Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Travel Advice: What to do in Istanbul, Turkey - Part II

After being done with the hard stuff: visiting Topkapi Sarayi and neighboring sights, everything else will be less time consuming.  Grand Bazaar should be next, and then if you're interested the Egyptian Spice Bazaar, which is close by.  You will need a lot of time in the Grand Bazaar, about 3 hours of continuous shopping for Turkish products and artifacts, just because its a huge place and you could easily get lost there.
No visit to Istanbul is complete if you haven't experienced the Turkish Hammam.  I did some research and came to the conclusion that the best luxurious hammam is the one in Four Seasons Bosphurus.  But if you're looking for a more traditional hammam then there's the 300 year old Cagaloglu Hamami.  I haven't been to any.

You have to witness one of those street Sufi whirling dervish in the Galata area or at least book through your hotel to go to a show.  We experienced it at the Hodja Pasha.
Escape the city in the morning to Princes' Islands through a ferry ride, where the Turks have their summer homes.  There are no cars there, so you can enjoy the island walking or bicycle riding.

Visit Dolmabahce Palace by the Bosphorus, early morning to beat the long queues, there will be a guided tour to the palace plus if you're interested get the double ticket to enter the Harem.  The visit won't take long.  You can later visit Istanbul Modern, a five minute taxi ride, if you love arts. The place would take about one hour.
Visit the modern mosque, Sakirin Mosque, I wrote a post about before.  Its on the Asian side, so it would take a while, you will get to see that side of Istanbul.

Ferry around Bosphorus.

Best places to grab lunch other malls like the famous Istinye Park, are Bebek area, which is also good place for breakfast, remember my post on Kitchenette breakfast. Ortokoy area is good for lunch and dinner, whether casual or smart. That's where Angelique was.  Just next door in Zuma. Other similar restaurants there, include Reina, Sortie, Blackk.

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