whole period and we were finally able to make it happen! Communication and coordination leading up to the start of the trip were only slightly delayed but everything turned out great. The final call(s) to touch base put everyone on the same page and was quite helpful.

Our local guide, Onder (Andy), was very helpful, informative and friendly. It was wonderful to have a knowledgeable guide show us around different parts of Turkey. He also helped us navigate the (occasionally tricky) streets of Istanbul with ease and had the best tips and advice for every spot we visited.

Our itinerary was quite packed so it depends on the type of traveler you are but overall, we hit the main highlights we wanted to see. Can't wait to go back and explore more of Turkey!

Hotel Review
Georges Hotel
Istanbul

Terrible manager with an attitude. Such a shame because the hotel is in a beautiful historic neighborhood. Please avoid at all costs.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Local specialist: Murat Ornek

Turkey - highly recommend! Both the country and Murat’s team!
Turkey | Aug 6 - Aug 14, 2022

I
Itee A.
Singapore | Reviewed on Oct 08, 2022

It was a one of the best organized trips I had been on.. from the hotels, car pick ups, tour plans to sight seeing it was a very well organized and very thoughtfully done. It was a customized tour plan and since I was a single traveler Murat and team made sure I was always taken care and never felt unsafe.

From Volkan, hatice to Murat himself were very good hosts and excellent travel buddies.

Istanbul - hotel, food everything was good. It’s a vibrant city and should be seen only on... read more

It was a one of the best organized trips I had been on.. from the hotels, car pick ups, tour plans to sight seeing it was a very well organized and very thoughtfully done. It was a customized tour plan and since I was a single traveler Murat and team made sure I was always taken care and never felt unsafe.

From Volkan, hatice to Murat himself were very good hosts and excellent travel buddies.

Istanbul - hotel, food everything was good. It’s a vibrant city and should be seen only on foot like I did! Do not miss the baklava, grand bazaar or the blue mosque!

Cappadocia- by far my most favorite destination. Gul Konnaklari!! Is a beautiful medieval castle.. and I MYST recommend their small restaurant for a dinner. Absolutely gorgeous! Both food and people
And my best guide was Hatice- she is fun and knowledgeable and practical. And the highlight of Turkey is the Hot Air Balloon that nobody should miss!

sirince - it’s a beautiful location but the crown jewel is the hotel NISANYAN! I landed late at night and was not so impressed but in the morning I instantly regretted not staying longer.. the food was fantastic.. service is amazing and the room they gave me had the best views. Not only do I recommend I will definitely return to enjoy more time there..

All in all it was a very well organized tour. Highly recommend Murat and his team if you are planning to go.. Turkey is a beautiful country with a lot of heart and soul! must Visit

Hotel Reviews
Pera Palace
Istanbul
Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Gül Konakları
Nevsehir

Beautiful in every way!

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Nisanyan Houses
Selçuk

Highly recommend

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Doğa Thermal Hotel & Spa
Denizli
Authenticity & Character
Location
Hi
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Reviews
Explore the historic sites of Istanbul's famed old town
Istanbul
Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Walking Tour: Pera and Beyond
Istanbul
Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Visiting Göreme Open Air Museum (UNESCO World Heritage)
Cappadocia
Quality of Experience
T
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Whirling Dervish Ceremony at Saruhan Caravansarai
Turkey
Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Discovering the Ihlara Valley and Light Hiking Along the Melendiz River
Cappadocia
Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Explore the Ancient City of Ephesus
Turkey
Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Local specialist: Murat Ornek
Murat
Murat Ornek
Local specialist in Turkey | Reviewed on Oct 18, 2022

Thanks Itee, it was great meeting you!

We really had a great time in Istanbul and Ca...
Turkey | Aug 8 - Aug 13, 2022

N
naeem r.
East Orange, NJ | Reviewed on Aug 20, 2022

We really had a great time in Istanbul and Cappadocia. Overall the Kim Kim Did a good job in helping us capture the authenticity that we wanted in this trip. The people were amazing, the sites were wonderful, and the food was great.

There were some small glitches. Firstly, after a long flight from the US, we didn’t have anyone waiting for us at the airport. Only after several texts and calls did someone finally come, but it did delay us significantly.

The facility in Cappadoccia, although... read more

We really had a great time in Istanbul and Cappadocia. Overall the Kim Kim Did a good job in helping us capture the authenticity that we wanted in this trip. The people were amazing, the sites were wonderful, and the food was great.

There were some small glitches. Firstly, after a long flight from the US, we didn’t have anyone waiting for us at the airport. Only after several texts and calls did someone finally come, but it did delay us significantly.

The facility in Cappadoccia, although cute and charming, had no air conditioning. In the dead of August, this made our time in the hotel quite uncomfortable And nearly intolerable. It was brought to our attention that the organizer of our trip was a partial owner of this facility, Which raises some conflict of interest concerns and why we didn’t receive better accommodations.

Hotel Reviews
Sirkeci Mansion Hotel
Istanbul
Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Gül Konakları
Nevsehir
Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Air conditioning, sewer smell from some of the rooms.
Local specialist: Murat Ornek
Murat
Murat Ornek
Local specialist in Turkey | Reviewed on Aug 27, 2022

Hi Naeem,

I am happy to read that you liked the way the trip was organized and had great time in Turkey.
I am still very sorry that due to a miscommunication on our side you had to wait at the arrivals. However, as a compensation you had a luxury van with driver at your service for the entire day in Istanbul, I wish you had mentioned that.
Glitches may happen in any hotel, in your case the rooms were changed and upgraded to a deluxe and queen suite immediately and you had complementary... read more

Hi Naeem,

I am happy to read that you liked the way the trip was organized and had great time in Turkey.
I am still very sorry that due to a miscommunication on our side you had to wait at the arrivals. However, as a compensation you had a luxury van with driver at your service for the entire day in Istanbul, I wish you had mentioned that.
Glitches may happen in any hotel, in your case the rooms were changed and upgraded to a deluxe and queen suite immediately and you had complementary services such as laundry.
We offer accommodation to the travellers based on hotel style , budget and availability. Both hotels agreed by you are nice hotels with high scores in every platform. The conflict of interest is nonsense since we serve thousands of travellers and we have to work pretty much with every hotel meeting our standards.
Most of the historic/cave hotels don’t have A/C in Cappadocia, which is a problem in August especially with the heat waves that we have now. August is the low season of Cappadocia because of that.

Best regards,
Murat

A memorable trip to amazing Turkey! Thank you kimkim for making it so special.
Turkey | Apr 15 - Apr 25, 2022

M
Madhavi G.
Australia | Reviewed on May 06, 2022

A trip that was 2 year in the making due to Covid we had an absolutely amazing time in Turkey. Murat was very patient and considerate of all our questions and requests. The accomodation was special, namely Gil Konaklari in Cappadocia and Nisyanan house in Sirence. The Pan Thermal hotel in Pammakule was a bit disappointing.

Yunnus our guide in Cappadocia was excellent. He has so much knowledge to share and we enjoyed his stories of places and people. He is a good driver and made every effort... read more

A trip that was 2 year in the making due to Covid we had an absolutely amazing time in Turkey. Murat was very patient and considerate of all our questions and requests. The accomodation was special, namely Gil Konaklari in Cappadocia and Nisyanan house in Sirence. The Pan Thermal hotel in Pammakule was a bit disappointing.

Yunnus our guide in Cappadocia was excellent. He has so much knowledge to share and we enjoyed his stories of places and people. He is a good driver and made every effort to also take us to places that were not on the program. Thanks to him we were able to get a booking for the hot air balloon on our last morning after two cancellations on the first two days.

Our guide Ozan in Izmir was also great. He quickly understood what we were interested in and planned the day accordingly. He came across as a very genuine person. Both guides took us to some local places for meals and the food there was delicious.

Overall the trip was well organised and went without a hitch. We got to see everything we wanted. The only recommendation I would make of Kimkim is if they could also arrange car hire for tourists as we had a lot of trouble while picking up the car with Enterprise car hire.

Hotel Reviews
Gül Konakları
Nevsehir

It was like living in a time long ago. A beautifully restored mansion. Rooms were comfortable and the service was excellent. The meals were fine dining which we had not expected. Loved it. The town of Mustafa Pasha where it is situated is very charming. I had watched a Turkish serial and this hotel was chosen as a location in that show. When I arrived there it looked so familiar and the staff confirmed that it was the same place on the show.

Tips for future travelers

No tips - it’s great to be pleasantly surprised

Authenticity & Character
The decor and attention to detail
Location
It’s not close to commercial hotels
Staff
Murat was lovely and very attentive. We also got to meet Berat the owner.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Nisanyan Houses
Selçuk

One of the most beautiful and scenic hotels we stayed in. It did not feel like a hotel but a home

Tips for future travelers

Tip is to absolutely stay here.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Local specialist: Murat Ornek
Murat
Murat Ornek
Local specialist in Turkey | Reviewed on May 08, 2022

Hi Madhavi,

Thanks for the review. I am so happy that you finally made it!
Hope to meet you the next time you come.

Bests,
Murat

The Best of Turkey in 9 Days
Turkey | Dec 28 - Jan 3, 2022

A
Anna G.
Russia | Reviewed on Jan 10, 2022

The tour organized by Mr. Murat was enjoyable, interesting, and generally "smooth sailing". It was my first time in Turkey, but I now have good impressions of the country and its people. There are some other places I wanted to see and things that I wanted to do which did not fit my itinerary, but it will be a good reason for me to return.

The tour guides and drivers that were assigned to me - Mr. Aydin in Istanbul, Mr. Irfan in Cappadocia, and Mr. Onder in Izmir were very knowledgeable,... read more

The tour organized by Mr. Murat was enjoyable, interesting, and generally "smooth sailing". It was my first time in Turkey, but I now have good impressions of the country and its people. There are some other places I wanted to see and things that I wanted to do which did not fit my itinerary, but it will be a good reason for me to return.

The tour guides and drivers that were assigned to me - Mr. Aydin in Istanbul, Mr. Irfan in Cappadocia, and Mr. Onder in Izmir were very knowledgeable, patient, and kind. They introduced to me Turkey through its history, food, and people that we have met during the trip.

As regards the hotels, I especially liked the Nisanyan House in Izmir. It felt like "home" and was a serene and quiet place. The food that they served were also authentic and very good. The other hotels were also conveniently located and had good amenities.

Thank you, Trail Travel and Mr. Murat for the memorable and hassle-free vacation. I did not have much time planning it but it all went well, even better than what I expected.

I hope to be back soon.

Local specialist: Murat Ornek
Murat
Murat Ornek
Local specialist in Turkey | Reviewed on Jan 10, 2022

Thanks for this wonderful feedback, Anna.
Hope to see you here again very soon.

First post pandemic trip to Turkey
Turkey | Oct 12 - Oct 18, 2021

S
Sharmistha C.
| Reviewed on Oct 19, 2021

Though an avid travelled, this was my first trip post the pandemic and I was a little nervous at first. However Murat was so helpful and cooperative, I ended up having a wonderful trip. There were 1-2 glitches that could have been avoided but Murat did his best to remedy the situation. The 2 guides I had in Istanbul and Cappadocia were wonderful - Ibrahim and Ramazan - very flexible and cooperative. Murat’s property in Cappadocia is a piece of heaven I would highly recommend. The logistics... read more

Though an avid travelled, this was my first trip post the pandemic and I was a little nervous at first. However Murat was so helpful and cooperative, I ended up having a wonderful trip. There were 1-2 glitches that could have been avoided but Murat did his best to remedy the situation. The 2 guides I had in Istanbul and Cappadocia were wonderful - Ibrahim and Ramazan - very flexible and cooperative. Murat’s property in Cappadocia is a piece of heaven I would highly recommend. The logistics including PCR testing were very well taken care of. I always felt safe because Murat kept track personally.

I am glad I used him and Kimkim 👍🏽

I will probably use both again.

Hotel Review
Gül Konakları
Nevsehir

This is far from your regular hotel / B&B experience . You stay in either of 2 heritage properties that transport you to another world. The ambience is extremely well maintained by the owners and they spend a lot of time with you explaining the history of the location. Wonderful people! Cappadocia is a place from your dreams and it’s best experienced from a place like this, unless you want to experience staying at a rock / cave hotel.

Tips for future travelers

The rooms are very different from one another but all details are available online - so it’s best you look up and book a particular room before heading there.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Probably due to Covid, there were a bit understaffed at the time we went ….
Cleanliness & Comfort
Local specialist: Murat Ornek
Murat
Murat Ornek
Local specialist in Turkey | Reviewed on Oct 23, 2021

Thanks Sharmy, it was a pleasure to have you and Nivi here.

Highest recommendation for Murat and Team: Magical Whirlwind tour of Turkey
Turkey | Jun 29 - Jul 12, 2021

alai
alai a.
San Francisco, CA | Reviewed on Jul 13, 2021

I have only very high and excellent praises for Murat and KimKim.

Murat has organized a well-tailored trip with must-do highlights of Turkey. He even helped arrange scuba diving at a couple of our destinations. His attention to the details are impeccable, and his communication is always timely.

I can't rave enough about how much of a gift to travelers KimKim is, especially with Murat's role in our much-needed vacation. He has been easily accessible for last-minute changes, and would go... read more

I have only very high and excellent praises for Murat and KimKim.

Murat has organized a well-tailored trip with must-do highlights of Turkey. He even helped arrange scuba diving at a couple of our destinations. His attention to the details are impeccable, and his communication is always timely.

I can't rave enough about how much of a gift to travelers KimKim is, especially with Murat's role in our much-needed vacation. He has been easily accessible for last-minute changes, and would go above and beyond to check in with us throughout our trip.

Our local guide, Önder, is also highly recommended. He is passionate, informative, adaptive and an overall fun human being.

Argus hotel in Cappadocia is a must! The hot air balloon!

The staff at Alley Prime Hotel in Kas are amazing. This was one of our highlights for sure, thanks to Berg (hote manager) and Salman (maitre d). The masseuse, Pelin. The dive group, Dragoman.

All in all... The superb accommodations, the well-thought-out activities, the many white-glove service additions all speak highly to the priceless value of his KimKim and Murat's work. Thank you, Murat and KimKim!

Local specialist: Murat Ornek
Murat
Murat Ornek
Local specialist in Turkey | Reviewed on Sep 26, 2021

Thanks a lot for your words, Al'ai. I enjoyed designing and managing your trip. It was definitely unconventional and fun!
Hope to have you here again.

Turkey Road Trip
Turkey | Apr 20 - May 3, 2021

Richard
Richard P.
The Bronx, NY | Reviewed on Jun 04, 2021

Considering traveling during a pandemic, my trip organizer, Murat Ornek and guides Rdivan Uyanik and Alp Sancar were amazing. They knew how to deal with new covid restrictions while I was there to make the trip as seamless as possible. I highly recommend working with Murat in organizing your Turkish experience. Very accommodating person and I had the privilege in meeting his lovely, warm family. I have to as much as I loved Istanbul with its astounding mosques, beautiful landscape, and... read more

Considering traveling during a pandemic, my trip organizer, Murat Ornek and guides Rdivan Uyanik and Alp Sancar were amazing. They knew how to deal with new covid restrictions while I was there to make the trip as seamless as possible. I highly recommend working with Murat in organizing your Turkish experience. Very accommodating person and I had the privilege in meeting his lovely, warm family. I have to as much as I loved Istanbul with its astounding mosques, beautiful landscape, and wonderful food, I need to return to see the city in its full vibrancy after the pandemic is over. The highlights of the trip was being in Cappadocia. Seeing the incredible rock formations high above in a hot air balloon was wonderful. Additionally, I highly recommend visiting the Kaymakli Underground City near Cappadocia. Nearly a hundred tunnels built over a thousand years ago when it was used for protection from Muslim Arab raids. It literally is an underground cave city (something out of the 1960's Flintstones TV cartoon show). The most memorable moments was spending time with Murat and his family having wonderful conversation, being in their beautiful historic hotel and enjoying meals with them. Will revisit!

Local specialist: Murat Ornek
Murat
Murat Ornek
Local specialist in Turkey | Reviewed on Jun 18, 2021

Thank you, Richard. It was a pleasure spending time with you!