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Best Turkish Neighbourhoods for Hipsters - Bodrum

Young and ready to exploreI was twenty-one years old and a bit of an adventurer.  When I decided that I was going to explore the world, none of my family or friends was particularly surprised.  I was tired of London and the lousy weather and not ready for University.  As a plus, I am a graphic designer, so I can always find enough work to pay for my travels.  So, I set out on a world tour.  I started in Italy because I had always wanted to visit, being part Italian.  It was nice and I also enjoyed touring through Greece.

I still had many destinations on my list when I rolled into Turkey.  Let’s just say that they are still on a list.  Istanbul was amazing and really, really big.  But, when I moved on to Bodrum, I felt like I was home.  That was four years ago and I’m still here in Bodrum and I have no plans to go anywhere else, except when I take off for a few days to explore the rest of Turkey.  There’s just something cool about a country that sits on two continents.

If you haven’t heard, the Turks have got to be the most welcoming people I have ever met.  I’ve been “adopted” by many Turkish families, invited to dinner or to tea.  Coming from London’s fast paced life, it took me a while to learn how to slow down to the Turkish pace, but I have quickly learned to enjoy a long slow afternoon tea break with friends.

Turkey also has a different vibe to it.  While most of the world tries to operate in black and white with lots of rules and expectations, Turkey spends more time in the grey area, allowing business, relationships and life to find their own way.  I guess it reminds me of a nation full of surfers, just live and let live.  

BodrumBodrum is as liberal as I ever thought Paris was and it’s growing like a weed.  The growing population means new and growing businesses and that creates plenty of work for me.  You’ll probably see my work on Bodrum real estate developments, quality luxury Bodrum homes, boutique hotels, restaurant menus and the like.

When I showed my parents the housing prices on one of their several visits, they also quickly fell in love, even if it was just because they were so used to real estate prices in London.  My father bought a small, four condo building and I was his first tenant.  I take care of little maintenance items and show available apartments, but I mostly just have the time to do what I want to do.

I’ve probably eaten and most of the best non-tourist restaurants in Bodrum, both on the water and inland.  I now know a thing or two about kabobs and many other native foods.

Bodrum NightlifeBut, what really gets my blood running is the nightlife.  There are small pubs on almost every block and I’ll duck into one often during football season.  But, it’s the nightclubs that rule the night in Bodrum.  I have so many friends and have met most of them while dancing to the techno music at Halikarmas.  This place has got to be the world’s largest outdoor dance club and it is packed on the weekends.

During the summer, the party moves to the beach.  My personal favourite is Bianca Beach.  It is so busy that I’m guessing it’s a favourite for a lot of Bodrum’s under-30s.  Even when I’m not clubbing, I love the beach in the summer time.  

I keep meeting more and more ex-pats who are in Bodrum looking at real estate for a buy-to-let or second home.  I must have absorbed some of the Turkish ways because I often find myself offering to help visitors find their way around or inviting them to tea at one of Bodrum’s many tea gardens.  I’ve been here long enough to know where the tourists won’t be and how to show guests the best of Bodrum.

I’m also proud of Bodrum’s liberal nature.  Despite its roots in old and religious ways, Bodrum is incredibly tolerant and welcoming to young people regardless of their lifestyle.  This doesn’t mean that there aren’t rules.  If you don’t believe me, try to get a girl into a Turkish coffee house.  It won’t happen.  But, being progressive, Bodrum now has coffee houses for the ladies, too.

Bodrum marketsI can shop the big name brands when I visit London, but I prefer the small shops all over Bodrum.  I love picking up fresh bread and goat cheese to enjoy while pouring a decent bottle of Turkish wine (I’m on a budget) with friends at the beach.

I feel safe in Bodrum like I didn’t in London.  As much as there might be tolerance, petty thieves are dealt with swiftly and harshly.  I couldn’t tell you the last time I locked my door.

So, if you’re a twenty-something and you’re looking for someplace to make your own way and on your own terms, I would definitely recommend Bodrum, Turkey.

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