Landing there at 6AM was not the ideal thing, nor was it the worst thing on earth, but when you’re traveling and tight on time, you’d rather sacrifice a night’s sleep than a beautiful morning.
Lea and I had been wanting to take a vacation together ever since we worked at the same office; landing on Ölüdeniz in several searches sounded so ideal. Tons of things were on the list for that vacation. Should we visit Pamukkale? Will we have time to paraglide off Babadağ mountain? What about the Butterfly Valley? It was too much, and we knew with only 4 and a half days, we had to do what we really wanted.
Step 1: Check-in, explore the neighborhood and memorize the hotel in fifteen minutes.
Day 1: Beach, fish, beach
When you’re on a vacation like that, you have to be well prepared for a loaded amount of sun and a bit of fatigue at the end of the day. But also, when you’re on a vacation like that, you have to make sure you visit the most beautiful spots before time runs out. We had a quick breakfast at Help Bar, whose staff are friendly and helpful; they mainly suggested how to squeeze a perfect vacation in a few days, what we cannot miss and what we should do as soon as we can. Breakfast was good; basically any meal would be helpful after not sleeping any minute all night long; an average of 40TL per person makes perfect sense.
Next stop was the beach. The Blue Lagoon is something I cannot describe to you. It’s something you have to see, hear and feel. It’s so beautiful, so calm and so inviting you can hardly resist the landscape and the relaxation that comes along. It’s a marvelous place to nap, talk, read, or even enjoy a calm drink. Two beach beds and a beach umbrella can be as low as 30TL.
The first night there still went by smoothy and we were still sleep-deprived but energetic, so we decided to hit the fish market! We took the bus (5TL per person) there, and mind you the buses are convenient, air-conditioned, and accurate. The fish market is an experience of its own, and it’s a lovely one indeed. Choose your fresh fish from the market which is in the middle of the open area, and take it to nearby restaurants to cook it; by “nearby” I actually mean the restaurants around the center. The fish is fresh and the ambiance is lovely; a few musicians drop by to play Turkish tunes that customers dance to while they dine. It’s very well known that you can easily argue for the price anyone gives you in any market anywhere in Turkey, so you’d better get a 1.8kg fish for 30TL max! The restaurant will charge you for the salad and the service, and anything else you order. We had salad, drinks, marinated octopus and fried calamari rings (yum!) for 60TL.
PS: The last bus passes at 1AM, don’t miss it; check the info here.
The night ended at one of the several beach bars there, it’s called The Beach Bar and you can identify it from its lanterns, two surf boards, tall wooden signs and lit bar. We had a glass of white wine (which we later noticed that bartenders fill entirely, unlike in Beirut it’s half a glass actually), and an amaretto sour, which were both good, for a total of 35TL. You should know, however, that being on the beach there means that you will hear and spot dogs, so if you’re scared, keep an eye. The team are friendly enough to play the song you request and they occasionally drop by the tables and bean bags, with a smile and a high-five and a little touristic chat, just as you’d expect.
Source: The Beach Bar Oludeniz Instagram Account
Day 2: Beach, walk, party
A good night’s sleep was all what we needed, and the second day we were ready to explore another beach, something rather private with a few bungalows, a casual eatery and several beach beds and umbrellas: Sugar Beach Club. I don’t usually drink beer but who goes to Turkey and doesn’t have an Efes? I later figured that the place is touristic and not many locals were going there; possibly because there are other places they would rather explore which I would second. A day well spent in the sun, the calm scenery and a one-on-one talk with Lea were really what made it all worthwhile.
Next stop was a walk by the coast, with the vibrant touristic taste of things. You can hear the people laughing and see the kids running, it’s easy to sense that either everyone is on vacation or everyone is really happy. After all, you’re on the coast and everyone there is also having a special time. Our walk was long, during which we were deciding whether to go to Hisarönü, the area famous for its several clubs, or to stay by the beach. The decision was made, and we took the bus to Hisarönü to explore the other things there.
There are two things we noticed: 1) the area is crowded at night, which is good, and 2) the clubs are not actual clubs, they’re just loud pubs. I know that according to Lebanese standards, clubs like White and Skybar are in the cities where nightlife prevails, but our experience wasn’t so bad (photos below are in Lebanon). We went to Barrumba Bar where there was – awkwardly enough – an Arabic one man show with all the songs that sounded not familiar but legit for any tourist to enjoy the night. Next, we visited Grand Boozey and passed outside Revolution. The list is long and the places are nice, and if you’re planning a massive night out, you should sure check everything in this list. (Average drink price would be 20TL, nothing more)
Source: Beirut Night Life
Source: Beirut Night Life
Day 3: Paraglide, beach, drink
I don’t know where to begin expressing whatever I felt before, during and after I did this. But I know one thing, choosing Deep Blue team to do this with was very comforting. From the moment we booked till the day we left, they were supportive and friendly all along.
For those of you who have done this before, please note that paragliding off Babadağ mountain was – for me – terrifying long before I took the bus there. For those of you who haven’t done this before, a 2000 meter mountain is much different than a 1000 meter one.
In the bus, 6 passengers and their 6 pilots took the ride to the top of the mountain, got ready, and flew. All what I remember now is that Osman – my pilot – was very well aware of how much terror was present in those moments. He kept reminding me to relax and enjoy the view, occasionally cracking a few jokes and making sure the whole experience would be memorable. The first 15 minutes were above the clouds, and I have never ever been more scared in my life. Every time I tell this story, I remember a new moment during which I got scared. The remaining 20 minutes of the ride were above the beach, and it was too beautiful to think of anything else.
The existential crisis was when I looked around and found that Osman and I were tied together with two metallic pieces, and the parachute that held us together was merely strings. No motor, no window, nothing. I reminded myself, and he reminded me constantly, that we weren’t going to just die like that or detach and fall to the ground. The ride ended safely and when we landed I was more than happy to put my feet on the ground and lose the floating feeling. The ride was for 200 TL along with photos and videos on a beautiful CD after the ride is over.
It took me a while to get over the feeling and to get back to normal, after which we went to the beach just to lie in the sun and talk over and over again about the experience, Lea being the braver one.
The night ended with a walk on the beach, a lovely talk, a delicious strawberry daiquiri at Help Bar, and more serenity of the waves and moon after 2AM.
Day 4: Boat trip, drink
Part of the magic is the distance your sight stretches at. We went on a boat trip – also booked with Deep Blue – to the 12 Islands. The tour was from 10AM to 6PM, with a lunch on the deck and a few stops for swimmers to jump and cool off.
You feel so tiny and your problems feel so insignificant, and Lea and I were projecting the whole time: How hard life is becoming in Lebanon, how little we can do to change the corrupt system, how hopeless it seems even though we’re fighting to see it half-full…
I remember clearly the last few minutes before we reached the port. I remember how much I was thinking of every unhappy person I knew, and how much I wished to bring them all to that moment, to those five minutes, to that simple piece of mind only 2 hours away from the mess they’re in. I couldn’t help but feel so content to be there yet so sad for everyone I loved. Everyone is frustrated in Lebanon, I cannot even begin to explain to you in which ways and in what forms… It’s like I wanted to shake the misery off everyone’s shoulders but I couldn’t.
That night, I recall clearly all my emotions as Lea and I went walking to The Beach Bar.
I recall how nice of a feeling it was to see a happy face for more than once on the same vacation, and to ask the same person how are you and know how they were a day before. I recall how nice it was that after four days, we actually had familiar faces we could wave “hello” to. We started counting down; not knowing how to say goodbye was the first feeling ever.
Day 5: Waste time, fly back
How do you waste five hours when you have checked-out of the hotel and your luggage is in their lobby? You go to the mall! We shopped till we dropped and ran the last minute checks on our to-buy lists. I also took Lea to Kahve Dünyasi, which is one of my favorites, for chocolate treats and tons of caffeine.
Everyone was so friendly – and sometimes too friendly – and so smiley and so fine. I tried to imagine what it would be like for all those faces to be stressed, or upset, or in different contexts. I wondered what it would be like to be one of them, and not one on vacation. So many questions, and so many memories, and so many beautiful things squeezed in a short period of time!
You can follow the adventures as they happened on #TravelBuddiesDiaries!
Teşekkür ederim, görüşürüz!