This post is intended to be a humours yet factual view on my recent vacation to Turkey, If like me you have (or had) never been to Turkey this is a MUST READ, every detail is laid bare.
Its been a couple of weeks since I have been back in the UK and wanted to let you know what I thought of my first ever trip to Turkey.
We checked in at 5am and Manchester Airport was already very busy. Were given 3 window seats by those nice people at swissport and checked in for our Monarch Flight to Dalaman.
The Flight was onboard a pretty old Airbus A300 but its one of the best at what it does.
Here are a couple of pictures from the flight.
After a 4 hour flight we landed in Dalaman airport, The Monarch flight crew had been great and the flight was by far and away the smoothest I had ever been on, we were off the plan quickly and into immigration, there were 2 long queue ’s for passport control and we join in at the back, once at the front we were told to leave and go to the visa desks around the corner, we knew we needed a visa but there was nothing obvious that we couldn’t get them where we were . Once “round the corner” there was another large queue. We join it, got our £10 visa’s and then went back to the large passport queue.
Finally that was over, and we were in the country and could go and get our bags, down the escalators we went and was told by an individual who looked like an Airport official that al “Monarch Manchester Passengers MUST use trolleys” so like good Brits we all trundled to get a trolley only to be told we must pay 2 Turkish Lira (£1) but this was not like trolleys in the UK where you get it back once returned, no, this went into the mans pocket. Interestingly if you were British it was 2 TL and if you were European it was 1.50TL but if you were Turkish it was free !!!!
Ok, our bags were last off as we were one of the first to check in back in Manchester but once we had them all loaded up we headed outside and down the slope to the coaches, what we found was part time shacks in a semi circle with tour operators names on them, we lined up in the COSMOS one only to be told this was NOT the COSMOS one, after being told what one the COSMOS one was we lined up again and FINALLY we headed to our coach, as the last ones on it was a struggle to fit our 4 bags on but with some force myself and the driver did, upon getting onto the coach our part of 5 had only 4 seats so one of our kids was forced to sit on one of our laps, not great for what was a 2 hour driver after a 4 hour flight after a 3 hour pre check in but this is what a holiday is all about isn’t it ?
Our coach was hot, small (so cramped) and underpowered, so much so that every other coach on the way passed up like we were stood still, but hey that didnt really matter, the rep informed us al that we would be stopping mid transfer for a “rest stop” this was new to all our party who has been travelling abroad for many years and to many different countries. I don’t want to sound like a whinging Brit who expected the lap of luxury but come on this wasn’t a cheap budget holiday now !
At the rest stop, in the middle of nowhere there is a mini market, with lots of things you can buy, or your kids can ask for, the toilet costs you 2 TL each to use but after paying I noticed another sign that said the fee was not mandatory, then as we were about to get on the coach we spotted a “Slush” machine, I wanted one, as did the kids, at 4TL each it wasn’t cheap (About £2 each) and they were VERY small but on the plus side they were REALLY nice on the hot, stuffy coach.
As we were driving into the resort our rep once again came on the tannoy to give us the gem that Turkey was hot and to use sun cream ohhh and also dont forget the coach driver has a “Tip” basket on his dash so as you leave please give him something.
Driving though Marmaris as we were dropping others off I noticed that the Turkish think they are soooo funny, I witnessed the following shop names:
JJB Sports (Wear)
The Restaurant With No Name
The Genuine FAKE Shop (Genuine Fake is used EVERYWHERE)
and the following signs were everywhere:
“Cheaper than falling off the back of a lorry”
“Cheaper than shop lifting”
“Cheaper than Asda-Price”
“Cheaper than a P*KI Shop”
Once FINALLY we pulled up at our hotel more than 12 hours after we left home, we were tired but we were glad to be there.
Now I fully intend to review the hotel too as on Trip Advisor I cant help but feel that it gets rating that are far too low, but for now I am gonna continue with Turkey and Turkish culture.
The porter told me to leave our bags, I said its cool I will deal with them but he insisted, OK, 5 mins later he has our 4 cases on a trolley, I unload them and I put them into our 2 rooms, I thank him for half doing what he offered and he just stood there smiling, now I have no issues tipping but his mates at the “Rest Stop” had cleaned me out 5 minutes after telling me the ins and outs of the safe he left, no longer smiling.
WE decided the next day that we all needed to Chilax on the beach so headed out to find the man made single beach that is Marmaris beach.
Couldn’t find any beds, its ok there’s always tomorrow we said.
The next time we looked we found beds no problems, as the kids were in the sea and our party was Chilaxing I noted something just wasn’t quite right here:
I then noticed everyone around us had Blue Bands on (Ours were Orange) and low and behold 2 mins later a large security guard told us this part of the beach was for the hotel that was next to us (Hence the Blue Bands) we asked if we could go somewhere else and he told us that along this section (where we are based) is owned by the respective hotels and then he said “Right get up and go NOW” ……….nothing like a welcoming country eh ??
So we took the 15-25 min walk back to our hotel and stopped off at one of the MANY restaurants for some drinks, the following picture was taken while we were at the restaurant….How Random
The guy serving us seemed like the owner and he was wearing a fake Real Madrid Shirt, making the Nottingham Forest sicker even more random. Like everywhere else in Turkey there were no prices so I was a little shocked to see a bill totalling £15 for 5x Soft Drinks the size of normal Cans, Yup £3 each for what amounted to a can of coke. Then it all made sense, the guy in the Madrid shirt had said seconds before I was told the price if this was our “First Time In Turkey” I said yes , hoping for some helpful tips, all I got was laughed at and a doubling of the bill.
The next day was spent in the AMAZING grounds of the hotel in a vain attempt to find some more Chilaxing time.
It started pretty well but before long we received loads of hassle (Yes even inside the hotel grounds) we were asked:
“Do you want Turkish Bath” ? No thanks, Can I give you info ? “No Thanks” Can I give you leaflets ? “No Thanks”
“Do you need any Hairdressing services “ ?
“Scuba Diving Guys” ?
“Photo” There was one HELL of a sleazy photographer at the hotel who kept taking picture of our kids even after being told NO! So I started taking pics of him (See Below).
The Reps were FULL on when selling Bingo tickets and Raffle tickets and were offended to the point of shouting in Turkish as they walked off if you said no and stood by it.
Out and about shopping and things got worse, the Turkish are obsessed with blondes, I had read this before but having a blonde daughter who is only 5 I assumed she would be ok, but how wrong was I ? every shop we went in she was mithered , given free sweets, asked how old she was, they were always trying to put their hands on her and asking questions that were just too much, now some of you might say that’s just being nice to kids, but why, if that was the case was my son who was stood next to her totally blanked and NEVER EVER given anything ????
Some of the attention made me feel sick it was just WAY over the top. It was that bad my advice to you , if you have a blonde daughter is to NOT go to Turkey !!!!! (Since we have been home we have heard of story’s WORSE than ours, if you want to know more just ask)
Most of the shops sold the same old tat and fakes, I did ask one shop how much his aftershave was , his reply was that I didn’t really want to buy so he wouldn’t give me a price, as I walked off he shouted 1TL (to take the PI$$) , You couldn’t walk past a single shop without being questioned “how are you” “what team is that shirt” “ Come here, come inside” “You look like a nice family, do you want *Insert product or service here” “Hey big guy, I remember you from last year” the list goes on and on and on, The hassle did lessen the more of a tan we got.
Nothing was CHEAP, a lot of stuff was a decent price but that in the main was because it was fake, if it was genuine it was cheap but the prices of fakes were not as cheap as say eBay, drinks etc (as long as you dont say its your first time) are around the same price as over here, I looked at 12 MP digial camera and was shocked at a price of £130, our 10MP Samsung only costing £69 from good auld Argos.
So after some stressful “Retail Therapy” it was time for us to take in the entertainment that we had paid for in our hotel, but as with EVERYTHING in Turkey , all was not what it seemed, We settled down for “Michael Jackson SHOWWWW” and was greeted with 15 of one man dressed like Jacko dancing, while he was good its not really what almost £3k for, but it gets better, the Hotel entertainment team then came on stage and said we must tip him as its what you must do in Turkey (Not my words) and then held up his hat and said that they were putting 20TL into it and expected everyone else to do the same too………This was the same every night when the inhouse entertainment team we not the ones doing it, there was some “Street Dance” that looked like the guy was having a stroke and yet it was still 20TL
The Dolmus Busses were great, one every few mins and about the only thing you could call cheap at 1.5TL each, while waiting for one we were pestered by the local taxi drivers and on one at an evening we were charged 1.50TL too much, ok not a big deal but added to everything else it just felt like you were being scammed all the time.
The time for this review is almost over, but on our last day Turkey had a few more kicks left for us.
Our transfer coach was about 20 mins late, no big deal but others had been on it for an hour already, we then picked up at 6 more hotels and were on there for abut 50 mins, we thought we were done and headed up the hill out of Marmaris , then without warning we turned around and went back down the hill, and back into the resort, there was uproar on the coach from the people who had been on there 2 hours already, we picked 2 people up who had been waiting for over and hour, on the street in the afternoon heat, they were not happy, it was then worse for them that they couldn’t sit together….but we were off FINALLY …..The rep didn’t really make comment on why were were lost or so late, but the passengers did, we were told that even though we were already 2 hours LATE we had to do the rest stop but it would only be 10 mins not 15, the rep said she phoned her office and they said we HAD to stop, Doesn’t sound like COSMOS to me !!!! half way to Dalaman we almost had a cash while over taking and were all thrown around as the driver swerved back in after overtaking and then we got to the rest stop…..I refused to get off and pay any more money to spend a bloody penny……This didn’t stop the coach driver walking around the coach with his hands cupped asking the passengers “Can I have your lose change” there wasn’t even a please from him FFS !!!!!!!!!!!
We got to Dalaman Airport and got inside ASAP as our flight was due to leave in 60 mins, I checked in our bags and was asked how many passengers I had, I said 5, she asked again F I V E I said , she then asked me to point out the FIVE passengers, so I did, she then told me I had an allowance of 80KG and we had baggage of 89KG (That would have been £81) I then explained we have FIVE passengers (you know, in case I hadn’t told her) and that we all had 20KG of an allowance giving us 100KG….Her reply ???? “Ohhhh 5 passengers ? Sorry” ….Nice try love….. Through passport control my wife was told she hadn’t paid her £10 on arrival for a visa, she then showed the stamp and was allowed though..
I assumed in the airport I wouldn’t get hassle in the shops, WRONG again, I looked at aftershave (I know its the second time , I like to smell AND look beautiful) the assistant jump up and shouted “you buy, you wanna buy, come here” at this point I gave up and walked out, enough was enough.
We headed upstairs for some food for the kids and a drink for myself, we saw MaccyDee’s and though it was ideal with about 30 mins left to departure …This was Turkeys final kick of the tourist before we left
I got a Macdonald’s drink £3.50
The Milkshake was £4.20
Fries were £3.25 each
Hamburger £3.50 each
Meals were £14
Check the picture for proof !!!!!
So after spending about £30 to keep the kids happy we were off and it was another really really enjoyable flight on the same A300 back to Manchester. We even had some fun on the plane, as I was watching “Top Gear” on the in flight entertainment we were all reminded not to smoke in the toilets as someone had been caught, this female passenger was warned Monarch would push for the max fine of £2500 ( come on you could have set the plane on fire and killed almost 400 people, i’d say lock her up and throw away the key) and hand her over to the police when we landed and that is just what they did !!!!!
So that was that, we enjoyed our holiday, we all needed the break, that was in spite of the above though, that said the country of Turkey is beautiful, the weather AMAZING, but overall its not a place I would EVER go back to and if you have a blonde daughter i’d advise you to stay WELL CLEAR !!!!!!!!!
I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it (It was like therapy for me) Come back at lunch time on Thursday to read my round up of last weeks commute, trust me, its worth it, there are 3 life changing events in it.
In the future I will also do a review of the hotel too, lets hope its as good as this one