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I am a Geo-tourism blogger. I write blogs on visiting beautiful places around world. I write on the places that I have personally visited. I have visited many places in Turkey during my stay. I have seen growth in many Indian tourist in past few years visiting Turkey. I am always excited to give you all, more information on Turkey for you as a Tourists. I have written separate blogs on my visits on different places in Turkey. You can definitely read them. I will posting informational YouTube videos on this. Entire Turkey has beautiful places with amazing landscapes and delicious Turkish food and warm welcoming Turkish hospitality. Anyone visiting Turkey as a tourists has mostly 10-12 days and cover maximum places with lots of cost effective options right from flights to stay. Most importantly I have come across adventurous vegetarians travelling to Turkey without any hesitation. In my blog I will try and cover all the aspects for ease of your journey which will be full of memories and your camera full of beautiful pictures of you in Turkey! To travel around the globe and enjoy different places with their food and culture you do not need travel company anymore. You can save huge amount of money by just knowing all by yourself with help of internet based authentic information. You can be a solo traveller, hitchhiker, back packer, mountain hiker, trekker or even a group of friends and family you can save a lot! Just try and understand basic procedure and you can easily get things done.
Steps that you need to follow for your international visit is
Decide on vacation dates available and make a plan.
Budget planning – Create an detailed excel itinerary for your plan with tentative cost. (Consider all the minute details of expenses, stay, international flights, interanl flights, local / transportation cost, airport transport, food per day cost, parks/museums entry fees, gifts and souvenirs cost – try to include everything that you will be spending on)
You can apply visa before 60days of your visit. Make it and keep.
If you have valid visa for UK, US or Schengen – you can get visa on arrival or e-visa. For more details check on airlines website for documentation and cost of fees. Mostly they will check your UK, US or Schengen Validity. They will need your hotel bookings and International insurance cover.
To visit any country you need to apply for that county’s visa from their respective embassy of the country that you need to visit and complete the basic formalities with some fees. For Turkey at the moment you can get your visa done form VFS Global. For link check the end of the blog.
Check for nearest VFS office location on their site. Check all the documents that you need to furnish for your visa application. on their website.
Few basic things that you need to know:
- Visa specific photos (Do not smile in photo, 80% face to be viewed, with no google, no glasses, no lens, no make up and ears should visible.)
- Duly filled application form
- Passport valid for 6 months from the day you will exit from Turkey. i.e. last day of your travel.
- Return Air tickets
- Hotel bookings
- International travel insurance
- Name address phone number and e-mail id.
- Mention your visit purpose Tourist/Business
- http://www.gulfair.com/ or whatever it may be.
- Mostly submissions timings are morning half and collection timing is second half of the working hours of the day.
- A bank transcript showing minimum of Rupees 1 lakh balance in your account.
Most important, if you are applying through any travel agent, ensure to get your Passport return in stipulated time. Also you will have to acknowledge to receive or collect your passport with visa stamp. You should never hand over your passport to unknown person for longer time. You never know what it might get used for.
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How to reach Turkey?
There are lots of international airlines that operate between Indian and Turkey. Considering your location you can check different flights options. You have different airlines options to book your ticket online Turkish Airlines Gulf Air Emirates and so on. Check your both side times, dates of travel, baggage weight allowance for cabin and check-in weights. Every airlines have some specifications of things that you can carry in handbags as cabin luggage and things that you can carry check in luggage. Check amount of currency allowance that you are allowed to carry, while travelling. Few airlines have direct flights from one country destination to other. While some will have transit flights from a third places added layover in between. Ideally it is 7 hours flight that reaches directly to destination country either Turkey or back to India. Time difference between time is, Turkey time is exactly two and half hours behind Indian time. Turkey is not following day light time saving since past few years so the difference will remain same though the year.
Ataturk international airport is not in operation anymore. It is new airport International Istanbul airport (on European side) roughly 40km away from main city area or Sabiha Gokcen International airport (on Asian side). You have all different transport options that you can take. Taxi, public transport bus, private transport, hotels that provide pickup and drop for guests, hotel shuttle services. For links you can check in the end of this blog. Public transport Havaist bus needs a local bus transport card that you can buy paying few liras. It is prepaid card. It drops you to city centre locations. Soon when the direct Metro lines will be opened will update this blog for the same.
You can buy a temporary GSM SIM card for yourself with minutes talk time and internet package. You can buy it at airport or in the city. Few operators have better packs for international roaming. You can exchange dollars and get local Turkish currency, Lira. Check exchange rate on Xe.com. Your international, credit card and debit cards can also be used. You need to check the international transaction rates that your bank might be offering you. Forex card is also an handy option that you might consider. In Turkey most of the touristic places accept Euros.
Enjoy the duty free buying. Preferred activity to be done while returning. Do not forget to check the list of things to shop and where to buy in the shopping section of my blog. For more detail you watch my upcoming videos. You can follow me on Instagram #03kanchan where I will be posting on latest updates and upcoming fun videos to watch.
Turkish currency is called Lira. You have paper currency notes for 5, 10, 20, 50 100, 200 denominations. At the same time coins are from 0.1, 0.5 , 0.10, 0.25, 0.50, 1 in day to day use. Money is called para, coins are called kurush.
Simply use calculator in mobile to show numbers. Mostly all touristic places people speak English. But here is some added information related to money in Turkish. You can use this questions in money transactions.
Kutch para? = How much money?
Chok pahali! = Very expensive!
Indirim = Discount
Istiyorum = I want
Iste me mi yor um = I don’t want
Will add some more vocabulary that may help you in day to day activity here for reference purpose in the blog.
Just basic how to say numbers that can help you
0 Sifir 0.5 Buchuk or half you will say Yarim
1 Bir 11 Oon bir same rule on rest of the numbers
2 Iki 20 Yirmi then 21 will be Yirmi bir
3 Uch 30 Otuz
4 Doort 40 kirk
5 Besh 50 Ellie
6 Alte 60 Atmish
7 Yedie 70 Yetmish
8 Sekiz 80 Seksan
9 dokuz 90 Doksan
10 oon 100 Yuz
1000 Bin 1002 Bin iki and so on
Who can visit Turkey?
There is absolutely no age limit to visit Turkey. Those who wish to visit beautiful places, eat good food and meet new people and like to understand their culture you can always visit Turkey. Yes, it is safe! You can visit as a solo traveller, back packer, family trip, friends trip anything and everything.
Best time of the year to visit Turkey?
In my view every place on earth is beautiful. It has its own magic. Turkey is yet another example. Throughout the year it looks beautiful. Still if you are looking for best season it is, European spring time and European autumn time. Turkey has summer from June to September. It is pretty hot during that time. most of the tourists visit in this time of the year. If you like to visit bit cold climate then you may visit during March to May where you can get to see Tulips or September to November. In either of this 3 months cold spell it is bit cold that you may need thermal wears or winter jackets in outdoors.
Turkish holiday List to avoid visit
|01-Jan||New Year’s Day||National holiday|
|23-Apr||National Sovereignty and Children’s Day||National holiday|
|01-May||Labor and Solidarity Day||National holiday|
|19-May||Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day||National holiday|
|Ramadan Feast Eve||National holiday|
|Ramadan Feast Day 1||National holiday|
|Ramadan Feast Day 2||National holiday|
|Ramadan Feast Day 3||National holiday|
|Ramadan Feast Day 4||National holiday|
|15-Jul||Democracy and National Unity Day||National holiday|
|Sacrifice Feast Eve||Half Day|
|Sacrifice Feast||National holiday|
|Sacrifice Feast Day 2||National holiday|
|Sacrifice Feast Day 3||National holiday|
|Sacrifice Feast Day 4||National holiday|
|30-Aug||Victory Day||National holiday|
|28-Oct||Republic Day Eve||Half Day|
|29-Oct||Republic Day||National holiday|
|10-Nov||Ataturk Memorial Day||Observance|
|31-Dec||New Year’s Eve||Observance|
Ramadan holidays and Sacrifice holidays dates will change every year. SO you can check date of the year mentioned in the internet. I prefer not to travel to any country when they are on holiday mood.
Why Turkey is in must list to visit?
Why not Turkey!
- It is one of the destinations that comes in the centre of the world which is easy accessible from east, west, north and south.
- Good connectivity and transit system inside Turkey.
- To enjoy beautiful landscapes from Cappadocia, Pamukkale, Bosporus sea, Mediterranean and Black sea, Anatalya, Bodrum, Sapanca, Prices Island and many more places around in Turkey that will take your breathe away.
- Amazing Turkish food. Turkish food is very unique and rich in its own style. As much they like koftes, kebaps and doners that love their sweets. It appears similar to middle eastern food but it is very unique in its own style. One Turkish tradition that I learnt was loving your sweets. I could eat 2-3 baklavas at one time, not more than this but once you have a Turkish bitter chai or bitter Turkish coffee along with baklava, you can eat more pieces of baklavas for sure. I was a person eating sweet occasionally. Now I am converted to sweet tooth person who can eat more sweet enjoying my bitter Turkish tea and coffee along side it. The breakfast spread of cucumber, tomatoes, green olives, black olives, variety of cheese, seasonal fruits, homemade borkes, mezes, jams and sweets with chay and coffee. This is one thing I like to enjoy my holiday in Turkey. It is full of nutrition, very neat and clean.
- Hospitality and warm welcome that just takes your journey to next level. Every touristic places has good washroom /restroom facilities which are maintained neat and clean. Along with commode system there is traditional Indian /Turkish Toilets which in my view is best hygienic way, when it is in public places toilets. It has water facility inside toilets and tissue papers available.
- If they notice you as an Indian tourists they will definitely sing Indian film songs to get your attention.
- Places like Grand bazar and Eminonu will definitely add weight in your bags while returning. Beware some shopkeepers understands Indian languages. A hub to bargain and shop. Lots of souvenir options, carpets, lamps, bags, imitation and original jewellery to buy. Turkey is a textile hub, you may find lots of local Turkish brands for good quality of clothing and at very reasonable cost. There are huge mall for shopping that are wll connected to public transport systems.
- Watching Mediterranean Turkish blue coast changing shades of blue thought day.
- Taking a bath in Turkish hammam or a hot thermal pools.
- Visiting different monumental places to Roman ruins around the Turkey. Visiting the places of Santa Clause to the house of Mother Marry. If this is not enough, you can visit most mysterious and oldest man made structure on earth, Gobekli Tepe. If you have heard of World War stories, you can visit Galipoli/Galipoli for unaltered places from the first Wold war history. You may visit to the place where many countries have lost their war heroes. India has also lost around few thousands of War heroes who lost their lives in this war. These are untold and unknown war heroes who had sacrificed their life’s for getting freedom for our country, India. Besides being beautiful and historical place you may think of visiting the place to offer …. to those unheard war heroes.
- Watch swirling Darvish performances which are rooted from Sufism.
- Still list can keep going on and, beautiful allies with lots of Cats, taking your attention. Don’t miss to spot a cat with two different colours of eyes.
Places to visit while in Turkey?
There is lots of walking involved even when you use public transport.
In Istanbul depending on your choice 3-4 days quick trip, 5 days proper visit
Koch Museum 3-4 hours) Check for submarine timings online
Aya sofia, Sultan Ahmet Mosques, Basilica Cistern, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazar ( 1 day)
Grand Bazar – Spice Bazar. It is in premises of above 3, but quite a huge space with lots of shopping (1 day) Outside grand bazar there are around 4000 stores, better option is Eminonu and Sirkeci
Topkapi palace (1day / half a day)
Ortakoy, Bosporus cruise, Bebek walk ( half day)
Deniz muzesi (Half day)
Chirangn palace (1 day)
Golden horn bridge – Galata Tower (half day)
Take a vapur-ferry from Sirkeci station go to Asian Side Visit Kadikoy sea side cafes
Moda area Asian side
Camil Tepe on Asian side
If you have got Indian driving license, you can rent a car and drive near by locations around 1 to 2 hours to places like:
Shile, Agva, Kilyos beaches options or bit far Spanca lake Bolu area very beautiful during autumn and snow fall. If you want to visit ski mountain areas you can drive Bursa region from Istanbul.
Places to visit outside Istanbul
Fethiye (Gullet cruise)
Gobekli Tepe – Nemrut
Antalya (yet another sea side pp;ace like Goa)
Greece Islands (May need Schengen visa)
Turkish Cyprus (Northern part of Islands only)
Eskishehir (Mini Amsterdam)
Kuthaya (Know for Ceramic)
Rize (Tea plantations)
Trabzon (By the black sea region, better early winters)
For most of the places that I visited, you can read a detailed blog on it. Few are under construction or writing is in progress. At the same time in my blog you will see most of the places that you can do in 1 day and keep night journey by road, which becomes cost effective then. For me it is always one location at one time as 2-3 days but as a tourist you many, consider continuous switching of places to save time and see maximum places. Turkey is full of beautiful places no doubt, but you need to shortlist few places amongst them as you cannot visit this entire beauty in one visit. SO here are few places that you can combine and visit
Bodrum(Sea side, like Goa) – Kusadasi – Ephesus (Ruins) – Izmir
Sultan Ahmet, Aya sofiya, Basilica cistern, Topkapi palace and grand bazar, this all is in one premises or area.
You can have your own choice of combinations on what you would like to do in combination.
For more such combinations you need to wait for my videos.
Number of days needed?
Number of days to visit Turkey is still a personal choice on what you would like to spend more time and so on. Whether you like monumental places, natural places it will all depend on what you like and how you plan. Still I would say 15 days is ideal time to cover most important parts of Turkey visit. You can consider better options as you must not feel physical fatigue after travelling too much. SO you need to be eating good quality food throughout, full of nutrition, take proper sleep and plan well in details. If this is your first international trip I would recommend you to do a short local domestic trip before, so that you have idea on what all you need to carry in bag, what all you many need to plan. Especially when language changes. it is not to scare it is to know how fun it is to travel. For a quick trip you can do it in 8-9 dyas as well.
Depending on the facilities available in different areas you can do various activities. tandem para gliding, sea water kite surfing, para sailing, quad biking, skiing, horse riding, white water rafting, mountain trekking, hot air balloon ride, scuba diving and sky diving. I would request all my readers, followers or viewers, while having fun be extra cautious about the authentic service companies for any kind of adventure activities for you and your family. There are lots of review channels those review these service companies, how old they are, how trained their pilots or trainers are. Even if you are undergoing any activity under licensed company and all, you need to have and eye on your own harness systems, try and listen all the instructions extra carefully. Do not loose your mind in excitement. You should have absolute fun and adventure with lots of presence of mind. All the activity personals are highly skilled and you will really have fun going along with them for sure.
Visiting several museums and other places that has entry fees. If by seeing online information and photos and videos if you have made-up your mind to visit museums and monumental places, calculate the entry fees total. Instead of standing in ques and wasting energy and valuable timings, you can buy this museum card/kart on the day one. For tourists this card is for 185TL/per person and valid for 15 days, covers maximum places all over Turkey. In the website you can check all the places that are accessible by this Muzesi kart. So, you save, money, time and energy of not standing in long queue for entrances. Few for the antique sites are also covered in this card. You can buy it at entrance of any museum. You will need to show your passport and Tourist visa to make this card. If you are willing to get audio guide, it will be at some extra cost that you can pay and buy at the entrace of the museums. If you are going to buy ticket and enter, I would recommend to do that in early hours of the day or may be when the attraction opens. As these places are really crowded. I can suggest a place as to where to buy museum card/pass/ticket with absolutely no crowd. Write your e-mail id in comments section and I will tell you the place.
Aquarium visit. There are two large aquarium in Istanbul city in mall, Which are accessible by public transport (metro – you will need to switch lines) One is in Aqua Florya Mall and other one is Forum Istanbul Mall. Both are in European side. Here Malls are know as AVM spelled as Aa Vaa May or Alish Verish Merkezi literally Shopping malls. There is a Dolphin Aqua Park that you may like to visit. It is has displays of Dolphin game shows and also a water park. There is free shuttle services from major connections from city centres to this place. Links are posted at the end of the blog.
If you are visiting southern coast of Fethiye – Olu Deniz then you may consider a place of Butter fly valley. Which has more than 100 species of butterflies spotted or identified in the region. You may add this location in the list only if you are during spring season. Else you will keep walking inside valley to see the butterflies and would see one or two here or there. There is a Butterfly park coming up in Antalya soon.
Internal Turkey travel options
In turkey there are various transport facilities are available
Dolmush (mini bus or vans- Istanbul bus card is not valid in this)
Taksim red (Train)
Vapur or Ferry
There is a bus card that you need to buy at any metro station or news paper or bread kiosks. It costs roughly 6TL as of in 2019. This is a prepaid card that is used for all the transport system mentioned above, except dolmush. This card is prepaid card. You add a balance in it and swipe it once for each person for one time you are using it for the day. In bus you get in from front door and swipe the bus card. In you cover small distance, you can step out and there will be a machine at exit, if you swipe your card, it will return you some money back if you have not travelled long distance on the card. For this you can watch my upcoming video where I will put all the details. You can also swipe this bus card for using public toilets or there will be a slot to put 1 lira coin. There are automatic machines at Metro stations, where you can use paper money to top up your prepaid bus card. Like in India, Old people, pregnant women, small kids, or specially challenged people are given priority to enter and sit. Also check for signs and symbols for the seats reserved. Do not eat or talk loud in bus and metro. You have announcements going in Turkish and English in some buses and metro. There will be a either map or screen showing route taken and advancing directions of journey. Public transport will always be safe and cost effecient as every big city is blessed with traffic, Istanbul city is also part of this league.
Hotel – Stay options
You can have hostels, couch surfing, Airbnb, pansyion, service apartments to two star, three star, four star and five star hotels options to stay. Accordingly you can select your feasible option and stay. Mostly in Istanbul people stay in Sultan Ahmet area or Beyoglu – spell with ‘g’ silent in it, areas. So that these areas are well connected and easy accessible to return from the tour. Always while international touring – one important thing you must always do is, write an e-mail to Indian Embassy in that country, that you are visiting. Stating your tentative visit, some information about your visit where all you will visit, who all are with you. Day, date, timings and places where you will be staying and so on. Mention your name and contact details as on passport. At the same time you can keep in touch with them saying you have reached the place. Also once you reach back home, you can write them that you safely returned. You can ask for emergency contact numbers from there. This ensures your safety or know how or whereabouts. In case of emergency it is always best option to have this step done. In case of emergency, you cannot be reached by family, but embassy might be able to provide immediate help if needed.
Your passport is most important document in your international travel. Only at the time of, airport entry, immigration check, hotel check in you can show your passport. Else keep it always safe with you. Keep pictures of passport (page first and last) and visa page with Exit from India, entry to Turkey or any country date stamp on it. For instances like what I did in my Luxembourg-Paris visit. You can read my blog what stupidity I did. My phones, passport, money passport and visa photocopy all were in one bag and I ….
Irrespective of what hotel or living space you decide to stay in, please ensure to get an e-mail from the hotel e-mail id saying
You have booked your stay at this hotel
From – To Day, date, time ( check with Check-in and Check out timings) Number of people staying, type of bed booked, what all is included like bed and breakfast/ all inclusive, shuttle service or pick and drop from airport or bust depot/otogar stations clearly mentioned. Cancelation policy, Money back policy, booking confirmations and so on in the e-mail. Also if you are booking some tours from hotel mention those in your reservation e-mails. Mostly all the hotel industry in Turkey charges everything in euros. So if you are booking it quite early, make sure to note about currency rate changes. Few of the big hotels allow you for booking confirmations with just providing credit card details. Get this things sorted if you will be paying with cash or credit card. Change in currency rate might hit you in this aspect, so be careful here. There are instances where ordinary hotels those are not expensive, if you do not have such e-mail record, they may not give you check in as they give it if they have ready customers avaialble. SO, to be on safer side get this hotel bookings done in detail.
Turkish Food and Hospitality
This section is under construction.
Emergency Helpline numbers
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Apps for services
Obilet – Bus bookings online
Havaalanı – Turkish airports and flights
Nasıl Giderim – How to get to a point
Bitaksi – For the closest Taxi
Yandex – Map
Uber For taxi
http://www.vfsglobal.com – For visa
https://muze.gov.tr/MuseumPass – Museum Kart/Card all information
http://www.istanbulakvaryum.com/en – If you have taken Hop-In-Hop-Off bus ticket, you can access the shuttle service. All the ticket related and transport related with opening and closing hours all information is available in the website.
http://www.visitsealife.com/istanbul/en/ – Aquarium 2