How to act differently inland than in Turkish resorts
If you’ve ever been to a Turkish holiday resort, typically on the south coast, then you will no doubt be familiar with neon lights, bikini-clad bodies, constant thumping bass-lines, and plentiful alcohol. Welcome to holiday heaven, right?
Despite the popularity and fun of all the holiday resorts, you only have venture inland even 40 minutes to see a totally different side to this huge and diverse country. There is nothing more beautiful that the Turkish countryside, nothing more cultural than the inland villages, and nowhere more hospitable, but aside from that, there are certain things you have to remember.
Whenever you leave the beach area of a resort, and even walk back a couple of streets away from the shoreline, you will find a residential area, where people call home, people who have been born and raised in that area, so the moment you decide to explore further inland and try and experience the real Turkey, you have to act a little differently.
Let me explain.
No, I’m not suggesting you cover your body head to toe, because let’s face it, the temperatures rarely allow for that anyway, but what I am suggesting is that you forget the tiny shorts and cropped tops, the shorts and no shirt look, and instead go for respectful day-to-day clothes. For instance, I visited Mulga, which is the city about an hour’s drive away from popular beach resort Marmaris. Whilst I’d happily walk around Marmaris in a short dress, or shorts and a vest top, I wouldn’t have done it in Mugla, and instead went for a maxi dress, or maybe even linen trousers and a t-shirt. It’s all about respect, remember that this is a Muslim country, so have a little thought and cover up that chest.
Watch the alcohol
I’ll use my Mugla trip as another example here. Yes, people drink in Turkey, despite the fact it’s a Muslim country, especially in the cities, but as a tourist, it’s not a good idea to get stuck into the Efes (that’s beer in case you didn’t know) or vodka the moment you rock up in a new place. The people who live inland are more traditional, and unless you want to get yourself on the wrong end of a few strange looks or ‘tuts’, stick to non-alcoholic beverages.
Don’t get snap happy
There is no hard and fast rule against using your camera, in fact I would encourage it, simply to capture the beauty of the area, but it’s also worthwhile remembering that the further inland you go, the more villages you encounter, and the more homes you come into contact with. Would you want a tourist wandering around your estate taking photos? No, I didn’t think so. Also remember that it’s not really the done thing to be taking photographs too close to a mosque, at least not inside one, unless you ask permission.
Remember your manners, and try the language
Like anywhere in the world, locals appreciate it if you try and learn a few words of the language, even if it’s just ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’, so try and learn them beforehand and showcase them on your travels. Manners will get you very far in Turkey, as well as being a little under the radar. Turkish locals don’t appreciate loud, brash people, and instead prefer quiet, thoughtful, and respectful, so remember your ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ whatever language you speak.
Showing an interest in the culture and being basically polite will help you understand Turkish life more, because you will find people much more open to talking to you, and helping you with your endeavours. Turkey is an amazing country to explore, and believe me, it’s about more than neon lights and night life.