I recently traveled to the stunning metropolis of Istanbul, then headed to the lovely and cozy village of Yalava. However, I felt the need to ask three Kuwaitis who have more experience than me when it comes to answering questions of “how, when and where” to have the best touristic experience in Turkey, and comment on controversial issues that arise every now and then.
Iman Al-Salam is a very enthusiastic and energetic young woman who loves Turkey with all her heart and “brain”. She has taken all Turkish language courses and hopped on a plane to see Turkey before and after she learned Turkish. This trilingual Kuwaiti has a very valuable point of view she wants to share. Iman likes to be called “Eylül” in Turkish.
Q: What is your advice for Kuwaitis who want to go to Turkey?
Eylül: Don’t stay in the cities – venture into the villages and enjoy the vastness of Turkey. We in Kuwait are bombarded enough with city life as it is.
Q: Do you think the media has exaggerated the danger of crime in Turkey?
Eylül: They have indeed exaggerated a lot! It’s enough for you to just be a wholesome and polite individual to stay safe and satisfied – that’s my point of view – the way it is anywhere in the world.
Q: Was your experience in Turkey different after you learned Turkish?
Eylül: One hundred percent! Turkish people adore whoever attempts to speak their language, because they are so proud of it. They will be extra friendly, and even give you bigger discounts at times.
Nowaf Al-Khattir is another young Kuwaiti who keeps going back and forth to Turkey. He has taken Turkish language courses as well.
Q: What is your advice to Kuwaitis going to Turkey?
Nowaf: First of all, keep being inquisitive – everything changes quickly. And you have to get rid of any stereotypical views about Turkish people that unfortunately have found their way into people’s conversations.
Q: What are the best areas you recommend?
Nowaf: They keep changing every season. Istanbul is the second most crowded city in the world, so right after Ramadan, head for the villages. Because we in Kuwait suffer a lot from the heat of our very generous sun and sandstorms, it will feel very refreshing when immersed in the soothing greenery of nature and not be stuck in a jam in the big city. The places that have more nature and less city “baggage” are Kusadas and Bodrum for young people, and Bursa and Tarabzon for families.
Mashal Al-Diwalih is a highly-educated man who cannot satiate his appetite to travel to Turkey. He has been to Turkey approximately 20 times, and is still booking more flights for himself and his family.
Q: Have you perceived any sort of “targeted” treatment from sellers as a Khaleeji visitor?
Mashal: Not at all. There are standard prices that are the same for everyone. I have booked a villa for August in Sapanca.
Q: May we know why Sapanca?
Mashal: For calmness. Everything is fresh and organic – honey, fruits and whatever you want. And if you want to go to Istanbul or Bursa, it will take you just an hour and a half to two hours.
Q: Is Turkey best for honeymooners?
Mashal: I had my honeymoon in Turkey in April during the tulip season, and it was amazingly romantic! I recommended it to my younger brother too, who is now on his honeymoon in Turkey!
By Jeri Al-Jeri