‘I’m so excited about my holiday to Turkey. I can’t wait to get on the beach, you know, the one with the insane crowds of fat middle aged tourists where you get to lay amongst their stubbed out cigarette butts and develop cancer through the inhalation of their second hand smoke.’
Not what you expect when you hear of people holidaying in Turkey is it?
I always like to look on the good side, appreciate the positives and put the negatives to the back of my mind. However when the smell of cigarette smoke fills my nostrils, cigarette butts cover the sand beneath my towel, an overweight unhygienic looking man’s sweaty sandy feet are inches from my face and my view is obstructed by a large unattractive women that that clearly hasn’t replaced her clothes with her evident excessive weight gain, I just can’t overlook the negative aspects to this beach.
Welcome to Kusadasi.
My primary reason for visiting Kusadasi was to use it as a base to visit a couple of Turkey’s most renowned sites; Ephesus and Pammukkale and despite the large tourist numbers, these were just as spectacular as the guidebooks described. Kusadasi however, was somewhat disappointing.
I assumed from all the tourists visiting the area, that although the resort may be filled with Irish karaoke bars and two for one ‘Sex on the Beach’ cocktails, at least the beaches would be pleasant. I was clearly mistaken.
Within hours of arriving at the resort I dubbed Kusadasi as ‘Kusa-trashy’.
Empty beer bottles, plastic carrier bags and cigarette butts covered the sand, whilst the sea washed in more litter with each wave. People laid amongst the small ‘sand-pit like beach’ that bared a distinct resemblance to an ash tray. Barely an inch of sand was without a cigarette butt, and if you were looking for a bit of sea breeze you could certainly think again.
Perhaps I have been spoilt with the likes of Copacabana, Koh Phi Phi and Bondai… but Kusadasi’s beaches, namely Ladies Beach, most certainly did not meet my expectations.
Kusadasi has a double negative, in that not only is it a tacky package tourist resort, but it’s also a cruise ship dock; bringing with it thousands more tourists each week. Although pretty to look at, the ships pump out masses of pollution into both the air and sea. The once picturesque view of the ocean and mountain backdrop becomes distorted by the clouds of thick black smoke and the oil washes up on shore; contributing to the already littered beach.
I guess this is what mass tourism has done to Kusadasi, as well as many other coastal areas around the world.
One evening I sat on the promenade wall overlooking the sea and watched a young couple beside me eating mussels. With each bite, they dropped their shells off the wall onto the beach below. The next day I sat beside a woman smoking, who once finished, dropped her cigarette butt onto the sand with no attempt to bury it and no regard for those around her who might not want to sit amongst the leftovers of her dirty habit.
These things make me cross, not only because the people are clearly selfish and ignorant, but because they appear to have no awareness or regards for the environment and people around them. Do these people have no concerns of what this beach would look like if everybody continued to act in such a way? Do they not care that they could be contributing to what may soon be a ruined beach? Would they behave this way in their own home? These are some of the negatives of mass tourism.
So… would I recommend a trip to Kusadasi? Well if you like to eat burger and chips, get drunk at the local karaoke and bathe amongst others’ trash, then yes. But if you’re looking for a more cultured, more authentic and less touristy experience, then I would most certainly not. Despite its’ potential, Kusadasi has been destroyed by the extremes of mass tourism and for me, Kusadasi was just too trashy.