We spent two weeks in Turkey for our honeymoon last month, a trip I’ve been planning for quite some time. It’s interesting that when we told others about Turkey, the responses often were “cool! they have pretty nice beaches there right?” Yes yes, they have very nice beaches in Turkey but they’re less of a priority to us. Situated right in between Asia and Europe and being ruled by some of most powerful Empires in history, Turkey is extremely fascinating to us because of the incredible richness of history and culture that can be found there.
We spent about 6 days in Istanbul, 3 days in east-southern part of Turkey (Mt Nemrut, Urfa, Harran), 3 days in Cappadocia (central Turkey) and 1 day in Ephesus (West Turkey). It’s great to be able to see the different sides of Turkey. Here are some of the highlights of our trip:
Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia) is truly truly breathtaking! My pictures couldn’t do it justice at all, you have to be there to see the grandness of it. Be sure to go there as soon as it’s open in the morning, or else you’ll be lining up for a long time because of nonstop stream of big tour groups.
Mosques mosques mosques. There’re many mosques in Istanbul, more than you have time to visit. The first night when we first arrived at Istanbul, we heard an ethereal prayer call for the first time and followed the crowd to Blue Mosque, it was quite a magical experience. Blue Mosque is a must visit for sure, Sulemaniye Mosque and New Mosque are equally beautiful I think. There’re several “fusion style” mosque too, such as rococo style mosque that felt more Europeans.
Grand Bazaar: it’s a super touristy, visual overload and mentally+physically draining experience, but we still had fun shopping/bargaining there. The key is to go late and be the last customer. A lot of the shop owners believe in the “last customer luck” (good luck next day if the last customer buy something). We got really good deal in two places because of that!
Ride the boat along the Bosphorus which zigzag between the European and Asian side. It’s cheap and scenic (note: ignore what all the guide books tell you, the outside of the lower deck is a way better place to sit than the upper deck.) We got off the boat at the 2nd to the last stop on the European side and then did a combo of bus and walking along the coastline to visit all the upscale Bosphorus neighbourhoods (including the amazing Rumeli Castle in the picture above). It was a rigorous walk but there are many cute cafes along the way to take breaks.
And of course some of the best experiences in Istanbul is just stroll around the city, get lost in markets and backstreet roads, eating at Meyhane (Turkish “small plate” bars) and chilling out at cafes/bars. We stayed both at the old town (Sultanahmet) and the new town (Beyoglu) side of Istanbul. It’s easy to go to all the major sights in the old town but the new town is a much better area to stay at. All the good restaurants and night life is there and it felt like a real happening city where locals hang out and live. Our favorite area to hang out at is Asmalimescit and Tunel (where our apartment is at). And the Galata bridge is a dream location for photography student.
Tags: Travel Report