Being a woman in Turkey...
Being a woman visiting Turkey can be really hard sometimes. This is not a danger tip, but I was anoyed by the fact that the Turks were always staring at me although I was never walking down the streets alone! Even if you're with your boyfriend, they still stare! At times I was really feeling uncomfortable, so girls be careful!
- Theme Park Trips
- Family Travel
Hassle from Turkish men or is it!
Some Turkish men do hassle the ladies (please do not be offended but this is the case)... the skill to avoid this is to watch your body language and treat Turkish men the same way Turkish Ladies do (you never see a local girl get bothered for very good reasons!)
1. It is unfortunate but true, western women do have a slight reputation in Turkey and there is little can be done to fix that in the short term. Some Turkish men can be very rude and far too touchy feely fo our comfort zones. This does not excuse rude or over familiar behaviour but you need to bear it in mind because...
2. Some Turkish men regard any familiarity from you as an "invitation" to get to know you better. This is not because you have done anything wrong but because Turkish women do not do this same sort of friendly banter. When Turkish girls do this it is traditionally a sign of flirting so when western tourists are their natural exuberant selves there can be cultural misunderstandings.
Best solution is to expect to be hassled (really it is charm not hassle but we react badly to it!)
Prepare by limiting your familiarity until you actually want to get familiar.
Be polite and most Turkish men will take the hint quickly enough. When Turks get to know you it is customary and expected to greet with a two cheek kiss. That is politeness not a come on!
The drinking water in Bodrum and Gumbet is OK, the locals drink it after all but it has a very high mineral content and is can give you an upset stomach if you are not used to it.
It is more sensible to drink the very cheap bottled water that is available everywhere in Turkey. Check the lid of the bottle to ensure that it is sealed (it is not unheard of for unscrupulous shop keepers to refill empty bottles direct from the tap!!).
In bars and restaurants it may be worthwhile to ask if the ice used in the drinks is made from tap or bottled water (generally the bars buy bags of ice and it is totally OK to have in your drinks).
Raki: Potent Drink!
One of the rites of passage when you visit Turkey is to drink Raki.
Ataturk said of Raki, "What a lovely drink this is, it makes one want to be a poet"...yeah right!
Raki is a potent alcoholic drink (just like Ouzo that you get in Greece) that tastes and smells like aniseed.
There is a certain way to drink Raki and for the sake of your head and your gross motor function you must drink it correctly.
DO NOT drink Raki neat - it is vicious!
DO dilute the Raki with bottled water.
DO drink an additional amount of water after each glass to dilute it even further.
DO NOT mix it with 7-Up or Sprite, it will taste nice but this isn't the traditional way and may fool you into drinking even more of it than you would.
It is said that drinking water in the morning can restart the raki!! Don't know if this is true but consider how much of it you drink :-)
P.S It is highly unlikely that you will actually create poetry after drinking Raki :-)
Hassle personified, women beware
It seemed like every tourist shop and every restaurant in Bodrum and Gumbet thought the best way to get business was to hassle passers by and browsers.
Don't know what I mean?
Imagine this - you're hungry so you want to walk down a street with ten restaurants, hoping to read the menus and pick one to eat in. Now imagine every single restaurant has someone standing outside who wants to know where you're from to draw you into conversation, who talks through the entire menu without being invited, who won't let you browse in peace, who tries to extract promises that you'll go into their restaurant, who tries to bribe you with free wine and sometimes even tries to lead you by the arm into the restaurant. Now imagine it's not just ten restaurants but practically every single one in the whole of Bodrum / Gumbet and that they serve nearly identical cheap tourist fare.
The same goes for shops. Forget casual browsing or window shopping. Walk into a shop and you will be pounced on and not given a moments peace.
And if you're a unaccompanied female, woe betide you. My girlfriend was literally groped and harangued by shop keepers trying to get a sale and possibly a date too when shopping on her own.
Frankly it's sickening and it ruined the whole holiday. Do not go to Bodrum or Gumbet if you want to have a relaxing time. By the end of it you will be crossing the street to avoid touts.
Driving in Turkey is manic and scary.
Being a passenger in Turkey is worse - you have no control of the situation.
* WEAR SEAT BELTS: The Turks drive fast and frantic. Lots of swerving, sudden lane changes, speeding and some interesting language!!
* Horns are a compulsory sound effect so try not to be too alarmed as they will be going off every where!
* Make sure taxi drivers know where you want to go before you set off. A few words of Turkish is useful (hello, please, thanks, stop etc) to ensure the driver understands your needs better.
* Be really careful crossing the roads. Crossings appear to be advisory rather than a public service! Drivers sometimes don't slow down!
* If you hire a car - BE CAREFUL!!! Drive defensively, watch your mirrors ALL the time and don't be intimidated.
We had the uncomfortable experience of our masseur being a bit too free with his hands and after doing some research have found this is a common problem when men are massaging women and even men to men. It was recommended that in future we use the turkish massage place near the bus station in Bodrum where it is same sex massage and loads of people about. I read a review on another site which suggested that these men are often encouraged by some women and assume that all European women are the same way. It has definitely put me off especially having been there on our honeymoon and have that happen.
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
- Spa and Resort
Windmills after 7pm
One of the best views of Bodrum and Gumbet can be found on the hill by the ruined windmills. Unfortunately, the area is occupied by a number of drunks after dark and our rep recommended we not go up there after dark. He did drive us up to see the view at night which was amazing. We walked up during the day and it was sad to see the graffiti on the windmills and the horriffic amount of broken glass and other unmentionable objects.
- Family Travel
Here are some small warnings:
1.Keep always some spare coins in your pocket. If you need to go to a public toilet you will need to pay for it. Usually it's 0,50 YTL
2.In the castle I saw this strange sign: "Don't jump down from the castle". Thanx for the information guys, is it really so dangerous? :)
3.Most of the shops, museums etc close between 12:00-13:00 for lunch
4.Internet access is cheap but watch out the keyboard because it's usually turned into turkish alfabet
if you are afraid of dogs then you should be aware that you can see a dog in every corner... they are not mostly dangerous though... if you are not on your motorbike... put on thick boots while driving on motorbike...
Warning: Tesla Travel / Turgutreis Tours
We must make EVERYONE aware of a scam involving tours to Ephesus and Pamukkale. We booked a two-day tour to the two destinations and were left shocked with the treatment we received by the tour agent, Tesla Travel, operating under the web address of bodrumbrochure.com - located at GÜMBET MAH., PLAJ SOKAK, NO: 14/C-2, and the tour operator Turgutreis Tours. Firstly, we were sold the overnight trip to Ephesus and Pamukkale by the agent called Jimmy at Tesla Travel. He first told us the tour departed on the Thursday-Friday so we packed our bags and organised other tours around this. We then had a call from Jimmy that he got the dates wrong and our tour was to be on saturday to sunday. This caused us a massive inconvenience as we had to go to various other operators to reorganise tours, this took a full day to sort out, a massive inconvenience. Jimmy said we would stay in a gorgeous 5* hotel in Pamukkale, this turned out to be a hotel classed as a 4* and just about. But what really frustrated us with the tour was the amount of stops we made to places we were not told about. Before Ephesus, we visited a massive gold shop. You had to take an exit route which took you upstairs and through more shops. This delay took us 45 minutes. We didn't mind this but we didn't know there was more to come. After Ephesus on the long drive to Pamukkale, we were herded into another shop, this time for leather jackets! There was even a fashion show to entice us to buy some more goods. This was another hour delay. Without these delays, we could have relaxed in the hotel in Pamukkale earlier than 730 at night after a 13hour day.
We told the tour guide with Turgutries Tours about our displeasure with the diversions to these shops, he agreed with us. After our time at Pamukkale, we had to leave at 12 for lunch. We were told it was a three and a half hour drive home yet we wouldn't get home until 8pm. The guide didn't elaborate further to what the extended delay was for. Straight after lunch, more shops, firstly a Onyx shop where we stayed an hour and then a carpet shop, where we stayed for an hour and a half. We stayed outside for this in a mini protest. The tour guide didn't even stop for us to get a drink of water when we passed at least 300 shops on the road to the carpet shop. We did arrive back at 8pm thanks to our unexpected delays which we were told NOTHING about until literally when we pulled up to the shops. We were fuming at this and we felt like we had been taken hostage by Turgutries Tours.
We were absolutely gutted about these delays which we simply were NOT told would happen. When we spent more time in the Tesla Travel office to complain about our treatment, their attitude was dismissive and 'we have your money so screw you' sort of attitude. They seemed to poke fun at us and not take our complaints seriously. Alas I think no agent will tell their customers about the impromptu stops and keep this to themselves, but it's a massive inconvenience to something I have never seen in visiting countries all over the world. Please be aware of this scam, the agent will get a cut from all items bought on these shopping trips, and you will not be told that a half day of your precious holiday time will be taken by visiting places where you simply don't want to go and aren't told about.
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
Men in Turkey
Yes, the touts can be a problem, but I've found if you are firm with them, and don't smile, they don't persist. And as far as "groping" is concerned, that has never happened to me in Turkey, though certainly men have tried to get acquainted with me. The first rule is to dress appropriately--forget the shorts and tight t-shirts. The second rule is not to act silly and flirty--you will get what you ask for. The third rule is to act like a lady--which is really another version of the second rule. And the last rule is that--if it is necessary--invent a Turkish boyfriend or husband. If a man comes up to me on the street in Turkey and is trying a bit to hard to get acquainted, I just say "My husband is Turkish, and if he sees you trying to talk to me, he will probably kill you." This works every time; the fellow vanishes quickly. Overall, though, I've found the Turks charming, helpful, and generally delightful. They've helped me when I've needed help, even unasked, and I've never bought anything I didn't want to buy. Just remember, you will get what you appear to be asking for--at least in their culture.
- Women's Travel
Restaurant selection is important.
Prefering the restaurants at your resort or hotel will be right way for a stomach friendly holiday. Cheaper restaurants (mostly fast food) along Gumbet and Bodrum main streets could not be healthy. In fact Aegean Region is famous because of its healthy diet mainly consist of wild and farm vegetables, herbs, fish and other seafood. Try to eat vegetable dishes served with olive oil-elixir of Gods. This will make your holiday relaxing and enjoyable.
- Budget Travel
- Spa and Resort
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Turkish Men - very agressive
We were two girls, 27, blonde, Canadian. We had men really agressively persuing us. EVERYONE wants to chat. They would ask to even walk with us down the stree. We had tons of free drinks, but all these "free" things come with a assumption that you "owe" them. The one tour guide we had was all over my friend the moment I left her for a trip to the lou and kissed her even. Totally inappropriate, but she didn't freak out because he was our ride home, had just bought us 3 drinks each and had taken us to a special place, outside of our tour. The one guy who was all over me was married. Just not good situations.
We found all the Turkish men we met were total braggers as well. They were probably all lying we figured since it was just obnoxious. One guy had a fortune of over $600,000, the other didn't work, just spent money and drove around Ferrari's, the other was a "doctor" in Belgium and his family had a huge fortune. Honestly, just take what you hear with a grain of salt (for non-english - be weary).
By the last day, we were so happy to go home just not to be bothered anymore.
At the end of your holiday, make sure you bring minerals, food and toilet paper to the airport with you. A can of coke is €5.00 and a packet of Maltesers €3.50, in the totally ridiculously priced shop there. The toilets were filthy and without paper. Also, if you intend purchasing cosmetics and alcohol, purchase them in your departure airport as the duty free in Bodrum airport is pretty small and basic and I could get nothing that I wanted in it, plus there isn’t room to swing a cat in it. Also beware that when you exit the bus that drops you to the airport, you have to queue to actually be searched before you enter the airport. Therefore you are waiting outside on the path in the baking sun while you queue with your bags. Nothing much you can do except be prepared for it.
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