After the roaring success that was NYC (authentic Airbnb and all) I fancied an adventure where everything is included – baggage for the new GoPro, transfers, and more importantly, food. Turkey was perfect for this. It has cheap, blissful 5* spa resorts, and adventurous expeditions. Here are the best things to do in Turkey.
Granted there was some political unrest that week – England was bombing Syria, and the religious folk in Turkey had just decided all left-handers were demons – but nothing a 5* all-inclusive spa resort couldn’t solve, so I set off for another adventure.
Fun fact: Turkey is roughly 95% in asia, with the bottom 5% being in Europe.
Sixty quid and my journey into the unknown, wearing nothing but slippers and a dressing gown over boxers, began. Sauna full of hot coals, steam room, scrub and foam bath where a lovely Turkish woman laid me down, filled up empty pillow cases with foam, and dumped them over me. Afterwards came the full-body aromatherapy massage – really outside my comfort zone but why not. I thought it’d be super awkward, but you know when you bump your funny bone? It was like the masseuse pressed every muscle in my body that made me concentrate for the whole hour on not giggling. A facial mask later and I was fully chillaxed.
Turkey is designed to get money out of you. Tours take you to leather factories and pottery workshops where they pester you to buy stuff, and cameras aren’t allowed in major tourist attractions so they can sell you their own second-rate photos. Sneak it in and you’ll be fine.
Even though I did all the cool adventures below, it was so relaxing and exotic. And I thought that all-inclusive meant three meals a day, but it literally means all the food, all day and night. With indoor and outdoor restaurants and four bars, I was literally eating 8 courses a day before grabbing cocktails and ice cream to enjoy beside one of three pools or a private beach. Turkey offers significant value for money.
Hierapolis & Pamukkale
Hierapolis is an ancient Roman city atop a mountain that collapsed after an earthquake and is probably the best of all things to do in Turkey. The ruins of the cathedral flooded with thermal water (34* C) and so you can literally swim in a museum. Plus, they don’t allow cameras, so the GoPro footage you see in the video has never been seen before (yes, I sneaked it in). It’s so beautiful.
What’s more, next to Hierapolis is one of the natural wonders of the world – Pamukkale. A series of naturally warm thermal pools on a mountainside white from calcium, words cannot describe the beauty there.
Kos (Greek Islands)
Greek people are delightful. Free sun loungers beside crystal clear waters, and they even let me off for not having sufficient Euros for a crepe.
I spent so much time in the restaurant looking out over islands, I thought why not go to one? A ferry drops you off on the Greek island of Kos in the morning, picks you up in the evening, and kind of leaves you to your own devices all day. Upon arrival, I picked an unripe orange off the tree and ate it by the harbour. Then I explored the beautiful island on foot, eating gyros (kebab in pitta), Greek beer, Greek yoghurt (delish), and proper crepes.
Not strictly one of the things to do in Turkey, but Greece is a magnificent country that everybody should enjoy visiting.
Ephesus is the largest classical archaeological site in the world, and I got to walk the ruined street of this Biblical city in all its glory.
Bodrum (ft. Shisha)
Greece is definitely a lot prettier than Turkey, with its white streets and colourful restaurants, but the Turkish seaside town of Bodrum was still pleasant, and I found an authentic shisha lounge in which to sit on the beach and relax (shisha’s the bong-style tobacco thing in the video – not actual drugs).
Again, I sneaked my GoPro down with me, but I was shivering so much from the cold I couldn’t use it! Scuba diving is actually really difficult – concentrating on breathing through the mouthpiece, relieving the intense water pressure by simultaneously holding your nose and blowing, remembering scuba sign language, and trying in vain not to roll onto your back because of the heavy oxygen tanks.
Despite that, though, it was beautiful. Ocean plants and marine life were all around, and I had fish literally eating out of my hand. Scuba diving is one of the best things to do in Turkey or anywhere, really.
Obviously, jet skiing was awesome since they had just upgraded to new, uber-powerful models. Pull the accelerator and it nearly launches you off the back. Nothing like zipping between foreign islands on the open sea.
I had a great time in Turkey & hope you enjoyed these best things to do in Turkey from my experience. To this day, it was the most blissful week I’ve ever had. The combination of gorgeous 5* spa resort & adventurous watersports and cultural/historical trips was so memorable – highly recommend.
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