All agencies offer day tours into the area from Izmir, Kusadasi, Bodrum, Marmaris, and Antalya (to name just a few). It's an exhausting day, requiring, at minimum, a 4-hour drive each way, plus a quickie visit.
By Bus -- The only direct service into Pamukkale by bus is provided in summer by Pamukkale, the ubiquitous bus line that arrives from virtually everywhere in Turkey (tel. 444-3535). Count on about 3 1/2 to 4 hours from anywhere on the coast with fares under 30TL. The bus stops in Denizli first (tel. 0258/261-1088). Make sure when you buy your ticket that the final destination of Pamukkale is written on your ticket; otherwise, you may get stranded in Denizli. Once in Pamukkale, the bus arrives at the bottom of the travertines on the edge of the village of Pamukkale.
At all other times, all other bus companies have Denizli as the area destination. To complete the journey into Pamukkale, take a dolmus the additional 18km (11 miles) or so, a ride of about a half-hour. The general number at the bus station is tel. 0258/261-1088.
By Train -- The Pamukkale Ekspresi overnight train that runs from Istanbul's Haydarpasa Station to Denizli was suspended in 2008 as upgrades are made to the tracks. (The Istanbul-Eskishir portion now supports a high-speed train.) Check the Turkish State Railways (www.tcdd.gov.tr) site for resumption of this service, as the overnight train is a comfortable, fun experience. The number for Istanbul's Haydarpasa Station on the Asian side is tel. 0216/336-0475. In Denizli, the train station is at tel. 0258/268-2831.
By Plane -- The nearest airport is the isolated Denizli Çardak Airport (tel. 0258/851-2084), about 90 minutes by private car over a desert expanse from Pamukkale. Few people, if any, arrive via this route, simply because it's so far and because, other than a taxi, there are no ground transportation services out of the airport. If you insist, Turkish Airlines (tel. 444-0849 or 0258/264-8671) has daily evening flights from Istanbul in summer. In winter, there is one weekday early morning flight daily and one evening flight daily over the weekend. Arrange an airport transfer in advance with your hotel or a local travel agent. If you decide to rent a car, Avis has an office in Denizli (tel. 0258/262-2462).
The tourist information office is located at the top of the travertines (tel./fax 0258/272-2077).
The terraces lie along the base of the Çaldag Mountains some 200m (656 ft.) above the Curuksu Plain. The upper plateau includes the ancient ruins of Hierapolis, a prosperous city in its heyday owing to the natural healing water sources and the local textile industry (cotton grows like weeds in these parts), the same industries that propel the local economy today.
There are two entrances to the historic and natural site, one leading from the village of Pamukkale (the Southern Gate) and the other about 2.5km (1 1/2 miles) past the village up a windy road to the Northern Gate. You can also walk up to the Southern Gate from the edge of the village of Pamukkale, straight uphill alongside the terraces of travertines. Admission to the ancient ruins of Hierapolis (top of the travertines, where you'll find the Pamukkale Thermal) is 20TL; admission to the enclosed archaeological museum located in the old Roman Baths is 3TL.
Dolmuses ply the road from Denizli through Pamukkale up to Karahayit regularly.
You can hire a scooter or negotiate a driver in either the village of Pamukkale or Karahayit (good for looking into the roadside textile factories); buses and dolmuses serve the solitary road between the two villages and to Denizli.