Bodrum, Turkey on a budget.

October 7, 2012 2:34 pm

After a wet and miserable start to the famous British summer I am sure you would not be surprised that I was excited to jet off to a different country where a sunny and warm climate was almost guaranteed.

Flying out from Luton Airport on a surprisingly sunny June afternoon, my mum, brother and I were on our way to what was about to be a great holiday on a good budget.

Arriving at about 1am we were transferred by our holiday company, Thomson, to our small and friendly hotel – Hotel Istankoy, Bodrum. If you’re looking for good value, no thrills accommodation, either Bed and Breakfast or Half board, situated in the heart of a beautiful Turkish city then this is the hotel for you. The rooms are basic but extremely clean and air conditioning is available for a small charge. Whether you want a relaxing break, some lively summer fun or something in between, Hotel Istankoy will be what you want it to be. Each member of staff will go out of their way to make sure you get the holiday that you want – nothing is ever too much to ask. With plenty of sun beds both at the edge of the poolside or up on a terrace you can spend your day relaxing with a refreshing drink from the bar, supplied by one of the very energetic barmen who will certainly become one of the highlights of your holiday! The beauty of the hotels’ location however, is that you’re never far away from the beach.

The crystal clear beach is a very short walk away where you’ll discover a vast amount of sun beds, mostly free of charge as long as you buy a drink in the restaurant that has ownership of them. With the serene views of boats passing by and the famous Bodrum castle it’s so calm and peaceful and is almost unbelievable to discover the hustle and bustle of the Turkish markets happening very nearby.

The narrow streets with shop after shop packed with souvenirs and traditional Turkish goods, including the famous Turkish delight, are the perfect place to soak up the Turkish atmosphere and haggle with shop owners. There’s turn after turn and corner after corner for you to investigate, each exposing you to more and more culture.

By Bodrum’s bus station you will find a big market, selling different goods on different days. The best thing to do would be to check with the locals what will be on each day, but I can personally recommend the fruit and vegetable one which we visited on the Friday of our holiday. You won’t know where to start when you’re presented with the vast array of fruit and vegetables and richly coloured spices. Make sure you explore every row and corner of the room. It’s a fantastic way so soak up the atmosphere.

As the sun sets, the sun beds are removed both along the beach and in the hotel, being replaced with tables so you can dine alongside the water’s edge. If one thing is for sure, you will never go hungry in Bodrum! Not only will you find restaurants on the sea front, if you delve back into the small Turkish streets you will find very traditional restaurants, where most have a balcony enabling you to enjoy your meal looking into the distance of the sea. Each selling traditional Turkish food as well as other cuisines, it is difficult to choose which one is best! A personal recommendation would be ‘The Place’. Both the quality of the food and the service means you’re guaranteed to have a beautiful meal. I had the ‘Shepherd’s Stir Fry’, a traditional Turkish dish of lamb and vegetables presented to you in a small wok served with a side of rice, vegetables and chips and would certainly recommend it.

If you’re looking for something very traditional an ‘Amphora Kebab’ will certainly be an experience you won’t forget. They bring your food out, for two people, in a ceramic vase-shaped dish where they roll it around in fire before serving it to you. You’ll be able to find this option in the majority of the restaurants.

Whilst walking through the winding streets of shops, the aroma of kebabs stuffed with potatoes and vegetables, turning on spits, is something you won’t be able to ignore– it’s a great way to eat out one evening at very low-cost.

Hotel Istankoy also has a lovely menu both throughout the day and at dinner time. Just like the other restaurants you can choose traditional Turkish food or many other types of cuisine noticeably at a very reasonable price.

Whichever tour company you choose to travel with, they will probably offer you trips in and around Bodrum with activities ranging from the famous Turkish baths to overnight stays in Ephesus and Pamukkale – two famous preserved archaeological sites. A great way to get out and about, whilst having the chance to dive into beautiful clear sea and getting to know other guests staying in your hotel is by going on the ‘Hotel Istankoy Boat Trip’. Running from 11.30 – 6pm, you will be served a lovely lunch followed by some watermelon and traditional Turkish tea with biscuits whilst stopping at different picturesque places.

After your peaceful evening meal and maybe a walk along the sea front, there’s great opportunity to cosy up on big bean bags with a cocktail or even get the Turkish clubbing experience in many different bars and clubs. The great thing about it is that the bars and clubs are there if you want a lively night but if not you can avoid them easily. If you fancy something a bit closer to home, whether it be a quiet drink or a laugh, and are staying at the Hotel Istankoy, you will be sure to be entertained by the barmen at the hotel. Their lively and friendly service will not only make you laugh, you will feel like they value you as a customer, something that played a key part in my mother and I returning for another week-long stay in early September 2012.

We were concerned that returning again would ruin the great memories that we made in June 2012 but we wanted to explore parts we didn’t have time to see the first time around. We had no reason to be concerned at all. We had a lovely warm reception upon our arrival at the hotel, followed by another brilliant week in Bodrum, Turkey.

If you want an affordable holiday destination that can be as lively or peaceful as you want it, whatever your age this is a good choice for you. There is something to keep everybody happy; something that will ensure everybody in your party will have a fantastic holiday!


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