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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?

rallytog1 Tue 26-Aug-14 19:15:13

I think you're more likely to get hygiene issues in a resort or tourist trap than you are in a 'real' part of Turkey.

As a pp said, go to local places, eat local food and you'll be fine and most probably very impressed. I feel sad that anyone would tar a whole country with a "dirty" brush - Turkey is a HUGE country, with so much to offer.

ErrolTheDragon Tue 26-Aug-14 16:30:49

We've been to Turkey 4 times now - once staying at an all-inclusive resort at Easter to do Ephesus and other archaeological sites (a lot of the best bits of 'ancient greece' are in Turkey! and 3 times at Neilson beachclubs for watersports. Absolutely no problem with health or hygiene - we didn't drink tap water but did use it for tooth cleaning. Knew about the loo bin(same as greece) - took nappy sacks, really not an issue. We probably ingested a fair bit of seawater too capsizing and falling off windsurf boards! grin DH is rather prone to ear infections but has never picked one up in Turkish pools/sea yet.

This time DH had experience of their medical facilities - he was quite ill, went to a local clinic who sent him to the local hospital for tests and treatment. This was absolutely first-rate, very well organised, good equipment, tests done quickly, very good doctors, he reckons he was quite lucky to have been ill there rather than at home, thinks the NHS would have taken a lot longer to diagnose and then treat him. Obviously you need health insurance but that applies anywhere other than major EU countries. By contrast, he had to go to a clinic in Greece once when he cracked a rib and he said that was dire - one of the reasons we switched to Turkey for watersports. Though to be fair it must depend on whether you're near a largish town.

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 26-Aug-14 07:24:26

I agree with littlesecret that some people are just prone to travel tummy bugs. DH spent a few days with diarrhoea from eating in Japan! That has to be the cleanest country I've ever been in. We think it's from a bento we picked up at the train station. I have never had problems.

nglfi Tue 26-Aug-14 07:13:48

It's probably too late for you now but we have just finished our holiday in Sensatori Side, please DO NOT go there if you want to avoid an upset stomach. If you look at the reviews on trip advisor you will see even the ones where people have given 3/5, people still mention having been ill. Myself and my partner were both very ill with vomiting and diarrhea and it ruined the holiday. It seems to be very hit and miss in the buffet in this Sensatori, you might get lucky and avoid being ill or you might get the complete opposite. We noticed the meat was not cooked properly, it was lukewarm at best. I'll say nothing about Turkish hygiene, I'm sure Turkish people are very clean. This was our first time in Turkey and we never left the resort so I'm sure it is a particular problem with the Sensatori rather than anything about Turkey in particular.

phonebox Fri 28-Feb-14 22:12:07

Above poster is right - the heat takes it out of you and upsets tummies often more than any food/water mineral differences

Bornin1984 Fri 28-Feb-14 22:02:03

We went to turkey two years ago an stayed in a cheap self catering apartment! Was immaculate! We are out every night and didn't get an upset tummy at all!! Make sure you are hydrated as it gets very hot!!

Also been to Egypt this year! And this time I was pregnant at 22 weeks! Again didn't suffer with tummy! But I did make sure constant hand gel was on hands to avoid any issues!!

If u take proper precautions you have no need for upset belly

AryaUnderfoot Fri 28-Feb-14 21:55:59

Not to mention the fact that Dalaman airport adds a new definition to the term expensive. I think it's something like 15 quid for a happy meal. Pre-warned, we stocked up on rolls and pastries from the breakfast buffet, so we only had to buy a couple of bottles of water between us.

phonebox Fri 28-Feb-14 21:46:54

The airport in Dalaman STANK - probably travellers with dodgy stomachs, plus it was the height of Summer - but the town was very clean. Pavements, restaurants etc. much cleaner than London.

SooticaTheWitchesCat Fri 21-Feb-14 11:24:02

I agree, we always eat where the locals eat, they must know the best places to go.

Tap water is safe in Turkey though, it just doesn't taste very nice.

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.

yourlittlesecret Thu 20-Feb-14 17:00:01

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 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.

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!

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!

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.

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

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

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

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

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 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 19:50:49

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

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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