Getting around a new resort is probably one of the things that causes the most confusion and distress. When you throw a strange and totally different language into the mix, with crazy drivers, and odd-looking mini buses, then you could forgive a newcomer to the area if they decided to walk everywhere instead!
The Turkish dolmus network is probably the single most daunting thing about going to a tourist resort in the country. When I first visited Marmaris, I refused to get on one, because I couldn’t get my head around it, and I was a little worried about how to stop the thing to get off! A lot of people feel the same, so I consider it my duty to explain this rather strange phenomenon, to help future first-time visitors to my second home.
Consider your direction
Most of the time dolmus (that’s the buses we’re talking about) only run in two directions along the main tourist street. That’s one way, and back the other. Sometimes they’re different colours, so find out what colour you need for the direction you want. For example, if you’re heading to Marmaris, you will find that the blue bus is the Marmaris bus, and the orange one goes to the next resort on, Icmeler. If you don’t want to go to Icmeler, just stick with blue – easy!
Find out your price
You’re looking at minimal cost here, so it is the cheapest way to get around resorts. Again, we’ll use Marmaris as an example because that’s what I know best. For anywhere in the entirety of Marmaris, you pay just 2 lira, for Icmeler, you pay 3 lira out of season, and 2.5 lira in season. Cheap as chips! All you do when you get on the bus is pass the money to the front, or give it the driver yourself if it’s not busy, and tell him how many people you’re paying for. Try and have the right change if you can, but it’s not a hard and fast rule.
Stop the bus!
Some people just hold their arm out and hope the bus stops, but I find that doesn’t work all the time, and strictly speaking you are meant to go to a specified bus stop to get on the dolmus. These are very frequently dotted around the main street, so find one, because at least that way you know it’s going to stop unless it’s full! If it is full, the driver will flash his lights at you and carry on driving, so you simply wait for the next one, usually in about five minutes maximum.
I want to get off!
So you’re on the bus, you’ve achieved that, but how do you get off the damned thing? Well basically you just make your intentions vocal and shout! I find ‘stop please’ works every single time, but if you want to show off your language skills ‘musait bir yerde’ will do the trick, and get you a few pats on the back for good measure
And remember …
Your personal space will no doubt be invaded, you will be at the mercy of all manner of nasty niffs in summer time, because let’s face it, it’s hot and people smell when it’s hot, and you will wonder how on earth the driver can fit any more people on, but if it gets you from A to B safely and saves you money in the process, do it the authentic way, it’s not that scary!