Turkey Part 1 - Debunking the myths on Turkey

Jes , 0 Comments

It was a nice break just in between changing of jobs. This the best time for holidays as there will not be any emails to check, no customer/bosses calls, able to go for 2 weeks without worrying about lack of annual leave.... just get away from work and relax fully.

Istanbul is world's top destination for Tripadvisor in 2014. However, Turkey is not a popular vacation spot as there are some common misconceptions:
High percentage in Turkey! (Source: themusliminc.com)
1) Turkey is a Muslim country
Turkey was declared secularism since 1928. The misconception comes because more than 97% of the Turkish population is Muslim.The secularism is also why Hagia Sophia is so famous, the only mosque is the world with both Islam and Christianity aspects. You will see many ladies covering themselves leaving only the eyes, and they are not Turkish but Saudi Arabians! Not all Turkish women wear the hijab (headscarf).. in fact, they used to ban it.
Turkey flags everywhere!
2) Turkey is not a safe place with lots of unrest
I understand that Syria, Iran and Iraq are all its nearby neighbors. The recent ISIS insurgence has also started some battles ongoing at the outskirts and tourists may avoid it. You may not feel it in the touristy places especially in Istanbul as this article and many others claim that Istanbul is one of the safest city in the world. The people there are really friendly, even more friendly than Americans from my experience. Once you hold up a map, they would approach and help you out. It seems so easy to travel around with their warm, helpful demeanor!
Nice and succulent!
3) Turkey meat comes from Turkey
Hahaha. this is totally irrelevant but I get this a lot. Turkey meat is definitely from North America, which explains why they like to eat this during Thanksgiving. Interestingly, it was a mistake that gave rise to the same name and you can read more about it here.

The only hassle I can think of is that I cannot find any money exchange in Singapore that can help me to change SGD to Turkish Lira. I have not tried Mustafa so let me know if you did exchange some this year. Heard there were more money exchange dealing with Lira in the previous years but definitely not in Aug 2014, where I tried everywhere in the West area.

Even the Changi Airport do not deal in Lira and Ataturk airport in Turkey do not accept SGD.

What to do? End up we changed some Lira using the Euro/USD that we have. I would encourage you to bring some USD to get some loose change in order to board the airport shuttle. After which, we went through the ATM to get more money. At Taksim square near the metro station, the money exchange does accept SGD but the rate is really much worse than ATM.

Onwards to Cappadocia and Istanbul!

Jes

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