Grace's Guide to Turkey

I've enjoyed many holidays in Turkey and lately it has become one of my favorite places to stay. There's so much to do and see in Turkey that I keep going back. Its a beautiful country with a unique culture that could come as a bit of a surprise if you've never been before. I'm no expert but after a few holidays over the years I have a couple of tips that help me have the best possible time. I thought I would share them with you all as its a popular destination especially for us Brits.
I thought I would start with the boring stuff; safety. Turkey has a bit of a bad rep but luckily I've never had any problems. I feel perfectly safe walking around the more touristy towns on my own but I'm always careful and aware of my surroundings. I think it goes without saying you shouldn't go anywhere alone with strangers and if you feel unsafe at any point you should make your way back to your hotel. Another obvious tip is not to carry valuables unless you need to. Although its never happened to me pick pocketing and bag snatching does happen and I'd rather loose a little than all my holiday spends and my passport. Thinking along the same route, don't flash your cash, it can tempt thieves and no one likes a show off. 
If you are British and travelling to Turkey don't convert your money here. You get a much better rate if you change your pounds in Turkey and you can convert smaller amounts. If you don't want to change your money over, pounds are accepted too, in fact I don't think there's any currency they will turn down. Turkey is the only country I've carried, Pounds, Euros and Lira and have been able to spend any of them. 
Although you can spend whatever you like I always feel like I'm getting the best deal when I pay in Lira, just make sure you know exactly what its worth!
Don't be afraid to barter! Whether you're in the market or a regular shop, most places don't have set prices and are happy to haggle with you, I actually think some Turks enjoy it. Just have a price in your head that you are willing to pay and stick to it. Sean and I managed to get an amazing deal on two day trips for just £28, and they both included dinner! Bare in mind this doesn't apply to all shops and don't be afraid to walk away if its more then you want to pay.
When it comes to shopping in Turkey you will be hassled. Its just another part of Turkish culture and a bit of fun. If you genuinely aren't interested in what they have to offer, don't be scared to say no. No one will be offended if you are firm but polite. 
Try new things:
Going on holiday is all about trying new things and going places you've never been before, there's so much to do in Turkey you really are spoilt for choice! 
The first thing I'm going to start with is day trips. You can book excursions with your holiday rep or from a local tour company but they are usually cheaper from the locals and include dinner. Depending on where in Turkey you stay will depend on where you can go. As I've only stayed on the west and in the main tourist areas I can only suggest a couple of things. One of the best places I've ever been in Turkey is Dalyan. Its full of history, has mud baths and a world famous Turtle beach. Another must see if you are in the area is Bodrum Castle. If you don't mind a bit of walking its a great day out and only costs around £7 for a ticket. Make sure you research the area you are staying in before you go and I'm sure you'll find plenty to do!
While your in Turkey you have to try some traditional food. Its not to my taste and honestly I mostly stick to pizza but you have to try everything once. Try and find a Turkish kebab house, they are very different to ours in the UK.
The last thing you should try is Turkish wine. My favorite wine in the whole world is Rose from the Bodrum area. I've never found anything that compares to it.
Learn the language:
I'm not saying you have to be fluent, but learning a few basic words and phrases is always helpful. Most people who work in tourism will speak English but they appreciate the effort. I just think its nice when ordering drinks or buying something in a shop to say please or thank you in their language. The Turks are naturally quite cheeky and love to hear foreigners, especially girls, speaking their own language. There are loads of videos on Youtube which show you the basics.
Enjoy the culture:
I want to finish this post on a positive note. Don't forget you're on holiday in a country that may be very different to yours. Enjoy their culture and way of life. Don't get annoyed when the call to prayer wakes you up early, think of it as the most beautiful wake up call you've ever heard, you'll soon miss it when you're home. 
Don't be sad when you can't have a bacon sandwich in the morning, although I'm sure pork is available somewhere, most people don't eat it and its hard to come by. Look forward to a more healthy week as you will be eating less red meat. 
Talk to the locals, Turkish people are friendly and always want to talk. I met a man in Sarigerme who kept me and dad talking for hours as he just wanted to practice his English. 
Lastly don't forget to try Turkish Cay. Tea drinking in Turkey is just as important as in the UK, its just done slightly differently. A cup of Cay will cost you about a Lira (roughly 30p) and its delicious!

I hope this little guide will come in useful for anyone about to visit this beautiful country. Although it sometimes gets a bad name for itself, Turkey is an amazing country with so much history and some gorgeous beaches. I'm sure I will be back soon!

P.s. They keep their salt and pepper in the opposite pots to us!

Thanks for reading!


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