Another excellent holiday in Turkey!!

After a thoroughly enjoyable holiday at the Ephesus Princess a couple of years earlier, we returned to Turkey at the end of October 2002. We stayed at the Kaya Belek near Antalya for the last week of their summer season.

Once again the hotel was immaculate and the food was plentiful. Our room was on the top floor, with a sea view. The hotel gardens lead directly onto the long sandy beach, which is gently sloping and ideal for the kids.

Everything about this hotel is on an impressive scale, and the main restaurant is no exception. We were overwhelmed by the choice available from the buffet inside, and staggered to find (on our second day!) the outdoor counters where food was being freshly prepared by perhaps a dozen chefs. Service from the table staff was a bit poor – they did little more than clear the tables, and we frequently had to find our own cutlery or get drinks from the bar. Lunchtimes saw another restaurant brought into use, outdoors between the beach and swimming pools.

020 Balcony view 069 Kaya Belek from boat

The kid’s world complex…

New for 2002 was the kid’s world area, centred around several shallow swimming pools, paddling pools and water slides. The pools are of various depths, but none were deeper than 1.2 metres. There are sunloungers and parasols around the pools for grown-ups; bouncy castles and a playground for younger children; various buildings for supervised kids entertainment sessions; and a sheltered seating area where food was served at regular intervals throughout the day. A selection of chilled fruit juices was constantly available for the kids to help themselves.

022 Kids world pools 031 water slide
028 bouncy castle 030 playground

Manavgat and Side…

We took a bus from outside the hotel to Manavgat and Side, for 9€ return each. There’s a short stop at the Manavgat waterfalls, then on to Manavgat centre for some serious shopping at the local market. Hundreds of stalls aimed at tourists, mostly selling clothing at discount prices. Then on to Side (pronounced see-day), a busy harbour town with plenty of shops and restaurants, and the remains of a roman amphitheatre, city walls and collonaded streets. We found a nice little bar on the seafront for a pizza washed down with a cold glass of Efes.

Belek is a fairly new resort, so there’s not much to see in the immediate area once you leave the hotel grounds. The nearest village to the hotel is Kadriye, with a few shops on its main street selling tourist souvenirs. Beware of the taxis outside the hotel – they seem to work on some sort of commission basis by dropping you off outside various local jewellery shops, where you are helped out of your taxi and given the hard-sell!

052 side columns 057 side amphitheatre
056a side restaurant by sea 047 manavgat waterfalls

Deborah parasailing…

We took a stroll along the beach to a neighbouring hotel, where Deborah wanted a go at parasailing. I think it was around 20 euros, so we all piled onto the speedboat to watch (lifejackets on the boat for the kids).

066 deborah parasailing 068 deborah parasailing
071 deborah parasailing 072 coming in to land

Kursunlu Waterfalls…

We took an organised coach trip to Kursunlu, Perge and Aspendos. Kursunlu waterfalls are reputedly the location for the Timotei adverts! Perge features some of the remains of the original roman city. Aspendos is possibly the best preserved example of a roman amphitheatre in the world.

080a Kursunlu waterfalls 078 Kursunlu waterfalls

Perge…

093 Perge outer gate
Us below the outer roman gate.

088 Perge roman market place
Columns around the square agora (roman market place).

Aspendos theatre…

Possibly the best preserved example of a Roman theatre in the world. The theatre is remarkably complete – over 95% of what you now see is the original roman construction. Rediscovered by Mustafa Kemal in the 1920’s/30’s after years of neglect and being used as an overnight camel stop. It’s now in use for opera, ballet and classical music concerts.

095 Aspendos theatre 097 Aspendos theatre
099 Aspendos theatre 101 Aspendos theatre

Things to do around the hotel…

“Snow White and the seven dwarves” by the Kaya animation team. The entertainment team put on shows each evening on stage near the outdoor pool. All of the shows were very well produced (if a little eccentric), but their interpretation of “Snow White” made me laugh until I cried! It owes more to ‘Rocky Horror’ than ‘Disney’ for its inspiration – don’t miss it!

040 turkish tea room
The Turkish tea room in the hotel.

076 gala night at the hotel
Gala Night at the hotel.

Night time around the hotel…

119 Pink Sunset over the pool
Pink sunset over the hotel pool.

034 balcony view by night
View from the balcony by night.

Useful links…

The Hotel’s own website: http://www.kayatourism.com.tr/eng/belek/belek.html

Explore Turkey http://www.exploreturkey.com/

Turkish Embassy website http://www.turkishembassy.org/index.php

Turkish Odyssey (images) http://www.turkishodyssey.com/gallery/ancient.htm

Most memorable tune while we were there:
‘Kiss kiss’ by Holly Valance.

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