Drive to Lake Bafa!
Lake Bafa is a massive lake and National Park approximately 1 hours drive from Bodrum along the main motorway towards the North (you take the same road to get to Ephesus and the airport). The Lake is unspoilt and a gorgeous place to drive around and sit at.
There is a wide range of activities to do at the lake including bird watching, fishing and camping (although there are some hotels along the route). There is evidence of the many civilisations that have lived near the lake in past times - seen in the ruins of monasteries (apparently there were hermits here) and the ancient city of Heracleia is also on the banks of the lake.
It was not always a lake but geological changes over many centuries closed up the Gulf and created a lake which is now roughly 15km by 10km. There is plenty to see and if you just wanted to go walking here you would get to see such beautiful wildlife.
There are some places to eat around the lake but the quality of food in these less well developed villages is variable - you may want to bring your own snacks or picnic instead! We had a rather startling experience at a lakeside cafe that served hard bread covered in flies and some very unusual fruit juice.
Gümüskesen Tomb, Milas
Gümüskesen Tomb is well signed in Milas and is a lovely sight. It is a monumental chambered tomb (Turkey has many burial archaeological sites from before the 1st Century). This tomb is believed to be a smaller replica of the long since disappeared Mausoleum in Bodrum. It is useful for archaeologists who have been wondering for a long time about the possible appearance of the Mausoleum.
This is a first century Roman chambered tomb. It is in an excellent state of repair and is accessible. You can still see the place where the mourners would come to make offerings. If you are in Milas for a day of shopping you should definately visit this monument.
Milas: A day out from Bodrum
The ancient and very historical city of Milas was once the capital city of Caria and it has a great deal of archaeology for those with a car or willing to do the bus journey. Milas is about 45km from Bodrum. It is worth the trek to see some well preserved Roman artefacts. It is handily placed near the airport so is an ideal stop off on the way to/from Bodrum for some shopping and food.
In days gone by this city was called Mylasa and its claim to fame now is that it has been and is one of the centres for traditional Turkish carpet making. Each carpet designing and making region in Turkey has its own style - Milas carpets are plainer and more geometric than those from other regions. Just remember to be careful when buying carpets - Turkish carpets are really works of art and some are certainly expensive enough to be framed. Genuine carpet dealers will take you to see where the handmade carpets are produced and allow you to watch the process. It is quite amazing to watch the ladies weaving and knotting and it is as you watch this that you understand how the carpets are so expensive - the hours taken can be phenomenal. Check the carpets and be happy before you part with money.
Ottoman Shipyard and Cemetery
There is a hidden gem in Bodrum, that boat lovers and historians might enjoy - the Ottoman Shipyard. It was discovered when Turkcell were doing their city wall excavations. This area has been recently restored and its best feature is the Ottoman tower that would have been used by Ottoman ship builders to keep an eye on the harbour and watch for enemies and pirates (apparently). Ships have been built here and in other parts of Bodrum for thousands of years (and still continues today with the modern gulet building), it is said that the Carian ship builders actually made ships for the ancient Egyptian pharoahs. Bodrum has a naval tradition whereby its various warrior leaders fought at sea and Bodrum has had to repel many sea based invaders. This Ottoman shipyard was built around 1800 (a date of 1784 has been suggested for the tower).
Taxi's will be able too take you to the site which is quite near to the harbour, heading North. The restored tower is used for exhibitions. Also behind the site is an Ottoman Cemetery with its very distinctive Islamic funeral monuments. It is no longer in use as a burial site. The famous Cafer Pahsa is buried here (mosque in town is named after him).
Open daily from 9am - 6pm (free)
Photos to come soon
Water Cisterns: Eco friendly water saving!
Spotted around the peninsula are white domes of varying sizes with small square holes in the sides - I wondered for ages what they were, and many are in the most unusual places (sides of houses, fields, there is even a huge one on the main road between Bodrum and Gumbet). A taxi driver explained their purpose to me a long time ago.
These are water collection cisterns. Their name in Turkish is Kumbet and this is how the next door town of Gumbet got its name - named after the cisterns. They were used (and some still are) to collect the rare rain water which would then be used to water fields and feed animals (to save precious drinking water supplies).
These cisterns are often crumbling and care should be taken if you intend to explore them closely. The cisterns in this style can actually be found further afield than Mugla - I saw an ancient set of them near Selcuk last summer!
Visit the ancient site of Iassos
Iassos is a short drive North from Bodrum, following part of the route as if you were going to Ephesus. It is a lesser known but equally impressive site that you may have to arrange to visit independently or ask specialist agents in the town for a tour.
This city showed evidence of Minoan and Mycenean habitation and is fairly Greek inspired. Remains of a later Roman Agora, mosaics and the vilage have been excavated as has the city walls further back from the main site.
Astulik Travel Agency: Great Excursions
Astulik is a travel agency on the marina that specialise in group and private bookings for excursions. I am recommending them because of their good service when I booked a private trip this summer. While they are more expensive than some of their competitors - their service and flexibility when designing the perfect excursion is invaluable. The driver we had for the day was accomodating and very humorous.
Our tour guide was not as learned as we would have liked but he was a nice man who took us to all of the places on our wish list for the day, even suggesting other places of interest to an archaeology mind. THis meant I saw more than planned. I thought the expense was well worth it!Related to:
- Arts and Culture
Surf...the web not the water!
Bodrum has a number of excellent Internet cafes (so that you never have to go without VT for too long!!) and the cost is minimal.
The one I used was on the main road beside Bar Street (not the pedestrianised road but the adjacent street where the taxi's are parked at the bottom). There are actually two internet cafes opposite each other here. Both are competing for the same trade so the prices are very reasonable. I paid a couple of YTL for half an hour. The machines had good connectivity and the cafe was air conditioned and the girl who ran the place was very helpful.
small streets full of shops
Around the castle there are some narrow tiny streets (sokak in turkish) full of souvenir shops, small cafes, pubs etc.. Of course during the night it’s get overcrowded. Not my kind of nightlife but if you are there for the fun you will enjoy it. Of course there is a McDonalds like everywhere, where you can eat a McTurco!(pic 2) But you are in Turkey folks, a country with great local cousine, taste some real tasty local foods, don’t choose the easy way.
Trip to Kos (Greece)
You can go to Kos for a whole day for 12 euros from Bodrum with Bodrum Express Ferry.
It takes about 1 hour from Bodrum to Kos, the only thing you don't have to forget is your turkish visum and/or your passport.
On tuesday's there is a market in Bodrum, but also a market in Milas. This is the biggest market in the region of Bodrum. Ok, it will take you about 45 mins to drive over there in a bus, but prices over there are unbeatable. You'll have to check a local tourist company to get you there.
We booked all of our with Director Tours near the bus station and received outstanding service.
1.Ephesus ruins are a most see £20pp incl lunch - picked up early at 6:30am and did not return back to the hotel until approx 7pm
2.Boat trip was a really relaxing full day in the sun visiting smaller islands £7pp incl lunch
3.Turgutreis saturday market - again another must. Most companies offer this free
4.Ferry to Kos £17 although we were lucky to go via hydrofoil as they had overbooked the ferry!
In addition you can get the dolmus (bus) from the station to Gumbet and Bitez for approx £1.50. Gumbet is quite lively and Bitez is tiny with a wonderful beach.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Historical Travel
Aquapark Dedeman: Bodrum Waterpark
The waterpark is about 3 miles outside Bodrum (north along the peninsula) near a town calles Ortakent. You can get to the waterpark by dolmus, taxi or go on an arranged vist from the tour operator - however the park costs about 20YTL and is much more expensive if you go as part of an organisd trip.
The park has loads of slides and watery rides in a range of terrifying types. The large slides (You can't miss them!) are scary enough - some are open to the air and others are covered, like tubes and these are quite claustrophobic. The black hole slide is just that. There are pools with wave machines.
Food is no problem as the park is full of snack bars and fast food restaurants - no quality but cheap and quick.
The parks website is in turkish but it's not s problem as the park is advertised all over bodrum in English.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Theme Park Trips
Go on a day trip to Rhodes
Rhodes is much further away from Bodrum than the local Greek island of Kos (about 200km) but Rhodes is a fantastic island, and the old town has plenty to see and do for a day if you can cope with the long hydrofoil journey, that lasts for approx 2 hours. This trip only runs in the summer, only runs once a week and is very determined by the weather.
Rhodes town has a strong connection with Bodrum since it to owes much of it's construction and a large chunk of its history to the Knights of St John (who built Bodrum Castle). Waking around the walls and inside the town reveals shops and nice places to eat as well as an opportunity to stand where the colossus of Rhodes once stood (that will be your second ancient wonder of the world after the mausoleum of Halikarnassus).
You will not have enough time in Rhodes to stray much further than the old town and this is likely to be a tiring day due to the amount of travel but it may give you enough of a taste of Rhodes to entice you back for a longer holiday there.
Go on a day trip to Kos!
There are quite a few Greek islands in very close proximity to Bodrum, and should Bodrum be proving to exciting (or not exciting enough!) you could consider a visit to Kos.
A day trip to the place where Hippocrates was born (the man who was responsible for the Hippocratic oath that doctors used to take) takes about 1 hour by ferry from Bodrum harbour, it's only 15km away. There is lots of archaeology to see on the island and it's quite a small place so you can see a lot during the few hours you are there. Try to do any souvinier shopping before the Greek people have their lunchtime Siesta as most of the shops and businesses will take a short break in the middle of the day. The downside to any visit to Greece from Turkey is the customs before you go...it's a long and boring task (DON'T FORGET YOUR PASSPORT!!).
The ferries leave at about 9am and return to Bodrum in the late afternoon. If you book in advance the ferry company will collect you from your hotel and bring you to the harbour. There is a faster hydrofoil but I'm unsure how long this takes or cost.
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