To quote Istanbul designer Cemil İpekçi, met on Cumhuriyet Cad. after an evening of bacchanalian excess: “You can fall in love with anyone in Bodrum, but when you leave, it’s gone … it’s the Bodrum love.” With a reputation as the “Bedroom of the Mediterranean,” it’s easy to see why. Locals and visitors convene in time with the beat of music from countless dance clubs and bars that, provides the pulse for a city that comes to life at night.
As light dawns on lazy days, travelers make for the surrounding Acadian Peninsula, home to some of Turkey’s best beaches, secluded swimming coves, volcanic islands, and ancient ruins, with the persistence of Bodrum’s daily touristic rhythm keeping steady all the while. If music be the food of love, then it is the tourist lira that pays for it. Complete with one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, the 4th-century BC funerary monument to ancient Halicarnassus’ king Mausolus, and as many fake Gucci purses and “I LOVE BODRUM” mugs money can buy, Bodrum is a community in the grand tradition of beach towns. Turkish jet-setters, international yachtsmen, backpackers and package tourists mingle in the day’s sight-seeing, shopping, and water sports, searching the evening for “the Bodrum love.”
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Flights: The Bodrum Airport is about 45min. out of town. Buses to the airport depart from the otogar ($5). The Turkish Airlines Office (317 12 03/04) has moved outside of the town’s center to the Oasis shopping center in Gümbet, accessible by dolmuş. Open daily 8:30am-7:30pm. To Ankara and İstanbul (1hr.; 5 per day 6am- 10:15 pm; İstanbul $106, Ankara $98). Travel needs can also be met by the Turkish Air affiliate Touralpln Agency, 6 Çevat Şakir Cad. (316 87 33 or 316 61 44), opposite the PTT, on your right as you head inland from the castle on Çevat Şakir Cad,
Buses: The otogar is on Çevat Şakir Cad. Some companies also have offices along Neyzen Teyfik Cad. Companies serving Bodrum include: Ulusoy (313 04 68 or 313 01 67), Kamil Koç (313 04 68), and Pamukkale (316 66 32).
|I Destination||Company||Duration||Times (daily)||Price||Students|
|Ankara||Kamil Koç||11hr.||8:30, 10:30pm||$15||$14|
|Antalya||Kamil Koç||8hr.||9:30am, 10pm||$13||$12|
|Bursa||Kamil Koç||9hr.||8:45am, 8, 9:30, 11pm||$14||$13|
|Bursa||Pamukkale||8hr.||noon, 7:30, 9pm||$12||$11|
|Bursa||Pamukkale||lOhr.||noon, 7:30, 9pm||$13|
|Denizli||Pamukkale||5hr.||8:30, 10:30am, 3:30pm||$7.50||$7|
|Fethiye||Kamil Koç||5hr.||9:30am, 10pm||$9||$8|
|Fethiye||Pamukkale||5hr.||7:30, 9:45am, 12:30, 10:30pm||$7|
|İstanbul||Kamil Koç||13hr.||8:45am, 8, 9:30, 11:30pm||$19||$18|
|İzmir||Kamil Koç||4hr.||8:45am, noon||$9||$8|
|Kadası||Kamil Koç||3hr.||8:45am, noon||$6.50||$6|
|Köyceğiz||Kamil Koç||3hr.||9:30am, 10pm||$6||$5|
|Köyceğiz||Pamukkale||4hr.||7:30,9:45am, 12:30, 10:15pm||$5|
|Pamukkale||Pamukkale||5hr.||8:30, 10:30am, 3:30pm||$7.50|
|Selçuk||Kamil Koç||3’/ihr.||8:45am, noon||$6.50“||$6|
|Yalova||Kamil Koç||11hr.||8:45am, 8, 9:30,11:30pm||$17||$16|
|Yalova||Pamukkale||11hr.||noon, 7:30, 9pm||“$14.50|
Dolmuş: To: Gümbet (10min., every 5m¡n, $.60); Marmaris (3hr., every hr. 7am-7pm, $6); Milas (50min., every hr. 6am-5pm, $1); Muğla (2hr., every hr. 6am-8pm, $4).
Ferries: Tickets sold through travel agents. Bodrum Express Lines, 18 Kale Cad. (316 40 67 or 316 10 87; fax 313 00 77), has offices in the otogar and near the castle. Walk past the castle with the marina on your right toward the sea; the office will be on the left. Open 7:30am-llpm. All ferries and hydrofoils leave from the end of the jetty, past the office, and run daily May-Oct. and M, W, F Nov.-Apr. To: Kos (daily 9am, return 4:30pm; arrive at the jetty 30min. early for passport check); Datça (M, W, F 9am, return 4:30pm). Children under 11 free. Call for off-season schedule changes.
Hydrofoils: Bodrum Express Lines (316 10 87 or 316 40 67; fax 313 00 77). To: Dalyan (21/2hr.I including l1/2hr. coach transfer from Gelibolu to Dalyan; Th, Su 8am, return 6pm; $46 including lunch, Dalyan river cruise, and entrance to Kaunos); Gökova, a.k.a. the Bodrum-Gelibolu day cruise (lVihr.; Th, Su 8am, return 6pm; $33 including lunch); Kos (20min.; daily 9am, return 4:30pm; $18, round-trip 28); Marmaris (2hr., including 20min. coach transfer from Gelibolu to Marmaris; The, Su 8am, return 6pm; $28, round-trip $37); Rhodes (2^hr.; M-Sa 8:30am, return 5pm; $46, round-trip $57).
Rentals: Botur Agency, 24 Çevat Şakir Cad. (313 90 52), about 2 blocks on the left from the otogar when facing the sea, rents cars ($22-40 per day). Mopeds are available at Team Rent, 5 1021 Sok (313 53 22), off Çevat Şakir Cad. before the Botur Agency facing the marina. Open 8am-9pm. $12-24 per day. Or, for three times the price, try Avis (316 23 33), Budget (316 3078), or Hertz (316 1053).
Streets in Bodrum are marked by small blue signs, though it is often easier to navigate using landmarks. The main streets in town radiate from the Castle of St. Peter (Kale). Cumhuriyet Cad., the main commercial drag, runs along the water, twisting slightly inland to allow room for a small beach before returning to the sea. Ferries, hydrofoils, and yacht cruises depart from the breakwater and Kale Cad., which runs between the castle and the marina, ending at a mosque. Belediye Meyd Cad., the street that hugs the port’s coast between the ships and cafés, turns into Neyzen Teyfik Cad., the western harbor coastal road. Through the canopy of Carşikale Cad., a commercial pedestrian road, Tiirkkuyusu Cad. curves slightly to the left and Çevat Şakir Cad. branches to the right. Atatürk Cad. stems to the right off of Çevat Şakir Cad. as it moves away from the harbor.
TOURIST AND FINANCIAL SERVICES
Tourist Office: 48 Barış Meydanı (316 10 91; fax 316 76 94), at the foot of the castle. Pension information, room listings, and free brochures with maps. Pick up the monthly publication “Aegean Sun,” which includes events in and around Bodrum as well as useful information in English and German. Open Apr. Oct. daily 8:30am-5pm; Nov.-Mar. M-F 8am-noon and 1-5pm.
Consulate: UK, Kıbrıs Şehitleri Ca. no. 421 IB (317 00 93/4), in Konacik. A 15min. bus ride from Bodrum. Open M-Th 9am-12:30pm, 2:30-4:30pm.
Currency Exchange: At the PTT from 8:30am-midnight. Most exchange booths along the harbor on Kale Cad. and along Cumhuriyet Cad. do not charge commission.
ATMs: Cirrus/Plus/MC/V ATMs located throughout the shopping areas. Türkiye İş Ban-kası (316 10 12), on Çevat Şakır Cad., is about halfway between the bus station and the castle. Open M-F 9am-12:30pm and l:30-5:30pm.
English Language Bookstores: A 24hr. book fair is located on the corner of Cumhuriyet Cad. Open from late June-Aug. D&R Music and Book Store, 5 Neyzen Teyfik Cad. (is-313 73 62/63/64; fax: 313 74 70), located across from Cizdar Sok, in a small shopping center between Neyzen Teyfik Cad. and the marina, offers an eclectic assortment of English-language “best-sellers.” Open daily 8:30am-2am.
Laundromats: Mainly on Türkkuyusu Cad., Çevat Şakir Cad., and Atatürk Cad. $4 per load. Most open daily 8am-10pm.
Hamam: The new Bodrum Hamam (fax 313 41 29), directly opposite the main exit of the otogar on Çevat Şakir Cad., has separate facilities for men and women. Open 6am- midnight. $8-20. The citizens of Bodrum swear by the Karia Prenses Ottoman Turkish Batlı (»316 89 71) in the back entrance of the Karia Prenses Hotel. To get there, take the Centrum (şe hiriçi) dolmuş from the otogar to the Migros supermarket. With your back to the Migros, take a left and walk down a short block to the hotel. Open Th-Tu 9:30, 8:30pm, W 9:30am-midnight (with a dance club). $10-36.
EMERGENCY AND COMMUNICATIONS
Police: 50 Barış Meydanı (316 10 04). At the foot of the castle, next to the tourist office. Open 24hr. Emergency Police: (316 12 15).
Pharmacies: Especially prevalent on Cumhuriyet Cad., Çevat Şakir Cad., and Atatürk Cad. All open daily 8:30am-8pm. All post the nighttime on-duty pharmacy.
Hospital: Bodrum Devlet Hastanesi (313 14 20 or 313 21 27), Kıbrıs Şehitleri Cad., uphill from the amphitheater. Public and open 24hr; English spoken. Private Bodrum Hospital (313 65 66). Walk inland on Çevat Şakir Cad., take a left onto Artemis Sok., turn left onto Kulcuoglu Sok., take the 3rd right, and then make the 1st right. English spoken. Open 24hr. Or try the Universal Hospital (»317 15 15) in Konacik.
Internet Access: Reklam Bigisayar Internet, 49 Atatürk Cad. (313 38 79), past Uçuluyar Cad. Open April-Sept. 24hr., Oct-Mar 9am-9pm. $1.50 per hr. Cyber Internet, 30 Çevat Şakir Cad. (313 85 47) is a block toward the sea from the otogar in an alleyway to your left. Open 9am-lam. $1 per hr. Neselmmuhabbet Internet Café 85 Türkkusuyu Cad. (313 76 08/03) has a lounge and TV as well as internet access. Open 10am-2am, $1 per hour.
PTT: (»316 12 12), on Çevat Şakir Cad., 4 blocks from the otogar (when heading toward the castle). Poste restante, international phone, stamps and faxes. Open daily 8:30am-midnight. Postal code: 48400.
Pensions are plentiful in Bodrum but may require some advance planning. All rates rise in the high season (July and August) when pensions do not have to compete for customers. Single travelers (tek kişi) are often given double rooms and may have trouble finding a place in the high season; call ahead in the summer. Cheap pensions cluster behind the PTT and to the left of the castle facing inland.
Emiko Pansiyon, Atatürk Cad., 11 Üslü Sok. (/fax 316 55 60). From the otogar, follow Çevat Şaklr Cad. toward the water, turning left onto Atatürk Cad. After 50m, turn right down the alley marked with a blue sign for the Emiko Pansiyon, not Uslu Sok (which is the next street); it’s the 2nd building on your left. Run by Emiko, a gently attentive Japanese woman, this white-washed Mediterranean pension offers 8 simple rooms with baths and hardwood and tile floors. Guests enjoy breakfast under the shade of grape leaves on the stone patio. Guest kitchen. Breakfast $2. Laundry $3. Sept.-Mar. singles $7, doubles $12; Aug. singles $10, doubles $16.
Otel Kilavuz, No. 25 Atatürk Cad. (316 38 92; fax 316 2852). From the otogar follow Çevat Şakir Cad. toward the castle, turning left onto Atatürk Cad. After 50m, turn left onto Adliye Sok; the hotel is directly before the mosque on your right. This modern hotel has a garden, pool, and bar. Each of the 12 rooms has a large bath, phone, and art on the walls. Laundry free with Let’s Go. Breakfast included. Sept.-Mar. singles $10, dou¬bles $16; June-Aug. singles $13, doubles $20.
Hotel Güleç, 18 Üçkuyular Cad. (316 52 22 or 313 73 91). From the otogar, take Çevat Şakir Cad. toward the sea and make a left onto Atatürk Cad. Take a left onto Üçkuyular Cad.; the hotel is on the right. Trimmed by a pleasant garden, this white washed hotel has fresh, clean rooms replete with oak furnishings and bath. Breakfast and laundry included; discounts for large parties. Apr.-June singles $8, doubles $15; July-Sept. singles $10, doubles $22.
Dönen Pansiyon, Türkkuyusu Cad., 21 1011 Sok (316 40 17). Walk inland from the taxi station on Türkkuyusu Cad.; the pension is 3 blocks down on the left, directly after Nese in muhabbet Internet Cafe. Run by a friendly family, it has 14 clean if not bright rooms, some with bath. No English spoken. Singles $10; doubles $15; triples $18.
Sevin Pansiyon, 5 Türkkuyusu Cad. (316 76 82 or 316 06 00; fax: 313 49 19). About 10m on the left side of Türkkuyusu Cad. when heading inland from the taxi park. 27 ample rooms with bath. Internet access ($1.50 per hr.), car/bike rental ($9 per day) and taxi service to airport available. Breakfast included. Laundry $1.50. Oct.-July: singles $8, doubles $16, triples $20. Aug.-Sept. $25-30.
Aşkin Pansiyon (543 425 97 50), on a passageway about 20m past Emiko Pansiyon-look for the yellow sign. The rooftop terrace has a splendid view of the sea. 10 very basic rooms, some with bath. Discos nearby make this pansiyon convenient for late-night barhopping, but if you crave quiet, ask for a room in the back. No English spoken. $7.50 per person.
Cheap eats in Bodrum consist of the usual kebap stands (kebap and chips $3) and the small cafeteria style joints on Çevat Şakir Cad. (meals $2). Steaming com on the cob ($.50) is sold from small carts along the main streets, and wherever you turn, fixin’s for baked potatoes garnish hot spuds ($1.50).
Sandal, 76 Atatürk Cad. ( 316 91 17 or 316 35 59). Turn onto Atatürk Cad. from Çevat Şakir Cad. and walk 200m past the mosque on your right. The restaurant is on the block after Omurga Dere Sok on the right. For those craving the taste of the east, Sandal provides an extensive offering of Chinese and Thai food a! fresco. Munch on pad thai under the thatched roof while listening to the rush of the outdoor waterfall. Open daily noon-midnight. Dinner around $10. AmEx/MC/V.
Zetaş Saray Restaurant, 12 Atatürk Cad. (316 68 48/47). Turn onto Atatürk Cad. from Çevat Şakir Cad. and follow it until just before the mosque on your right. Well regarded by Bodrum citizens for the high quality of its Turkish dishes, Zetaş Saray has kebaps ($3) and a filling set menu ($7-8) as you listen to the call to prayer from the mosque next door. Vegetarian option available. Reservations for parties of 10+. Handicap accessible. Open 9am-3am. AmEx/MC/V.
Tepeçlk Tea Garden, 1 Neyze Teyfik Cad. (313 86 66). Follow the road along the coast away from the castle; the tea house will be on your left past a small shopping center. Gaze at the Bodrum coast under the blanket of dried harip leaves or curl up like a sultan on the pillows of an Ottoman corner (şark) with apple tea ($.50) and a sandwich ($2-5) in this government-owned tea garden. Prices change annually and remain fixed throughout the year. Open daily 7am-4am.
Karadeniz Patisserie, 13 Cumhuriyet Cad., is the nocturnal sweet tooth’s dream. Dazzle your eyes and your gullet with freshly baked sweets, breads, and pastries. Sandwiches and pizza $.60-.90; strawberry tart $1; cakes $6. Open 24hr.
Doyum Büfe 80 Neyzen Teyfik Cad. (313 26 75). On Neyzen Teyfik Cad., heading away from the castle. Catch a quick burger and soda, Bodrum style. Trade your Whopper and Coke fora fried sausage sandwich and ayran (a popular yogurt drink, $.40).
THE RUINS OF HALICARNASSUS
The ruins of ancient Halicarnassus, once one of Hie largest Mediterranean cities in the ancient world, are Bodrum’s best known attraction. Unfortunately, most of the remains were either destroyed, buried beneath the modern town of Bodrum, or shipped to London. The old city walls and what remains of the theater are still partly visible. Names, barely visible on the weathered stone steps, pay tribute to those who helped to build the theater. The Tomb of Mausolus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, marks the resting place of the once-glorious satrap (governor) of Halicarnassus. The tomb once rose to a height of 50m, and is the source of the word “mausoleum.” A rectangular foundation, stone pedestal, and 36 Ionic columns supported the sepulchral chamber. Covered with a pyramid haped roof, the mausoleum was crowned by a statue of Mausolus driving a horse-drawn chariot. Crusaders demolished the structure and used its parts to fortify the Castle of St. Peter. Today the mausoleum site houses a small porch with reconstructions of the mausoleum’s friezes and an open-air museum with columnar fragments. The mausoleum itself has been reduced to a pit resembling a Japanese rock garden, populated only by roaming chickens. To see the real goods, head to London’s British Museum. (To reach the Theater, take a dolmuş toward Gümbet on Kıbrıs Şehitler Cad. Ask to get off when you see the ruins to your right. To reach the mausoleum, take Kulucüoğlu Sok. from behind the otogar; it will be on your right. Theater and mausoleum open Tu-Su 8am-noon and l-5pm. $2.50, students $1.)
THE CASTLE OF ST. PETER
Sandwiched between Bodrum’s two bays, the castle stands watch over the rocky peninsula and the crashing waves below. Crusaders from the Knights of St. John constructed Bodrum’s formidable castle during the 15th and 16t.h centuries. It was built over the ruins of an ancient acropolis and incorporated material from the nearby Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. A transnational effort, the English, French, German, and Italian towers bear the names of the nations responsible for their construction. Despite their extensive fortifications, the Crusaders’s towers were no match for the forces of Süleyman the Magnificent, who overpowered the knights in 1523. Under Ottoman rule, the castle’s importance waned, and in 1895 it was converted into a prison. The fortress now houses a museum with maritime and cultural exhibits. The walls of the castle offer an escape from Bodrum’s busy streets. Turquoise and amber peacocks parade under flowering trees and bushes. From the towers it is possible to see the entire city as well as some of the neighboring bays. Picnickers will appreciate the peace.
After walking up the stone ramp past a series of gates, enter the castle’s lower courtyard on your left at the top of the stairs, where an amphora exhibit graces the left wall. Amphoras, two handled clay jars with rounded bases, were used to carry the wine and olive oil that was traded across the Mediterranean Sea. Opposite the wall is an attractive church which became a mosque under the Ottomans.
The chapel now houses a model of a sunken vessel and other shipwreck artifacts. Continue uphill to the Glass Hall, featuring remnants of the oldest shipwreck ever discovered. The ship sank in the 14th century BC, carrying glass shipments for trade between Egyptian and Anatolian ports.
Once through the gate at the top of the steps, take a left past the public toilets to the Snake Tower, home to pottery artifacts, and traverse a stairwell leading to the Gatineau Tower, which affords a spectacular view of Bodrum. Once upon a time, this tower acted as a dungeon and torture chamber, as proven by the skeletons found during excavation work. Facing the entrance to the Snake Tower is the French Tower, in which rest the remains of a 4th-century BC Carian Princess. Scientists have reconstructed the princess’s face from her skull structure, and her like-ness is on display along with her intact remains and magnificent 4th-century jewelry. Less macabre than it sounds, this exhibit is worth the extra price. Once outside, follow the stairway down to the English Tower, wrhose walls are decorated with Turkish banners, English armor, weapons, and engravings. A new exhibit featuring another ancient shipwreck contains such valuables as Nefertlti’s Seal and a page from the oldest book in the world. Don’t leave the castle without a visit to the German Tower, beyond the ostrich cage, by the Snake Tower, replete with banners, stuffed deer heads, and a chandelier reminiscent of the Middle Ages. (The castle is the most central landmark in Bodrum. Facing the sea on the harbor, walk left for 300 ft. toward the ferries. 316 25 16. Open Tu-Su 8:30am-noon and 12:30-5pm. $5, students with ISIC free. Carian Princess and Glass Hall open Tu-F 10am-noon and 1-5pm. $2.50.
Bodrum, a.k.a. the “Bedroom,” can be a wild flesh-pot whose excesses seem to bring out everyone’s extremes. Loud, exciting discos and calm, sophisticated bars are merely the foreplay to That goes on when the music dies down. Most clubs also open daily as restaurants. Prices rise in July and August. For a wild taste of England in Turkey, hop over the wrestem ridge of Bodrum to Gümbet, where more discos and bars can be found glittering in the night (30min. walk or lOmin. dolmuş ride; dolmuş leave the otogar every 5min.; $.60).
Halikarnas Disco, Z. Miiren Cad. On the hill at the end of Cumhuriyet Cad., 1km from the center of town. The second-largest open-air disco in the world, this famed colosseum of rhythm juts out into the ocean, where strobe lights reflect off the sails of nearby yachts. The club’s dressed-to-be-seen clientele makes serious moves on the dance floor, while spectators gaze from above. Daily shows featuring 25 performers and a celebrity-style entrance tunnel make this club the definitive Bodrum experience. $12 cover charge includes 1 drink. There’s a foam party on Saturdays in July and Aug. Beer $3.
Temple (316 17 21). A popular club where excitable dancing coincides with sly socializing, as the spasmic dance floor lights dart above the flicker of candlelight from the dark wooden bar. Beer $2; rakı $2; cocktails $3-6. Open daily 7pm-5am. ü Hadi Gari (313 80 97). Next to the luminous castle, the oldest disco in Bodrum fuses elegance and funkiness. Stylish customers get down under twinkling white lights on the large outdoor dance floor. Others recline on plush rose and silver cushions in the softly lit interior. An unbeatable view of Bodrum’s colorful nightlife. Beer $3; rakı $4; cocktails $7- 9. Open daily 6pm-4am.
£3 Greenhouse (313 09 11). Black lights set off the neon paint at this much-favored dance bar that extends onto the beach. Surreal international newsreels play on a big screen over the indoor bar as enthusiastic international and Turkish DJs spin from the front half of a blue bus. Beer $2; rakı $3; cocktails $3.50-6. Open daily midnight-5am.
White House (316 40 84). Not to be confused with the one in Washington, D.C., although George W. Bush would still have trouble locating either on a map. An ultraintense light system illuminates the animated Brits dancing inside and playing on the busy patio. Beer $2; rakı $3; cocktails $5. Open 9am-5am.
Ora Bar, 17 Cumhuriyet Cad. (316 39 03). A swanky candle-lit interior with the feel of a castle, where a lively, polished crowd bustles from table to table to the sounds of rock and pop. Popular with a vivacious Turkish crowd. Beer $2.40; rakı $3; cocktails $4-6; prices strangely higher on Muslim holidays. Open 7pm-4am.
Türkü Bar, 49 Gerence Sok. (316 47 41), in the Maya Hotel lounge. From Nezen Tevifk Cad., walk 90m up Gerence Sok., past the otopark. Far from the hoopla of Cumhuriyet Cad. lies a hotel bar like no other. Decorated like a nomadic tent, Türkü Bar features bands that play 14th-century Turkish and Kurdish standards, aided by a yipping local crowd dancing folkloric dances like they’re the macarena. Just clap when everyone else does and you’ll be fine. Beer $3.50; rakı $3. Music daily 10:30pm-4am.
Cafe Tömbeki, 10 Carşi Mah. Yusufcanserdi Sok (316 13 67), off Cumhuriyet Cad. Slightly removed from the roar of the discos. Meet Lewis Carroll’s caterpillar at this water-pipe cafe. Try apple, rose, cappuccino, and other tobacco flavors. This reclusive Ottoman nargile bar serves no food or alcohol, but provides backgammon boards upon request. Large parties can arrange food in advance. Water pipe $5, tea $1.
Alem Fasıl Bar, 181 Cumhuriyet Cad. (313 12 25), near Halikarnas. A wonderfully dark and smoky upstairs den, where acoustic Fasıl music will draw out your inner belly- dancer. Beer $5; rakı 4; cocktails $7. Open 10pm-4am.
Körfez Bar, 2 Ülsü Sok. (316 59 66), on the corner of Cumhuriyet Cad. If Bodrum’s repetitive techno-pop has given you a headache, head to this den of classic rock. Down- to-earth customers socialize under the watchful eye of the Jim Morrison posters that line the brick walls. Beer $2; rakı $2.40; cocktails $3-5. Open 8am-5am.
Red Lion, 137 Cumhuriyet Cad. (316 37 48). For action-packed swigs, touch down at this combination dance and sports bar, where loud crowds watch games on ample TV screens while nodding to house music. Beer $2; rakı $3; cocktails $7. Open 4pm-5am. Lodos Bar, on Cumhuriyet Cad., past the Ora Bar. Playing a fantastic array of English pop music, this joint’s svelte layout allows for just enough dancing as befits a bar. A small dark wood patio with underlit water provides a good look at the stars and a romantic setting for… well, you know.
Karya Otel (313 31 57). Take a much-needed break from Bodrum’s discos and unwind at this friendly Cumhuriyet Cad. favorite. Enjoy the refreshing breeze from the sea while sipping coffee or a more exotic concoction with the locals. Great for people watching. Non-alcoholic hot and cold drinks $1; beer $1.20; cocktails $3. Open 24hr. Sensi (316 68 45). Fora riotous ride in bar craziness, join the mostly-British crowd at Sensi, where table dancing, karaoke, and wig-wearing 70s nights keep this joint quaking. Those who dare can drown their cares in an alcoholic fishbowl ($18). Beer $1.80; rakı $2; cocktails $3.60-5. Open daily 5pm-5am.
DAYTRIPS FROM BODRUM
The Bodrum Peninsula is an extremely popular Turkish vacation spot. Small villages mingle with coastal vistas and offer a more laid back alternative to the excitement of Bodrum. Explore the peninsula’s green northern coast or dry, sandy southern coastline. Several of the Peninsula’s beaches have recently been awarded the European Blue Flag, an environmental award given to communities that keep their beaches especially clean and safe. In recent years, large resorts have privatized much of the beachfront. All dolmuş to these beaches, which are marked by signs on their front window, depart from Bodrum’s otogar.
Çevat Şaltir Ivabağaç, a writer living in Bodrum between the World Wars, wrote the book Mavi Yolculuk, (“Blue Journey”), detailing his sailing excursions along Turkey’s then uninhabited southern Aegean coast. These days, tour boats skirt the front of the castle seeking to recreate his journey with trips bound for the beaches on the southern coast of the peninsula. Building on the adventures described in Kabaağaç’s book, these so-called “Blue Journeys” are multi-day affairs which take you on more involved tours of the peninsula. These should not be confused with “day tours,” which can be a fun alternative to the tourist throngs plaguing the beaches around the city. Itineraries for the tours vary widely; check the tour schedule at the docks at the far end of Cumhuriyet Cad. Popular destinations include the Akvaryum, or aquarium, for an early afternoon swim in the turquoise bay; Kara Ada (Black Island), where visitors can apply the special orange clay from deep within a cave that is reputed to restore youthful beauty ($.20 entrance fee); Meteor (on the Black Island), whose 20m jump will cure anyone’s acrophobia; and Deveplaji (Camel Beach), where the trained dromedaries wait to offer rides ($4 for 10min.). Lover’s Bay and Rabbit Bay offer more swimming and snorkeling. In the high season, tours also include Orak Island, which has some of the best swimming spots on the peninsula. There are no cheap hotels in these locales, so stick with daytrips. (Daily 9am-noon, return 5-6pm; $10-12, lunch included.)
Known by Turks and British connoisseurs as the best beach near Bodrum, Ortakent actually features a certain amount of sand to go with the requisite ciystal blue ocean water. (Take a dolmuş: 15 min., running 24hr. in high season, $.75.)
Named after the famous Turkish pirate and scourge of 16th-century European shipping, Turgut Reis, 181m from Bodrum, is the most accessible point on the west coast of the peninsula. Dolmuş followed a road that was once an ancient trading route. Popular with tourists who prefer relaxing on the beach to dancing in discos, it is usually fairly crowded. To reach the beach, head down Nehemet Hilmi Cad. (the main drag) toward the mosque towers. The beach is to the right of the marina as you face it. If you’re up for a walk through fruit laden groves, follow the small road near the Turgut Reis otogar or take a dolmuş north 4km for the more isolated and enjoyable Kadikalesi beach. (Take a dolmuş: 30min., every 10min 6:30am-3:30am; $1.)
Recently awarded a Blue Flag in honor of its pristine environment, this narrow beach is popular with British package tourists. Seaside bars have built pontoon docks over the wTater where you can order drinks wvhile you sunbathe. Windsurfing is popular’, with several places offering instruction and rentals. (Take the dolmuş: 20min., 7:30am-2am (24hr. in high season), $.75. Windsurfing $15 per day.)
Famous for its deep clear water, Bağla’s lovely beach has been largely overtaken by a British resort company. Windsurfing and dinghies to rent all over the beach, near many great camping areas. (Best accessible by dolmuş to Bitez and then a short walk. 8am-2am, $1; windsurfing $15 per day.)
Also awarded a Blue Flag, the rare sand paradise of Yahşi is the longest beach in Bodrum. Flanked by surfers, sunbathers, and olive and tangerine trees, the turquoise waters offer a more serene warmth than other beaches in the area. (Take a dolmuş: 30min., every lOmin. 7:30am-2am, $.80.)
GÖLKÖY AND TÜRKBÜKÜ
Calmer than the southern coast, the northern end of the peninsula offers swimming docks that stretch into the clear water. The quiet shores of Gölköy and Türkbükü draw sophisticated Turkish tourists and their yachts. (Dolmuş depart frequently for both beaches: 30min., 8am-midnight; July-Aug. 7am-5am. In Gölköy the dolmuş stops in front of the town’s main grocery store, $1.)
GÜMÜŞLÜK (ALSO CALLED MINDOS)
The Turkish name means “silvery,” referring to ancient silver coins that were discovered in the area. Near the short little sliver of a beach lie the sunken ruins of ancient Mindos, a 4th-century BC port impregnable even to Alexander the Great. The site, accessible through daily dives, consists of a 3m-thick city wall and a Roman basilica. Take a boat to Rabbit Island, a tiny peninsula 100m from shore that nurtures the furry creatures. (Take a dolmuş from the Bodrum otogar: 40min., 24hr„ $1.40 in high season; $1 all other times. For information on dives, contact the Aegean Prod Dive Center (‘¡s316 07 37), on Neyzen Teyfik Cad.)
Because Labraynda is 20km up a steep, winding road in ill-repair, it is not accessible by dolmuş. The site can be reached by private car or taxi ($25-30), but for most travelers, the best way to see it is with a package tour. Some travelers hitch rides on dump trucks heading to a calcium deposit further in the mountains, but this is not advisable. The road to the site starts across the highway from the Milas otogar.
A rough ride over loose stones and thick dust serves as a 45min. rite of passage to this sanctuary of Zeus. One of the least visited sites of ancient Caria, Labraynda was an important religious center devoted to Zeus Stratios (aka Zeus Labraundos), a version of the god peculiar only to this sanctuary but attested to in inscriptions from as far away as Athens. The site is exceptional, since its well-preserved ruins, dating to the 7th century BC, precede the Romans. The cult of Zeus Stratios flourished into a cosmic affair complete with oracular signs, banquets, and baths. Today, the flowering terraces of Labraynda provide rich fodder for the honeybees of local villagers and spiritual vistas for lucky travelers.
There are a couple ways to enter. If you encounter a wooden gate, don’t be discouraged: just call out and someone will let you in. Directly to the left of the site entrance is andron A, where all-male banquets venerating Zeus were held. Behind the andron are the oikoi, homes for the priests who maintained the site and cult records. Walk through the 4th-century BC Temple of Zeus, marked by the remains of Ionic columns, to come face-to-face with a round, chair-like object used during the worship of Zeus. Behind the temple is an oddly shaped slow with raised relief work. About 2m below and 25m ahead, an impressive stairway leads to the remnants of the ancient agora, where the four open windows on the left once housed shops. On the right stand the Doric house and Byzantine church. Behind the church is one of the most intriguing finds at Labranda the domain of the ancient fish oracle. Archaeologists think that the columns mark where the priests tempted jewel- bedecked fish with bait. If the fish took the offerings, the oracle was favorable.
For the complete Labranda adventure, climb the hill behind the Temple of Zeus (there’s another gate here, but simply pass through) and follow the circuitous path to the exceptionally well-preserved tomb. The front chamber of this vaulted structure was once the final resting place of Idrieus’ children, hi the back lay the man himself and his two wives. On the way out, ask the guide to show you the stone emblazoned with the ax of Zeus Stratios, the focus of the site’s cult.
Euromos is best viewed with a package tour, usually along with Labranda. Open daily 8am- 7pm. $1.20, students $.40.
The ancient city of Kyromos became known as Euromos when Caria came under Hellenistic influence in the 4th century BC. A shrine dating from as early as the 6th century’ BC was dedicated to Zeus and the local god Stratios. Hidden in silvery olive groves, about 50m from the highway, the 2nd-century AD Temple of Zeus is a prime example of Roman-era temple architecture, featuring exquisite Corinthian columns. The still-unfluted columns indicate that the temple was never finished. Wealthy residents, whose support is recorded, unusually, on the columns themselves, financed the construction of the elaborate supports.
Notice the intact architrave, or stone lintel, running across the top of the columns. A walk around the back of the temple toward the unfinished supports reveals a stone engraved with a double ax, the symbol of Zeus Stratios, and the remains of a decorative lion head on the sima, or gutter. Rainwater used to run out
One often hears that Turkey has better Roman ruins than Italy and better Greek ruins than Greece. While sites are not so simply ranked, this statement isn’t far off the mark. Not only are the better exposed treasures-Ephesus, Aphrodisias, Bergama-dazzling, but much still remains underground, waiting to be unearthed when sufficient funding comes to light. Unfortunately, a number of obstacles stand so firmly in the way that many discoveries will remain buried indefinitely. Money is, of course, the biggest and most long-standing problem. The vast majority of current excavations in Turkey receives funding from international sources: Germans work at Bergama, Americans at Aphrodisias, Austrians at Ephesus, and so forth. The minimal Turkish funding remains largely private; Efes beer has generously funded the excavation and restoration work at Assos. The Turkish government, however, has lately created a huge impediment to increased archaeological research. Within the last year it has declared that all substantial ruins excavated must be restored, presumably in the interest of generating tourist sites like those at Ephesus and Bergama. As one can imagine, this requires a serious diversion of funding and energy. Instead of undertaking new excavations and bringing more to scholarly attention, archaeological teams must now spend their limited money on new marble and special architects; therefore, new tourist attractions will come at a considerable cost.
The temple contains the remains of the altar and a curious upright pillar decorated in raised relief, a remnant of the door that led to the sacred inner shrine. Unfortunately, the temple’s excellent state of preservation has been marred by shoddy, cement reconstruction work around the foundation. With your back to the length-wise fluted columns, you will see the hilltop remains of the ancient wall enclosing what were the agora, theater, and baths. Ask the guard to point out the 10,000-seat theater, hidden by grass and olive trees. A keen glance from above reveals a column on the other side of the modern highway; this is part of the ancient agora now covered by fields and crops.
AKYAKA (BAY OF GÖKOVA)
Sitting at the tip of the Bay of Gökova, the serene village of Akyaka is surrounded by a sandy beach and rich pine forests. The undeveloped land around the bay is perfect for camping and exploration. Gökova’s river delta, set aside as conservation land, teems with aquatic life, including fish, turtles, and ducks. On the other side of the bay is the island of Sedir, whose white sand is said to have been shipped from Egypt 2000 years ago for Cleopatra and Marc Antony’s honeymoon. Although the town is the vacation destination of choice for many locals, its resort amenities are delightfully understated, and its architecture is exquisite.
TRANSPORTATION AND PRACTICAL INFORMATION
Since Gökova lies on the Muğla-Marmaris road, any bus heading in either direction can drop you off. Dolmuş to Marmaris (10am, $1) and Muğla (every7 30min. 7am-7pm, $.80) leave from the Akyaka dolmuş stop, across from Belediye Park, near the Belediye building on Lütfiye Sakici Cad. (the street to the left just before the PTT and jandarma).
Navigation can be tough in Akyaka. Though small, the town is not compact, and street names are rarely used. The main road, Atatürk Cad., begins uphill from the town (where minibuses stop) and winds its way down and curves left. After the curve, the phannacy Gökova Eczanesi is on the right side of Atatürk Cad. The owner will open it after hours if medication is urgently needed. (243 53 00; after hours (243 57 99). Open daily 8am-10pm.) Also on Atatürk Cad., the very helpful Mepar Tour Office functions as the tourist office and travel agent, distributing free maps and providing an English-language book exchange. (243 55 51; fax 243 55 56. Open daily 8am-10pm.) There are no banks or ATMs in the town, but it is possible to change money at the jewelry store next to Mepar Tours (open daily 9am-9pm). The PTT, 100m down from Mepar, on the left, offers basic mail and phone services. (243 51 42. Open daily 8:30am-12:30pm and l:30-5:30pm.) Postal code: 48650.
Farther down Atatürk Cad., a small road on the left leads to the National Forest picnic and camping area. Atatürk Cad. continues for 2km to Çinar Beach, which is less crowded than Akyaka’s public beach. Lütfiye Sakici Cad. runs downhill to Akyaka’s public beach and waterfront. The beach and the waterfront road have a few restaurants, cafeterias, bars, and souvenir shops.
ACCOMMODATIONS & CAMPING
Because many pensions in Akyaka cater to (mostly Turkish) families, they often have kitchens or apartment slyle layouts. Rooms are scarce in summer, so call ahead. Just 5min. from the beach, Ege Pansiyon is reachable by turning left off Lütfiye Sakicr Cad., just before the row of bars and restaurants. Egc offers homey rooms with kitchen, bath, living room, and balcony. ( 243 42 62. $16 per apartment per night.) On Atatürk Cad. across from Mepar Tours, Server Pansiyon 0 has apartments (for 3-4 people) with modem bath, fully equipped kitchen, and tile floors. (243 54 97; fax 243 55 70. $20 per apartment per night.) To reach Akyaka’s campground, Gökova Orman Kampı , go down Atatürk Cad. 400m past the PTT to the gates leading to the picnic and camping area. There’s overnight camping farther up in the forest. The campground has showers, toilets, electricity, and a restaurant. Bring your own gear. ( 243 50 35. $2.40 per tent or caravan with up to 4 people; bungalow $14.50. Electricity $.80.)
FOOD AND ENTERTAINMENT
Akyaka’s culinary offerings include plenty of steak and kebap ($3) places in the village center, fresh fish in picturesque settings by the river, and standard variations on Turkish and European cuisine in seaside cafeterias. Nightlife is easygoing. The scenery at Halil’nin Yeri is downright gorgeous, especially with the warm lamp light in the evenings; water babbles, ducks quack, and tall green reeds blow right next to your table. To get there from Atatürk Cad., turn left downhill after the pharmacy and walk 300m. (243 51 73. Cold dishes $1; grilled meats $2.50-5; fresh fish $5-15; wine $4.50-14 per bottle. Open daily 11am-1am.) For a more casual atmosphere, try one of the restaurants conveniently located at the bottom of Lütfiye Sakici Cad., which offer a combination of Turkish standards and Western favorites. On Negiz Sok., to the right off Lütfiye Sakici Cad., at the bottom of the hill, the Caretta Bar is a rustic, friendly bar playing Turkish and foreign music for a mostly local crowd. (255 63 26. Beer $1.20; rakı $1.60; cocktails $3. Open May-Oct. daily 8pm-2am.) The Tropix Bar, across from Caretta, is a hip joint with comfortable bamboo chairs and out-door seating. (243 50 72. Beer $1.20; Japanese sake $4. Open daily 9pm-2am.)
Enjoying the public beach, with its secluded swimming coves, is Akyaka’s main pastime. The beach extends from the right of the pier to the entrance of the pine-laced National Park ($.50). The beach’s sandbar stretches nearly 100m into the gulf. Ask at Mepar Tours for information on guided and unguided visits, including daily boat, trips to nearby islands, jeep safaris to Gökova Bay and small villages, walking tours, and a river bird-watching trip.