I have just returned today from a fantastic week in Gumbet. As many on here will know I have been on this forum for a few months and asked many questions and got many helpful tips and suggestion from the regulars on here. I would like to thank everyone who has offered help and advice to me, there are too many of them to mention. I think it’s only fair that I share my experiences in the hope that they can be helpful to others too. I have put these in separate categories to make things easy to understand.
We stayed in the Jasmin Beach; I will do a more comprehensive review on the hotels section here as it does seem to attract contrasting opinions. All I can say is that I had a clean quiet room away from the main pool, it was spacious, had three beds and a large balcony. The bathroom was fine and everything worked well including the shower, air con, fridge, and toaster. The room was cleaned daily and fresh towels were left when we needed them. I used a safe in reception every time I was out of the room and had nothing stolen from my room nor did I hear about anyone else who did so during my stay. We didn’t spend much time in the bars or restaurants in the Jasmin as we preferred to have a drink on the balcony then head out to town in the evenings. We had no problems with noise or rowdy behaviour and were not hassled by staff to have a Turkish bath or go to their theme nights.
Gumbet exceeded my expectations as a resort. It was much larger, cleaner and more picturesque that what I had expected. The lack of high rise hotels and apartments only added to this. It has so many restaurants and bars to cater for all tastes and budgets and loads of interesting shops to browse. I was slightly worried about the 18-30 reputation Gumbet has but this wasn’t a problem. We were out on town most evenings between 6pm and 12am and at that time the bars and restaurants we frequented by families and couples. We were back in bed before the whole bar street 18-30 thing was even kicking off. I preferred Gumbet to Bodum, I found Bodrum to be very busy and a bit claustrophobic, and Gumbet was more open and spacious and always had a cooling sea breeze. The views out to sea and over the bay from the rooftop bars and restaurants are spectacular in Gumbet and could rival anything in the Mediterranean.
Obviously what someone defines as hassle is relative to them. I like a quiet time and don’t enjoy being barracked or persuaded to do things I don’t want to do. Never once in Gumbet did I feel like this either in the streets or about town. On our first day we were approached by the front of house people at most restaurants but they were friendly and not forceful in any way, after this we were left alone or we simply said no thanks and walked on. We looked in plenty of shops and were not intimidated by anyone in any way and once again a quick “no thanks” or “I’m just looking” was enough. Nobody was rude or aggressive or pressured us at all.
It has been well documented on here about dangers and incidents around the beach path at night time. It’s not my place to comment on specific incidents all I can do is give my own perspective and that is that the beach path is perfectly safe all day and up to at least midnight as it is very busy at these times. After midnight I have no knowledge off this so I won’t comment. There are some Roma people who hang about the bottom of the path before Windy Bay selling flowers and bracelets and generally pestering people, my advice would be just to ignore them unless you have some overwhelming desire to engage with them. They did seem to have disappeared after the first few nights though when there was a noticeable police presence. There are also a lot of stray dogs around this area but I didn’t approach them like many British tourists did but they seemed friendly. To surmise, at no point did I feel intimidated or in danger in any way in Gumbet and I was perfectly happy for my wife and son to walk alone along the beach path to meet me if I was out before them.
Bodrum is worth spending a day in, even though I said previously I found it a bit to busy and claustrophobic. The area around the Marina is nice and the castle and museum of underwater archaeology (20lira entrance) is definitely worth doing and takes up 2/3 hours. Even if you are not interested in the museum its still worth paying in as the views from the castle are spectacular and you can just laze around in the sun soaking up the panoramic views. There is a lot more to do and see in Bodrum but we just spent the one day there which was taken up with the castle/museum and a nice lunch down by the waterfront.
Harry’s (Hayri) Boat trip
It been mentioned enough times in here, this is the best boat trip there is available. All the other boats at the jetty were packed with people will practically no free space, Harry’s boat Topol Kamil was quiet, peaceful and relaxing with less than 20 people it, there was plenty of room to walk around, sit in the shade or sunbathe. The boat trip cost £17/18 pound per person and kids were free. You got picked up at your hotel and left back in the evening and the actual boat trip was from around 10am to after 5pm. It took in mud baths, various secluded bays where you could swim in the sea, a nice lunch of chicken, pasta and salad, camel beach and tea and cake before a bit of fishing and swimming with fish at aquarium bay. All drinks were free and you get a voucher for free cocktails at hotel baba which you can use any time. All I can say about this boat trip is just do it. Harry is a genuinely nice man, who stopped and spoke to us every time he saw us around Gumbet after this.
Bitez was a short taxi journey from Gumbet but cost 20lira, it was too hot to walk the few miles between the two and getting a dolmus to Bodrum then back to Bitez seemed a lot of hassle. I would say that out of all three resorts I visited Bitez is the most genteel and has the nicest beach. We ordered a drink from the lemon tree restaurant then lay around all morning on their hammocks and sun loungers. The water was clearer and the beach more sandy here than in Gumbet and if you swam out a short distance you could see lots of fish in the water around you, some of them quite large. The tourists in Bitez seemed to be mostly Turkish and Scandinavian so if you fancy a break from fellow British or Irish holidaymakers then this is the perfect place
Kos by ferry
This was relatively cheap at only £25 for the three of us but on reflection I wouldn’t do it again. Kos is an okay place and perfectly pleasant to spend a few hours in. It just the amount of hassle it took getting to and from Kos that was the problem. We were picked up at 7.30 am and not back until after 8pm, we were on the ferry at 8.30am but it didn’t leave until 10am. We arrived in Kos 30mins later and spent an hour in sweltering heat going through passport control. After some lunch, a swim in the sea, a walk around the shops and some drinks (all of which we could have done on a day trip to another resort on the Bodrum peninsula )we were back at passport control for another hours queuing, a delayed return ferry, frayed tempers and much pushing and jostling at passport control. Then to get off the ferry and another hours queueing in Bodrum port at passport control. Consequently we were exhausted and in bed for 10.30pm that evening. I felt particularly bad for putting my 3 year old son through this. Kos itself was ok; I just don’t think it was worth all the trouble
Bars and Restaurants
We visited all the usual bars mentioned on here, our favourites were Windy Bay, Uncle Festers, The Parrot Bar, Family door, The Windmill and many more. The price of alcohol varied, Uncle Festers was 4lira for a large bottle of Efes and the Windmill about 8lira but it worth paying for one drink for the amazing views from its rooftop bar/restaurant. Wine was usually about 6/7 lira a glass and large soft drink averaged 4/5lira. All of these bars were family friendly, welcoming and quiet at the times we visited them. The bar staff, even the young lads make a big effort with children and take time to entertain them. All bars have free WIFI.
The food was generally good, Windy Bay and Family door amongst others did a cheap lunch deal which was a main course and large soft drink or beer for 10 lira (about £3.50) this was good value and perfectly adequate for lunch time. We ate in Captains Bar and Grill and both had steaks which were very nice, the bill for three of us with drinks was under 100lira. We also had a couple of Indian meals, one in Bombay Cottage and another in the Indian Across from Pasha nightclub, both had rooftop dining, the Indian food was of a similar standard as most back home, it wasn’t amazing but generally fine, both meals for two with drinks (my son had had eaten earlier) were around 70/80 lira. A lot of the restaurants have combined Chinese/Indian/Mexican/Italian menus, we ate in one of those, Tempo Bar, and the views were good from the rooftop and the food once again perfectly okay if not particularly memorable. On our last night we pushed the boat out and dined in Kafe Daki which is a fine dining restaurant high in the hills above Bodrum/Gumbet with panoramic views of the peninsula. We were picked up by the owner in his Mercedes and left home again also. We had an excellent 3 course meal and plenty of drinks for 300lira. It was expensive but the food was an amazing fine dining experience with such dishes as octopus and lamb stew cooked in a clay pot over an open fire. I would recommend if you have any special occasions before or after your holiday, save it for an evening here, they views are amongst the best I’ve encountered in my life and the food is certainly up there also.
Transport and General advice
The easiest way to get around is by Dolmus, they charge 3lira per person and sometimes they charge for children sometimes they don’t. They are easy to flag down anywhere and run non stop. Taxis are expensive, a taxi Journey from Gumbet to Bodrum or Bitez is about 20lira. I would recommend anyone who is self catering to get a Dolmus to the Migros supermarket on their first morning and do a big shop then get a taxi back. It’s worth doing as the supermarket is much cheaper than the shops in Gumbet for everything especially alcohol.
I was concerned about the temperature in Gumbet is it had crept into the 40’s before we arrived. This fear proved to be groundless as the heat was perfectly bearable even when it reached the 37-39C when we were there. It goes without saying but use plenty of sun cream. What makes a big difference in Gumbet is the constant breeze off the sea makes it feel much cooler, a sort of fanning effect. Anytime we struggled in the heat we stopped had a soft drink and admired the view, we were on holiday after all in never needed to be in a rush anywhere. We didn’t have any problems with mosquitoes, whether we were just lucky or our 99p mosquito repellent armbands actually worked, who can say!
All in all it was a great holiday and I would certainly return to Turkey and if I did I would definitely stay in Gumbet again. It has everything you could possibly need and you can really have any sort of holiday you want there. It’s perfect for families with young children, older children and couples of all ages. We were dubious about booking a package holiday but there really were no negative experiences at all during our time there at all. The three of us enjoyed one of the best holidays we have had for many years and our only regret is that we had to come home so soon!!!!!!!