While in Istanbul, we had a choice of going to Pamukkale or somewhere else. Based on all the negative feedback we received about the condition of Pamukkale, we decided to do an impromptu trip from Istanbul to Marmaris (specifically to the beaches and islands off Marmaris) before going on to Cappadocia and the fairy chimneys.
Our side trip from Istanbul consisted of the following three stops
- Istanbul to Dalaman Airport
- Driving 90 mins from Dalaman at 1:30am to Marmaris, then checking in at 3am
- Finishing a full day trip with boat ride and crazy hammam, then driving back at 2am to catch a 5am flight to Cappadocia
- Finally flying back to Istanbul two days and one night later
A couple quick thoughts about attempting an side trip in Turkey like this
- Ensure that you and whoever you’re with are very comfortable with each other
- Be prepared for delays or problems, and ensure that you don’t want to kill each other before you make a decision like this
- Someone should be able to drive “standard”
Marmaris is referred to as the “Turkish Riviera”, which we should have found out prior to going down there. The best way to describe this to North Americans … It’s a Turkish Cancun … except that instead of Americans and Canadians, you have tons of “Eurotrash”, and I mean a lot of Eurotrash. Thankfully, the people down here aren’t as aggressive as the Turks in Istanbul, but I definitely saw a lot of Europeans being swarmed by sales pitches from the boat salesmen. I can only imagine how those really “soft” Europeans make out in this environment. People from Scandinavia must end up buying any and everything in this environment.
After many years of seeing tourists being subjected to nonsense in the Caribbean, you get a very good sense of what to look for and what to avoid on any type of “all inclusive” boat ride.
We ended up on an older boat called “Mermaid”, it was fine and we staked out our corner seat downstairs away from all the direct sunlight
Here’s what to avoid
- Any boat that is really large. More people mean more late stops and more risk for someone getting sick
- Any boat with tons of teenagers … there will be a drunken set of shenanigans for sure and definitely a fight
- Buying your ticket prior to seeing the boat or the type of people on the boat
- Ask if kids are free on the boat : If they are, then AVOID at all costs.
- Avoid “all inclusive” packages … buy your drinks on board. Turkey is a Muslim country … these people aren’t accustomed to seeing drunken shenanigans and are definitely not accustomed to serving alcohol.
What you should do:
- Wait until the morning to buy your ticket. Go to the harbor early and watch the people boarding boats and find the one that looks most “fun.”
- Find a tour operator or boat captain and then haggle the price down. They want to fill their boats for the day, so be strong. Remember though, all boats leave at 10:00 so don’t get left behind.
- Price : Pay nothing above 25 Lira for the entire cruise
As for the boat ride itself … they all have the same itinerary to the same beaches, leaving the marina from 10am then getting back at 5pm
- The trip starts at 10.30 and stopping at Paradise Island
- Photo break in the colour Caves,
- Swimming in Aquarium and Green sea bays
- Shopping and beach break at the Turunç Village where you can also visit the Bazaar and the Market.
It’s a good, lazy day out and the overall beaches, water and swimming are very nice.
Once you get over to Turunç Village, you can basically walk over to the beach chairs and plop down for a bit …
The beach front over there will be packed with boats though, but overall it’s a pretty nice time – definitely isn’t worth an entire flight and day trip from Istanbul.
After the boat trip, we then headed for a local Hammam and dinner. Overall, the side trip was memorable for the three female fights that we witnessed during the day.
- Fight 1 : Occurred between two Turkish women, it was a throw down shoes and earrings fight
- Fight 2 : Between an older British woman and a British 20 yr old … repeat scenario #1
- Fight 3 : Finally between a British woman and a Turkish girl …
It was definitely a stunning development during the day … we couldn’t really figure out why there was so much chick on chick fighting … maybe Marmaris makes them all PMS at the same time! 😛