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Trip Report Istanbul

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Things to do in Istanbul...............one of my Fav destinations...........
Turkey- Istanbul Tips
To those of you looking at travelling through Istanbul in general or a more detailed trip through Turkey........here a few useful tips. Things I found useful and thought that I might share with you all.......

Istanbul is an absolutely fascinating place. If you book a hotel close to Taksim or Sulthanmet you are pretty much in control of travel to all the important touristy sites.

A must on your TO DO list would definitely be the Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, St Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Dolmabache Palace and the Bascilica Cistern.

Not to be missed are the Rustam Pasha mosque, the Suleimani Mosque and the Galata Tower.

Practically all these places are very easily accesible and do not require any tour guide as long as you have done your homework and read your notes before your visit.

An important tip: Make sure you get to the Topkapi or Dolmabache at about 8 30 am before the counters open!! This enables you to buy your tickets and get in way way way earlier than the tour buses and school kids! It allows you easy access to both the places with plenty of time to go through at a slow and easy pace without being rushed or jostled around. Make sure you do the 2 palaces on 2 different days. You could do Topkapi - use 1/2 a day at leisure and make sure you go through the Harem. It is pretty amazing to go through "the cage."

Cover St Sophia on the day you do Topkapi - but make sur eyou arrive at around 3pm! At this time the crowds are usually gone and number of people are less. This allows you to have some space to look around the museum at the pace you want to!

Avoid the Blue Mosque on a friday ! and at the prayer times. On a weekday it is best to go to the mosque in the afternoon. Also do make it a point to go to both the Arasta bazaar and the Grand Bazaar. The sheer size of the grand bazaar, the colours and the shops are just amazing! Ceramics, lamps, jewellery, carpets and other things are just lovely.

Do take a boat ride on the bosphorous. The ferry costs very little and you can catch one at Eminonu! If you are staying in Taksim make it a point to catch the tram on the fashionable and colourful Istiklal Caddesi /street. The kabatas - tram that runs all the way from karakoy all the way to sulthanmet is another easy way to travel around Istanbul.

If time permits do make an effort to make it to the Chora Museum or the Kariye Museum. This is one of the most amazing mosaic museums and a real gem! It is well worth the trouble.

A drive around the city allows you to look at the old walls that fortified Constantinople. And the views of the Halic or Golden Horn from the Taksim end is gorgeous.

To get a panoramic view of Istanbul make an effort to go up the Galata tower. It is quite lovely on a clear sunny day! Time your entry to catch the last rays of the sun as it sets over Istanbul and as the lights come on in the city!!!!

An intersting show that I would recommned is the Whirling Dervishes at the Hodja Pasha Cultural centre close to Sercesi or train station.

Last but not the least ..........if you have loved Agatha Christie's

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