A Simple Guide To Exploring Turkey

One of the most intriguing locations in the world is Turkey. Turkey has a rich tradition that dates back centuries. It is located in an area known as Eurasia, and it has so much to offer. I first decided to visit after reading a great deal of history books and realizing that at the center of the Roman Empire was found here.

As a tourist, before I decided to jump into a trip, I had to first look into some essentials. That’s where I learned the most, including money, costs, and when to go. If you get this down right the first time, you can save a lot of money, and can enjoy the beauty of Turkey, without spending a ton of money. I was on a budget, so I had to figure out costs ahead of time, and think about how luxurious I wanted to go. I managed to go into the mid-range, although there are plenty of options out there to explore.

This guide details the adventure I had, and how you can emulate it, or make it your own. If you are open minded, don’t have a lot of money, and don’t mind going on off-season, you will no doubt love what Turkey has to offer you and just about anyone that wants to see the world on a budget. Here’s a few tips, tricks, and ideas that I came through with as I went for a trip to Turkey this spring. With a helping hand from travel itinerary templates I found online, I was able to make money stretch and see a great deal in a short span of time.

The Money Issue

First and foremost, I was flying from Indianapolis International, which is in the Midwest. That cost is under $1,000 round trip, especially during the Spring. If you keep an eye open for deals, you can get a pretty good price from larger cities. LAX for instance, may have a cheaper rate, depending on the traffic and demand that they get. The cost of getting to Turkey via Istanbul isn’t so bad, if you plan ahead. Spring and Autumn are the best times to go, and will have the least amount of traffic, and costs.

As for the currency of Turkey, you’ll be dealing with Lira. The abbreviation for this is TL. The ratio at present is 1 USD to 3.51 Lira. With that ratio, you will find that the averages are in your favor in a ratio of 3 to 1. I was able to find a nice room in Istanbul for 90 LIRA a day, and was able to eat like a king for less than around 40 LT a day. Depending on what you want to do, you won’t be spending a lot of Lira to do much. In fact, you could get a cruise for around 300 LT or a personal driver for 20 LT a day. Not bad compared to the rest of Europe. I opted for a car hire, and a few day trips, but we’ll get to that.

Visa Issues

Going to Turkey from the United States means that you’ll need a passport. Not only that, the passport has to have 6 months of validity and cannot be expiring soon. It has to be valid for no less than 6 months. If you just got your passport, you’re not going to get in. You do not need a Visa is you are going to stay less than 90 days, mind you. There are some formalities that you may have to work with. However, you should research information about this ahead of time.

Packing Ideas For Turkey

Turkey doesn’t take a lot. I was able to pack for a couple of weeks without going too crazy. I knew it was Spring time, so the weather wasn’t extreme. It was simple. I also did not pack jewelry, or anything ornate. I contacted my credit card companies, bank, got cash, got copies of my passport, and had copies of everything just in case. I’m female, so I had to worry about my skin, but I also did not want to stand out too much, so I packed modestly, and without anything that was too offensive.

Seeing The Sights – 4 Things You Must See

As far as experiences in Turkey, I went to Istanbul. The cost was around $600 for airfare from Indianapolis. It’s easy to just give you a ton of things to see, and there are books on what to see and do in Istanbul. However, to save you a little time and give you an idea of what you can explore, I’ll make it a little simpler than other guides. The following are my 4 things you must see while in Istanbul.

Aya Sofya – Istanbul, Turkey 40 Lira

One of the most compelling things about Turkey is the architecture and history. Venturing to many locations, you’ll find there is just a lot to look at. One of the top things I recommend seeing, and perhaps one of the most compelling for me was Aya Sofya. It’s a monument of epic proportions. It is a church that has been converted to a mosque and has survived since 537 A.D. It is large, it is ornate, and has a deep history that transcends both Christendom and Islam. This is like a museum mixed with a church, and you have to be a bit cautious. Don’t make a lot of noise, and just take it all in. Take a look at the mosaics, and you may not want to leave, as they are incredible. Marble, mosaic, libraries, tile, and so much more is found in this structure. It’s a tribute to the glory of the past, and restored in present.

Topkapi Palace – Istanbul Turkey 40 Lira

Dating back to the 15th century, this is a place that will speak to you on many levels. It’s a place that has a lot of interesting architecture, color, and tells the story of the Ottoman Empire’s glory. It’s opulence at one time was not to be rivaled, and it shows. There’s careful restorations, and elements that are directly from the past, and are for the present to admire. There are several courts, several areas to explore, and with a guided tour, you will be amazed, as I was about the deep history that goes back. I was able to join a group tour, and was blown away by the beauty and splendor of the past come to life. This is truly an epic palace.

Grand Bazaar – Istanbul Turkey Free To Enter

If you don’t mind a little chaos, you have to see the Grand Bazaar. This is an outstanding marketplace, and it has vendors of all types. You can wheel and deal here, and it’s all fascinating. From spices to rugs to antiquities, there’s everything and anything you can possibly want. You can even haggle if you know the language. There’s just so much to explore in this marketplace, you may get lost along the way. It’s a labyrinth of sorts, and truly something of a spectacle for those that love shopping. Just try to remember where you entered, and where you exited, or you will be wondering where you are, and possibly need help getting back to your car hire or hotel. The bazaar dates back to the 14th century, and there are some interesting architectural notes throughout, so take your time.

Suleymaniye Mosque – Istanbul Turkey Free (Varies)

Going back to the 15th century, this is one of the most ornate religious centers that I have ever seen. It’s a mosque that is truly a beauty, and some say it’s not the biggest. It is ornate, it is sacred, and it rivals a lot of the religious churches that you see in Rome and other areas of great history. Even if you’re not familiar with Islam, you’ll definitely be surprised by how beautiful the elements in this mosque are. Everything is done with purpose, made with honor, and are magnificent, to say the least. It’s just fascinating, and beyond words.

Exploring More In Turkey

These elements are just a few things that you may want to look into when you book travel to Turkey. A day trip is only around 100 LT and if you want something extra, you can always talk to the tour companies or hotels in the area for a helping hand. I was able to explore these locales with ease, and without the need of a guide to and from. However, I did indulge and get a guided tour when possible. I was only in Turkey for a few weeks, so I took my time. I wanted to make this trip count, so I looked for travel budget planner templates beforehand, and they helped me greatly. There’s so much to explore, but this should give you a slight idea of what to expect, at least as you explore a first visit.

This is a guest entry from Ana Kupelian.

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