10 things I wish I knew before solo traveling to Turkey

  1. Istanbul is full of steep slope

Believe it or not, there are a lot of steep slope and upwards and downwards alleys around hotel near Sultanahmet area. You will not survive if bringing a lot of heavy luggage there unless you use shuttle bus directly from airport or vice versa or, taking a taxi or rent a car near that area. My advice is better leave all your heavy luggage behind and bring your backpack instead.

2. Leave all my heavy luggage at home and bring a backpack instead because most hotels don’t have elevators and their hotel’s stairs are small and steep!

This is so true! I thought they only have steep slope outside but unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. If you bring your luggage, you need to haul it all the way up to your rental room. To make the matter worst, some of the stairs are spirally steep and without handrails. So, be careful not to drop your luggage otherwise you need to start hauling your luggage from the first step.

3. Allocate more time in Cappadocia if you wish to experience sailing in the hot air balloon because weather is unpredictable!

I was one of the unlucky tourist that did not experience watching hot air balloon launching in the air let alone sailing in it. Everything was planned and booked but their government announce to stop all the hot air balloon operations due to bad weather. It was windy and not safe for hot air balloon launching. They stop the operation for 2 days and I wouldn’t miss it if I allocate at least 4 days in Cappadocia. So, guys, expect the unexpected and be prepare.

4. Istanbulkart top up machine will not give you change!

This caught me off guard because I thought all top up machine will give you change when you selected desired amount to top up your card. I put 100TL in it and I thought I could get my balance back but couldn’t! All my 100TL was toped up to the card. So, if you want to top up, prepare the exact amount, because remember, that machine will not return your change. By the way, I still have balance around 30TL in my Istanbulkart because I cannot cash it back either. You can get your money left in your card back if you wish, according to my Turkish friend but the procedure was complicated. End up, I just let it go.

5. There is “No Photo” sign everywhere near Turkish glass lantern

This is kind of sad because I was dreaming to take tons of photo with that beautiful shiny lantern but around the Grand Bazaar, the shop owner did not allow you to take the pictures. I did not ask them, but they obviously put a lot of signs there. 

6. It’s still winter in Cappadocia even it’s already Spring in Istanbul so, don’t leave your heavy coat at home.

Even though it’s already Spring, don’t forget to bring your coat because it is very windy especially in Cappadocia. I suggest bringing your Winter bubble jacket.

7. Book cheaper shared shuttle bus online for only €10.

This is definitely the best option. Even though you travel alone, don’t worry about paying expensive shuttle bus from airport to your hotel. Just book earlier by online because last time I checked, if you take the shared shuttle there on the spot, most company will charge you €20. Of course, there are a lot of available shuttle bus once you exit the arriving hall, but book online for a cheaper option.

8. Research about ongoing construction on famous tourist landmarks.

When I went there, Sultanahmet mosque was close for construction so did a part of Hagia sofya. So, better check first to avoid disappointment. 

9. Beware of traditional costumes photo scam around Sultanahmet area.

There are a lot of shop offering you to take phote with Ottoman traditional costumes. They are very persuasive sometimes. They also told you that you can take the photo using your phone too. But don’t get fool by that, because after you already wear the costumes, they won’t let you snap your picture using phone. So, better yet, don’t try it at all. It doesn’t worth your 25TL.

10. I wish I knew Turkish men are so charming so I can guard my heart before falling in love with them X-D

Haha, just kidding. Just want to let you know, there are so handsome and charming. To make the matter worst, they are very helpful too!

(2) Comments

  1. Cool write-up! I first solo-backpacked around the world for 12 months back in 1985 – a different world then…
    Many thanks for stopping by my Travel and Photography site.

    1. hijabnbackpack says:

      Wow, that was awesome! I bet it was more interesting to travel back then..:)

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