Istanbul In Depth Trip Notes

Travel to Turkey and visit Istanbul City. Tour Istanbul's Grand and Spice Bazaars, visit Istanbul's iconic Blue Mosque and experience the upbeat Istanbul nightlife.

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    • ERAI
    • 4.70 out of 5
    • Total twin price tool tip
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    • Short Breaks
    • Original
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Last Modified: 13 Jan 2014
Istanbul In Depth
Trip code: ERAI-O
Validity: 01 Jan 2013 to 31 Dec 2013
Fascinating Istanbul is the gateway between East and West, sheltering centuries of learning and culture. Armed with a local guide, wander its streets and discover the ancient Byzantine and Ottoman history of the metropolis, as well as its dynamic modern sophistication. From the expansive blue domes of this city's famed mosque to the labyrinthine alleys of the medieval Grand Bazaar and the haunting beauty of the Aya Sofya, Istanbul will knock your socks off with its spectacular sights while seducing you with its infectious hospitality. This is one city break that will be truly unforgettable.
Table of Contents
StyleMoney ExchangeJoining point instructions
ThemesSpending moneyFinish point
MapImportant notesFinish point description
ItineraryGroup sizeEmergency contact
We also recommendAccommodationVisas
Itinerary disclaimerMealsIssues on your trip
Culture shock rating TransportCarbon offset
Physical ratingJoining point Feedback
Included activitiesJoining point description
Style
Original, Basix, Comfort
  • Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
  • The best value journeys on the planet! On a Basix trip you can expect amazing experiences, but none of the inclusions that you may not want. Which means budget (1-2 star) accommodation, plenty of free time, activities that are optional and the freedom to choose meals to suit your budget. On some trips you may be camping and required to set up your own tent. You'll also have access to a group leader to offer advice and help you uncover the region's hidden gems. On a Basix journey, the way you travel is all a part of the adventure. Depending on the destination and the itinerary, you could find yourself travelling on anything from a donkey to a bus or a private safari vehicle. These trips are ideal for first-time travellers seeking fun and independence with the support of a group leader. They're also ideal for independent travellers looking to make the most of their travel time with minimum hassle and maximum experiences.
  • Comfort is your style of travel if you want the whole grassroots experience with more inclusions, meals and creature comforts. While accommodation is predominantly tourist class (3-4 star), on some itineraries there is the opportunity to stay with a local family, spend the night on a train or camp out in exotic places (without putting up your own tent of course). Along the way, you'll really experience the destination up close. You'll mingle with locals, enjoy a taste of their way of life and gain special insights from your leader. This is not luxury travel, but real world experiences - just with a softer landing!
Themes
Short Breaks
Map
Istanbul In Depth
Itinerary
Day 1 Istanbul
Hosgeldinz! Welcome to Istanbul.
Istanbul is the only city in the world to straddle two continents, so it will come as no surprise that this vast metropolis is home to a beguiling mix of different cultures and traditions, blending the influences of both east and west. Originally founded by Greek settlers over 2000 years ago, Istanbul originally went by the name of Byzantium, then Constantinople when the Romans made it the capital of their eastern empire. Today, intriguing Istanbul is a bustling mega-city with a population of over 12 million people and a rich history and food scene waiting to be explored.
This morning you will be picked up from your nominated Sultanhamet hotel or make your own way to Intrepid Istanbul at 8.30am.
Kick off this Istanbul Adventure with a guided walking tour starting in historic Sultanahmet, and visiting its grand Blue Mosque. From here we get off the beaten track to discover the best of hidden Istanbul. We explore the Grand Bazzar, Suleymainye Mosque Complex and the Rustem Pasha Mosque before delving into the hectic trading district and local markets following our noses to the famous spice market ending with a chance to treat our taste buds and taste test authentic Turkish Delight.
This afternoon it's time to visit two of the cities best known monuments - Aya Sofya and Topkapi Palace. During the season, large crowds gather to enter these sites and lining up for entry tickets can be an annoying frustration if you only have a short time in the city, but with your included pre-purchased entry ticket in hand, you can skip these queues and enter straight away. These beautiful historic buildings are quite close to one another in the Sultanahmet area, but will take you the majority of the afternoon to explore and appreciate these amazing iconic sights.
Tonight we rejoin to sample some of Istanbul's best home cooking. The Turkish people's sense of hospitality is world famous and tonight you have the opportunity to enjoy it first hand in a local home. You can chat with all members of the family and hear what its like to live in today's Turkey while enjoying a typical dinner with a typical family. After we have feasted we walk it off with a stroll through the backstreets en-route to a local hangout to soak in fabulous views of the Marmara Sea and mingle with the locals. There maybe a football match to enjoy; there will definitely be Turkey's favourite board game - Backgammon - to challenge a local to; and if you have ever wondered what a Narghile (water pipe) is like to smoke - then tonight is the time to give it a go.
Please note that the Aya Sofya is closed on Mondays, and Topkapi Palace is closed on Tuesdays. If your shortbreak departure coincides with one of these days we will be sure to substitute the visit for Day 2 so you don't miss out.
Included Activities
  • Aya Sofya
  • Topkapi Palace
  • Home cooked meal with local family
Optional Activities
  • Istanbul - Basilica Cistern - TRY10
  • Istanbul - Archaeology Museum - TRY10
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Istanbul
This morning what better way to start off the day than with an invigorating and enlivening scrub in a nearby hamam! Istanbul is famous for its wonderful bath houses and we will escort you to one of the city's finest historic hamam's for one of Turkey's most memorable experiences.
Once revitalized and energised we set out to discover some more of the best of this city with a focus on exploring places you never knew existed in Istanbul. Your local guide will take you through both the old and new of Istanbul, with a stroll through exciting Taksim and Beyoglu, where you can check out the latest in fashion, art and food, explore the back streets and passages to secret courtyards in the other side known as Pera, visit Greek, Armenian and Catholic churches, and why not finish off with fabulous Turkish coffee and have your fortune told!
Your adventure finishes this afternoon around 5.00pm
Included Activities
  • Hamam in historic bath house
  • Walking tour of Hidden Istanbul
Optional Activities
  • Istanbul - Chora Church - TRY15
  • Istanbul - Dolmabahce Palace - TRY20
  • Istanbul - Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts - TRY10
    We also recommend
    If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
    • Gallipoli Pilgrimage (ERAG-O)
    • Cappadocia Explorer (ERAC-O)
    • Gallipoli Pilgrimage (ERAG-O)
    Itinerary disclaimer
    Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
    Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
    Culture shock rating

    Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
    Physical rating

    Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
    Included activities
    Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
    Money Exchange
    The official currency of Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TRY, although prior to 2005 the currency code was TL).
    ATMs are common throughout the main cities and these are a safe and convenient way to withdraw money. Credit cards are also widely accepted. Cash in any of the major currencies (EUR, GBP and USD) is easily changed. Travellers cheques in major currencies (EUR, GBP and USD) can be changed at selected local banks but it can be time consuming and subject to high fees.
    Turkey is often misjudged as being an inexpensive destination. With tourism booming, the influx of cheap flights from Europe, prices for some items are becoming more equivalent to prices you would be used to at home. Eating in local restaurants, road side stalls and from markets can be inexpensive, but for nights out at tourist friendly restaurants you can expect to pay much more. Budgets are a personal choice but please bear in mind that you should not expect Turkey to be a budget destination.
    Spending money
    Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
    Important notes
    RAMADAN & THE EID UL-FITR FESTIVAL (BAYRAM) 2013:
    In 2013 the important month of Ramadan will be in progress from the 9th July through till the 7th August, and the Eid ul-Fitr festival will be held directly at its conclusion for 3-4 days. Ramadan is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan business hours are shortened, including opening hours at some tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. Please note that although the Eid ul-Fitr festival can also be a fascinating time to travel it is a period of National holiday. Most government offices and businesses will be closed and some tourist site opening hours may be impacted.
    Group size
    Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
    Accommodation
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Meals
    1 Breakfast, 1 Dinner
    Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
    EUR 80.00
    Transport
    Car
    Joining point
    ERAI - Istanbul Hotel
    Intrepid Istanbul Turizm, Tic. San. Ltd. Sti Divanyolu Cad, Ticarethane Sok. No 11. 1st floor
    Sultanahmet Mah
    Istanbul
    Istanbul
    TURKEY
    Phone: +90 212 512 7144
    Joining point description
    Extra accommodation pre and post tour can be requested for these hotels, please ask your booking agent.
    Hotels will depend on style of short break booked- Basix, Original or Comfort. The hotels below will be used for most departures. If an alternative hotel will be used, details will be provided by your booking agent prior to travel.
    Anzac Wooden House (Basix style hotel)
    Akbiyik Degirmeni Caddesi Konut sokak
    No:17 Sultanahmet
    Istanbul
    Tel: +90 212 518 1726
    http://www.anzacwoodenhouse.net
    Golden Horn Hotel - Previously called: Best Town Palace Hotel (Original style hotel)
    The Golden Horn Hotel
    Hoca Pasa Mh., Istasyon Ar Sk 9, 34200
    Istanbul
    34200
    TURKEY
    AND Hotel (Comfort style hotel)
    Yerebatan Cadesi, Cami Cikmazi Number 36-40
    Sultanahmet
    Istanbul
    +90 2125120207
    Joining point instructions
    You will be picked up from your nominated Sultanhamet hotel at 830AM on Day 1. Please provide your travel agent with the details of your pick up hotel at least 2 weeks before departure.
    Pick up will only be provided from hotels in the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul. If staying in another part of town please make your own way to the Intrepid Istanbul Office in Sultanahmet by 830 AM:
    Intrepid Istanbul Turizm Tic. San. Ltd. Sti
    Divanyolu Cad, Ticarethane Sok. No 11. 1st floor
    Sultanahmet Mah
    Istanbul
    Turkey
    For arrival complications please contact Intrepid Istanbul :
    Office +90 (0) 212 512 7144
    Mob +90 532 641 6514
    Mob +90 532 405 2687
    Email: turkeyops@intrepidtravel.com
    Directions to the Intrepid Istanbul Office:
    Turn right off the main street Divanyolu, 50m down on the left hand side after the Sultanahmet tram stop. Turn left on the cornor of the kebab shop opposite the Firuz Ağa Camii- (Firuz Aga Mosque). Walk 20m past the street kiosk and you will see the office located on the first floor above a Carpet shop called Noahs Ark. It is opposite Rumii and Mosaik Restaurants. The office is well signed.
    Finish point
    ERAI - Istanbul Hotel
    Intrepid Istanbul Turizm, Tic. San. Ltd. Sti Divanyolu Cad, Ticarethane Sok. No 11. 1st floor
    Sultanahmet Mah
    Istanbul
    Istanbul
    TURKEY
    Phone: +90 212 512 7144
    Finish point description
    Extra accommodation pre and post tour can be requested for these hotels, please ask your booking agent.
    Hotels will depend on style of short break booked- Basix, Original or Comfort. The hotels below will be used for most departures. If an alternative hotel will be used, details will be provided by your booking agent prior to travel.
    Anzac Wooden House (Basix style hotel)
    Akbiyik Degirmeni Caddesi Konut sokak
    No:17 Sultanahmet
    Istanbul
    Tel: +90 212 518 1726
    http://www.anzacwoodenhouse.net
    Golden Horn Hotel - Previously called: Best Town Palace Hotel (Original style hotel)
    The Golden Horn Hotel
    Hoca Pasa Mh., Istasyon Ar Sk 9, 34200
    Istanbul
    34200
    TURKEY
    AND Hotel (Comfort style hotel)
    Yerebatan Cadesi, Cami Cikmazi Number 36-40
    Sultanahmet
    Istanbul
    +90 2125120207
    Emergency contact
    In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency only, Intrepid's Istanbul Operations team can be reached on the following numbers:
    - Office: +90 (0) 212 512 7144
    - Mobile: +90 (0) 532 641 2822
    For further contact details please use the following page:
    Visas
    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
    We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
    TURKEY (ALL TRIPS):
    Please note that many nationalities require a visit to enter Turkey, and the process for obtaining a visa is due to change on 10 April, 2014.
    Those planning to arrive in Turkey on or before 9 April 2014 will be able to obtain a visa on arrival. Costs vary depending on your nationality:
    Australian & Canadian: US$60
    US & UK : US$20
    Other nationalities should check the cost via your local consulate or embassy.
    For those planning to arrive in Turkey on or after 10 April, 2014, the following will apply:
    Australia: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
    Belgium: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
    Canada: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
    Germany: No - not required
    Ireland: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
    Netherlands: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
    New Zealand: No - not required
    South Africa: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
    Switzerland: No - not required
    United Kingdom: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
    USA: Yes - apply for an e-visa before you go
    To apply for an e-visa, please go to https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/ at least a few weeks before you go.
    The visa costs can change at any time and with little notice depending on the political climate of the region.
    A valid passport is sufficient for citizens of most other countries including New Zealand, Argentina, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland for stays up to 3 months. All other nationalities please check with your nearest Turkish embassy.
    Issues on your trip
    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
    We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
    You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
    When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative and you should dress accordingly. To respect the local culture and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. As a guideline, shoulders and knees at the minimum (and everything in between including midriff and cleavage) should be covered at all times. Wearing shorts and singlet tops is not appropriate and may well restrict your entry into sites of a religious nature, family homes, and will limit your local interaction opportunities in general. Loose, lightweight, long clothing (3/4 trousers that come to the calf is fine) is both respectful and cool in the predominantly warm climate.
    Carbon offset
    Carbon Offset C02-e 24.00 kgs per pax.
    Feedback
    After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
    Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.