Turkey is a beautiful place with great beach resorts and some intriguing ruins. It is popular with British and German holidaymakers around the beach resorts, but it is possible to get away from this. Turkey is a Muslim country and so they have some strict rules in some areas, although it seems a lot more relaxed in the south.
The weather is pretty warm all year around except in December and January when it cools down a bit. It can get very hot in the summer months and often exceeds 100°F, so bring your suntan lotion and remember to drink loads of bottled water. The food can be quite rich so don't overdo it on the first few days or you may end up with an upset stomach. As long as you eat and drink sensibly you should be fine. If you are a women travelling alone, be aware that Turkish men will pay you a lot of attention, so if this makes you uncomfortable arrange to go out with fellow travellers.
The money in Turkey is the Turkish Lira which is approximately 1 million to about 45p or just under a dollar. Travellers cheques are easily changed in exchange bureaus, but avoid anyone touting their services. ATMs are widely available in most places, and you can get out up to 500 million a day. Two tips: if anyone offers to help you with the ATM, decline and retrieve your card, they will try and read your pin and steal your money later. Another thing is that on some machines the card comes out after the money so be sure to hang around for your card!
Travel in Turkey is done mainly by Dolmash, small mini buses that hold about 14 people seated and try and squeeze in another 14 standing! They are a cheap way to get around and generally speaking fares are 500,000 for short trips and 1-2 million for longer trips. In Fethiye, most Dolmashes go from the bus station by the mosque. There are also numerous car/jeep/scooter hire places around, that offer reasonable rates, and is often a good idea if you want to arrange your own day trips. Taxis are also reasonable and as long as you determine a price in advance you shouldn't be ripped off. Internal flights are extremely expensive so bus is usually the preferred method of transport
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If you are going to Fethiye and the surrounding area, you will fly into Dalaman airport which is about 55 minutes taxi ride to Fethiye (this costs approximately £27 from the airport for two cars). Upon arrival you will be required to pay a £10 Visa in English Sterling, so make sure you the correct English money, as they refuse to give change.
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Things to do
Bars & Clubs
Ferah Pension (2 Karagozler Mahallesi, Ordu Cadesi 2) - Beautiful homely hostel run by Monica and Tuna to the west of the harbour. Rooms range from dormitories, shared rooms and single rooms (some ensuite), the prices are about £4.50 per night for a shared room with dormitories being cheaper, but open. The hostel has a very chilled bar/dining area with sofas, hammocks and 17 cats! Monica's home cooking is well worth trying out and is very cheap, they can also book taxis, day trips and arrange cheap rates at the Turkish baths. All in all this is possibly the best place to stay if your on a budget, its a great opportunity to meet lots of new people and experience Turkish home cooking.
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Things to do
Old Turkish Baths - Situated in the heart of the town, this is a traditional Turkish baths dating back centuries. If you stay at Ferah Pension they will write you a ticket that will enable you to get a full massage and bath for 10 million (approx. £4.75). The whole experience takes about 1 hour and you come out feeling years younger!
The Bazaar - In the centre of the town, explore the many winding streets of the bazaar, littered with shops selling souvenirs, rugs, spices, tea aswell as a large assortment of bars and restaurants. If you're buying don't forget to barter, starting at least half price.
Roman Amphitheatre (Liman Caddesi) - Excavated remains of a roman amphitheatre, you'll see more impressive ruins elsewhere, though
The Ruins - There are numerous Lycian stone sarcophagi throughout the town, a word of warning though, some go through private gardens, and you may be trapped into paying a guide or being invited into their house for coffee and massage. We ended up being asked to pay £6 a head for coffee and a massage by an middle aged Turkish guy who conveniently spoke very little English. It's best to decline any hospitality but maybe offer 1-2 million for walking through their property. The Tomb of Amyntas is a Doric temple facade cut into the rock face, its open from 8am-7pm and costs about 90p ($1.30). Guidebooks advise not to climb up to this in the sweltering heat of the day, but unless you have a disability you shouldn't find it too taxing.
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Samdam (Sukor) - Traditional Turkish restaurant with cheap food
Cafe Oley (Bazaar) - Great place to start the day with superb salads and refreshing smoothys
The Duck Pond (Bazaar) - Beautiful restaurant situated next to, yes, you've guessed it, a duck pond! The food is very tasty and the service extremely attentive. If you can't manage to eat all on your plate, the ducks seem only happy to oblige!
Cuisine (Bazaar) - Two tier restaurant with running water and a mini Tomb of Amyntas carved in the wall! Try the Lavash, which is traditional Turkish bread (like a colossal naan bread) served with garlic butter.
Smoothys - A rooftop cafe run by an English lady called Carol who is extremely welcoming. They have over 50 fresh fruit Smoothys to choose from (depending on ingredient availability) and also serve a good English Breakfast if you need a break from the rich Turkish food. In the afternoon, she sells gorgeous handmade cakes.
Megri - Restaurant in the centre of the bazaar with loads of seats, if you want to sit in the centre by the trees its advisable to make a reservation. The food is a bit more pricey than some of the other places but is well worth it.
La Rose (Çalis Beach) - Beach side restaurant with great views, serves a large selection of pizzas, beef kebabs and salad.
Restaurant Pension (Yaka Park, Tlos) - Beautiful restaurant worth visiting if you're in the area. This is normally visited as part of a tour to Tlos and Saklikent, where you get a buffet. Seating is on mats around mini waterfalls, the bar is especially impressive as it has a channel built into the bar with trout swimming about!
La Mediteranee (Hisaranu) - Situated in the English 'Tourist Hell' of Hisaranu, this is probably the best food we ate in Turkey, so is well worth a trip out to from Fethiye. It overlooks the main street and has excellent service. We recommend the Falafel starters and the Fish Kebabs with potato, onion and aubergine, mmmmmmmmm! Afterwards you can unwind with a Turkish bath downstairs.
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Bars & Clubs
Ottoman Bar - Easily the best bar in Fethiye, this traditional Turkish Bar on two levels plays a fusion of traditional Turkish music and the modern dance floor hits. Its very popular with Turkish locals in the evening so get there early if you want a seat. You can hire Turkish Water Pipes to smoke in a variety of flavours (apple, cappuccino, strawberry), so you can sit and chill out after a meal and watch the passers by. The staff are extremely friendly and helpful, and I also recommend buying the Ottoman CD which is a compilation of all the music they play there.
Car Cemetary - Cool bar playing a mixture of Turkish Music, Rock and dance. The seats outside are very comfortable and the bar staff are very friendly. As the name suggests the outside of the bar has two cars coming out of the wall.
Club Bananas - The local popular nightclub playing pop tunes which are made slightly more tolerable by some inventive mixing. My advice is to get quite drunk before you go here, if the music doesn't appeal. Nethertheless its very popular with locals and expats, so if you were supposed to meet someone they'll probably end up here as its open till 5am. The bar staff also set light to the bar with drinks and end up dancing on the bar at the same time!
Music Factory - Supposedly more trendier than Bananas playing more of the same, its a box sized club on two levels with a large video screen.
M & M Bar - Next to Car Cemetary, this trendy euro bar plays some good techno if your fed up with Turkish music and also has some interesting graffiti on the walls.
La Pilat - Pool bar next to Samdam, with large American Pool style tables at very cheap prices.
River Bar Centre (Saklikent Gorge) - There are two bars here where you can laze on rafts,dangle your feet in the river and enjoy an ice cold beer after your hike in the gorge. It is also possible to sleep overnight here for free on the rafts or for a few dollars in the treehouses, a good idea if your planning to do a lot of the gorge.
Eski Bar (Hisaranü) - Next to La Mediteranee, this bar is a good place to have a few beers or cocktails while the women go and shop!
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Çalis Beach - A 5km bus journey will take you to this mainly German resort which has good swimming and sunbathing opportunities on a black beach, there are numerous bars and restaurants along the seafront to wet your appetite. You can also get a boat to and from Çalis for just twice the cost of a bus. Watch out for sharp rocks as you go into the sea, it may be advisable to wear sandals when going into the sea here as two of our party got nasty gashes on their feet.
Tlos/Saklikent - You can book this trip either through one of the many travel places in town or just turn up at the bus station. The one we got cost 15 million (approx. £7) and included Iskender Cavern, Tlos, dinner at Yaka Park and then Saklikent Gorge. Iskender Cavern are fairly impressive caves that may as well have been left out for more time at the gorge; Tlos are excellent Lycium ruins with a very impressive view of the surrounding area from the Acropolis, it costs 3 million extra (as the ruins/gorge are not included in the price). This may be quite tiring for some in extreme temperatures. Saklikent Gorge is a spectacular gorge cut into the Akdaglar Mountains, its 18km long, so you won't be able to do much if your on a day trip. Make sure you bring some waterproof sandals with good grip with you, as the gorge involves wading through water and clambering over slippery rocks. Some of the later stages of the first few km may be too much for some of the more elderly visitors. Another thing to bear in mind is that the gorge is open until 5pm so if you plan to do a lot you may wish to just go to Saklikent on its own as early as possible. The later stages of Saklikent are normally reserved for professional divers and climbers. Make sure you judge your time wisely so you leave enough time to get back to your bus! The gorge costs approximately £1 per person.
12 Island Boat Trip - This is a must if your in Fethiye, you can book your boat a day or two before at the harbour and costs approximately £9 per person and normally includes lunch. We travelled on the Popeye run by Byram (meaning festival) and Desire, it was a very chilled experience with relaxing music and a great buffet of fresh fish, chicken, pasta and salad. Be sure to try some snorkelling as you get spectacular fish sightings, don't swallow the water though, its extremely salty!
Hisaranü - This is an English Resort than can be pretty much avoided if you dislike Tourism, however, there are a few good bars and restaurants, and the shopping is cheaper than Fethiye, but more commercial. It takes about 20 minutes on a Dolmash from Fethiye and costs about 70p.
Öudeniz - This beautiful beach resort has a wonderful lagoon with beautifully clear water, which is ideal for swimming if you find the sea too salty. It fills up quite quickly with holidaymakers so get there early if you want a recliner. You can also hire pedalos which will allow you to explore the lagoon even further. For the richer among you, you can try Paragliding with Oudenisz paragliding from around £40. It takes about 35 minutes by Dolmash to Oudeniz.
VIEW IMAGES FROM SOUTH TURKEY
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