Bodrum: A Day Trip to the Turkish Riviera

Day trip to Bodrum Turkey

One of the smartest side trips I ever planned was the one to Bodrum, Turkey. You can’t help but want to be closer to the water when you’re in Greece. It’s so unbelievably blue-green and crystal clear for what seems clear to the bottom. And on one of the many trips there, I decided to book a day long excursion to the Bodrum.

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  1. Sailing with Maria Star Cruises
  2. A Seat with a View
  3. Bodrum Harbor
  4. Sales Tactics
  5. Bazaar
  6. Pin Me
  7. Related Content

Bodrum: A Day Trip to the Turkish Riviera

Maria Star Cruises

I had no idea what to expect but was awarded an experience my kids and I look back on with great fondness and a little bit of laughter. You’ll need your passports to book the trip and receive the 24-hr visa which the tour operator will handle for you. The round trip ticket cost about 20 Euro each, with a 4 Euro port fee. Show up early for the 45-minute crossing to Turkey. I chose Maria Star Cruises which had a lovely boat. I’ve read a lot of accounts of people being left out in the baking sun for an hour to process passports. I didn’t have that experience. Everything was done swiftly and with precision.

A Seat With a View

My kids and I chose seats on the top deck and enjoyed the ocean spray as we blasted across the top of the water. The sun was fierce, but the cool water and the exhilaration of checking another country off the block were enough to negate the blistering sun overhead.

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The Bodrum Harbor

The harbor of Bodrum is gorgeous. It’s considered the Riviera of Turkey and one of the prettiest resort towns on the Eastern part of the Aegean. You pass into the harbor, passing windmills and expensive whitewashed vacation homes on one side and personal yachts in varying sizes on the other. The captain idles down and you begin the slow procession into the harbor. We were let out in the heart of the harbor, near a museum. None of us wanted to visit a museum on a day like today, so that was easily skipped. There is also no need to exchange money even though the Turkish currency is the Euro Lira. All the vendors and shops take the Euro as well as USD.

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The Rumors Aren’t True

Forced Shopping and High-Pressure Sales Tactics

I’m going to stop here… briefly. I heard a lot of horror stories about day-trippers being bused to gold stores and various other tours with high-pressure sales tactics. Make sure you don’t book one of these. But if you do, just say no if you’re not interested. Know in advance that you may have to say no several times. Not unlike any other culture on the planet, there are trying to make a living, and tourism, in many cases, is the only way they can, so be as persistent, but friendly, as they are and you’ll be fine.

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We walked in and out of little shops along the long footpath near the water until we reached the inner part of the town. Glad to be shaded from the sun by a large undulated tarp of living plants above our heads. We found a little cafe and decided to have a snack which was delicious. The boys got henna tattoos and I bought a few pieces of jewelry. I bought a pendant with the Turkish eye to ward off against the evil eye. I love that pendant and I think it worked to keep negativity as well as negative people out of my life.

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Lively Negotiation

You’ll see every designer brand in the shops. Know that they are most likely fake. But some are of good quality and the shopkeepers seem to enjoy the lively negotiation. My son reveled in the fact that everyone called him “my friend” and he conversed with them easily. That little bit of Turkish he learned coming over on the boat. He laughed because no one thought I was Turkish. They spoke to me in French. I guess I just didn’t blend in as he did. He thought I was upset, but it actually made me proud.

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Haggling Over Hookahs

The whole reason I travel with my kids is to expose them to different peoples, cultures, foods, languages, etc, etc… So I could see the fruits of my labor and many dollars in action. We sat in another cafe for lunch while the call to prayer rang out from loudspeakers. There was an eerie silence that followed for a few moments. Then the busy chatter and haggling over hookahs and fake Gucci continued.

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We returned to the boat. We were a little darker from the sun, with sticky fingers from the lokma. Lokma is a Turkish donut covered in honey, we bought in the market. I wrote this article a few years after the fact for a friend who asked me about my adventure in Turkey. So some of the details aren’t as sharp as I would like, but the overall message is the same. If you have the chance to go… go.

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