Back from Istanbul

Jun 4th, 2005, 01:16 PM
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Back from Istanbul

Back in the US after a week in Istanbul plus an overnight in Paris. Will post a full report when the lag passes and the laundry is done, but the high points:
1. Turkey is really popular because it is one of the few bargains left. Most of the tourists seemed to be European but still some Americans.
2. Istanbul is great - western enough to be comfortable, eastern enough to be interesting.
3. The DK Eyewitness guide was very good, but had some outdated phone numbers and opening times.
4. Stayed in Taksim and it was OK, would have preferred Sultanahment but couldn't get a room due to the soccer finals. On the plus side, in Taksim there is plenty of night life while Sultanahmet is quiet. Did visit the Ambassador hotel (where I wanted to book) and it looked fine and the staff was terrifically nice and helpful.
5. Traffic can be horrid at rush times, public transport is OK but does not directly connect from Sultanahmet to Taksim; have to go tram to tunel to tram. (Tunel is the sort of underground funicular that goes up the hill to the beginning of Istiklal Cadessi in Galatsaray/Taksim) Taxis are relatively cheap unless you get stuck in traffic.
6. Lots of merchants hawking their wares, the usual "Excuse me, where are you from?" tried in whatever language they think you speak, but nothing obnoxious just folks trying to hustle a buck. Don't make eye contact, remember that in Turkish "no" is pronounced as the English "higher".
7. Food is great!
8. People are incredibly friendly and helpful.
Seamus is offline  
Jun 4th, 2005, 01:37 PM
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Thanks, guv. I will be leaving for Istanbul on July 15. Staying 5 nights at Four Seasons and 2 nights on Buyukada at Princess Hotel. Is the VISA still $20 at the airport? If you could give me the names of some restaurants with good food, that would be smashing.

John G.
ThinGorjus is offline  
Jun 4th, 2005, 01:55 PM
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Nice trip report...I was there in 2003 and loved the city. We walked to Taksim one night late, meandering through neighborhoods...we did end up finding a bus to Sultanahmet where our hotel was, but I couldn't tell you which one. We ended up going back to Taksim for dinner and last-minute gifts before we left, and really enjoyed the neighborhood.

Wasn't The Blue Mosque incredible?

jules4je7 is offline  
Jun 4th, 2005, 05:28 PM
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$20? I read that the visa was $100. I'm going to be there on a 32 hour layover on the way to India,so I hope you're right and I'm not!
massagediva is offline  
Jun 4th, 2005, 06:33 PM
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massagediva, I believe the current cost for U.S. passport holders is $45 for the sticker-type visa that you can pick up at the airport at a window on your left just before passport control.
Flyboy is offline  
Jun 5th, 2005, 01:07 AM
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Seamus, Great to hear you had good time in Turkey and Thank you for sharing with us.
Flyboy; 20 Usd cash is enough to get into country
Have Fun,
propertravel is offline  
Jun 5th, 2005, 03:40 AM
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"$20? I read that the visa was $100."

It was $100 until last year when they reduced it to $20.
metellus is offline  
Jun 5th, 2005, 05:05 AM
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Well,that's like finding 80 bucks in your pocket-thanks!
massagediva is offline  
Jun 5th, 2005, 05:47 AM
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Glad to hear they left it at the $20 that they adopted about a week after we were some of the last people to have to pay $100 in the Spring of 2004. (There is more than one website that lists $45 right now, but who knows how often these things are updated.)
Flyboy is offline  
Jun 5th, 2005, 08:25 AM
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When I entered last week the visa was USD 20.
TG - The two places I would recommend are Lipsos and Balikçi Sabahattin. Lipsos - on Nevizade Sokak. Enter Çiçek Pasaji across from Galatsary high school on Istaklal, turn right onto Sahne sokak then left onto Nevizade sokak. Lipsos is halfway down on the left. There are several eateries here, mostly patronized by locals. Balikçi Sabahattin on Cankurtaran, behind the Armada hotel, is excellent for seafood. I took a cab from Taksim, but if you are in Sultanahmet you could walk.
I had great meals at both places for under $50 including a couple starters, salad, entree and nice Turkish wine. Too full for dessert!
Seamus is offline  
Jun 5th, 2005, 03:11 PM
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Thanks so much. We will be staying in Sultanahmet, Taksim, and Buyukada. We are moving around to get a good feel for Istanbul.

ThinGorjus is offline  
Jun 5th, 2005, 06:54 PM
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Just returned from a week's stay in Istanbul in April and, although I took $100 US dollars, the visa only cost $20.

Turkey/Istanbul was wonderful, even if - or especially since - we were 2 of the few Americans visiting.

Eat at Develi Samatya in the Samatya section (5 minutes from Sultanahmet) - fabulous mezetim. Only objection - every single Turkish person in the restaurant smoked and I mean smoked through the entire meal. Being from New York which has outlawed smoking in every restaurant, I admit I'm happily spoiled here but I have to say that, despite the excellent quality of the food and service, it would have been totally perfect without the cigarettes.
Jun 5th, 2005, 08:03 PM
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Yippee! Can't wait for the full trip report,although this is a great start!
HappyCheesehead is offline  
Jun 5th, 2005, 08:23 PM
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The cost of the Visa dropped way down in the past year or so. It was either $20 or 25 last October, when purchased at the airport.

Seamus, your post reminded me of the excitement I felt in Istanbul when I was there last fall.
cmt is offline  
Jun 6th, 2005, 07:02 PM
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Well, cmt, darling, if you have information on Istanbul why not post it so others can learn something? What are some of your observations of Istanbul?
ThinGorjus is offline  
Jun 8th, 2005, 09:09 AM
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Hey Seamus - Just how much laundry do you HAVE, LOL!

I am (im)patiently waiting for the rest of your trip report!

HappyCheesehead is offline  

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