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Istanbul - A travel report by David
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Istanbul,  Turkey - flag Turkey -  Istanbul
3452 readers

ddrezner's travel reports

less mentioned activities

  10 votes
many people Go to Istanbul. Not many do these things. Books tell you about all of them, but don't necessarily tell you just how good some of them are. They should be on the to-do list for any 5 day tour of the city.

1. Chora Church. One of the best byzantine churches in Europe 2. Public boat ride up the Bosphorus Ferry boat terminal #3 3. Public ferry ride to Kadikoy, Ferry boat terminal 4. Museum of Islamic Arts, Hippodrome 5. Galata tower: Everyone does it, should be done on a CLEAR day 6. Taksim- on all the lists for a good reason 7. Roman aqueduct: impressive at first sight, more impressive from the hills 8. Sunday market in Istanbul 9. Theater in Taksim= inexpensive local culture 10 Princes Islands, escape the heat and bustle of the city 11. Kadikoy 12. Egyptian market- in Eminonu by the docks 13. For the romantic mostly: The cistern, complect with classical music, and lights.

Favourite spots:
Princes Islands Olivium center shopping mall Old Istanbul Blue Mosque Hagia sophia Rug dealers Any ferry coming into Istanbul at night Kadikoy Sitting in cafes watchig people go by

What's really great:
One spot people don't usually go to is the Princes Islands. Theyre a great day trip, and some Islands are simply beautiful, hilly, and reminscient of being in Greece. They can be windy, and are a great way to escape the heat of Istanbul

Less known sights:

Fener District- very Muslim, interesting to vist
kadikoy- a commercial, very turkish area, with reasonable shopping
Walking up the Golden horn from Eminounu along the 'coast'. Interesting sights, some nice parks.

Fish restaurants at the end of the Bosphorus tour. Try to stay near the ones on the water. The food is about the same price, and the view is better. The castle on top of the hill is worth walking to.

Fishing on the Galata bridge- Just WHY do they do it? its not to catch big fish, that's for sure.

Market by the Galata bridge and in the underpasses.
good Bargains.

Egyptian Market, near Eminonu: slightly cheaper goods than the Grand Bazaar, a good selection of tourist items, and a thousand times less confusing and time consuming.
Grand Bazaar: Its juge. Its so huge you can wander there for hours. Don't go there just to pick up one thing quickly, unless you know exactly what you're looking for. Ask merchants to find goods.



Most people go to either the Orient Hostel, or the Yucelt international Hostel. Of the two, the Yucelt is bigger.
Neither, at the time of this writing, had especially friendly staff.

One advantage of the Yucelt is their bar in the basement with a free pool table. The cafeteria there is average. They DO have a travel agency which seems to do a good job.

There is the Sultan Hostel, which is more business oriented, and many others with low rates, if you ask for them in the winter season. In the summer and spring, prices tend to be more stable.

The Paris Hostel is a good change, since it has free continental breakfasts and an all day waiter to serve you Chai or Apple tea.
Its a bit more pricey, and only has 12 spaces for shared bedrooms. I like the single bedrooms myself.


Avoid the X-bar. Avoid most clubs in Taksim. Do not bring any credit cards, travellers cheques, or a lot of cash when you go clubbing. Many clubs have a nasty way of overcharging drastically for drinks, then enforcing those charges with big men blocking the door.
When in doubt, tel them you're going to the Tourist Police.

If a woman goes to your table, don't buy her a drink. Normal Turkish women aren't nearly that forward, and she's likely working with the bar.

men: if you bring an attractive girlfriend, some men in clubs and bars will glomm onto her like Glue. They feel its their right. Be careful.

Women: Turkish men are charming. They can also be extremely aggressive and annoying, so sometimes you have to learn to be firm. If you aren't, they'll just continue to demand your attention.


Same for above, except the 'westerner' pubs tend to be more 'civilised'.
Irish Pubs are expensive.

Cemet- up the Divanyulu, the train tracks in Sultanahmet.
Tourist, but you can't beat the banging drums , men in costumes, and free turkish music while you eat traditional turkish foods of average to good quality.

Other recommendations:
Tale the local train from Sultanahmet train station. it has a great view of the city wall. Follow the city walls on foot. They're fascinating. Take the tram at Sultanamet until you see them pass you, then get off.

Take the tram to Zetynbyrnu. its a great view of the non-historic istanbul.

Published on Tuesday August 31th, 2004

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