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$5.88).
I was making my way slowly up the mediterranean coast from Antalya to Istanbul. I tried to get ‘off the beaten track’ by going to Calis Beach in Fethiye.
And to Fevzipasa:
It was, now, time to get back onto the ‘beaten track’ … my next stop was Kusadasi …
As aforementioned, Fevzipasa is difficult to get to. It is just as difficult to get away from! At 10am (pulling my suitcase behind me), I walked the 2 kms from my hotel uphill to the main road (it took 30 minutes):
I stopped and waited for a passing bus to Akbuk (hoping that he would stop for me on the side of a dual carriageway). One passed at 10:35am. He stopped 🙂 We arrived at the Akbuk Otogar 30 minutes later. The price was T$6.50:
The bays are clearly signposted with their destinations. My bus to Soke left at 11:30am. The price was T$10 and it took 1 hour. At the Soke Otogar, I transferred immediately to another bus to Kusadasi. The price was T$7 and we arrived 30 minutes later.
The bus did not stop at the Kusadasi Otogar which is situated on the outskirts of town on the D515. Instead, it terminated on the side of a road near Candan Tarhan Blvd. From there, I walked 1 km to my hotel next to the ferry port.
Just offshore on Pigeon Island is a walled Byzantine castle that once guarded the town.
There are nearby beaches. Ladies’ Beach is the most famous and touristic with its nightclubs. Grass-lined Gold Beach is well-manicured and peaceful. Ride a horse from there to Long Beach, a playground of beach bars, pool tables and water sports.
You can easily walk around these streets for several hours.
The historical centre is one of the best that I have encountered and, even though touristic, it is a shopper’s paradise … with bargains for everyone.
As you can see, the options are ‘sparse’.
So, let’s look at what you can get by booking in advance for the month of October (the other ‘shoulder season’) …
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. Many search sites don’t provide a ‘private bathroom’ filter so, be careful with some of the cheap hotels and make sure that you read the room details.
PLEASE NOTE: Other sites (such as Homeaway, FlipKey and VRBO are also worth a look).
GRANDPAckers cannot afford to come here in Peak Season: June to September. You will have to come in Shoulder Season (April-May or October-November). For the best discounts / prices, book at least 2+ months in advance. You may need to ‘get inventive’ and use Turkish hotel search engines.
It was a standard Turkish Breakfast with cereals, fruits, jams, boiled eggs (but you could ask for an omelette or fried), cheese(s), cold meat, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, and bread. They also chucked in a selection of fruits. Breakfast was served between 7:30am and 10am:
The wifi was good and good enough to stream video during the day.
Very good value for money for Kusadasi (especially given its location in the Old Town).
WHERE TO STAY:
You just have to stay in or very close to the Old Town. It is SO nice.
Alas, GRANDPAckers have few options … you will be where you can afford to be … either that, or you will need to compromise on the quality of your room (to get ‘central’, I would suggest that this is worth it).
Have a look yourself:
EAT & DRINK:
You are lost for choices in all price ranges.
A local 500ml beer is about T$9 in a supermarket. Add another T$1 for the convenience of a corner shop. Expect T$15 for the same in a local cafe. Expect T$20 somewhere more ‘upmarket’.
You should get your Breakfast included in your hotel room rate. If not, expect to pay an average of T$20 each for a cheap local Breakfast with tea / coffee.
Expect to pay an average of T$25 for a cheap Lunch with fruit drink.
Expect to pay an average of T$40 for a cheap Dinner with a Fruit Juice / Small Beer.
A public bus trip to an attraction within a 1 hour drive (such as Ephesus) should cost about T$10 each way.
ATMs charge between 5% and 10%.
MY ADVICE: Use one of the bigger and better known nation-wide banks for the best rates. I used Garanti several times.
INTERNET / WIFI:
Your accommodation ‘should’ provide good wifi.
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 went to TurkCell in Marmaris to top it up. They had a 4GB 1 month package for T$35. I chose their 6GB package for T$40 that included:
- 6GB standard internet;
- another 2GB bonus internet;
- another 1Gb bonus internet;
- 500 standard minutes of Talk Time;
- Unlimited TurkCell-TurkCell Talk Time at the weekends;
- 1,000 SMSs;
- Lots of other stuff that I didn’t understand.
I paid a T$2 fee.
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.
WHEN TO GO
Kusadasi has a hot mediterranean / dry-summer subtropical climate that is mild with moderate seasonality.
Summers are dry and hot due to the domination of subtropical high pressure systems – while winters experience moderate temperatures and changeable, rainy weather due to the polar front.
These climates usually occur on the western sides of continents between the latitudes of 30° and 45°. Seasonality is moderate.
Peak Season is June through September. Shoulder Season is mid April to May and October to mid November. Rainy season is December through March.
WHAT TO DO:
Wander around the Old Town streets, enjoy the ambience, enjoy relaxing in the cafes, and get immersed in some bargain shopping in the alleyways / bazaars.
Read About – GRANDPAcking Costs if you don’t know how to interpret my figures.
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 T$130 / US$24 per night.
I already had my working and topped up TurkCell SIMcard.
I have apportioned T$28 for my Turkish eVisa.
I averaged about T$54 per day on food and water.
My COE worked out to be about T$145 (US$26) per day.
COST OF LIVING (COL):
I LIVED to GRANDPAcking standard.
In / Out Costs: My public transport costs from Fevzipasa to Kusadasi came to T$24.
Living Costs: I averaged about T$37 per night on drinks.
My total COL was about T$190 (US$34) / day. This was only 66% of my budget.
COSTS FOR 2 GRANDPAckers:
Again, costs are broken down into Cost Of Existence (COE) and Cost Of Living (COL).
COST OF EXISTENCE (COE):
Accommodation: I have booked you into an AirBnB near the Old Town at a long-term / Monthly Discount room rate. Make sure that Breakfast is included (which is normal in Turkey).
Transportation: I have budgeted a return bus trip on a local bus each week to somewhere with a 1 hour drive.
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$131 (US$24) / day for 2 people. This is to eat Lunch and Dinner in Cheap Restaurants.
Your COE is about T$264 (US$48) / day. This is 9% UNDER budget.
COST OF LIVING (COL):
This leaves you almost nothing to LIVE on.
Kusadasi Old Town has ‘character’. It is definitely worth a visit.
To afford a month here you will need to:
- Come off-season (e.g. in mid April – May or October – mid November);
- Get a cheap AirBnB / Holiday Home;
- Buy in groceries and eat at home.
There are cheaper holiday destinations … but they don’t have the ‘ambience’ that Kusadasi does.
Could you afford to retire here on a GRANDPAcking budget? MAYBE.