Definitely a place where almost every second person wants to visit, and why not, it well deserves to be on everyone’s bucket list. I swear, on everyone’s bucket list because Istanbul is not only a capital of Turkey but a HEAVEN for FOOD, CULTURE & SHOPPING
Living in Dubai has one advantage (among many) that it connects you to a lot of parts of world to explore which living in India I couldn’t have thought to visit in monetary terms, time wise, formalities & etc, whereas from here processes are so straight forward, hassle free, and connectivity is brilliant.
TRIP COST / EXPENSES 🤑💵💰
Lets start with most important part of any trip: BUDGETING
I took a package of 4N 5 D from Dubai to Istanbul which costed me 2500 AED (47,363 INR) including my travel, airport transfers, hotel, sight seeing, ticket/ entry cost to visit any place and breakfast.
I spent 1000 AED on getting a visa (getting Turkish Visa is more expensive than getting a Schegnen Visa), Schengen Visa is valid to enter Turkey, so get a Schengen than Turkish Visa (an advise which I’ll follow myself next time I visit Turkey)
I took 2000 AED for side expenses, like lunch, dinner, evening commute, shopping, kept extra for some stupid splurging here and there, and to my surprise I bought back 1000AED (without stupid splurging)
Take US Dollars as currency as it’s acceptable everywhere, that way you’ll save money on exchanging the left over dollars at the end of trip to your home currency. To have some currency in LIRA (Turkish currency) there’re plenty of money exchange options everywhere, you can convert as per your need.
FOOD & CULTURE
Ohh my god, I cannot emphasis of this enough to express how delicious the food is, nor do I’ve a lot of pictures of food, as I don’t have patience with food, I just dig in the moment it’s served.
The food is just healthy, non oily, non spicy, absolutely flavorful, and delightful. Difficult to find vegetarian options, not impossible though, so vegetarians might have to deal with some level of disappointment and might not relate to my experience with food.
On the Culture part, Turkish people are very friendly, welcoming, hospitable & helpful, also very good looking 😍, they’re extremely light hearted people who believe in living a simple joyous life. Very family oriented, very fun loving, love food, and the influence of European culture can be seen in their dressing, lifestyle, night life.
Majority of population being Muslim, I personally came across no one who lives life rule by rule. Their rule is “to be happy with whatever choices they make”, which I feel is a great virtue to have.
Language is a problem as not a lot of people speak English.
They WORSHIP CATS…
They LOVE their Prime Minister, so be careful of any political comments.
They’re so hospitable that they’ll woo you, they actually know how to be charming…
Okay now, I’ll move away with giving snippets and start with sharing the experience day wise
started with a visit to BLUE MOSQUE, a very significant part of their history (you may google and know in depth about it’s significance), but in short, the architecture of the mosque comes from the culmination of two centuries of Ottoman mosque development. It incorporates some Byzantine Christian elements of the neighboring Hagia Sophia with traditional Islamic architecture and is considered to be the last great mosque of the classical period.
Also the interiors are absolutely beautiful, the interior of the mosque is lined with more than 20,000 handmade İznik style ceramic tiles. The interiors are dominated by Blue Paints, combined with more than 200 glass stained windows. The decorations include verses from the Qur’an,
I’ve a lot of videos which I’ll not be able to upload as it’s coming as link, therefore will have o do with images only.
So after visiting this beautiful mosque we went to evidence the beautiful BOSPHOROUS RIVER and other side of it, which is the ASIA side.
Bosphorous river holds a lot of importance as it supports all the trade of imports and exports.
as it’s summer so decided to keep it FRESH, CITRIC & NEON.
Blazer: my current absolute favorite: From: Orsay
Trousers: again my favorite 😆: From: Promod (India)
T-shirt: in a pastel color to balance the brightness: From: American Eagle
Bag: It just compliments the whole look, I don’t have a theory behind using this specifically except that I love it, From: Patrizia Pepe
Sunglasses: The only sunglasses I’ve, because I wear spectacles 👓, From: Forever New
Let’s head to the LUNCH hour of day 1.
I was so hungry 😋 by the time the tour to the mosque got over, eating food at the street right across the mosque 🕌 made most sense.
To describe in words, it was a narrow street with stone floor, filled with restaurants with outside seating and covered roofs, it was lively, with big groups of people from all over enjoying their meals, drinks, shishas, and of of course the amazingly hospitable and friendly staff.
there was also a duo performing music on streets, going table by table and making the afternoon far more better. I guess their visit was the best highlight of the day. 😬😬😬
The best part of the trip was that our tour guide (Onur) would free us by 4pm, so the evenings are absolutely on us, which gave us ample time to explore the streets on our own, below are the evening street views, and they’re very beautiful…
Ride to Princess Islands…
This island is known for it’s Horse drawn carriages, as it’s automobile free island. People here commute either on foot/ horse carriages or beautifully decorated bicycles.
What really mesmerized me were the houses of Princess Island, they’re huge, with equally huge garden spaces and all facing the sea.
So I rented a bicycle and went around the island, as it’s only 5km, the island is full of nice, clean peaceful pieces of land full of vegetation where people would sit and barbecue, have picnics,
Lunch was at an Italian restaurant called Aksaya, as usual amazing food and drinks, & as usual I’ve no phenomenon of huger buildup, I’m just suddenly hungry and impatiently hungry.
DAY 2 : EVENING
This evening had best Shisha waiting for me. Turkey has wold class shishas.
Hasan made the entire restaurant stand and dance on the street in their traditional way, and it was super super fun, There are no pictures of that as everyone was dancing.
DAY 3 : Local Market visit
The most favorite part of my entire trip and I get to eat Turkish sweets and buy their crockery.
Bargain hard guys…
In the evening I paid a visit to very famous and highly recommended TAKSIM SQUARE, the reason it’s recommended are as below
– It’s the hub for food (yet again), local shopping street, pubs, restaurants, street music, and definitely street vendors.
Traveled around by public transport which is pretty much like everywhere else except the fact that it’s overly populated and poorly managed. So took a tram (slow train) from the hotel side station to another station & from their took a metro to Taksim Square.
Cruise trip around Bosphorous.
It was a 4-5 hour programme, and was soothing. Finally sitting quietly and soaking all in, seeing the Europe side of Turkey on the Left & Asia side on the right, it sort of feels surreal.
I also slept in between the ride as it was so nice…
Next visit was a hilltop where there’s a community garden, the specialty of this garden is that all the food and beverage stalls there are cheaper than you can think, and the reason behind that is to bring people from all the sectors of economic division together, so that the poorest of the person can also afford to have some good time.
So this was a brief (as brief as I could get) post on my unforgettable experience in Istanbul.
Wait how can I not introduce you to ONUR (our tour guide, friend, local guardian for 5 days), a young enthusiastic, smart, calm, professional chap who really loves what he do and we really had a lot of GOOD MOMENTS with him.
Post this flight was boarded back to reality…:-D
Turkey is a must visit, as I’ll definitely be visiting again to experience CAPPADOCIA (hot air balloon rides)
also I’m not a very good photographer, so whatever pictures you see above that are nice and in frame and with all the goodness are mostly clicked by Shahbaz , my friend or borrowed from other people in group (Resourcefulness)
Thanks and have a good day…