Health and Hygiene in Turkey

(34 Posts)
thepartysover Tue 11-Feb-14 10:56:55

Turkey has been added to the list of moot destinations by the in-laws (who we're travelling with) on account that "it's dirty", meaning water and food, standards of hygiene etc. We've seen a resort that we really like the look of but want to please everyone - what are other people's experiences? Is there anything I can say to put her mind at rest or should we just look elsewhere?

SooticaTheWitchesCat Tue 11-Feb-14 11:43:05

I lived in Turkey and I can confirm that it is very clean. I have been travelling there for 20 years and I have never once been ill.

Turks are amazingly clean people, obsessively so to be honest! The water is clean but as in most Mediterranean countries it has a high mineral content so it is better to drink bottled water.

The food is amazing. The only time you are likely to get not so good is if you go to a really cheap, low quality AI hotel, which I wouldn't want to go to anywhere in the world! Turkish food is one of the best ever.

Which resort are you looking at?

HamletsSister Tue 11-Feb-14 11:45:22

We had 2 amazing weeks in Kalkan last summer - ate out all the time and had no problems at all.

Actually, I felt safer there, food-wise, than in many a British greasy spoon.

thepartysover Tue 11-Feb-14 11:46:55

Thanks for the reply. This is very much my view! But trying to put my in-laws' minds at rest... they seem to have a prejudged view of the place. We're looking at the Sensatori Side - here.

AmberLeaf Tue 11-Feb-14 11:51:25

Ive not been myself, but my Dad has. He said it was exceptionally clean. The staff at the hotel couldn't do enough.

thepartysover Tue 11-Feb-14 12:02:07

Thanks AmberLeaf - good to hear a real experience of the resort. Thanks also HamletsSister flowers

chemenger Tue 11-Feb-14 12:09:47

Years ago when I was backpacking in Turkey a visit to the kitchen to "see how clean" was virtually compulsory in every small restaurant, and they were always absolutely spotless.

The food was fabulous, I especially loved the ice cream which had some special ingredient that I don't recall now. And the traditional breakfast with cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, bread and honey - yum.

girlywhirly Tue 11-Feb-14 12:25:28

I understand your IL's concerns, when I went to Turkey about 20 yrs ago there were exactly the issues you describe, and 4 of the party of 5 were ill. I think it would be difficult to put their minds at rest if they have heard some horror stories from people they know.

I suggest that if any of you are prone to upset tummies you might not want to risk it because it does spoil your holiday, on balance though this could happen anywhere in the world.

Wherever you go this could be an issue, but if you follow the travellers guidelines for keeping well and use antibacterial gel on your hands before eating, and don't drink iced or very cold drinks in very hot temperatures as that in itself will upset stomachs, that will help.

ZenNudist Tue 11-Feb-14 12:35:10

I went on holiday to turkey in September. Weather glorious, but understand your ILs worries. If they add turkey then they should also add many Greek Islands. The main problem is the lack of decent plumbing so need to put toilet tissue in a bin. tis grim.

I also picked up Turkey belly. Spent much of the holiday with diahorea. Never had it so bad anywhere else. Perhaps try Cyprus instead?

specialsubject Tue 11-Feb-14 13:53:02

not flushing toilet paper (due to small pipes) is standard throughout Greece and is actually much better for the environment than flushing it. There's nothing 'grim' about putting paper in a bin.

you can get stomach trouble anywhere. AI with the buffets of unsuitable food is a much higher risk. You want stuff that has been properly cooked or just cooked if the weather is hot.

magimedi Tue 11-Feb-14 13:56:37

I go to Turkey every year & the general standard of hygine is higher than many UK hotels & restaurant.

The loo paper in the bin thing is fine - there is a wee tap at the back of the loo bowl that you turn on (down by the side of the loo, usually) & it washes you so that only wet, not shitty, paper goes into the bin.

mrsnec Tue 11-Feb-14 14:01:17

We have to put toilet paper in the bin in Cyprus too in areas either side of the border that doesn't have decent plumbing. Guess they will have at sensatori. I have travelled all over Greece and Turkey and live in Cyprus and think the hygiene standards are the same but do depend on the establishment.

SooticaTheWitchesCat Tue 11-Feb-14 16:21:08

As magimedi says if you use the rap on the loo it is much cleaner than using loo paper anyway. So yes, it should it be wet paper in the bin anyway.

Most stomach upsets are caused by a combination of too much sun, alcohol and rich food. That is often why people get ill on holiday, it isn't usually the food.

thepartysover Tue 11-Feb-14 19:41:45

Thanks everyone. Going to show this thread to my ILs and hope for the best. Hard to shift a pre-conceived idea of what a place is like but you never know!

diabolo Tue 11-Feb-14 19:50:49

Turkey was far cleaner and friendlier than Crete if that's any help.

Bunbaker Tue 11-Feb-14 19:59:05

We are going to Crete this year grin. But I have been before and have no concerns.

diabolo Tue 11-Feb-14 20:10:52

To be fair bunbaker this was in 2001 and I really wish Trip Advisor had been around when we booked those apartments.

Bunbaker Tue 11-Feb-14 20:11:57

I last went to Crete in 1983 and it was fine.

diabolo Tue 11-Feb-14 20:20:19

I've posted the story on MN before, but the apartment owner threatened to call the police to arrest us for an unpaid bar bill. Luckily I was able to prove to our rep that we had been elsewhere on the night in question. Turned out the apartment manager did this with one couple (at least) every week of the season. Made me, probably unfairly, determined never to return.

Don't get me started on his toilets. Or the pool. grin

QueenoftheSarf Mon 17-Feb-14 22:28:39

It does seem odd that people have this distorted view of Turkey when they don't seem to have it of Greece/Cyprus etc. It's a shame because I too have encountered many people who have held the same sort of views and when they've actually been there, they've come back feeling very embarrassed that they ever felt that way. I've been travelling to Turkey for years and have to say that I have found Turkish people to be the friendliest people I've ever encountered anywhere in Europe and I've travelled to many countries.

OP, you can tell your in laws that people will not be able to do enough for them in Turkey - the service they'll receive will be second to none without doubt. I've always found English to be far more widely spoken there too than I have in countries such as Spain where I was absolutely shocked to find just how little English was spoken on the Costa del Sol. Turkish culture is also extremely child friendly and children are positively welcomed everywhere you go.

Another thing you can tell them is that many Germans and Scandinavians holiday in Antalya (where Side is) and they are known for being people who have extremely exacting standards.

I say go to Turkey and you'll wonder why your prejudices allowed you to leave it so long. It'll certainly give over hyped, over priced destinations like France and Italy a run for their money. Don't go and you will miss out on experiencing a truly wonderful country, culture and people, some fantastic scenery and weather.

SooticaTheWitchesCat Tue 18-Feb-14 10:06:21

I agree about the language. Everyone speaks good English in Turkey, yet when we went to Spain and Italy it was a real struggle to communicate with everyone!

3nationsfamily Tue 18-Feb-14 15:48:40

We stayed in Istanbul about 4 years ago and made the mistake of going to one of those tourist entertainment nights to see belly dancing and the like. The entertainment was great but the food was cold meat and potato salad which had been laid out on the tables before we arrived and was at room temperature. We should have known better than to eat it but we hadn't eaten for most of the day and were hungry. Only my DS refused and ate bread instead and he was the only one that didn't spend the next 2 days with his head down the toilet and unable to leave the (very clean) hotel room. It spoiled our holiday- well that and the MIL slipping on the wet tiles in the hotel pool and coming back to UK in plaster and in a wheelchair!

atthestrokeoftwelve Thu 20-Feb-14 07:30:40

I think you are more lilely to get a grubby resort or hotel in the UK. Your in laws have a very strange idea of dirty countries.

It is true than in warmer countries food goes off quicker, drinking water can be an isssue, but in terms of cleanliness and hygeine I think many countries- including Turkey are cleaner than UK.

I also picked up Turkey belly. Spent much of the holiday with diahorea. Never had it so bad
DH and I have been travelling abroad for 30 years. Before children it was mostly to Greece. He was ill for at least some part of every holiday. I was never affected even though I am cavalier about drinking tap water. When we had DC we started to travel to Spain and Portugal. Miraculously DH was spared the upset stomachs. Then we went back to Greece and lo and behold he spent four days confined to the bathroom.

This is why he refuses to go I would never travel to Turkey or Egypt. Some people seem to have a tendency to pick up delhi belly and there are some destinations where even those with cast iron constitutions succumb. It may not be due to hygiene, perhaps it's the sea or pool. Doesn't matter really, it's not worth the risk of spoiling a precious holiday when there are so many other lovely places to visit.

atthestrokeoftwelve Thu 20-Feb-14 17:11:27

I think part of it is that so many tourists try to eat the same food that they do at home.
Buying a burger in Turkey is not going to be as safe as buying a flatbread with falafel cooked by a street vendor.
Local ice cream is often not a good choce either as it is made with local tap water.

I have spent a long time backpacking over many holidays in SE Asia, and find that sticking to what the locals are eating is the safest option.

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