Who's been to Istanbul?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 02, 2013 6:34 AM GMT
    I'm heading there in June for at least 4-5 days.

    Would love to hear suggestions on:
    - Place/Area to stay
    - Sightseeing
    - Any other unique Turkish experiences/things to do
    - Gay nightlife

    Thanks! icon_biggrin.gif
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    Feb 27, 2013 11:52 AM GMT
    Good Morning, or as is said in Turkey, "Gun Aydin." How are you?

    Turkey is a fantastic country and Istanbul an amazing city. I lived In Istanbul for a year and although I have heard the city has changed in some ways since I was last there (including the addition of a subway system), certain attractions remain timeless. Keep in mind that Istanbul sits on three land masses, two in Europe, one in Asia. You will most likely see mostly the sections of the city that are located in Europe, although a ferry ride across the Bosphorus, the body of water that separates European and Asian Turkey, is a visual treat all its own, given the dramatic views of the three great mosques in the "Old City" and Topkapi from the water. You may want to do this, just for the view. Go at sunset.

    Here is my short list:

    Topkapi, the Sultan's Palace
    Ayasofia (St. Sophia)
    The Blue Mosque
    Suleymaniye Mosque
    Beyazit Mosque
    The Grand, Covered Bazaar
    The Walls of Old Constantinople
    Rumeli Fortress
    Dolmabace, the other Sultan's Palace
    Kariye (Chora) Church
    Galata Bridge
    Galata Tower
    Laender's Tower
    Baslica Cistern
    The Archeology Museum

    There are also islands off the Sea of Marmara on which many "Istanbulus" (as they say in Turkish) maintain summer homes. all of which are accessible by ferry from Istanbul. The most famous, Buyukada (Big Island) might be worth considering for a weekend day trip. There are no cars, generally only bicycles and horse drawn carriages.

    As for places to stay, Taksim is a good choice although you will not be within walking distance of old Istanbul and will need to grab a taxi or bus it to many of the big sites. Beyolgu is another central, trendy neighborhood that you should look at. For seafood, try the Kumkapi area, which is where one can find some good fish restaurants. If tconvenience is important to you, you should check out hotels in Sirkeci, which is the neighborhood close to Topkapi Palace. If good shopping is key, then try NIsatasi (pronounced Nishantash).

    And when you need a break from all that walking, find a coffeehouse, have a seat, grab a Turkish coffee or their ubiqitous "chay" (tea), play a game of backgammon or chess and relax for a bit.

    This is a short list but I hope you find it useful. If you have questions, feel free to hit me up.

    Best.
  • Hunkymonkey

    Posts: 215

    Feb 27, 2013 8:36 PM GMT
    One of my favorite places in the world. Very european, very different from the rest of Turkey. But if you go over the bridge to the Asian side, you will feel like you are in a new suburb of Vancouver BC. One thing I enjoyed was to eat at the cafeteria at the Topkapi palace on the Europe side and look over the Bosporus to Asia. Also, be sure to go to a hammam. There is one by the Souk, but also a more gay one between Taksim square and the Galata tower. By the way, you can find the best baklava in the world in Istanbul.
  • Montague

    Posts: 5205

    Feb 27, 2013 8:39 PM GMT
    I used to live in Constantinople. But that was a few years ago. icon_wink.gif
  • Nayro

    Posts: 1825

    Feb 27, 2013 10:41 PM GMT
    Hunkymonkey saidOne of my favorite places in the world. Very european, very different from the rest of Turkey. But if you go over the bridge to the Asian side, you will feel like you are in a new suburb of Vancouver BC. One thing I enjoyed was to eat at the cafeteria at the Topkapi palace on the Europe side and look over the Bosporus to Asia. Also, be sure to go to a hammam. There is one by the Souk, but also a more gay one between Taksim square and the Galata tower. By the way, you can find the best baklava in the world in Istanbul.


    seriously? A gay hamam? Ive been there plenty of times and never noticed! Whats the name?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 27, 2013 10:43 PM GMT
    One thing: ALWAYS tell the taxi driver to turn on his meter....and never hand him a large bill expecting change.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 27, 2013 10:46 PM GMT
    Mmmmmmmmm...

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 28, 2013 10:46 AM GMT
    Thanks for the advice. I'm staying at the Lush Hotel. icon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 03, 2013 12:29 PM GMT
    hey im in turkey, when are you coming?
    i can speak turkish fluently,,,
    i can help you,,,but im not turkish...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 11, 2013 4:52 PM GMT
    NYCGoodGuy1 saidGood Morning, or as is said in Turkey, "Gun Aydin." How are you?

    Turkey is a fantastic country and Istanbul an amazing city. I lived In Istanbul for a year and although I have heard the city has changed in some ways since I was last there (including the addition of a subway system), certain attractions remain timeless. Keep in mind that Istanbul sits on three land masses, two in Europe, one in Asia. You will most likely see mostly the sections of the city that are located in Europe, although a ferry ride across the Bosphorus, the body of water that separates European and Asian Turkey, is a visual treat all its own, given the dramatic views of the three great mosques in the "Old City" and Topkapi from the water. You may want to do this, just for the view. Go at sunset.

    Here is my short list:

    Topkapi, the Sultan's Palace
    Ayasofia (St. Sophia)
    The Blue Mosque
    Suleymaniye Mosque
    Beyazit Mosque
    The Grand, Covered Bazaar
    The Walls of Old Constantinople
    Rumeli Fortress
    Dolmabace, the other Sultan's Palace
    Kariye (Chora) Church
    Galata Bridge
    Galata Tower
    Laender's Tower
    Baslica Cistern
    The Archeology Museum

    There are also islands off the Sea of Marmara on which many "Istanbulus" (as they say in Turkish) maintain summer homes. all of which are accessible by ferry from Istanbul. The most famous, Buyukada (Big Island) might be worth considering for a weekend day trip. There are no cars, generally only bicycles and horse drawn carriages.

    As for places to stay, Taksim is a good choice although you will not be within walking distance of old Istanbul and will need to grab a taxi or bus it to many of the big sites. Beyolgu is another central, trendy neighborhood that you should look at. For seafood, try the Kumkapi area, which is where one can find some good fish restaurants. If tconvenience is important to you, you should check out hotels in Sirkeci, which is the neighborhood close to Topkapi Palace. If good shopping is key, then try NIsatasi (pronounced Nishantash).

    And when you need a break from all that walking, find a coffeehouse, have a seat, grab a Turkish coffee or their ubiqitous "chay" (tea), play a game of backgammon or chess and relax for a bit.

    This is a short list but I hope you find it useful. If you have questions, feel free to hit me up.

    Best.


    COLORED TEXT GOES HEREThis is the best and most detailed advice on here icon_smile.gifCOLORED TEXT GOES HEREOur cruise ship was diverted from Israel to Istanbul last November due to the violence in Gaza, so we unexpectedly had an overnight in the city - it's amazing!! The light rail is inexpensive, reliable and easy to figure out. If short on time though, taxi's are the fastest means of getting around the city. The mosques and palaces are "must sees". Hope to return for a longer visit one day. Enjoy!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 11, 2013 5:15 PM GMT
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 11, 2013 6:41 PM GMT
    Last time I was there the fresh running joke was "Don't eat the fish from the Bosphorus." Can you guess when that was?
  • Kwokpot

    Posts: 329

    Jun 11, 2013 6:52 PM GMT
    SpikeyAidan saidThanks for the advice. I'm staying at the Lush Hotel. icon_biggrin.gif

    I hope he's not there RIGHT NOW, because the rioting there at Taksim Square is NOT GOOD(Tear Gas, Fire bombs) as reported AS I AM TYPING
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    Jun 12, 2013 9:12 AM GMT
    NYCGoodGuy1 saidGood Morning, or as is said in Turkey, "Gun Aydin." How are you?

    Turkey is a fantastic country and Istanbul an amazing city. I lived In Istanbul for a year and although I have heard the city has changed in some ways since I was last there (including the addition of a subway system), certain attractions remain timeless. Keep in mind that Istanbul sits on three land masses, two in Europe, one in Asia. You will most likely see mostly the sections of the city that are located in Europe, although a ferry ride across the Bosphorus, the body of water that separates European and Asian Turkey, is a visual treat all its own, given the dramatic views of the three great mosques in the "Old City" and Topkapi from the water. You may want to do this, just for the view. Go at sunset.

    Here is my short list:

    Topkapi, the Sultan's Palace
    Ayasofia (St. Sophia)
    The Blue Mosque
    Suleymaniye Mosque
    Beyazit Mosque
    The Grand, Covered Bazaar
    The Walls of Old Constantinople
    Rumeli Fortress
    Dolmabace, the other Sultan's Palace
    Kariye (Chora) Church
    Galata Bridge
    Galata Tower
    Laender's Tower
    Baslica Cistern
    The Archeology Museum

    There are also islands off the Sea of Marmara on which many "Istanbulus" (as they say in Turkish) maintain summer homes. all of which are accessible by ferry from Istanbul. The most famous, Buyukada (Big Island) might be worth considering for a weekend day trip. There are no cars, generally only bicycles and horse drawn carriages.

    As for places to stay, Taksim is a good choice although you will not be within walking distance of old Istanbul and will need to grab a taxi or bus it to many of the big sites. Beyolgu is another central, trendy neighborhood that you should look at. For seafood, try the Kumkapi area, which is where one can find some good fish restaurants. If tconvenience is important to you, you should check out hotels in Sirkeci, which is the neighborhood close to Topkapi Palace. If good shopping is key, then try NIsatasi (pronounced Nishantash).

    And when you need a break from all that walking, find a coffeehouse, have a seat, grab a Turkish coffee or their ubiqitous "chay" (tea), play a game of backgammon or chess and relax for a bit.

    This is a short list but I hope you find it useful. If you have questions, feel free to hit me up.

    Best.

    Above is your tour book...all great spots. Recommend staying just down from Taksim: Ramada Plaza Istanbul City Center

    Halaskargazi Street No 63, Sisli, Istanbul, 34373 TR
  • KPinCali

    Posts: 16

    Jun 12, 2013 11:38 PM GMT
    You sure you wanna go? Better bring your bullet proof vest and gas mask to avoid all the chaos going on over there.
  • ribprod

    Posts: 17

    Jun 15, 2013 9:42 AM GMT
    Suggest reading Orham Pamuk's "Istanbul: Memories of a city"

    Beautifully written insight into the city's history from the author's own experience growing up there, will inspire you to visit places the guide book might overlook, and give you an insight into the city's mood, its inhabitants, the character of the city.

    Tidbits:

    - boat up the Bosphorus
    - boat across to the Asian side of Istanbul
    - the great bazaar near the blue mosque
    - the tatty bit of street bazaar selling everything that fell off some container on the last boat from China
    - hammam!!!
    - tramcar up to Taksim from the harbour
    - a wet shave in any old barber shop
    - a coffee in any old cafe full of sober, deliberating turkish men

    Have a good trip!


  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 15, 2013 10:12 AM GMT
    Roguewave saidOne thing: ALWAYS tell the taxi driver to turn on his meter....and never hand him a large bill expecting change.

    Actually true for many places. Here even in Netherlands they try to rip you off by not switching off the meter or making excuses like it's not working etc.