PLEASE NOTE: The currency in Turkey is the New Turkish Lira (I will refer to them as T$s). At the time of writing, US$1 = T$6.
I was making my way slowly up the mediterranean coast from Antalya to Istanbul.
I spent a week in a villa in Kalkan with family.
That ended with me dropping them off at Antalya Airport at 5am in the morning.
It was, now, time for me to ‘break out on my own’. My first stop was Kemer …
I returned our rental car and got to the Antalya Airport tram at 6am. It is situated just outside of International Arrivals. You buy a ticket at the machine next to the lift. A ticket to Otogar (‘oto’ = ‘auto’, ‘gar’ = ‘station’ / the Bus Station) was T$3.75.
The tram left at 6:15am. We arrived in Otogar at 7:15am.
This is the main Bus Terminal in Antalya. I had to walk 10 minutes from the Tram Stop to the Terminal. I passed the Long Distance Terminal and walked on to the smaller local terminal where you find the Minibuses.
My suitcase was loaded underneath and I told the driver that I wanted ‘Kemer Centro’ …
We left at 7:30am and arrived in Kemer at 8:45am. The price was T$9.
It is known for its pebble beach and for the nearby Greco-Roman ruins of Phaselis as well as the perpetual gas fires emitted by the nearby mythical Yanartas rock formation.
Kemer was the ancient Greek city of Idyros.
Until the 1960s, there was no road connection to Kemer; it was only accessible by boat. Since then, Kemer has boomed and become a popular seaside resort.
It is a pebble beach with clear mediterranean waters.
The whole stretch of beach is ‘taken’ by hotels who provide loungers (at a price). Some parts of the beach are ‘private’ and only accessible by walking along the beach itself.
I tried to exit the beach to the road and found myself wandering through an ‘All Inclusive’ resort … I could have easily helped myself to a meal and no-one would have know 🙂
This is what you can expect online 1 week before your arrival.
PLEASE NOTE: Booking.com did not work in Turkey whilst I was there. You will have to pre-book from outside of the country.
PLEASE NOTE: HOTELS usually displays prices INCLUSIVE of TAXES.
PLEASE NOTE: Other sites (such as Homeaway, FlipKey and VRBO are also worth a look).
GRANDPAckers cannot afford to come to Kemer in Peak Season: June to September. You will have to come in Shoulder Season (May or October). You can get accommodation including breakfast at half the price (and, the weather is still good). For the best discounts / prices, book at least 2+ months in advance.
The MicroBus dropped me off about 100 metres from my hotel.
I used BOOKING.COM to book a Double Room with Private Bathroom (single occupancy) at the Caner Hotel. This included Breakfast. I prepaid EURO33.43 for 3 nights (about T$76 / US$13 per night).
My room was an average size.
Wifi was ‘weak’ in my room but could stream video at night. It was ‘good’ in common areas.
WHERE TO STAY:
I suggest that you try and get accommodation in the Green Shaded area.
If you don’t mind walking, expand into the Orange Shaded area.
If you go wider afield, be prepared to pay for taxis and / or to have your own transportation.
Have a look yourself:
EAT & DRINK:
There are Supermarkets in town, so this makes a villa option more viable.
I only ate out twice. Both times were around the corner from my hotel at the highly rated ‘Has Kabap’. On the first night I had Meatball Stew for T$30. It included a pita bread starter with dips. I had a Coke for T$4.
The former was better value than the latter.
Has Kabap is known to be one of the (if not THE) best budget restaurant in Kemer. A typical main dish starts at T$17 (chicken kebab) to T$35. You can pay T$40 to T$50 for more exotic dishes – including seafood.
A local 500ml beer in a supermarket costs T$9-11. T$13 for something more ’boutique’. Pay T$1 more if you buy in a convenience store.
You will get the same T$10 beer in the cheapest restaurants for T$15 but expect to usually pay T$20. Down on the Beach, expect to pay T$25-30 for the same.
Expect to pay an average of T$25 for a cheap local Breakfast with tea / coffee.
Expect to pay an average of T$30 for a cheap Lunch with fruit drink.
Expect to pay an average of T$45 for a cheap Dinner with a Fruit Juice / Small Beer.
You can walk everywhere within the Green Shaded area. Walkers can do the same including the Orange Shaded area.
I don’t know taxi prices, sorry. What I do know is that it costs T$10-T$15 for a taxi from my hotel to the Bus Terminal (which is 1.5 kms / 1 mile).
A local bus to Antalya (1.25 hours) costs about T$9. A local bus to Kas (3 hours) costs T$25. As a guideline, budget T$8 per hour of travel.
BANKS / ATMs / MONEY:
You can pay in Euros almost everywhere. Some places take GBP. A few take US$s. For the best prices, pay in T$s.
You will find several Banks & ATMs in town. There is no Bureau De Change but many of the shops offer ‘Money Exchange’ at varying rates. Many places take Credit Cards.
You will find a collection of about 7 different ATMs down near the beach near the MacDonalds.
INTERNET / WIFI:
Your accommodation should provide good wifi. You will, also, find free wifi in almost all of the restaurants and bars.
Back in Selcuk, I bought a new TurkCell SIMcard for T$100 and a 1 month Promotional Package for T$25. The latter came with 2GB of Facebook / Twitter data, 3GB of Internet data, 300 minutes of talk time, and 200 free SMSs.
I could re-buy this package for T$35 as and when needed.
HEALTH & SAFETY:
The first thing that you notice is the number of smokers; there is still a large % of smokers here. They even smoke in ‘no smoking’ areas without anyone complaining. Not a surprise when you can get a 20 pack of Rothmans ‘Click’ for T$11.
There is no reason to feel unsafe. As always, exercise normal levels of caution … don’t make yourself an obvious target.
For the first time in 4 years I didn’t feel that I needed to be careful about getting ‘ripped off’ on everyday items. The shops charge you the same price as the locals. HOWEVER, for ‘tourist activities’ you should still try and ‘haggle’.
WHEN TO GO:
Arriving in mid May is perfect timing.
Read About – GRANDPAcking Costs if you don’t know how to interpret my figures.
MY ACTUAL COSTS:
My costs are broken down into:
- Cost of Existence: The basic costs of just being there
- Cost of Living: The additional costs that make being there fun
COST OF EXISTENCE (COE):
I EXISTED well within GRANDPAcking standard.
My accommodation was only US$13 / night.
I already had my TurkCell SIMcard and 1 month plan. I didn’t need to top it up in Kemer.
I have apportioned T$30 for my Turkish eVisa.
I averaged about T$33 / day on food.
My COE worked out to be about T$89 (US$17) / day.
COST OF LIVING (COL):
I LIVED to GRANDPAcking standard.
In / Out Costs: My public transport costs to Kemer from Antalya Airport came to T$13.
Living Costs: I averaged about T$29 per night on drinks. I spent T$44 shopping.
My total COL was about T$123 (US$21) / day. This was only 40% of my budget.
COSTS FOR 2 GRANDPAckers:
Again, costs are broken down in Cost Of Existence (COE) and Cost Of Living (COL).
COST OF EXISTENCE (COE):
Accommodation: I have booked you into a budget hotel that includes Breakfast at a long-term room rate. Alternatively, find a villa for under US$450 / month and bring in groceries.
Transportation: I have budgeted a return trip to Antalya on a local bus each week.
Communications & Fees: I have budgeted a TurkCell SIMcard and 1 month promo package. I have included the cost of 2 Turkish eVisas.
Food: Your meals budget averages about T$152 (US$26) / day for 2 people. This is to eat all of your meals in Cheap Restaurants.
Your COE is about T$260 (US$44) / day. This is 16% UNDER budget.
COST OF LIVING (COL):
This leaves you T$48 / US$8 per day to LIVE on.
To afford a month in Kemer you will need to:
- Come off-season (e.g. in May or October)
- Rent a Holiday Home (and book it months in advance whilst you can still get deep discounts)
- Rent in town to avoid transport costs
- Buy groceries so that you can eat (mostly) at home
If you do this, you can easily reduce your food costs by half and, by doing so, have enough spare money to LIVE on.
Could you afford to retire in Kemer on a GRANDPAckig budget? YES…
BUT only just.