Traveling to Turkey was exciting because of the long list of attractions in Turkey. It was my first travel destination outside of Asia. The reason I chosen Turkey is the unique culture and history of Turkey. It’s sitting right in the intersection between Asia and Europe. Also, Turkey is a secular state, where the people is kinda open minded. At the point of my travel, Turkey was in the stage of war with neighboring ISIS in Iraq/Syria region. But because of my short duration of travel in Turkey, my stay was focusing on the area around Istanbul, which was still safe at that point of time (I do not mind travel to conflicting region though, if given the opportunity :V )

With some research done prior to arrival in Istanbul, I was aware that google maps doesn’t work in Istanbul. My hostel was located in near to Gulhane tram station, so taken the route : Ataturk airport > Zeytinburu > Gulhane.

istanbul mrt

Istanbul transportation map

My itinerary in Istanbul was quite simple:

1st Day – Spice Bazaar, Süleymaniye Camii

2nd Day – Blue Mosque, Taksim Square

3rd Day – Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern, Istanbul Musuem of Modern Art, Whirling Dervishes

spice bazaar

Spice Bazaar

grand bazaar

Local bustling on the streets in the early morning

Süleymaniye Camii

Süleymaniye Camii (free)

blue mosque

Outside of Blue Mosque

blue mosque

Blue Mosque (free)

taksim square

Taksim Square area

Mandabatmaz coffee

Relaxing with Turkey traditional coffeee (Mandabatmaz, ₺ 5)

street performer

Along the street to Taksim Square, there are many art performers that able to grab attention (and tips), but there is none that even looking at this old man.  I’ve been observed for a while and given him  ₺ 5

Istanbul view from galata tower

View of Blue Mosque & Hagia Sophia from Galata Tower (₺ 25)

hagia sophia

Perplexing interior of Hagia Sophia (₺ 40)

tourist taking pictures outside hagia sophia

Tourist outside of Hagia Sophia

istanbul bastille

Basilica Cistern (₺ 20)

istanbul modern art library

Library in Istanbul Musuem of Modern Art (₺ 25)

whirling dervishes

Sufi Whirling Dervishes in Galata Mevlevihanesi (₺ 75)

Not until near the end of my stay in Istanbul, only that I realized everything near Blue mosque/ bosphorus are overpriced, as it’s main tourist attractions. If you are looking for experiences of the real locals, I would suggest you to go to area outside of these places, such as Yusufpasa. Things are cheap there, and you could really see the difference of locals there. They are more down to earth and more honest in any conversation.

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