Useful tips and need-to-know information

 

Healthcare

Kalkan has a number of private doctors and dentists and nearby Fethiye a variety of private hospitals. A new hospital with an emergency services facility has recently opened in Kaş, about a 15 minute drive from Kisla. Health care is not covered under the E111 as in the European Union and private health cover is necessary. However the standard of private care is excellent and generally significantly cheaper than European private hospitals. Doctors in Kalkan and in Fethiye are used to dealing with foreign patients and some hospitals have a special foreigner liaison officer to help with any communication problems and insurance paperwork.

In the unlikley event of you needing emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 112 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Entry requirements

British nationals need a visa to enter Turkey (except for cruise ship passengers with ‘British Citizen’ passports who arrive at sea ports for tourist visits to the port city or nearby cities, provided that the visit doesn’t exceed 72 hours).

You can get an e-Visa online before you travel through the official Republic of Turkey e-Visa website.  You can apply up to 3 months in advance of your travel date.

The language

Well the Turkish language can look and sound a lot different from English so it’s a good idea to brush up a little bit on some essential phrases to make the whole holiday experience more fulfilling. For example you’ll hear the phrase ‘Hoş Geldiniz’ a lot on your travels. It means ‘Welcome’ and you can delight your host by learning the right local response. To check out what it is and a few more very useful words and phrases maybe check out this site.   Or have a look at this Youtube video on how to recognise and pronounce some very helpful everyday phrases (though we doubt you’ll ever have to use the sentence, ‘Hava o kadar guzel degil’!). Anyway good luck…

Tipping

Tips or gratuities (bahşiş in Turkish) are generally modest in Turkey – a few percent of the price paid.

In most cases, you cannot include the tip on a credit card charge. You should tip in cash and, in most cases, hand the tip directly to the person who has served you. In some establishments, any tip you leave on the table will end up in the owner’s cash register, not in the server’s pocket. Although the person you tip would probably prefer Turkish liras, you may tip in any currency so long as you give notes/bills (paper money). Don’t give non-Turkish coins as these cannot easily be exchanged for Turkish liras.

Airports/Train & Bus Stations
Every airport, bus station (otogar) and train station (gar) has an official tariff for porters, which should be posted prominently. Of course you probably won’t see it, so tip about 2 TL or 3 TL per bag, which should be plenty. If you actually end up underpaying according to the official tariff, the porter is sure to let you know!

Taxis
For taxi drivers, don’t tip, just round the fare upwards to a convenient amount. So if the fare is 19.70 TL, round it up to 20 TL. If the fare is 20.30 TL, the driver may accept just 20 TL.

For private transfer services, tipping is becoming more commonplace —5% to 10% of the fare is appropriate.

Hotels
Porters are happy with 2 TL to 4 TL per bag. Housekeeping staff are hard-working and deserving of your generosity. In moderately-priced hotels, 5-7 TL per day is well-deserved and greatly appreciated.

In some hotel breakfast rooms, restaurants, and/or at the reception desk you may see a Tip Box. This is the appropriate place to express your appreciation to staff for good service.

Restaurants
In inexpensive establishments, small tips (5% or so) are not necessary, but are appreciated. In luxury restaurants, tip 10% to 15%.

Shopping/haggling

Bargaining or haggling is a tradition in Turkey as in many other countries. Shoppers in Europe and America bargain over price when they buy cars, houses and other expensive items. In Turkey, bargaining is extended to include many less valuable items, especially unique handmade goods such as carpets, crafts, artwork and jewellery. If you find bargaining tedious just give it a go. Pazarlik (bargaining) is a social as well as a business practice in Turkey, and can be relatively pleasant when done properly and here are good tips for getting a good price:

1. Know the Market. Browse, examine goods and ask prices in several shops (at least three) to get a sense of the market before bargaining. This is particularly important for carpet shops.

2. Don’t show enthusiasm for the item you want. A poker face pays off. Look at several items. Don’t ask prices for awhile, but when you do, ask the prices of several items, whether you’re interested in them or not. Act as though the piece you really, really want is only so-so, not a big deal.

3. Let the shopkeeper quote the first price. If a shopkeeper asks “What will you pay?” you should ask again “What’s the price?” The shopkeeper’s price will be higher than what s/he expects you to pay. There’s no fixed formula for making your counter-offer. It should be less than you expect or eventaully want to pay, a half perhaps of what s/he asked for. If your counter-offer is way too low, however, the shopkeeper will know he’s dealing with someone who doesn’t know the market or doesn’t get what bargaining is all about.

4. If you buy several items, get a discount. It’s always easier to get a lower price if you buy several items.

5. Don’t haggle over pennies. If you’re close to agreement on price, don’t let a few Turkish lira get in the way of your satisfaction.

6. Don’t be afraid to walk away…(and perhaps come back).

7. Don’t feel obligated to buy. Just because s/he has spent a lot of time with you you can always leave the shop and don’t go back. You have no obligation whatsoever! However, if you offer a price and the shopkeeper agrees to it, you’ve made a verbal contract and you have an obligation to buy the item at the price agreed upon. Don’t offer a price unless you’re ready to buy the item at that price.

8. Assume that any price agreed upon is for cash. Banks charge anywhere from 2% to 6% to clear a credit card transaction. Unless you have discussed the payment method, any price arrived at is presumed to be payable in cash. The shopkeeper may charge you the credit card fee, or a fee for changing travellers cheques. You should check to see if you can pay in any method other than Turkish lira cash, and what requirements there might be.

9. Take your purchases with you if possible.

Local laws and customs

Smoking is prohibited on public transport and in all indoor workplaces and public places. Smoking is restricted in some outdoor areas where cultural, artistic, sports or entertainment activities are held.

You are advised to dress modestly if you’re visiting a mosque or a religious shrine.

It is illegal not to carry some form of photographic ID in Turkey. Again you are advised to carry your driving licence or photocopy of your passport with you at all times.

Risks

Over 2,500,000 British nationals visit Turkey every year and almost all visits are trouble-free of course. However in recent months there has been heightened tension across Turkey’s far eastern border with Syria and with some Kurdish factions internally. Both of these situations are more than 1,000 kilometres from the Kalkan area which remains a quiet, unspoiled resort centre. Still, the F&CO advises all visitors to the country to avoid demonstrations particularly in the major cities and, of course, travelling to the hot spot zones in the East of the country and it is only right that we should include that advice here.