Miscellaneous tips for travel in Turkey

Mar 9th, 2004, 04:12 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,748
Miscellaneous tips for travel in Turkey

I wrote this up after my trip 2 1/2 years ago; some of these are applicable for general travel and some are specific to Turkey. Hope it helps someone!
------------
Miscellaneous thoughts and suggestions:

- Bring dollars and travellers checks for large purchases. We used dollars to pay guides and purchase a carpet.

-Credit cards usually work, but not always (even when the store accepts cards).

-ATM?s don?t always work. We were surprised how hard it was to find ATM?s that worked for us, after travelling for years and never once using a traveller?s check.

-Bring a small bottle of shampoo. Not all hotels provide it.

-Bring ear plugs! I bring them whenever I travel, but it?s especially helpful in Turkey where the 5:00 am Call to Prayer may wake you up.

-Bring immodium (or you can buy Ercefuryl at a pharmacy). We, unfortunately, did need something during the trip and it did help.

-Bring tissues. The pleasant surprise, however, was that almost all toilets were very clean, and usually had toilet paper. And, most places had standard toilet bowls as well as the ?hole in the ground? type.

-I found it helpful to have wet wipes with us, especially helpful in hot and sticky weather. I also bring SHOUT (stain remover) but in packaged ?wipe? form-- VERY helpful!

-DRESS: Neat, but casual. We travelled in August and early September, and I (40+ very casual female) wore either capri-length pants or a midi length gauze skirt in the cities or in Cappadocia & Konya; I wore shorts on the coast, which is primarily a resort lifestyle. I found the capri-length pants perfect for almost all my travels, and would say that it?s a perfect piece of clothing: not too short or too long, neat, comfortable, and cool enough in the heat of summer.

-Shoes: Again, I travelled in the summer, and ended up wearing my grey Merrill shoes (open back) about 75% of the time. Very very comfortable, and I often have a hard time with shoes. I also have a pair of Wolky sandals that I wore the other 25% of the time.

-Learn a little Turkish! My small attempts seemed to be greatly appreciated (or a great source of amusement!).
progol is online now  
Mar 9th, 2004, 04:16 PM
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,748
Sorry about all the question marks; cut and paste doesn't translate well, and I should've put in the quotes or apostrophes. But I think you'll be able to make sense of it all. Let me know if anything was "lost in translation"!
progol is online now  
Mar 9th, 2004, 04:41 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 132
Thanks!

Duly noted and appreciated.
Robert_Brandywine is offline  
Mar 9th, 2004, 04:45 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,886
Ditto, thanks
I have arranged a bundle of small demonination USD and a bout a billion in turkish lire....jeez that sounds like a lot !!!
Marko is offline  
Mar 9th, 2004, 05:21 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 99
At last Turkey talk!! I'm so excited about my up coming trip and this thread is sooo welcomed. Please who else can add to it...I've noted all the comments so far. Thank you all!!!!
LEANNAT is offline  
Mar 9th, 2004, 05:31 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,886
Leannat,I know there hasn't been much just lately, Where are you going ?
Marko is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 05:05 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 99
Hi Marko. Im going for 31 days and we'll be touring all over. I'm traveling w/ Cultural Folk Tours and we really do seem to be hitting all the major points. Im soo excited! I've already started packing! I leave April 5th.....now how about you? When, where, what etc!
LEANNAT is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 07:36 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,886
Istanbul 3 days, fly to Urgup 2 days, back to Istanbul and then onto Gallipoli 2 days, Kusadasi 3 days, Bodrum 2 Days and then Marmaris 1 day and then to Greece. Can't wait !!
Marko is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 07:36 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,886
oh and a day and a half back in Istanbul before flying back to OZ.
Marko is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 10:56 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 129
Ramdon tips? Hmmm.

- Watch for pickpockets around the bus station across from the spice bazaar
- Enjoy a freshly grilled fish sandwich at at the quay by aforementioned bus station
- For the ladies: always have a headscarf handy for seeing mosques
- For the men, wear clean socks - same reason
- Never drink Raki straight, as you will be considered a lush. Add water
- The best way to shake off a carpet salesman is to tell him you just bought one
- At a turkish bath, tip the attendant before the ordeal, not after. It will be greatly appreciated and enhance the service
- All seating on ticketed travel is reserved (obviously planes, but buses and long distance ferries as well)
- To experience a short ferry ride (roundtrip) take the local to Harem but don't disembark. The boat will return in just a few minutes.
- With rare exception, there is no such thing as a no smoking section
- No matter where on this planet you're from, the carpet salesman will have a cousin who lives there
ncanavan is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 11:28 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 23
One more thing tourists in Turkey should know, if you engage a "guide" make sure you like him - Other guides will be very reluctant to take you one should you prove dissatisfied with the one you have. Either go it alone, or be careful who you pick!
dindle is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 03:04 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,886
More ? All very usefull, it has extended the number of usefull(?)phrases that I am learning in Turkish !
Marko is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 03:39 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 106
Beware-what is sold as "saffron" often is actually Marigold petals. Also, "Turkish Delight" is a really yummy confection much like our Cotlets or Applets here.
1tiredmama is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 06:45 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,937
Don't forget the $65 visa fee at the airport.
Elainee is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 06:47 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 99
According to my tour guide to be...the Washington Cotlet Co is/was owned originally by Turks. Intersting thought! Wow so many good tips. Now some ?'s of my own.

Did any one get sick from eating the food? I am taking Lomotil but just wondered how paranoid I need to be.

I plan on carrying my $$ in a soft wallet next to my skin so should be ok w/ that. I only carry a small amount in my purse/travel vest/fanny pack or whatever I"m using for the day.

The scarf I have packed and always carry one as it has soo many uses. A carry all for extra stuff, a wash cloth if needed, a cool cloth to wear around my neck if its hot, a warm cloth to wear for the opposite, a cover for dirty seats to protect my clothes etc etc etc. I once read an article 100 Things to do w/ a Cotton Scarf when you travel....I learned a lot.

Marko...so you're going on to Greece. How exciting. I wanted to go there last year but my tour was cancelled. This year it wasn't offered so hopefully next year. But now that I've studied up so much on Turkey I wonder if it isnt wiser to go there first anyway. Whatever I guess......just go!!!

Oh also.....for the baths, are the towels really ample enough for coverage? Is total nudity necessary....and I am only talking about the totally female side!!

Ok thanks all!
LEANNAT is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 07:32 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 704
$65 visa fee for who? Visa for Americans is $100USD, unless it has changed recently.
Garfield is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 09:02 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,886
Visa fee for Australians is $20 USD for multi entry Visa.
Marko is offline  
Mar 12th, 2004, 05:46 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 129
Yeah,

The US visa was 100$ when last I was in Istanbul 11/03. It's good for three months, multiple entry.

- Regarding the baths: At the Cembralitas the women's side is all nude, the men's side is towel manditory. It fact, the no nudity sign on the men's side is so emphatic that I take it as an attempt to avoid any possibility of gay cruising.
- More on division of the sexes: It is unusual to see Turkish women at night unescorted by either a man, or several other women. Also, coffee house society is almost exclusively male. Both these observations are slightly less true in the cosmopolitan area of Taxim.
- As for food: First, I got a Hep A shot (with booster) before traveling. Then, I ate everything every where, with the exception of mussels, which are likely to be polluted. Turkish food is very fresh, and very good.
- Food to try: Ayran (a yogurt drink), turkish pistachios, gozleme bread, turkish wine (purchase at the source in Goreme), arugula (often served as a garnish), blue fish (any fish),guvec (single serve casserole), and the hot drink sahlep (served in winter).
- The sun in central Turkey is VERY bright. Sunscreen and shades manditory.
- The bazaar behind the Blue Mosque is far less of a pain than the Grand Bazaar, and more artsy.
- There is a large area just off the Hippodrom that is devoted to shoes, all types, wholesale.
- Right next to the Galata tower is a great open air cafe where you can smoke a waterpipe.

...the joys of Turkey are endless

ncanavan is offline  
Mar 12th, 2004, 10:10 AM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,748
"- No matter where on this planet you're from, the carpet salesman will have a cousin who lives there"

How true! It was the greatest single line I heard everywhere we went.
----------
And I liked the bazaar behind the Blue Mosque, too. I ended up doing my shopping there because it's so much more manageable.
-Inexpensive gift items to consider-- small
painted bowls.

Anyway, to add to ncanavavan's food recs, we liked lahmacun, a flat, thin bread with ground meat on it, like a small meat pizza. Try it in the modest cafe/restaurant outside the entrance to the Sirkeci Train Station.

Leannat-- in answer to your question about getting sick, both my husband and I did get sick when we arrived in Cappadocia. We ate food that had been prepared at the hotel we were staying in and we arrived late, so it was reheated. No one else got sick from it, so was it that the food was reheated? Or is there something in the bacteria of the food that our body wasn't used to? I prefer to think the latter, but we don't know.
Anyway, we both got very ill; I, fortunately, bounced back the next day, but my husband was pretty miserable for 2 full days (and weak for several more). On the other hand, most people we met did not get sick, but there were any number of people we met who did. And believe me, I was surprised-- I rarely have any kind of problems with food when I travel, so I really didn't expect to experience it. After that first bout, however, we were both fine; and we ate pretty much anywhere and everything after that.

Regarding the visa fee-- I read that the US increased the visa to enter to $100, so countries have responded in kind.
progol is online now  
Mar 12th, 2004, 05:30 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,886
More great advice, all being printed and collated, thank you. I am very pleased that our visa fee to enter is only $20 each, there will be five of us !!!! and $500 USD would put a hefty dent in our budget !
Marko is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:57 PM.