#1 Merhaba Turkey: Turks don’t drive, they aim!

“The Turks don’t drive, darling, they aim…” were the words of wisdom from a British, turned Kalkan expat, given to us as we supped iced tea one heated afternoon.  We’d just begun the first day of a two week stay on Turkey’s Southeast coast, staying in Kalkan and we had plenty more road travels to look forward to.

We arrived at Dalaman airport late on the Sunday evening, the terminal is designed with pure functionality at heart… (the very seats are designed to discourage slumbering passengers). Considering the size of the airport I figured it probably wouldn’t be to difficult to find the Hertz desk. After a tentative exploration of the semicircular tour desks, we ascertained that Hertz representatives meet you at the arrivals gate every half hour or so.  Like good orderly Brits abroad we patiently stood for 45 minutes later, by the time 10.30pm clicked round the airport began to empty.   A call to the Hertz desk and ‘ten minutes maximum’ …. sometime later, a helpful Turk brandishes our rental.

The D400 is the lifeblood of the Turkish coast, hugging the sea front a considerable way, the drive offers some spectacular views through mountainous foothills and beach towns.  Adjusting to the right hand side, we set off from the Dalaman Lykia Airport Resort (not sure about the resort part…) towards Fethiye.

Get the knack

From our trip, here’s six things to remember as the first time driving in Turkey:

1. It doesn’t matter what speed you drive at, it will always be too SLOW for other Turkish road users….
2. …and, if you take your chances drag racing with the Turks it will be sod’s law that you get caught by then ‘Trafic Polis’, who (I’m reliably informed) prefer a  bribe on top of the on the spot fine.
3. Even if not speeding, likely to have at least a handful of encounters with ‘Trafic Polis’, as I did,  who like to do spot checks that you have a licence. ALWAYS carry your licence.
4. Give way is not a concept in Turkey, neither are road maps per say. (We went for National Geographic Adventure Map, the most detailed one we could find.)
5. Scooters are your enemy.
6. Roads have a habit of just disappearing, stray from the D400 at your peril!

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