Istanbul Tips

Tip on : Istanbul - 5 years ago

One marvellous little city ... marvellous because it has amazing sights, food, history, attractions and charm ... and little because much of this is conveniently concentrated in the old part of the city Sultanahmet ... you can get here straight from the airport or station .... the rest of the city is largely a modern sprawl that you will need only if you have private or official visits to make, or sample modern Istanbul, or connect to other cities, or go to see the few things outside (such as the touristy Bosphorus or that bridge, walking on which you cross from Europe to Asia) ... the main attractions otherwise are in easily walkable Sultanahment ... the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Aya Sophia ... these are certainly worth it ... but do take the time to sample some good Turkish food, get scrubbed and soaped and sprayed and beaten and by huge Turkish masseurs in a hammam, watch a Sufi dervish dance while smoking a sheesha, linger over cups of Turkish tea or coffee, ... these are the experiences that really stay ... be careful of the carpet sellers though as you navigate Sultanahmet (they can get quite persistent) ... plenty of hotels to choose from ...backpacker to mid-range to starred... so I don't see the need to book in advance except for peak season... walk around and take what you like instead (I've heard of a hotel 'Poem' that I intent to sample in the next visit, where rooms have poems instead of numbers to identify them...) ... Turkish sheeshas and tea-glasses make good tourist buys ... Istanbul is not just a major crossroad now but a major tourist spot too and you are bound to come across several faces of both the tourist industry and the tourist ...


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