Turkey

MY 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. It's 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.

Looking out my airplane window at the clouds below on my way to turkey

Safety:

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 it's never happened to me pick pocketing and bag snatching does happen and I'd rather lose 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. 

looking out across the ocean from the top of Bodrum castle in Turkey. The castle walls can be seen in the foreground and boats can be seen behind that on the sea.

Money: 

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 too. 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 it's 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 Turkish business owners 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! Bear in mind this doesn't apply to all shops and don't be afraid to walk away if it's more than you want to pay.

When it comes to shopping in Turkey you will be hassled. It's 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. 

Myself and my sister riding Camels in Turkey.
*** Update *** Since writing this post in 2015 I do not recommend riding animals abroad as they are often mistreated.

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 can 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. It's 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 it's 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 you're in Turkey you have to try some traditional food. It's not always 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.

Another 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.

looking across the bay in Bodrum, Turkey. The Turkish flag can be seen in the foreground and behind that the bay filled with boats and the hillside covered in whitewashed houses.

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, speaking their own language. There are loads of videos on Youtube which show you the basics.

two ice cream cones each stacked high with scoops of various ice creams

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 here and it's 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, it's just done slightly differently. A cup of Cay will cost you about a Lira (roughly 30p) and it's 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! I found this out the hard way!



Thanks for reading!


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