Published: September 2nd 2012August 26th 2012
Big, freakin' theater, Miletus
That's Priene, Miletus, and Didyma for the uninitiated. These are 3 more ancient Greek sites not nearly as famous, crowded, or expensive to visit as the renowned Ephesus to the north.
Accommodation and food
Even though most people visit PMD from Kuşadası or Selçuk, I decided to stay in Didim as I thought it would be convenient to see the sites and continue south to Fethiye. I unexpectedly ended up in Altınkum which is the beach resort of Didim located about 6 kms from the ruins at Didyma. It didn't really matter as I barely spent any time awake at the hotel. I arrived in the early evening from Bergama, toured the ruins the next day, and took an early morning bus to Aydın where I would connect to Fethiye. Booking.com had a good deal for Miletos Hotel right in the thick of the action which from the looks of it meant tatoo parlors and English pubs broadcasting British Premier League Soccer. My twin room with AC, private bath with clogged shower, WiFi, breakfast, and a pool was only 42.50TL/night. Stayed away from fish 'n chips and the pubs and ate typical Turkish fare at the nearby covered
Greek Inscription at the Theater
"Please retain your ticket stub," Miletus
atrium hosting 3 or 4 cafes serving economical plates of şiş
. If Altınkum is too over the top, there are hotels, pensions, and restaurants in Didim proper as well as right by the ruins. Transport Servis
shuttles transport passengers from the Didim otogar
to Altınkum for free. Leaving Altınkum I took Didim Seyahat to Aydın (14TL, hourly departures, 2 hour trip) from Altınkum itself (no trip to otogar
necessary) and the stop was a convenient 1 minute walk from the hotel. The same bus stop also has direct buses to Bodrum 3 times per day (20TL). From Aydın I had to change to a Kamil Koç bus leaving at 11:30 am and arriving in Fethiye at 3:40 pm (32TL). In hindsight, faster but not necessarily cheaper, would have been to take the Bodrum bus only as far as Milas (15TL) then another bus to Yatağan where the Kamil Koç bus (and presumably other company buses) stopped on the way to Fethiye. There may also be direct buses from Milas to Fethiye but I could not confirm this. Independent Tour of Priene, Miletus, and Didyma
Sure, I could have paid 40€ or more for a tour of the 3
sites in plush, air conditioned comfort from Kuşadası or Selçuk but then I wouldn't have had the pleasure of walking 5 kilometers to Miletus totally exposed to the shadeless South Aegean sun and concomitant 40°C heat. At least that I was anticipating but much to my shock and chagrin the independent tour was quite painless and epic free.
I left Altınkum for Mavişehir on a dolmuş
(1.75TL) which dropped me off a bit north of there. I started hitching around 9:40 am but quickly resigned myself to taking the next Didim Seyahat bus to Akköy (3.50TL) from where I would commence the dreaded 5 km death march. It only took a couple of minutes for a nice German couple to pick me up and take me to Miletus where they were also headed. There was actually a lot to see including the biggest ancient theatre outside of Rome, a river port (dry in summer), and a very intricate bath house - all for only a 5TL entry fee. The heat was intense but made bearable by the large, double shots of cold, fresh squeezed OJ (portakal suyu
Next up was Priene, Even though Reiner and Hagar
were only passing by on their way to Dilek National Park they kindly made a slight detour to drop me right at the site. The ruins (5TL entry) weren't nearly as impressive as Miletus but the setting was much more dramatic - right at the foot of Mount Mikale. From there it was smooth sailing by dolmuş
to Söke (3TL) immediately connecting to another Didim Seyahat bus back to Didim (7.50TL) which passed right by the Temple of Apollo at Didyma (also 5TL entry). Definitely better to see Didyma towards the end of the day because I think the westerly sun is better positioned for photographs. The local dolmuş
runs past the temple back to Altınkum (1.75TL). Total transport and entry fee cost was 32.50TL and I needed about 8 hours from start to finish to see all the ruins and get back to the hotel. Lunch was smuggled from the breakfast buffet making the trip heaps cheaper than the tour and a lot more interesting.
There are more photos below