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Republic of Turkey: Traveling Oludeniz, Fethiye to Alanya, Antalya 🇹🇷

I never considered Turkey to be a country to travel to, mainly because growing up in America, we never heard anything good about it. All we knew was that it was a Muslim country somewhere in the middle east and that it was most likely dangerous and in the middle of a desert somewhere. The funny thing is, now that I've been living off and on in Ukraine, going to Turkey is almost as easy and common as Americans going to Miami or Las Vegas for a holiday. It's also a lot cheaper, with the Turkish Lira going from $1 = 3 a few years ago to now being around 8.50 lira for every US Dollar.


Direct flights are less than $100 from anywhere in Ukraine and Turkey's Mediterranean to the south, the Aegean to the west, the Sea of Marmara between the European and Asian land masses, and the Black Sea to the north spanning over 5,000 miles of coast line, make it a beautiful travel destination. With warm summer temperatures from April - November, it's an easy place to escape the winter back home. To make things even easier, there are package tours and all inclusive hotels. But as a lot of us independent travelers and digital nomads like to do, we created our own itinerary as i'll show you in this blog post. 




Visas, Tests, and Info


For Ukrainians it couldn't be easier, as they can travel to Turkey with just their ID card, (no passport or visa needed) and no covid tests required right now either. However as Americans we need to get an e-visa online before going. To check if your passport country needs a visa to enter Turkey, go to mfa.gov.tr and scroll down to see your country's requirements. 


Just be careful not to get scammed by visiting an official looking Turkey Visa website that turns out to be an agent that charges 3x the price and collects your information to sell elsewhere. I almost fell for it, but luckily my credit card declined. The official site to get visa for Turkey evisa.gov.tr


As for COVID test requirements, it changes all of the time, and unfortunately there's no government sponsored website like Visit Ukraine that make it easy. The best source of information is through Turkish Airlines travel updates page. 





My Travel Plans


My original plan was to start 1 week later and go straight from Kiev, Ukraine to Antalya to spend a week on the beach, then a week in the cultural and historic city of Istanbul. But as fate would have it, my friend Veronica was also planning her trip to Turkey, and was going exactly one week before me and asked if I wanted to join. My initial response was no, as I still had a week's worth of Airbnb rental paid in Kyiv, as well as my apartment closing escrow that week, but when she told me about her plans, I figured, why not and made it happen. 


It turned my 2 week trip into a possible 3, and I had to give power of attorney to my lawyer to close the deal on my apartment, as well as pay $500 more to hold the 2nd apartment I wanted to buy in Kharkiv so all in all it costed me quite a bit more, but it was well worth it. 


I'm glad I went as first off, for whatever reason there are a lot more direct flights to Fethiye's airport (DLM - Dalaman) than to AYT - Antayla or close by GZP - Gazipasa Alanya for whatever reason. Secondly, I never would have had seen how amazingly beautiful the Fethiye side of the country was if it wasn't for hoping on her itinerary. I would have came to see just one side of the country and wouldn't have appreciated it nearly as much.




Oludeniz, Fethiye 




Having seen both now, I can say that Fethiye feels much more like European beaches with it's boardwalk of restaurants and shops, while Antayla and Alanya look and feel more like the city beaches we have in California. But the real magic is when you go out of the main city beach and explore a bit outside to harder to get to destinations. Ölüdeniz is a smaller, less visited part of the Fethiye region, but is much more beautiful, interesting, and paradise like. A few must dos here are visiting the Blue Lagoon and Paragliding as it's one of the Top 10 places in the world. 


Also from that area, I would 100% recommend driving down the coast to Kaputaş Beach to spend the day as it's one of the most beautiful places I've seen anywhere in the world. You can then drive a bit further and spend the evening walking around the cute little town of Kaş and spend the night there so you don't need to drive back so late at night along the cliff road. The other option would be to continue further and spend a few days in Olympos which is somewhere I would have loved to had time to visit. We had rented a car from DLM Rental car at the airport for around $30 a day, which gave us the freedom to explore. There is also the option to take day trips with organized tours, but it's a different experience being on a bus with 50 others and flooding a beach for 45 minutes verses driving there on your own and taking your time.


The one thing we didn't have time to do was visit the Ancient roman spa city of Pamukkale and soak in the thermal waters. It would have been close to a 4 hour drive each way and we didn't want to do it as a part of a bus tour as rushing a spot with 50+ others for the same 2-hours isn't my idea of relaxing and enjoying the experience. If we were to do it, I'd want to spend the night there and soak in the thermals during sunset and maybe again in early morning before all of the tourists arrive. We did so some really cool day trips like party on a pirate ship, take a mud bath in Dalaman, and Paraglide over the blue lagoon. All videos that will be coming soon on my Youtube channel/JohnnyFD so make sure you subscribe so you don't miss it. For now, watch me jumping off a cliff in Ölüdeniz to get an idea of how beautiful these beaches are in Turkey and what else is coming up soon.








Antalya, Turkey



Even though my original plan was to stay in Antalya, I realized that it was only because it was the more famous seaside city and was kind of like the Fethiye of the south. It's where most of the all-inclusive, mega resorts and hotels are, and it's also where the airport is, which explains the popularity. But when I asked around a bit more, I found out that like many places, bigger and more popular isn't always better. Going to Antalya would be akin to going to Phuket or Koh Samui in Thailand as they both have airports and are popular with tourists. But insiders and long term travelers know that just by going an extra hour can take you to lesser known, but even more beautiful and charming locations such as Koh Lanta, or Koh Phangan. 

But since it is a big city, we found ourselves there multiple times over our trip regardless if we wanted to go there or not. The first was a short stop on our drive from Oludeniz/Fethiye to Alanya as we passed straight through the city. The 3 hour of the drive from Ölüdeniz to Antalya even on the highway was absolutely beautiful as we passed through nature and mountains the entire trip and even saw a bit of the sea from afar. If we didn't already do the coast drive from Oludeniz to Kaş a few days earlier, we would have loved to do the entire drive from Oludeniz to Antalya along the coast spending the night in Kas and then a few days chilling out in Olympos before heading to Antalya. 

However, most people won't go this option, even though it would be incredible. So instead, go ahead and fly straight into AYT airport and check into your all inclusive hotel for the week. Just make sure you at least take a day trip to Side for the Greco-Roman ruins or to Alanya for a trip. As for us, we stayed at a standard hotel called Privado Hotel which was a short walk from the old city and had an amazing Turkish breakfast and a very comfortable restaurant area that I used as my own coworking space during the day. We also ate at some really tasty restaurants there including 7 Mehmet (call ahead and reserve an outside table with a sea view). It had amazing food but terrible service. Get the Lamb in Tandoori rice that's baked with roasted natural almonds and raisins, it's one of the tastiest dishes I've had anywhere in the world. Old Town KALEİÇİ restaurant was very good with great service, and HACI USTA is a must visit place for a pistachio dessert including the baklava and the Turkish Irmik Helvasi (Semolina Halva) with ice cream.




Fethiye to Antalya










Alanya, Turkey



A two hour drive from the bigger city of Antalya is the sister city of Alanya which in everywhere is more charming and quaint in every way. Then there are even smaller neighborhood towns 20 minutes in each direction which I will later explore in my property hunting and apartment shopping videos coming up soon. But overall, Alanya is the city I would actually want live in and buy property if I wanted to stay longer. The peak tourist season is a few months longer in Alanya than in Fethiye making it better for year round rentals from what I've heard. Although the beach is cold and swimming pools are closed during the winter, it's still a possible place to escape to as the coldest it gets is 7℃ (44℉) and it never freezes or snows. 


But in general, Alanya and it's neighborhoods just feel more like a livable town that isn't just for tourists. There are good local restaurants, beautiful views, low costs of living, and relatively cheap apartments to rent and buy. I have two videos coming out soon on my Youtube channel where I go look at what you can buy in Alanya for $40,000 - $50,000 and that price, you can get brand new units with a semi-sea view and a pool, or fully furnished used units near the beach. You'll probably want a car though, and you'll find yourself making the two hour drive to Antalya quite often to go shopping or get things done, so it's a pro and a con of living in the quieter town. 


As a tourist I'd definitely spend one day going to the Red Tower and swimming in the secret beach there as well as having lunch as fresh juice grown inside the tower walls. Then another day during sunset, I'd take the cable car called the Alanya Teleferik up, go for a walk, then have a drink at one of the cliff side restaurants such as Gardenia. Just make sure you take the last cable car back down before 9pm when it closes, otherwise, you'll have a hard time getting off the mountain or even finding a taxi down.







Costs and Expenses



It's not so good for Turkish people making a local salary, but for tourists, it's a great time to visit the country Lira to Dollar wise. Even for Ukrainians who don't earn a lot, everything is relatively cheap and affordable even for them. You can take a package tour from any big city in Ukraine including flights, hotel transfer, all meals, drinks, and accommodation for as little as $330 a week for two people. Those are insanely good prices for a vacation. We paid quite bit more though as we wanted to stay at a nicer hotel right on the beach, and had other costs like renting a car, and eating out everyday, but still everything always felt like a good value, even though it ended up costing a lot at the end when added up. 


I normally consider myself a traveler, and like to go to countries for 2-3 months, live like a local, and go to off the beaten path, non-touristy areas as it gives you the best sense of the country and culture. It's usually also a lot cheaper than staying in hotels and doing other things tourists do. However, for this trip, I had actually consciously decided to go as a tourist instead. Part of it was because my friends that I went with were on a 1-2 week vacation from their full time jobs in Ukraine and planned it this way, but also because I actually wanted to experience Turkey as a tourist to see what it would be like. My trip ended up being a bit of a hybrid as we had a car the entire time and didn't follow the normal package route, but honestly, I'd love to go back later this year and do one of these all inclusive trips as they are such a good deal, especially since my Turkish visa is still valid until November. 


Sitting down to calculate how much I spent, I'm actually a bit surprised what it ended up costing me as everything on its own felt like such a good deal. But when I factor in that I was paying for two people, to paraglide, go on tours, and we ended up eating out at nice restaurants almost every day and often getting overcharged at tourist restaurants. I also spent around $300 buying souvenirs, snacks, and clothes, I can see why this total cost added up to be so high, but honestly I was really surprised to see how much the total was for a 2 week trip to somewhere that's known to be as cheap as Turkey. I don't have any regrets, but it would be fun to try going next time on one of the all inclusive package tours for $500 for two people to see if it's possible and how different of an experience it'll be. It looks like it can also be fun laying on the beach and eat and drink at the hotel everyday and not getting a big bill when you come back and see your credit card statement. 


Here's a breakdown of the costs:


Flight Kyiv to Dalaman: $66.97 x 2
Fight Antalya to Kiev: $55.21 x 2
Visa to Turkey: $51.50
SIM card in Turkey: $20.77 x 2
Rental Car: $30 a day x 13 days. 
Taxi: $8.08
Gas/Petrol: $90
Kas Hotel: $33 (Ates Pension)
Oludeniz Hotel: $122.59 (Montebello Deluxe)
Alayana Hotel: $393.61 (Floria Beach)
Antalya Hotel: $28.36 (Privado)
Other Paid on Card: $708.54
Other Paid in Cash: $691.41
(Food, Drinks, Shopping, sightseeing, tours, etc.) 

Total Spent: $2,545.49



















Would I Live in Turkey?



Even before going to Turkey for the first time, I already started to look into it as a possible place to live half time. I knew that I wanted to spend 6 months a year in Ukraine, but I needed a place to go the other 6 and Turkey seemed like a good option. Decent weather, even during the winter, low costs of living, fantastic food, nice apartments, relatively easy long term visa options, and it's only a 2.5 hour flight away. To stay longer in Turkey, you can apply for a residence permit, which is popular with expats and seems pretty straight forward and easy. You can even convert your temporary residence permit into permanent residency after 8 years. I also like that there's an option to invest $250,000 into property and get Turkish citizenship which also gives you a 2nd passport. 


However, after visiting Turkey for a few weeks and experiencing the country for myself, I've decided that it's not a place where I want to live long term. It's a beautiful place to go on vacation, but it lacks the infrastructure and WIFI speeds that I look for in an ideal country to live in. The 4G data is decent and unlimited WIFI is available in most places, however upload speeds are incredibly slow and unusable. It's fine is you only consume media as 99% of the world does, but for me, I need the ability to upload photos, videos, take live video calls, and have the speed and stability to do so. There's a chance that if you move into the right apartment and get the biggest package, you may be able to get decent speeds, but even then, the internet there is asymmetrical, so even if your WIFI is advertised as 100mpbs, the maximum upload speed you can possibly get is 10mbps, and everywhere I went it was closer or less than even 1mbps. 


The biggest issue however, is the fact that most people don't understand or care why fast upload speeds are important. There isn't a digital nomad or entrepreneur scene there, and won't be until a minimum of 20down/20up speeds are common place for everyone, everywhere. As for living in Istanbul, it's not even a consideration for me as I generally don't like busy crowded cities and I would only want to live in Turkey if it was near a nice beach. I do really like the country, food, and it's people though, and there's a lot more of the country I want to explore, so even though I don't plan on moving there anytime soon, I'll definitely be back to visit and travel again soon.







With love from Turkey,


Johnny FD



 



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Post a Comment

  1. Have you been to Turkey? Why or why not, and what are your thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
  2. "I generally don't like busy crowded cities" - You just described Kiev - )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kiev isn't crowded at all. You always have plenty of space to walk.

      Delete
  3. Have always wanted to go!

    I'm impressed by your 'to the penny' spend tracking, Johnny! May I ask which app you use to track (if u do)? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't use any apps. I just put everything on a credit card if I can, and use the dashboard to see what I spent. Everything else is with cash, but I calculate how much I withdrew.

      Delete
  4. Want to see what you think about Egypt or Tunisia as second home. Haven’t been myself but they are on the list to checkout. Going to Turkey/Georgia in September.
    Thanks for the info

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Zero chance I will want to live in Egypt long term. The tourist harassment culture there would drive me insane.

      Delete
    2. I haven't been to Tunisia yet. But Georgia is a fantastic place, especially Tbilisi, however it's cold in the winter as well.

      Delete
  5. Johnny, visit Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, the sea is incredible - take your snorkeling mask, you can buy a package tour from Kiev

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am 100% planning to go to Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt for a future vacation from here.

      Delete
  6. I lived in Turkey for many years--Istanbul & Adana, lots of time on the south coast too-- & I loved it. Didn't realize the internet wasn't fast there. If you stay longer than a tourist in Turkey, it's a place where you should learn the language. Also, Istanbul is very expensive & crowded, better to live by the beach.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Iv'e heard that about Istanbul. It'll be a great place to visit though. As I said above, the internet is mostly okay if you're just consuming content, it's only terrible if you're creating content.

      Delete
  7. Hi Jhonny,
    It's been a while since you posted your income, expense report. With all the purchases like houses etc. Is flipping properties possible in Kyiv?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just posted one today, check it out.
      As for flipping in Kyiv, yes it's possible. But it's a 3 year hold to avoid the tax.

      Delete

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