istanbul - learning points

1. It is very easy to travel around Istanbul via metro, tram, funicular and ferry. To get a ride, you need tokens called “jeton”. You can buy them at the stations from machines called “jetonmatik”.

2. Metro and tram use red plastic tokens. Funicular uses yellow plastic token. Ferry uses golden metal tokens. Don’t worry, “jetonmatik” at the stations will sell you the right token for the particular ride. Therefore, if you go to a “jetonmatik” at the port, you’ll always get a golden metal “jeton”.

3. Istanbul is a safe city for ladies travelling alone. Just stick to general safety precautions, you should be fine. Plus, ladies often get bigger discounts when shopping alone ;-)

4. İstiklal Avenue very much reminds me of Myeongdong (Seoul) and Calle Florida (Buenos Aires) - a long stretch of pedestrian walkway with many nice shops. Good for those who enjoy walking aimlessly, jumping from shop to shop, stopping for a cup of coffee.. you know.. simply enjoying being out and about.

5. Go to Dolmabahçe Palace early. Why? Because it is compulsory to follow guided tours to see the palace and the harem, you can’t just walk around by yourself. Each tour takes roughly 45 minutes. Only a small group of about 20 people is allowed per tour, thus the waiting line is normally long. By the way, there are separate tours for the palace and the harem. So yes, go there early so that you have the time to join both tours in one visit.

6. Do take a ferry and cross the straits to the Asian side. You’ll experience a different Istanbul - less crowded, less touristy, normal people living their daily lives. Also, stuffs there are relatively cheaper compared to the European side.

7. Topkapi Palace is a must visit.

8. Try the following Turkish dishes:
- Manti - It’s something like ravioli.
- Iskander kebab - Kebab on a plate, drenched in tomato sauce.
- Apple tea - Yummy!
- Turkish coffee - Strictly for coffee lovers.
- Aryan - Yoghurt drink. Very sour.

9. Go to Galata Tower in the morning because it requires quite a bit of uphill walk from Karaköy tram station to reach there.

10. Stuffs sold at Grand Bazaar are pretty expensive. Price tag is almost non-existent. It’s quite hard to get a good deal unless you are very good at bargaining. But it’s a nice place to go if you simply want to enjoy the atmosphere.

11. To get tax refund, you have to spend at least TRL 118 in a single receipt. Request the store to prepare the tax free form. There’s a tax refund office at İstiklal Avenue where you can get your refund immediately in cash. Remember to submit the tax form at the airport on the day you leave the country, otherwise a penalty will be charged to your credit card.

12. The locals are generally very friendly and helpful. Their English command can be quite limited though, except for those who work at tourist areas.

13. Stay at Sultanahmet (old city). Most major attractions (i.e. Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace) are within the area.

14. Shops at tourist areas normally accept both TRL and EUR. However you may suffer quite significant exchange loss if you pay by EUR. So just stick to using TRL.

15. Simply put, if you love architecture, photography and history, Istanbul is the place to be!

Miss me?


Lelord said...

lovely flower...sweetie Dieya

dieya said...

thank you k lelord :-)

ahkakbatik said...

miss miss..... sakan exam mesti flying kaler.... harap2 jawapan "betul way instead of salah way" haaa...

Sha@Mama Tina said...

interesting info la dieya..oh ye..ntah dah bgtau ke belum..akak lupa..FM sudah sampai.."shaye suke"..thanks a lot!

len kali over the sea lagi leh la souvenir..hikhikhik

~jeet~ said...

you make me wanna go turkey even more!! thanks for the tip ;)

te extraño mucho!!! :)

JaJa'Z said...

miss u la dear....lama menyepi..exam mode ek...takpe2..lepas2 ni boh entry banyak2 sket ok...

dieya said...

kalu tak terbang gak warna2 tuh.. jawabnya kena berguru the betul way ngan syasya

k sha,
dah bagitau dah.. hahaha.. amboi2 nak lagi ye, kena mintak pengeras ni!

no prob! te echo de menos tambien!!!

k jaja,
hehehe.. c how ;-)

Mamamya said...

of course lah miss u dear...ingat pi mana lah menyepi kemain lagik lamanya....sampai nak tido pun t'ingat2...^____^

dieya said...

k lieya,
i miss u too! teringat kat k lieya jugak. rasa nak terbang gi jb jumpa akak!

Anonymous said...

hye dieya,another great adventure kan!!!if u dunt mind,for a 5 days trip ni,how much RM in total spent eh?excluding the air fare la..i pun dpt that FOC benefit ;)
-lela nasir

dieya said...


a great adventure indeed!
for this trip, the cost is around:
- hotel (3 star, 4 nites twin sharing, walking distance to blue mosque): RM 250 per nite
- entrance fees (hagia sofia, palaces etc.): RM 30-40 per entrance
- rides (tram, metro etc.): RM 3-4 per ride
- food: RM 15-20 per meal

i think i spent about RM 2,000 thereabouts excluding air fare.

hey u are an airliner too! which one? sekapal ke kita? :-D

Anonymous said...

hye dieya,

thanks for family are MH airliners from father,brother sampai lah ke husband and quite number of friends from subang and klia.. ;) i dpt la sipi2 benefits tu.dont forget to write more of ur adventures tau..very usefull...seriously i suka.
-lela nasir

dieya said...

that's awesome! banyak dah tu benefits u dapat as immediate family member kan. inshaAllah, ada rezeki + masa i will continue to jot down my adventures. thanks so much, u make me so motivated to keep on travelling and writing :-)

Hasliza Sanosi said...

hii dieya, i suke baca kisah holiday u kt istanbul... i just nk tnye masa kt istanbul 2 u ddk hotel mane yek?? i ade plan nk ke sane maybe next year...

Hasliza Sanosi said...

salam dieya...

its me again... kt sultanahmet sng x nk cari mknan pastu kt area mane leh cari sourvenier yg murah2...

dieya said...

w'salam hasliza,
very sorry for the late reply, i've been super busy.
i duduk dekat area sultanahmet. kat area tu byk hotel murah2. souvenir shops pun banyak kat situ, lagi murah dari grand bazaar. kedai makan, grocers, semua ada. tram station pun dekat, senang nak gi mana2.

Hasliza Sanosi said...

oooo yeke... pastu kn nk tnye nk tkr duit lira kt ne msia or istanbul... i dgr kt msia xde money changer yg ade duit lira so kne request n mahal sgt.. so whats ur suggestion.....

dieya said...

kat msia mmg susah nak dapat lira. bawa usd or euro, gi tukar lira bila sampai kat sana.