I have been MIA for no specific reason! But many things happened. I was super busy and happy celebrating the first annual day of my Dance School, I turned 30 and traveled to Turkey Essentially a good break where I could give time to myself, my passion and my family 🙂 So no complaints!
Now that I am back, I am super excited to share our Turkey Travel Stories. I am writing this travel blog series with Mr. A who is my travelling partner and loves to write too. In this post, we share eleven logistics you need to know to start planning a Turkey trip! #TravelTurkey
- Why Turkey?
Turkey has something to offer to all types of travelers. If you are a history buff, loose yourself in the amazing architectural wonders from the Ottoman, Byzantine, Greek and Roman eras in Istanbul and Ephesus. If you are the lazy beach bug, just relax in the beautiful beaches of Antalya. If you like nature and adventure, the caves of Cappadocia will leave you wanting for more. If you like shopping, the Grand Bazaars and Spice Bazaars can easily help you max your credit cards; and if you are a foodie, you will have a herculean task to loose the extra weight you will gain from all those Baklavas, and the Turkish delights.
- Is it safe to visit?
While I understand that most of this comes from what you read and hear in the media, a lot of it also is paranoia. While we were advised to avoid the south-east part of Turkey which borders Syria (which we did), our journey in general was hassle-free journey and we ended up meeting some amazing people and were busy making memories!
- What is the best time to visit?
April – September is the best time to visit. We went right at the beginning of the tourist season so the places were not very crowded and we could get good prices for the hotels and other attractions.
- How much time do we need to see all the sights?
While you can spend years in a country and still have sights to see, we think we fairly did a decent job of covering the major tourist attractions (barring few) in three cities in a week. We even had about half a day which we used to see some unconventional places like Lego Land in Istanbul as we traveled with our 3-year-old nephew. So we would recommend a week if you are a busy bee and probably a week more if you want to visit more cities and cover all the places.
- What are the places to visit?
It depends on the time you have. Our itinerary allowed us the luxury of visiting three major cities: Istanbul, Antalya and Cappadocia and visited nearby villages/cities. However with a week more, we could have covered another three cities which usually come up on most “lonely planet”esque guides.
- Do people speak English in Turkey?
Hell no! Make sure to open your translator app. (Just kidding) Apart from a few places, where we were dealing with local artisans, we had no difficulty in communication. Turkish people either speak in English with their tourists or make a very genuine effort to understand what you are looking for and help you (Trust me! We could order a vegetarian meal without speaking a word with the lovely lady at a restaurant). However one thing to watch out for is that many websites to book tickets or obtain information could be in Turkish. We used google chrome for these websites and had the content translated to English and it worked fine every time.
- Do you have options for vegetarians?
Absolutely! But we can’t complain about the choices though! The vegetarian options mainly include bread, saute vegetables with cheese (casseroles as they call it), mushroom, vegetarian pide, soup (some places), salad with lovely dressing and fresh fruits. Since we eat egg, our options also included Turkish omelette 🙂
- Where did you stay?
When we visit a country, we try to live in different kinds of places to get the feel of the country and their living. We experimented with the peaceful urban living in an apartment (AirBnB) and the busy city hotel right at Taskim Square in Istanbul, Old Town of Antalya and Cave Hotels of Cappadocia. There are many options of hotels in every city. Our recommendation is to choose an experience (e.g. beach house, cave house or downtown apartment) and you should be able to find each of these under $100 with some basic research.
- What is the best mode of transport?
Istanbul’s local transport is the easiest, fastest and cheapest especially when travelling in the old city (which has the major landmarks and tourist attractions). Uber works great in the city too. For the other cities, we experimented renting a car (left hand drive/ right side of the road), which we used to drive from Antalya to Cappadocia and flew back to Istanbul to save time.
- What currency works?
Turkish Lira is the local currency, and Euro has wide acceptance. But most of your major hotels and shopping also accept US Dollars. If everything fails, you can always use an internationally accepted credit card. Avoid Amex/ Discover as it may not always work, use VISA/ MasterCard instead.
- How is the WiFi connectivity?
Isn’t that the most important thing? Most of the public places have free Wifi. In any case, we purchased for a portable wi-fi device on our first day in Istanbul at the airport, which worked in all the three cities, though not always at LTE speed. But we managed to remain connected at all times.
I will follow up with a detailed itinerary post soon! Stay Tuned!
“A change in the latitude is sure to help my attitude”