Friday, 28 September 2012

Istanbul,Turkey - Sept 2012

Our Istanbul trip recently was the most tiring trip Ive ever experienced. I guess its true when the folks says "traveling with kids will trigger your temper even more"..~sigh~ But having had it with my family,any trip will always turn out to be a pleasant one no matter how (accustomed to it agaknya. Or telan je segala yang hati ni rasa) . Anyway,about Turkey, I dont mind visiting Turkey again in the future. Istanbul city is full of historical stories that mainly have connections to Islam. I was drifted away with the overwhelming stories about Istanbul with all the landmarks and monuments,it sometimes gave me the spooks though. I have to admit, my knowledge on histories of Islam aren't at a satisfactory level at all. Its just like.. I only know on the headlines tapi to answer your q's about the detail of each myself pun have to open the encyclopedia and am still learning...or for my fast reference,my husband :)

15th Sept 2012 - Day 1 - Arrival at the airport about 6am TR time, Topkapi Palace
16th Sept 2012 - Day 2 - The Blue Mosque,Byzantine Hippodrome,Basilica Cistern,Hagia Sophia,    Dolmahbache Palace,Taksim, Spice Market
17th Sept 2012 - Day 3 - Miniartuk, Pierre Lotti, Spice Market (again)
18th Sept 2012 - Day 4 - Grand Bazaar, Bosphorus cruise
19th Sept 2012 - Day 5 - Flight back

*will post the daily info soon.( bila la agaknya ni ). But these are the main must-see places if you ever visit here..

 My fav photo from the trip :)

Summary and some learning points : 

1. Traveling around Istanbul via metro, tram, funicular,bus is very convenient. They have similar to our 'touch-n-go' card called 'istanbulkart' that you can use to almost every transportation (even fees for the gondola) . You have to purchase the 'istanbulkart' over the counters near the metro stations and get it topped-up at a machine called 'biletmatik'.Using this card is much more easier/safer rather than 'token' (per entry payment). We bought 1 card for the use of us both.

2. Riding the buses were also very easy.There is an electronic board (on the bus itself) that will show you the list of stops the bus rides to in sequence. How easy is that!! With that we had no trouble at all getting to Miniaturk and to Eyub!

3. Do lodge at Sultanahmet (old city) where major attractions are within walking distance. Our budget Burckin Suites is just 5 minutes walk to the Blue Mosque (Hagia Sofia is just next to it,and so is the Basilica Cistern,and so is Topkapi Palace). *Do bring along your traveling power adapter.

4. Topkapi Palace visit is a must. You wont regret it.Entrance: TL25 / person. Go there early as the queue can be very long by 930am. Since we are travelling with infants,we got the privillege to go to the fast lane. *terasa sayu seeing the exhibits. mangkuk minum nabi muhammad saw, pedang2 para sahabat nabi saw and many other stuff that if there were not so many people on that day, maybe I would hv tumbled into tears.

5. Do take a cruise and cross the straits to the Asian side (Uskudar).Witness those handful of old fine-art buildings,forts,mosques straddling along one of the world's busiest waterways,Bosphorus.

6. The locals were quite friendly..It was the Arabians that on my personal view,that have zero manners.They can simply cut the queue and make that blur-innocent faces.But being me,I rebuked on their actions.Sila ada hormat  and timbang rasa sikit okay!

7. Communication could be a barrier as their English command can be quite limited (more to 'irritating' to be sangat honest). We found not many locals/tourists that can converse properly to the extend when I asked where is the ablution section for women pun they were not able to understand..memang kesabaran)

8. Do go to the Spice Market instead of the Grand Bazaar. The same items can reach up to tripple the price compared to the same items sold at the Spice Market.Trust me,you'll go crazier at the Spice Market.(Eminonu). And a little advice here. Dont worry on excess baggage or etc, just buy what ever you desires..

9. Dont worry about halaal food. You can enjoy arrays of Turkish delicacy there without any doubt. However, prices in Sultanahmet is a little bit more expensive than from those restaurants in Eminonu or Sirkeci. Beside their famous kebabs and fish sandwich,do try their variety types of sweet nutty baklava, their famous turkish delights,simit, and gosh!!their freshly squeezed orange juice ( I should have try their pomegranate juice too!!!). So makan was easy.Anyhow,I brought along my traveling cooker with me to cook some white rice ;) Tekak melayu kan katanya.. Its so convenient especially when you are traveling with kids.

10. Turkey to me have a lot more to offer other than Hagia Sofia,The Blue Mosque,Basilica Cistern etc...InsyaAllah, for our next Turkey trip, we would love to visit Cappadocia ,Troy,Ephesus that holds great ancient stories. InsyaAllah  ;)

11. Dont get yourselves cheated with the on-the-streets sellers.They claimed cheap perfumes lah,cheap socks lah,cheap umbrella lah..just dont get it from them.You might end up paying even more than the actual cost/quality.

12. I wont say it is safe to wonder about alone (for ladies) in Istanbul. But if I were to travel there alone, I will not mind at all..After all,its a beautiful place.Furthermore, you can hear the adzan (The Muslim call to ritual prayer) at almost every corner of Istanbul that makes you feel safe :)

13. Cats are everywhere!!!!!!!And me like!!! *enough said* :)

14. And lastly as usual, sharing our  roughly financial budget on the 5D4N trip excluding airfares for YOUR trip plannning!!!!Wait no more!!!! Go and explore the world!!! ;)

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