Discussion in 'travel and world' started by Edie, Apr 16, 2018.
Sabiah Gokcen is the smaller airport and is relatively pleasant, as far as an airport can be.
You need a visa. Iirc, it's better doing it online before you go rather than queuing at the airport.
Google maps generally works with data switched off anyway. I have a tablet with no data connection. If I have looked at an area previously it seems to store it in the cashe (is that how it is spelt?) and GPS tells me where I am.
I didn't know you can download area maps from google maps, I have tried in the past and couldn't find out how. Took a screen shot in the end. maybe that was just a long time ago.
I have no idea where I went, but it was by far the worst airport experience I have ever had (except perhaps being delayed by a day at frankfurt yesterday). I was only transferring, but it was so thoroughly miserable. All the staff there were really weird, seemed to have a bad, (unhelpful at the very least), attitude. . . they were also crazy slow. It was also a dump.
Don’t call it Constantinople.
They changed it to Istambul.
Why they changed it I can’t say.
People just like it better that way.
In my opinion don’t bother with the Blue Mosque. It’s just a very very very large quite boring mosque... but large. You can see it’s large from the outside. That enough to say oh look a large mosque.
Hagia Sophia blows it out of the water with its juxtaposition of Christian and Islamic symbolism.
I’ll second The Topkapı Palace.
Also the Basilica Cistern as seen in a Bond film and more recently the Tom Hanks film Inferno.
The Grand Bazaar is worth a look but the prices are a rip off even after haggling.
All of this. I have been a few times- I'm tall and blonde and look very obviously like a western woman and it was absolutely fine. I used public transport- the maps are really easy to follow. Ask your hotel to arrange a transfer as that is the scariest bit, then enjoy. You are staying in a beautiful and funky bit of the city, there are loads of cafes and bars and shops selling random stuff you never knew you needed...
I never bothered with a headscarf or ring. I covered my shoulders but mostly so they didn't burn
You could get a cab to the main tourist district from the hotel and then join a tour if you're really unsure? They will be happy to help you out at the hotel or any of the tourist info places.
Have a lovely time!
There’s hop on hop off bus tours too of course.
I think I bought a two day pass one last time there.
Its pretty useful if you are going places with no/expensive data.
You can search and get directions and stuff.
Download areas and navigate offline - Android - Google Maps Help
Edie, if you feel flustered or stressed and it feels like its all getting on top, just go in to a cafe and have a drink and relax. It will give you half an hour to sort out your plan and maybe talk to the waiter for tips/directions etc.
Haven’t been, can’t add anything to the brilliant advice you’ve already received here about the place. However, I’ve travelled extensively and, trust me, the world is not full of monsters trying to eat you, if anything it’s full of really friendly people wanting to help you because that’s what humans are like - friendly and helpful. Turkey has a particular reputation for being extra friendly.
If in doubt, ask someone. If men freak you out, ask a woman.
As for getting from the airport...google is your friend. Here’s a start.
Click on the links on the left hand side. Buses, taxis, the lot.
Have a great time. You can.
I don't seem to remember Sabiha Gokcen airport as that bad! It is quite a way out of central Istanbul, though. You get an amazing view of the outskirts on the journey, including what looks like the biggest housing estate ever with about 30 tower blocks.
I loved Istanbul.
It’s not ridiculous, it’s a new experience innit.
You’ll be okay though, look at some of the shit you’ve been through and you’re still standing strong. Yer made of tough stuff. Not that wobbles aren’t allowed though like.
My understanding is that Istanbul is very cosmopolitan so I wouldn’t worry about the headscarf. A lot of hotels will be linked in with local tours etc - these can be extremely good and are a great way to see the sights but have the stress of organising it taken away (and you’ll be in a group etc). You may pay a bit more but sometimes I think that’s worth it for peace of mind.
Your hotel will probably have a local map which I would grab and it might be worth having a quick check in with your phone company to see what internet deal they can give you (personally I feel less anxious about being anywhere new if I know I can just whip out my phone if I’m lost). Hotel staff are good to ask about things like places to eat, what you should expect to pay for taxis etc.
Make sure you get some travel insurance - you might find your bank does this which might be the easiest option but places like compare the market etc will do comparison rates.
I think sometimes there’s a lot of pressure when you go abroad to do everything and see everything and all that. Fuck that. If you spend all your time in the cafe right outside the hotel who cares, what matters is you do what you want and enjoy it.
Oh thank you all SO MUCH for all your kind reassurance, tips, info, experiences. Really means so much and I feel less scared and more excited now!
I’d kinda said yes on the basis of having my bloke there to be that shoulder SheilaNaGig ! He speaks some Turkish and has travelled lots and can handle himself, so I just assumed I’d rely on him. But he has to go to Baghdad (!) at the last minute as you do. And I just impulsively said yes I’ll take our George instead.
That mind bomb thing you mention- that’s what I’m bloody afraid of!!!
But I’ll take my time, hide my fear from the boy, and do my best. We only have one full day...
Btw I need a visa?!!! I’ve never got a visa before. I had no idea. Do I get one from the Turkish embassy website? Am I too late?
miss direct thanks for your input, we are stopping here: Caferaga Mahallesi Dumlupinar Sok. No:12 Kadikoy / Istanbul, Kadikoy, 34710 Istanbul, Turkey
Looks like a visa is straightforward for UK passport holders Eids, you can apply here:
Electronic Visa Application System
You used to be able to buy the visa when you landed in Turkey at passport control or nearby ...it was just another stamp they put in the passport. I think it cost £10 and it had to be paid in cash ...things could have changed.
How to Get Your Turkish e-Visa Online and Avoid the Queue
Follow all the steps. Easy peasy. $20.
Also the novelty of (technically) landing in Asia and then driving back to Europe (if you head straight to the city centre). Galata Bridge (I think it was) seemed like a pleasant place to relax with a game of backgammon and a pipe (there are bars under the bridge).
My golden rule of travel is that you need to eat, sleep and shit somewhere before you can feel comfortable.
Focus on that holy triangle for the first 24 hours. You'll be surprised at how bold you get once you've achieved that.
The world is much the same. Just the language, landscape and buildings are different. Feel confident that if the locals are able to bumble through their everyday lives, you will easily be able to spend a few pleasant days watching them do so.
Final comment - is the ticket transferable?
Oh you mean for the boy? I’ve had to pay for another plane ticket for him.
I hope you go, I doubt you'll regret it. Might be a bit tough the first day but remember youre going on holiday! Don't stress about what youre meant to be doing and just focus on doing what you want, not killing yourself finding obscure buses or sightseeing etc.
I'm well jealous, the food will be great and I'm sure you'll meet some nice welcoming helpful people, like everywhere. The Turks are even keener than most to make a good impression and be welcoming though, I think.
You're staying in Kadikoy which is a really good choice - less touristy, loads of cafes and interesting shops, lots of students and young people who know at least a bit of English. It's become really trendy in the last few years. There's an article on the guardian somewhere about it.
You need to get on the HAVATAS bus which is outside the airport to get to Kadikoy. Make sure you get on the one that says KADIKOY on the front (not Taksim). I think it costs 10 or 15 lira. Can find out the exact amount.
Ta. Are taxis (uber?) generally safe? I'd be prepared to spend about 30 quid to get us from the airport to the hotel when we get there to save me dying of fear. Thanks love xx
We should do a U75 road trip of European fascist countries.
Safe yes but do tend to drive very fast and sometimes try to rip tourists off. I've never worked out how Uber works and there's a strange conflict going on with Uber and the normal taxis here (plus they're more expensive) so can't recommend them. What's the name of your hotel? It's literally a 5 minute walk from the last bus stop. I would honestly go for the bus and feel safer doing so. I am fed up of speeding, smoking taxi drivers here (and I have the language ability to tell them off).
Edie there's a lot of really good information here. You are one of the strongest people I know, one who is capable of coping in circumstances that many others would find difficult to impossible to cope with. Your caution is natural. but don't lose sight of what a strong and very capable person you are. You are so going to own this. I, for one, am looking forward to hearing of your adventures.
Cor blimey, do you reckon you could get any more saccharin into that post, Dess?
Oh just to add. Everything always looks awful on the ride from the airport to the hotel. I've been to hundreds of lovely places that all seemed grim on that first ride. Then you get up the next morning, have breakfast, etc, and all seems fine.
Thank you so much for this. Saved me untold stress and queuing. Done, got em!
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