Spread across two continents (Asia and Europe), Istanbul is one of the greatest cities in the world. The city was highly influential in the development of Christianity during the Roman and Byzantine era. With its rich history at the center of many empires, Istanbul offers a wealth of sacred and significant places to visit. Visitors can admire the frescoes at the Church of St Savior in Chora, stroll through the Spice Bazaar, or listen to the prayer calls from Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. You can also explore the underground world of the Basilica Cistern or go for a belly-dancing show. If you are a foodie, savor the traditional Italian dishes, delicious Asian classics, and local Turkish food.
Useful Tips for Tourists Traveling to Istanbul
Istanbul Shopping Guide
Istanbul is a wonderful place to shop for lamps, ceramics, handmade blankets, jewelry, silk items, and locally-designed clothes. For branded items, head to the outlet malls like Viaport, Olivium, and Optimum. The main tourist shopping hub is the Grand Bazaar, where you can test your bargaining skills. There are over 4,000 shops spread over 61 streets. Other street markets are Çukurcuma Hamami, Yeni Çarsi Caddesi, Tophane, Galata, Akaretler, and Kanyon. If you’re looking specifically for jewelry, antiques, and carpets, Nuruosmaniye Caddesi has it all. Other markets for budget shopping are Besiktas, Beyoglu, and Kadiköy.
The sights and smells of the street food in Istanbul will keep you hungry all day long. Some of the famous local dishes are Menemen (Turkish style omelet), Meze (cold starters), kumpir (loaded baked potato), Manti (a sort of Turkish ravioli), Börek (traditional Turkish pastry), simit (sesame-seed-covered pretzel), etc. Don’t miss the Türk kahvesi (Turkish Coffee) or the local wines made from Öküzgözü and Bogazkere grapes. For dessert, try the baklava (pastry) or Firin Sütlaç (baked rice pudding).
A Few Turkish Words
Here are some useful Turkish words and phrases that will be useful for your trip to Istanbul.
• Thank You:
• Where is the toilet?
• Where can I find a taxi?
Nereden taksi bulabilirim?
• How much does it cost?
Fiyati ne kadar?
Dos and Don’ts
• It is recommended that women dress conservatively. Although Western clothes are acceptable in most tourist areas, it is suggested to cover the knees and shoulders.
• Read all instructions before entering a mosque – some have dress codes and some do not allow women.
• Learn the head gestures for ‘yes’ and ‘no’. ‘Yes’ is a downward nod of the head and ‘no’ is an upward nod of the head while raising eyebrows and clicking the tongue.
Emergency contact numbers
• Medical emergency/ Ambulance: 112
• Fire: 110
• Police: 155
• Which airlines offer cheap air tickets to Istanbul?
The airline offering cheap air tickets to Istanbul is Royal Jordanian.
• What is the time zone used in Turkey?
The time zone of Turkey is GMT+3.
• What are the most popular airlines flying from Bangkok to Istanbul?
From Bangkok to Istanbul, the most popular airlines are Qatar Airways
, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, and Aeroflot.
• What is the shortest time for a Bangkok to Istanbul flight?
The shortest time for a direct Bangkok to Istanbul flight is 10 hours and 20 minutes.
• What are the top tourist destinations of Istanbul?
Some of the popular attractions in the Istanbul are Aya Sofya, Topkapi Palace (Topkapi Sarayi), Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Hippodrome, Istanbul Archaeology Museum, and Dolmabahce Palace.
• What is the currency of Turkey?
The currency of Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TRY).
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