Turkey Part 3 - Free and easy Istanbul

Jes , 0 Comments

How exciting to come to this city which I have heard so much about! Normally, I will ask people which countries they have visited and which they prefer the most.. Turkey came out on top for most people so I had to verify it on my own. Will it be better than Cappadocia?

Taking the Havatas bus back to Taksim and walking all the way to Marti Apartment (Changed name to Violet Suite) in Feridiye Caddesi is a short walk of 10 minutes. Not recommended to stay as they are dishonest and double charged us but luckily Agoda solved it for us after some time. See the map from previous post for more details on the Havatas bus.

Day 1 itinerary
There are 5 main attractions to go in Istanbul and 1 day is definitely not enough to see all of them. We went to Archeological Museum, Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque first. I think these 3 attractions are enough as the other 2 are not really worth it. More will be discussed below. We went archaeological museum first as we needed to understand the background, history and architecture of Turkey before we head to other attractions.It was a good read but after a while I just want to sleep as I am not that into history.

Sarcorphagus at the Archeological museum.. look how elaborate they are! Funny how they like to invest more into burial rituals than for the living people...
Hagia Sophia is definitely the most interesting, which explains the steepest entrance fee too. You can spot the Muslim vs the Christian work in this museum and their ambitious plans to overhaul the place and restore the previous works is kind of amazing. It seems there is much more to be done but it is already majestic in this half restored state.
The legendary Hagia Sophia.. doesn't look that special outside though.
Hagia Sophia with Islamic letters.. 
Hagia Sophia with Christian's drawings
Blue Mosque is an attraction too as it is an actual mosque. I brought my own scarf to wrap my hair and arms and everyone needs to wear long pants to enter, if not you will end up renting the towel to wrap around your waist. It's not so special as we can see the praying in Singapore but the architecture is beautifully blue and intricate. 
The picturesque blue mosque
Day 2
We went to the remaining Topkapi Palace and Basilica Cistern. I absolutely dislike the queues at Topkapi Palace which already started from the ticketing booth. My personal opinion is that the snaking queues are not worth it to check out the lavish lifestyle that was once the Sultan's palace. I feel that China's palaces are much more intricate than this. .
Long queues add to the disappointment of Topkapi Palace
Basilica Cistern is kind of mysterious and puzzling in its own charm. Just don't expect too much, it is really just a reservoir of water and everyone goes there to take a look at the Medusa's heads. It is puzzling because nobody knows why Medusa's head is in that particular direction and how it came about. 
I like to do handstands... 
I like to sleep sideways.. 
After which, a slow walk to grand and spice bazaar to buy souvenirs such as Baklava and nuts. Dinner was at some of the fish stalls near Galata Bridge. The fish sandwich actually has a very fishy smell so I don't really like it. 
Day 3
Went for the ferry and took it from Kabatas to Buyukada (Princes Island).Nothing much actually, just that there are no cars there and only horse carriages. Kind of over rated if you ask me, so we left early.

Then we travel to Kadikoy by ferry to check out moda street and picnic near the pier. Relaxing day in a foreign island, reading and resting. What better way to spend a vacation!

Day 4
We are more greedy than exploratory I think. We travelled to Ortakoy mainly to try the kumpir and I would give it 2 thumbs up and a definite must try rating. Kumpir is a baked potato that is bigger than normal size and they add sinfully delicious toppings on it like olives, cheese, salt, corn, carrots, and many other food that I don't recognize. But it's really awesome, better than KFC's cheese fries haha.

Travelling by the bus was a hassle from Taksim Square as they have unofficially moved the bus stop to a place which has no signboards at all but nearer to Taksim Square. Some locals did not know it too and waited with us. If not for the nice locals who informed us, I do not know how long we will wait for the buses that would not come. DT1 is the bus to take.
Bosphorous bridge is also near Ortakoy
Day 5
Ultimately, we need to go shopping, That's my top priority after all the sightseeing! Istiklal Caddesi is like Orchard road of Istanbul and I really spent my whole day there. Zara, Mango, you can also check out Istanbul's very own Mavi stores and others. Snack at Krispy Kreme nearby and dinner is to try Shake Shack burgers!
My fav restaurant is at Zübeyir Ocakbaşı. The chicken kebab are to die for!. 
Try the value for money kebabs at Kofteci Ramiz chain.
Craving for something different so.. Shake Shack burgers!


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