Explore Lake Van and the southeast
A daily dolmuş (18TL) from Van leaves any time after 9am from the Bahçesaray Çay Evi, a small teahouse off Zübeyde Hanım Caddesi. There’s a local council visitors’ house (misafir evi), which contains a couple of rooms with beds and blankets, and a small washroom; enquire at the restaurant by the stream.
The drive to Bahçesaray is superb (and considerably quicker than taking a dolmuş), but make sure you fill up with fuel, and be prepared to show your papers at the major checkpoint and barracks at Yukarı Narlıça – there is a small chance you’ll be turned back.
The large mountain village of ÇATAK, 40km south of Van, makes a an alternative, one-day outing. Dolmuşes (5TL) depart from a garage just below the Bahçesaray teahouse, hourly from 8am, taking one and a half hours; last return to Van at 5pm. The road from Van heads south into the mountains, passing the village of Emlacı with the remains of the Armenian church of Surb Tikin, and (5km short of Çatak), the popular picnic spot of Kanispi, where a cascade of white water spurts out of the mountainside. The village has the remnants of the once sizable Armenian church of St John the Baptist (the roofless interior now serves as a “walled” garden for local villagers) and the gushing headwaters of the Botan Çayı.Read More