Advantages Really stunning place, good nightlife, gorgeous beaches, lots to do.
Disadvantages Is rather expensive when you get there, and the hassling can get a bit too much.
|Value for Money|
|Ease of getting around|
I have just returned from a fantastic holiday in Turkey, staying in a place called Kusadasi and would like to give you my opinion on this amazing place.
On this wonderful holiday, I went with two of my friends who were also on a gap year with me, and due to the fact that we are pretty much students, our budget was very, very small and we let our wonderful Thomas Cook travel agent find us a place to stay. It was always going to be risky to go on a holiday somewhere like Turkey with three teenage girls, especially when we were warned, over and over again, about the Turkish men. My mother even told me to be careful as I’ll probably be followed home, we were warned that they have no boundaries when it comes to touching you, and we were warned without a doubt that in no terms, end up with a lad over there.Despite all of the warnings we ended up going, and were really excited about it. I’ll talk about the hotel in a minute, but we were surprised at how beautiful Kusadasi really was. The bus journey from Izmir airport to the Hotel Imbat was an experience, the roads in Kusadasi, and I’m sure in Turkey in general are painful and on the way to the airport, I actually was even sick from the motion of the bus. The holiday was brilliant; everywhere you looked you could find gorgeous photo opportunities’ and their always seemed to be stuff to do.
We stayed at a hotel called Hotel Imbat, which is about a 5 minute walk from the brilliant Ladies Beach. Imbat actually has its own private beach, but it’s very small and the sun beds are taken from 6am and there’s no chance of finding one again throughout the day. The hotel was a real surprise; we were really expecting a horrible and cheap hotel. The hotel from the outside was lovely, we dropped off a load of people before getting to our hotel and their hotels looked drab and rather cheap, so we were very impressed with our hotel. Our room was very spacious; we had 3 beds, a lovely little bathroom, lots of wardrobe and draw space, a television and even a fridge in the room. As well as that we had a gorgeous balcony, which had an amazing view of the pool area, and the sea.
Hassling is something that is a norm from what we could gather in Kusadasi. Walking just outside our hotel on the first day waiting for our bus to arrive to take us on the Bar Crawl we were hassled by a market vendor who was going to try and sell everything he could to us. Generally you have to be quite ‘rude’ to get through life in Kusadasi, we found keeping our head down and ignoring the vendors was the only thing that worked. Please don’t make the same mistake as we did, which was find some of the comments a bit too funny, or got bored and started talking with the vendors. Once you start talking, it’s almost impossible to get away. We found the bars or restaurants that didn’t hassle were the best, and ended up eating/drinking at one restaurant along Ladies Beach, because it did not hassle us once.
Along the top of the beach is a load of shops, market stalls and restaurants. Prepared to get very, very hassled by the people at the market stalls and restaurants. It was almost impossible to walk along that stretch without being hassled, and it’s sometimes very hard to control your temper when you have a young Turkish guy screaming ‘Ice Cream Girls, ICE CREAM’. I would really recommend a restaurant called Rosy along that stretch, it’s in the middle and you will find that you won’t get hassled by the waiters or anyone there. The food is great and is well priced and doesn’t go over our budget. Another place to go, is somewhere called Dream Boys Bar, which we went to one night. I wasn’t feeling too well after I believe a dodgy curry, but this bar was very nice, and the men that work there really can dance and will try and get you up dancing, including on their bar.
Our Thomas Cook reps for 12TL took us to 5 bars along Bar Street, and in each one we got free shots and with the drinking games, free wine etc. I am not a good drinker, I can’t handle my drink very well, so I limit how much I drink, despite my rep knowing that he picked me for the first drinking game, so by the end of the first bar, I was, and to copy a word from Michael McIntyre ‘utterly gazeboed’. Bar Street is a narrow alley which is full of and yes you’ve guessed it ‘bars’. Most of them seemed to be Irish bars, which play music from a few Turkish tracks, but mainly chart hits from back here in the UK.What I will say is be careful with drinking in Turkey. The alcohol generally is very expensive, which to begin with is quite annoying as it leaves a very big dent in your wallet. As well as that, we noticed that it takes quite a while to hit you. My friend who was on holiday with us, drank quite a bit on holiday, but at the end of the 4th bar she was completely and utterly sober. We started to notice something wrong in the 5th bar when she punched me in the face and didn’t care about it, and by the time we got her outside and into a seat she was gone. She was a stupid idiot for drinking that much to begin with, but as she was feeling sober she thought it must not be that powerful alcohol over there. Getting her to bed required the hotel manager to pick her up as well as one of the reps and her memory of that night is now very limited. The alcohol is very strong, but it takes a while to hit you, so please be very careful.
These are very popular all around Turkey, and on our first day we parted with 40TL to have one done. It was possibly the most embarrassing and hilarious moment of my life. I went in a swimming costume, and was lying on my back ready to have this Turkish bath when this bloke that worked there started untying my costume at the back. I was so close to punching him, my mates found it hilarious. It was a nice experience, but I think my ‘creaking bones’ freaked him out a little bit, all my toes started popping and he got kicked (accidentally) of course when he was massaging my sides. I will say however, if you ever get one, wash yourself vigorously first, otherwise they will make you feel very dirty as they show you all of the dead skin on your body. It is all supposed to help you bring out your tan, I can’t say I believe it worked but it was a nice experience.
If you want to get a nice tan, or even, a really nice burnt back then I really recommend the boat trip. If you fly with Thomas Cook or another company, I would recommend booking one through your rep as you know what to expect that way. You catch the boat trip at Pigeon Island which is gorgeous to visit as well. The boat trip we went on took us to three different islands and at these islands you got the chance to look around the beach, and for the brave amongst you, to jump of the boat, which for me was an amazing experience. My friends decided not to do it, but for me it was the best bit of the trip. The food on the boat is lovely as are the drinks. The sea got really choppy at one point and I felt really ill for the rest of the day which was a shame.
We went from the 7-15th July and the hottest day got up to 42 Degrees Celsius but most of the time it was 36. It was very hot though, but when it came to sunbathing it was rather night just to feel that you were actually in a place where you’re getting a nice sun tan. We were looking for a change in weather and it’s exactly what we got.The place is stunning, I recommend the Imbat Hotel as you get a view of the gorgeous pool and a fantastic sea view as well. The sea is so clear and there are so many different colours that it’s lovely. The sun set is about 8 so around when your having dinner which makes it even more gorgeous.
It’s a fantastic place with lots to do and the people generally are lovely, especially the ones that don’t hassle you to begin with.
The Hassling gets a bit much; you cannot walk down a street at any time of the day without being shouted at, with the vendors telling you to come into their shop. We could not comprehend why they ever think that shouting at you whilst you are sat on a wall eating ice cream is ever going to make you want to come into their shop. I don’t think we went into one place where we were hassled, just to prove a point.They are also very touchy feely in Turkey, I am used to having older gentlemen holding onto my arm from working in restaurants and shops for the last 5 years, however there were way too many hugs and kisses from random people for my liking throughout Turkey. People are very friendly and that is their way of life, but I just struggled with having a man wrap his arm around my shoulders whilst I was shopping for handbags.
The alcohol is expensive; I was very shocked when we were buying drinks to see so much money disappear quickly. It also takes a long time to hit you, with the amount of wine I drunk in the first bar, I would usually be ready for bed by that time, but it wasn’t until about the fourth bar, I really felt it. If you’re looking for a drinking holiday then it might not be the best place for you, but if you are like us, who don’t mind a few drinks every now and then, it does come across quite safe and a nice place.The driving in Turkey is to be desired, if you think about your worst experience with motorists here in the UK and times it by 100 then you can just imagine Turkey’s roads. I read somewhere when I got there they had the worst road traffic accident rate in the whole world and to be honest I can see why. The roundabouts are terrifying; from what we could gather you give way to people coming onto the roundabouts, and not like here in the UK when we give way to people already on the roundabouts. The roads are all big hills and their all pot holed and you generally are jolted up and down for the whole journey. It’s not a place to go if you get travel sick I’ll say that.
There are many other things to do from Kusadasi, and if you search on the net or talk to your travel advisor or rep then they will find you some lovely places to go. Ephesus is somewhere which really seems like a big place where people like to go, I would have loved it but I think the word ‘History’ turned my friends off big time and they would have rather have shopped rather than done it. Kusadasi is a really lovely place and really cheap to travel around in, you can catch a ‘Dolmus’ which is pretty much a mini bus which you pay 2TL to get on and dropped off any where you wanna go pretty much. There are no bus stops, you just flag them down and you hop on. I think the word Dolmus means something like ‘filled’, and it’s an accurate description. You do end up sitting on each other, and they do not stop their route until the bus is filled.There seemed to be a lot of families around and they really did seem to be having a good time, you might feel threatened at first with the hassling but if you tell them off, they will generally shut up. I would recommend it for teenagers as well, we had a fantastic time, and generally quite enjoyed the male attention.
All in all, Kusadasi is a place I’d recommend to everyone. It’s very nice, and despite a few problems we had an excellent time. I would recommend it for a girly holiday, and if you want a cheap place to stay then have a look at the Hotel Imbat, despite one or two problems it’s a fantastic hotel.Hope this helps.
(C) Kirsty 2010
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