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Tentative Itinerary to Turkey!
(15 Messages in 2 pages - View all)
[1] 2
1.       kardes
9 posts
 16 Jan 2009 Fri 01:47 pm

Marhaba her birilar

 

We will be traveling to Turkey at the end of February, beginning of March.  We are so excited! This is our first trip. I´m a bit nervous about the language, I understand written Turkish a fair bit, but I´m nervous if they speak to fast, I won´t be able to catch what they are saying...so I will be taking my dictionary with me wherever I go.  So here is a tentative plan for what we will be doing, your input would be great appreciated.  The hotel preferred currency is the Euro, is that the same throughout Turkey?  Should I have Euros as well as YTL?

 

Day 1 - 5 Istanbul

Staying in the Sultan Ahmet area and will take in the following sites that we can walk to from our hotel:

Topkapi (where can I get tickets to get into the Harem part and do I have to book this part through a tour? What tour group do you recommend?)

Hagia Sofia

Grand Bazaar

Blue Mosque

Sulaymanye Mosque

 

Possibly:

Dolmabahce Palace

Spice Bazaar (I´m not really interested in spices so I think we might skip this one)

Princes Island (If we have time, I think I can book a tour when I get to the hotel)

Taksim Square (not sure what is there?)

 

Day 5 - 13 Antalya

Staying at a Resort.  I´m not sure what is out in Antalya, but since I will be traveling with a small child, I can´t do anything stenuous, so we´ll probably just stay in the area.

 

Day 13 - 15 Istanbul

Regroup at hotel, perhaps go see our favorite sites from beginning of trip.

 

Did I miss anything? Anything we absolutely should do/see while we are in the area?  Please let me know!

 

Advice needed on Dining/Entertainment:

What restaurants are in the Sultan Ahmet area? Which ones do you recommend?  I would prefer to walking to taking a taxi or driving.

 

There is a Belly dancing/dinner show tour available at Galata Towers, I was thinking of taking advantage of, what do you guys think of those? 

 

I´m pretty excited and very flexible about my plans...we are just going to chill and take it slow so I don´t want to schedule too much in.  We will be going end of Feb, beginning of March, so I know it will still be a bit chilly? 

 

Your input would be greatly appreciated.

2.       Henry
2604 posts
 18 Jan 2009 Sun 02:05 am

I have been a tourist in Istanbul several times and here are my thoughts:

Day 1 - 5 Istanbul

Staying in the Sultan Ahmet area (good choice) and will take in the following sites that we can walk to from our hotel:

Topkapi (where can I get tickets to get into the Harem part and do I have to book this part through a tour? What tour group do you recommend?)

Start early for the tour of Topkapi palace. The harem tour can be booked at the entrance part, when you pay for the general entrance ticket. I assume you are English speaking so book an English speaking Harem tour here as well. You can walk through the rest of Topkapi at your own pace, with the help of audio guides that are also available at the entrance. The restaurant at the far end of the palace is a scenic spot to rest and have a food and drink break. Allow at least 1/2 a day to see this sight.

Hagia Sofia can be seen self guided. Make sure you go up the ramp to the upper galleries to see the excellent mosaics up there. Allow 1/4 day (approx. 2 hours)

When you leave, a very short distance away when you cross the street to your right is the Basilica Cistern. In my opinion this is also well worth experiencing. The entrance is a small kiosk like building on Yerebatan cad. (street). Allow roughly 1 hour to see this very interesting ex water storage space.

Grand Bazaar : A huge complex maze of shops. Experience it the first time without haggling for ´bargains´. Save that for your return later in your trip when you might be more experienced and more aware of good prices. Don´t get trapped in carpet shops with salesmen. All salesmen are well versed in engaging tourists and you will waste a lot of time when you are friendly enough to talk with them. Allow 2-3 hours, depending if you are only browsing, not buying. 

Blue Mosque bring your own headscarf (for females) if possible, and be appropriately dressed. Avoid the prayer times (recognised by prayer calls!), and a free guide will often explain the mosque to you. A donation for mosque upkeep costs can be made once back outside the mosque when you put your shoes back on. (Allow roughly 1 hour. See it early to avoid the long queues when tour groups arrive. If the queue is too long, don´t waste your time, come back later, especially as you are staying in the area. 

Sulaymanye Mosque (near Grand bazaar) Again avoid prayer times.

 

Possibly:

Dolmabahce Palace: definitely worth touring for its magnificence. A slightly different (newer) feel than Topkapi Palace. Allow at least 1/2 day.

Spice Bazaar (I´m not really interested in spices so I think we might skip this one) In my opinion don´t skip it, as you have several days in Istanbul. Bring your camera. It is more about the feast of colour for your eyes! It sells food and sweets as well as spices, and feels more like a continuation of the covered bazaar. Combine this with a walk around the Galata bridge. Allow 1 hour.

Princes Island (If we have time, I think I can book a tour when I get to the hotel) . Will take most of the day. Go early. Just grab the fast ferry from Kabataþ (near Dolmabahçe Palace). Hop off the ferry at Büyük Ada. Horse and carriage tours around the island can be taken near the village square. Just follow the other tourists. Allow 3/4 day minimum, by the time you return. From the older historic ferry wharf, take the slower ferry via Kadýköy to Eminönü to get back closer to your hotel.

Taksim Square (not sure what is there?) A large monument in the centre of a roundabout, but this is a good spot to start to tour down Istiklal cad. I think you can catch the train from Sultanahmet down the hill and across the Galata bridge to near Kabataþ ferry wharf. Hop off and there is a underground station where you can catch a "new" 1 stop underground train to the top of Taksim Hill. Walk across the square and to your left you will probably see a tram. Then walk down the hill via Istiklal cad.  Follow the Tunel tram lines. Lots of modern shops, bookstores and food places. Excellent restaurants off the side streets. Where the tram stops is an entrance to an old funicular railway which will take you to the bottom of the hill near the Galata bridge. Don´t forget to visit the open air Fish markets on your side of the bridge. Lots of gun shops and electronic goods if you walk the lower arcades of the Galata bridge from the fish markets. Walk back across the bridge to Sutanahmet and experience the loads of people fishing from the upper deck.

Hope this helps you, and I know you will enjoy your experience in Istanbul.

Turkish people are very friendly and are generally always helpful.

3.       Henry
2604 posts
 18 Jan 2009 Sun 02:25 am

What restaurants are in the Sultan Ahmet area? Which ones do you recommend? There are plenty to choose from. If it is open, the rooftop restaurant on the Mavi Ev (Blue House Hotel) is great for sunset dinners and views of the Blue mosque.

 

There is a Belly dancing/dinner show tour available at Galata Towers, I was thinking of taking advantage of, what do you guys think of those? I experienced this in 1990, so my information is very dated. It was very expensive, jam packed and touristy. The karioke session at the end was very international. Unless you are with a big group that enjoys this stuff I would avoid it. The ethnic dancers were interesting, but the belly-dancing you can experience in many restaurants in Sultanahmet, and nearby in restaurant areas. Just ask the hotel reception and I´m sure they can recommend a closer option.

4.       Uzun_Hava
449 posts
 18 Jan 2009 Sun 03:28 am

For a restaurant, try Med_Cezir, from Hagia Sophia parking lot go South to the ATM machines West of Topkapi palace, turn right 50 meters,  past the dig site, left on Tevkifhane Sokak past the Taxi stand.  At the front end of the taxis  on the rýght opposýte to the Four Seasons Hotel there is a small Hotel. restaurant called Med_Cezir.  The terrace bar won´t be open in February.   The food is good and quite reasonable.  They serve this "puffed up" lavaþ bread.   The servers names are Irem and Sadýk and the owners name ýs Erol.    Tell them that Mr. Davýd sent you.  Address ýs number 6 Tevkýfhane.  

 

We stayed there in  October for 15 days.   They quoted rates in Euros but were happy wýth cash ýn YTL or dollars. 

They did NOT want to accept credit cards!   You should check about whether your hotel will take a card of payment.

 

Carry a lot o YTL. we never used any EUROs at all.

 

5.       Uzun_Hava
449 posts
 18 Jan 2009 Sun 05:13 am

Couple more comments. 

 

The tauts on Galata are insistent.  Don´t go there unless you are looking for a restaurant because they assume you are..  One way way to rebuff them is to raise a flat hand and say "saðol" (usually works also týlt your head back look down your nose)

 

Secondly, don´t go in any shop that do not INTEND to buy something.   Because they assume you do.

 

 

 

In Kusadisi on the Aegen, we had time at the carpet shop become we did plan to buy something.   That is how is should be.

6.       Henry
2604 posts
 18 Jan 2009 Sun 06:44 am

Some corrections and more information:

Topkapý Sarayý (Topkapi Palace)

Open 09-1700 cost 10TL, harem open 930-1530 extra 10TL.

Harem tour tickets are sold at ticket window in front of harem entrance, inside palace.

Note that it is closed on Tuesdays

http://www.topkapisarayi.gov.tr/eng/indexalt.html

Kapalý Çarþý (Grand Bazaar) and Mýsýr Çarþý (Spice or Egyptian Bazaar)

Open 09-1900, closed on Sundays.

Dolmabahçe Sarayý (Dolmabahce Palace)

Open 09-1600, closed Monday and Thursday.

Note it charges extra for taking in camera equipment.

http://www.dolmabahce.gov.tr/source.cms.docs/dolmabahce.gov.tr.ce/dolmabahce.html

Yerebatan Sarayý (Basilica Cistern)

Open 0830-1600 Oct-Apr. Cost 10TL

Sultan Ahmet Camii (Blue Mosque)

Open for tourists 0830-1200, 1345-1630

Aya Sofya (Haghia Sophia) 

Open 0915 - 1630, closed Mondays. Cost 10TL

 

Note all costs were in 2008, check times as they may also have changed.

 

7.       Henry
2604 posts
 18 Jan 2009 Sun 07:22 am

And here´s a great photo of the Basilica Cistern from Dick Osseman and his fantastic Turkish photo web-site.

http://www.pbase.com/dosseman/image/100081803/original

8.       tamikidakika
1346 posts
 18 Jan 2009 Sun 08:12 am

 

Quoting Henry

And here´s a great photo of the Basilica Cistern from Dick Osseman and his fantastic Turkish photo web-site.

http://www.pbase.com/dosseman/image/100081803/original

 

I wonder who this Dick Osseman guy. It reminds me of a funny Turkish name{#lang_emotions_lol_fast}

9.       Trudy
7887 posts
 18 Jan 2009 Sun 10:55 am

 

Quoting Uzun_Hava

Secondly, don´t go in any shop that do not INTEND to buy something.   Because they assume you do.

 

 

Maybe I misunderstood you, but why can´t someone go into a shop even if s/he isn´t planning to buy? Buying or not, the touts will be annoying in any case everywhere so just stay calm, say ´no thanks / saðol / belki sonra´ (or whatever you´ve got in mind) and take a look! The fact they assume someone wants to buy does not give that visitor an obligation to buy, is it?

10.       lady in red
6947 posts
 18 Jan 2009 Sun 01:12 pm

 

Quoting Trudy

Quoting Uzun_Hava

Secondly, don´t go in any shop that do not INTEND to buy something.   Because they assume you do.

 

 

Maybe I misunderstood you, but why can´t someone go into a shop even if s/he isn´t planning to buy? Buying or not, the touts will be annoying in any case everywhere so just stay calm, say ´no thanks / saðol / belki sonra´ (or whatever you´ve got in mind) and take a look! The fact they assume someone wants to buy does not give that visitor an obligation to buy, is it?

 

 +1 - what fun would a trip be without some ´window-shopping´?

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