Trip to Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul,Turkey has a population of about 13,255,685 . It is a city that has vast history and has been built on top of historical civilizations that once used to be epicenter of the Roman empire. Istanbul is said to be a vibrant city with people from various different cultures. The national language of Turkey is Turkish and it is important to know the culture and traditions of Turkey since its slightly different than that of the west.
During its long history, Istanbul has served as the Capital of the Roman Empire (330–395), the East Roman (Byzantine) Empire (395–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin Empire (1204–1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922). Located in the center of the old world, this exotic city is famous for its historical monuments and scenic views. It is the only city in the world which spreads over two continents: Asia and Europe which are separated by a narrow strait - the Bosphorus.
Istanbul is adorned with the masterpieces of Turkish art, the great mosques of the Sultans that crown the hills. The city presents an exquisite, majestic and serene silhouette from all directions. The Golden Horn, which is a very secure natural harbor, has played a significant role in the development of the city. The historic city of Istanbul is situated on a peninsula flanked on three sides by the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn.
Even if you spend only a short time in Istanbul, you can see much of this great heritage. Although renowned for its mystery and history, Istanbul is also a rapidly modernising country with a prime location; one foot in Europe and one in the Middle East. Thus Istanbul retains its fascinating differences, and its contradictions: mosques coexist with churches, and remnants of the Roman Empire still stand alongside ancient Hittite and Neolithic sites.
While in Istanbul, you may want to discover the Grand Bazaar which is a teeming indoor maze of jewelry, carpets, leather, textiles, and antiques that dates back 500 years. Its sheer size—65 alleys and more than 4,000 shops—is not for the faint of heart. Get oriented by finding the Old Bedestan, the original marketplace, in the center of the bazaar, and remember that haggling is part of the culture.
The touristy place in Istanbul is along Istiklal Road and Taksim Square which is the spot where the Havataj( the airport bus ) drops you off. That place is sort of like the Hollywood blvd or Times Square . Its definitely much busier than Hollywood blvd , and the amazing part is that it's as crowded at 10am then it was perhaps at 3am. A bunch of sweet delight shops and hookah cafes all around the corner . On the streets you can see people selling toys , guys on a handcart selling nuts. It is a very different ambience than of what one is used to in the west. They have a lot of American and European name brands available , but they also have some bootleg stuff being sold on the streets such as Louis Voutton and Hermes bags and several colognes and perfumes.If you ever visit Turkey, make sure to try out the Turkish coffee its one of kind.
Istanbul, since it is a major tourist attraction spot you can find a variety of hotels and hostels for a good price. You can go to www.hostels.com and check out different hostels that best suite your budget or you can also visit www.airbnb.com ( highly recommended!!) you can find great apartments/houses similar to the one shown in the picture for as low as $40 a night.The apartment as you can see is pretty clean and tidy and most of them also have a maid service on duty. The landlord or the apartment owner might have a room or an apartment next door and most of them also have cameras in the lobby so it very secure.
If you are on very short budget and really want to spend most of your money exploring the city rather than paying for any hotel, hostel or apartment rent then you can check out www.couchsurfng.com, it's a site where you create login and verify yourself by providing your ID information and also verifying your location for security purposes. The way it works is you choose a destination where you want to travel and request people if they could host and mostly people are willing to host( let you stay on their couch or a separate bedroom) no charge or anything but you might wanna be very courteous and perhaps bring in some gift. At the end of your journey they place a testimonial on the website about how you were and you do the same , this way a lot of other visitors can feel comfortable and make their journey worthwhile.
Turkish architecture is one of the oldest architecture,it dates from the Roman era. You can see marvelous building with dome structure and the inside and outside of the buildings is done in an amazing way with a lot carvings and Arabic words from the holy scriptures.
Turkish architecture is however now becoming slightly modern, with malls, houses and even cafes that are absolutely amazing and perhaps a modern design of art .
For an authentic Turkish bath (this is Turkey, after all!), head to the historic Cagaloglu Hamam or Çemberlita Hamam in the Old City. You get a pestemal, or towel, and, after warming up on a hot stone slab for about 10 minutes, expect to be massaged, scrubbed, and soaped up for another 15 minutes, leaving your skin softer than you could ever imagine possible.The massage is one of a kind and well worth the money. When you enter the Hamam you are welcomed by an attendant, you choose the kind of massage you like and pay for it. After that they send you to a changing room where you would leave all your belongings and you will wear a piece of cloth that they provide and they also give you these wooden shoes which are very heavy and make quite noise while walking on the marble flooring.
Then you enter a door where you see a big marble circle and that room is heated and you are supposed to lay down on that circle marble platform and the masseuse comes and gives you a complete body massage and then soaps your body in the hammam area and gives you a bath. And you smell fresh as ever and body as relaxed as it could ever get.
Hubble Bubble Cafe
Best Hookah Cafe near Istanbul Ataturk Airport
If you are looking for great place to have sip of coffee and smoke hookah and that's not too far from the Ataturk Airport perhaps you are on a transit for 2 or 3 hours. This would be a perfect get away only 5 to 7 min away from the airport and getting a cab from the airport is not a problem at all. but keep in mind the cab drivers are a bit tricky with price so make sure you confirm the pricing before you step in the cab and also make sure to change your currency . The sheesha/ hookah at Hubble Bubble cafe which near the airport charges about USD $9.00 which is not bad at all. They have a variety of flavors that you can pick from.
Things to carry!
Extra memory card
Collar neck shirt