If you are heading to Bodrum, Turkey, here are some smart tips to make your stay a lot more enjoyable.
Knowing a Little Turkish will Go a Very , Very Long Way
Not many people speak English in Turkey. But the good news is, Turkish isn’t hard to learn—the letters are similar to the Roman alphabet and words are said as they are spelled. And, a little Turkish will get you far. Some kind of exchange of Turkish words can go a long way, and make travel a bit easier—not to mention much more rewarding.
Eat Everything, in Moderation
There is a huge variety of dishes in Turkey for all appetite. In Turkey, the key to staying on the light side while satisfying the greedy eater in you is to take just a spoonful off each dish (especially when you’re eating mazes). Turkish meals vary by region, but remember to gauge your appetite and plan ahead so that you can enjoy the culinary adventure. Street food is also great in Turkey for hungry explorers on the go.
Dress Stylishly and Respectfully
Especially women in Turkey dress extremely fashionably. There is also a wide range of dress: While some women wear headscarves and cover their bodies, others wear short skirts and high heels. So if you want to blend in, you should create your own style, too. Be sure to purchase a scarf or shawl in case you find yourself in a conservative area, such as the countryside, or if you get invited into a mosque, where you’ll need to cover your hair.
Understand the Culture
Turkey is often misunderstood by the West as a moderate Muslim state—but in fact, it has always been a secular state with a Muslim population. That means religion and state are separate, and that most cities in Turkey are very liberal and give people a choice on how they decide to practice their beliefs. Turkish culture keeps a strong focus on pride and honor, so it is important to make sure you know how to conduct yourself in certain situations. These are little things, like dealing with direct comments, accepting a six-course meal from your hosts, and getting used to the fusion of European and Asian influences. Also, be careful when you’re talking politics: You should know which issues are sensitive and understand that every person will have a completely different perspective on culture, life, and government.
One of the oldest regions in the world, Turkey has a rich historical story, and you must understand a few chapters in order to truly appreciate it. A quick primer to get you started: The Seljuks, the Mongols, and the Ottomans played a huge role in shaping the nation’s history. After the Ottoman empire fell into decline in the 1800s, Turkey fought for independence and sovereignty. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk became the founder and first President of Turkey in 1923, a key historical moment in Turkey’s identity. Ataturk is the reason for many of Turkey’s modern facets today, including education, political structure, art, and culture. Also, a total of eight countries border Turkey, and there is a fascinating history of Kurdish, Syrian, and Jewish communities and their unique experiences in Turkey. Today, from a foreign policy perspective, Turkey is one of the most strategically important countries in the world and a gateway to the Middle East. At the same time, it cannot be conflated with the challenges of the Middle East and must be looked at within its own unique context. Turkey is at a constant crossroads, and has a dual identity as a historic empire and the 15th largest economy in the world. It’s an utterly fascinating places, and whether you go for the food, the history, the culture, or the style, make a point to travel to Turkey at least once in your life. It will undoubtedly be worth the wisdom and learning you gain on your journey.
Get Out of the Cities
Bodrum is famous for its old world, entertainment, and wide variety of culinary experiences. But, there are so many other regions to take a look at around Bodrum, too. Just as you would make it a point to go out every night in the city, make it a point to get out to the countryside, just to understand a different and simpler way of life. In Turkey, there is no one place that’s more authentic than the other. Contact us for insider tips to explore beyond Yalikavak and Bodrum.