Istanbul advice for our upcoming vac.

Old Sep 15th, 2002, 12:48 PM
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Istanbul advice for our upcoming vac.


I am taking my family to Istanbul over the last week in November 2002. Since we have never been to Turkey, we have some questions about hotels and side trips.

The hotel that I am considering is the Ambasador Hotel located on Imperial street (Divanyolu cad). I have not seen any references to this hotel on Fodors...does anyone know anything about it?

Also wondering about the length of our stay. Right now, we are planning to be in Istanbul for all 6 days. I do not want to travel long distances if we can remain interested in Istanbul, or local areas. Does anyone have interesting suggestions for local travel once we have seen the top sites within Istanbul itself?

Old Sep 15th, 2002, 10:09 PM
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You are going to the center of Touristic area ypu don't need any car fro your transfer from your hotel to Historis sides (Cistern, Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Topkapi, Arhaeological Museum, St Sofia) 6 days is not enough to see whole Istanbul but you can see the top sides. Hotel that you will stay is nice BUT Please don't go out after 8.00PM because there are some thiefs in that area.

Have a nice VACATION in Istanbul

Old Sep 16th, 2002, 02:04 AM
John Munro
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Dear Bob,
Istanbul is fantastic. 6 days is not enough.Get a good guide book also " Istanbul The Imperial City " by John Freely.
The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, The Topkapi, St Saviour in Chora,Yerebatan Saray,The Covered Bazaar are all essentials. A trip up the Bosphorous is highly desirable: there are a number of ferry boats.
There are a number of good restaurants in the area Sarnic in Sogukcesme Caddesi and the Topkapi Restaurant are both quite pricey but excellent food and fantastic locations.Rami in Utangac Sokak (behind Blue Mosque) Altin Kupa at Yerebatan Caddesi (bottom of DivanYolu )are cheaper but still very good. 2 last tips - Istanbul is generally safe. It has a pretty low crime rate - you can walk safely in virtually areas. Lastly,take some warm clothing: it can be cold in November.
Old Sep 16th, 2002, 04:00 AM
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I don't agree with the warning not to go out at night! My husband and I walked all over that area and Sultanahmet after dark and felt perfectly safe. Other things to do include a trip to the Princes Islands and a Bosphorus cruise.
Old Sep 16th, 2002, 05:30 AM
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Don't know anything about your hotel.

It's generally safe to wander around at night, if you follow the usual precautions.

Several Bophorus trips are essential, though it's not necessary to take a tourist cruise. There are millions of yellow ferries going everywhere, costing almost nothing. Bit confusing at first, but you can't go far wrong and you will be mixing with the locals.

Another great day trip is to the Princes Islands - surprisingly attractive and low-key and just an hour or so from Istanbul by boat.
Old Sep 16th, 2002, 06:58 AM
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I don't agree either with the warning to not go out after 8:00 pm. We were out until after 10:00 pm every night with no problems.

I'm not familiar with that hotel but I think it's on the main street through Sultanahmet so it should be a good location. I thought Frommer's had a write up on it on their website but it's not there anymore so you might check their guidebook.

If you are there the last Sunday in November, you might check out the whirling dervish performance at the Galata monastery. I think it's at 3:00 pm in the winter months, we got tickets the morning of the performance. Be sure to get there a bit early or you might not get a seat.

The Bosphorus cruise I would recommend is the special ferry that leaves from Eminonu dock #3. It cost 3 million lira (about $2US), took you over to the Asian side for lunch and then back again. There's no commentary, but with a good guide book you don't really need it. Eyewitness had a good map of what you are seeing on the trip.

We didn't make it to Bursa but someone recommended that to me as a good day trip from Istanbul.

If you find yourself with extra time, there are travel agencies all along the main street that can organize day trips but I think you will find plenty to keep you busy for 6 days.
Old Sep 16th, 2002, 08:53 AM
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Thanks for all the great information.

I have expanded the list of hotels under consideration. I really want to stay in a special place that we can relax in, and remember fondly. Can anyone provide feedback on the following hotels:

Konuk Evi
Fehmi Bey
Ibrahim Pasa

Would like decent street, great views, and great service. We will be getting a triple room.

Again, thanks for all the feedback!
Old Sep 16th, 2002, 09:17 AM
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Do a search for Ambassador Hotel, spelled with two s and you will get some info. I did this awhile back and thought most of the feedback was negative.
Old Sep 19th, 2002, 05:51 AM
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sultanahmet area is very safe. you may consider the sultanahmet hotel, btw. any and all walking around at night is ok. the only problem may be the insistency of the hawkers that you look at their wares. the turks are great negotiators. i might recommend having a guide with you if your uncomfortable about all this. <[email protected]> is the edress of sahin, who is a wonderful person who accompanied us during our stay. he got us into mosques and places off the beaten path and helped us survive the grand bazaar -- one of the greatest experiences in travel. he refused us paying him, though he has a relationship at a jewelry/rug and leather store. so we bought some things we were quite pleased with. istanbul is truly a great city -- we're going back.
Old Sep 20th, 2002, 04:40 AM
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Hi Bob,
I personally know Konuk Evi and ibrahimpasa, they re nice hotels. May I also add Armada on your collection ?

Have a great time in Turkey...
ps:You can go out after 8:00 pm. as well
Old Sep 20th, 2002, 05:40 AM
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We stayed at the Hotel Empress Zoe in Sultanahmet (sp) and thought it was really special. It was run by an American lady and was unique and had great views from the rooftop terrace.
Old Sep 20th, 2002, 06:34 AM
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we used a wonderful guide named Levent. His email address is [email protected]. We got his name from another fodorsite and will be using him again this July! He got us to the front of every line. We NEVER had to wait even in the rain. He was so knowledgeable. Levent even was patient while our family of 5 visited (and shopped) at the Grand Bizare!
Old Oct 4th, 2002, 09:51 AM
Neil Canavan
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I agree that six days is not enough for Istanbul. However, should you want a nice side trip, I recommend Bursa. It requires a ferry to Yalova, and then a bus into Bursa. The commute is very nice and round trip is about $10. Bursa has a beautiful, hassle free bazaar and wonderful thermal spas.
Old Oct 18th, 2002, 06:00 AM
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We just returned from Istanbul. We ate at Rami as previously mentioned and found the local dishes very good and the price for two with house wine will run just under $40US. They like reservations, but we were seated without one. Get there just before dark and you will see the light show at the Blue Mosque. The Sultanahmet area is perfectly safe after dark, in fact local merchants stay open often until 9:00p. We stayed 7 days and did 2 side trips: the ferry up the Bosphorus and the trip to Bursa, via car ferry to Yalova. Not trying to advertise, but we used Mehmet Ozbalci as a guide for the side trips. He is great...perfect English, a real gentleman, and very knowledgeable. He also can negotiate prices at the silk market in Bursa. He will pick you up at your hotel and truly handles all aspects. We felt like we had known him for years during the 2 days we spent with him. You can email Mehmet at [email protected]. Have a great trip.
Old Nov 1st, 2002, 02:19 PM
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We were just in Turkey for 2 weeks and stayed in Istanbul 4 days, 5 nights. The Turkish people are wonderful and it is a safe city; however you have to stay aware. Turkish friends advised that the most that would happen is a pursing snatching and all they want is cash. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza on the Sea of Marmaris but not in old town. This is an American Hotel (large rooms and amenities) and very very nice. Internet rates were exceptional (We paid around $82 US a night). You cannot drink the water in Istanbul so you need bottled water. I think 6 days is enough because you are so saturated with information and it gets exhausting. This is a city of 12 million people. We hired a professional tour guide and enjoyed it so much more because she was able to get us in places we couldn't have done on our own and to provide so much more information. Topkapi takes a few hours. We really enjoyed our trip.
Old Dec 10th, 2002, 12:23 PM
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Several messages have recommended individual guides in Istanbul. Can you tell me the approximate costs and what was included?

Old Mar 27th, 2003, 02:07 AM
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I live in ISTANBUL,welcome for questions that will be my plasure.

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