Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page > Getting around Istanbul and safety issues for women
Notices

Getting around Istanbul and safety issues for women

Reply

Apr 3rd, 2011, 01:10 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 7
Getting around Istanbul and safety issues for women

HI

I'm heading to a conference in Istanbul travelling as a solo woman

I like looking around myself but am aware of safety issues travelling solo

I'm arriving at airport late at night, hotel is very close, is a taxi a safe option generally?

My hotel is close to the international airport so a bit of a distance from the main sites, looks like there's a light rail nearby, how is this for an option to get to old area of city

What about returning at night taxi versus trains etc?

Any useful tips greatly received!!
Joanna_Prendergast is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 3rd, 2011, 02:57 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 416
We took the light rail almost every day in Istanbul, including from the airport to Sultanhamet (the old part of the city with many of the tourist attractions). It's a wonderful way to get into the city and around it. It gets very crowded but I felt safe. I never took it at night, so can't comment.

I was with my husband in Turkey, but I did venture solo from the hotel to the area of the Blue Mosque (a short walk) a couple of evenings and I felt safe. Like any big city, you need to be aware of your surroundings, but all in all, I don't think you'll have anything to worry about.

Have a wonderful trip!
ellen75005 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 7th, 2011, 12:44 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 32
I was in Istabul for over a week, mostly by myself. It was incredibly easy, welcoming and felt very safe. I stayed in Sultanhamet, so was walking nearby at night. People were gracious, helpful and amusing. What a wonderful place and people. Going back in September with my husband.
carolp is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 7th, 2011, 12:45 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 32
I was in Istabul for over a week, mostly by myself. It was incredibly easy, welcoming and felt very safe. I stayed in Sultanhamet, so was walking nearby at night. People were gracious, helpful and amusing. What a wonderful place and people. Going back in September with my husband.
carolp is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 7th, 2011, 02:09 AM
  #5
hsv
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 2,801
In contrast to the poster above I think taking the rail from the airport into the city is one really painful exercise.
It involves a change to a tram (and about 17 stops to Sultanahmet on the tram alone).
This is painstakingly slow and it's crowded so there is no guarantee for a seat.
I'd prefer a cab any time. Cab fares are one of the few things in Istanbul that are actually reasonably priced.

And in further contrast to other posters, I congratulate you on not staying in Sultanahmet. I think the best area is around Taksim Sq or slightly beyond as it is less touristy and it's actually possible to stop in the streets without being approached by some tout. I realise that you are outside Sultanahmet on the other side of the city and this may actually not be as thrilling and offer less restaurant, cafe and shop options in the immediate vicinity, but may give you a better feeling of real life in Istanbul (which after all is a great city, just not so much for staying in Sultanahmet).
hsv is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 7th, 2011, 03:20 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,225
hsv, i personally agree with you regarding Sultanahmet and the tram and taxi. however, i also can empathize with those who do prefer the proximity of sights and quaintness of the historic peninsula, as well as the feelings of importance and misconstrued friendliness due to attention paid by the touts.

on the other hand, Joanna's hotel is one of the worst locations you can imagine for anyone coming to istanbul unless that person is coming to conduct specifically business in that area of istanbul. It is close to a badly organized business area with low income level residents thrown in haphazardly within very heavy day traffic on the other side of a very busy highway and almost deserted at night, with no restaurants or cafes to even consider anywhere nearby. Nowhere to walk to.

I felt so bad about this that i could not even respond to joanna regarding what to do. I really think that she will need to find some friends from the conference to share her free time.
otherchelebi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 7th, 2011, 08:31 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,777
Would it be possible to extend your stay so that you could change hotels after the conference is over?
I used the public transit in Istanbul, but only within the touristed areas (from Sultanahmet to Taksim). I also had one bad experience being ripped off by a cab driver. I don't think that means it is a common experience, but it is worth keeping in mind.
yorkshire is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2011, 02:11 AM
  #8
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 7
Thanks for your replies. Unfortunately because the conference is at the hotel it seems the best option to stay at that location even though it makes it harder to look around

Is catching a taxi from airport straightforward or do you need to have your wits about you?

What would traffic be like getting to Sultanahmet from airport area in a cab versus the train/tram? Would a taxi or public transport be better coming back in evening?
Joanna_Prendergast is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2011, 04:52 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 25,006
Joanna,

I'm not an expert. I have been to Istanbul twice. Once with my daughter and once with my husband.

We had no problem catching a taxi from the airport.

The traffic on arrival was tough on both trips ... sat for a long time going to Sultanahmet. Next time stayed in Bosphorus and also had bad traffic. But it wasn't so, so terrible that it colored our experience. I have sat in similar traffic in NYC...

We mostly used taxis, although did take public transport between Bosphorus and Sultanahmet in the daytime to avoid sitting in traffic.

We never felt 'ripped off' by any taxi although there were one or two drivers who smoked and that was not so pleasant.

My daughter and I are petite (and she is young and pretty) and we had no time where we felt unsafe. We were warned by our hotel to be careful with our purses in the Taksim area shopping but we were fine.

In fact, I felt badly that we were a bit defensive with a few people who stopped to help us with directions. My daughter and I were on guard a bit, and most people truly were just being hospitable and helpful.

We very much enjoyed Istanbul and I wish you a good trip.

(My younger daughter also went to Istanbul with a school trip at age 14. The kids were given a pretty free reign and there were no untoward experiences. She also loved Istanbul. Not often all 4 of us agree so much on a city!)
gruezi is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 15th, 2011, 06:57 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 25
Taxi cant be problem on airport

There is a Tram line on Sultanahmet , you can use it until Zeytinburnu (last station), After getting out tram , there will be lots of Taxi welcome you near Station. it will decrease your taxi cost, you are free to call taxi on sultanahmet area too

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...ransit_Map.png
emeritus is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 17th, 2011, 07:29 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 316
Just make sure the taxi driver turns on his meter when you get in the taxi. Very safe in Istanbul. The people are wonderful, except for the anoying rug salesman.
Marycang is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 9th, 2011, 03:52 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 12
Or just arrange an airport transfer from one of the tour companies for your first late night arrival to the hotel so you don't have to think about it at all - at least for your arrival day as you'd be tired and probably more anxious than normal. Then once you settle in and get a sense of the place you'll feel more comfortable about getting round yourself and taking taxis etc the rest of the days.
hg_expat is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 24th, 2011, 07:33 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 50
Hi Joanna I noticed you did not specify which airport, and posters assume you mean Ataturk. Is this the case?
Patricia1066 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 11th, 2011, 08:36 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 31
joanna, i assume you don't want to do this but when we were in Istanbul, we met and spoke with a few people who were there for several conferences at the conference center by the airport, and they elected instead to stay near Taksim or Sultanahmet and commute out to the conference in the day by Tram. they loved it and it gave them more freedom in the evenings or late afternoons when they could use their free time to explore. very safe for women walking around - just protect your purse in front of you as you would in any large city.
bellfam is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:30 AM.