Turkey! The country of kebab and Turkish delights. There is way more to a country than that!
1. Get an e-Visa
This might be surprising but citizens who hold British passports are required to apply for an e-visa to enter Turkey. But don’t panic, because it is so easy to apply and cheap as well. You can get it done in 3 steps:
- Go to Turkish government website to apply for a visa
- Pay $20
- Download the visa from email (should receive within 24 hours)
All you have to do now is show the downloaded visa to the check-in desk and customs. That is literally it!
2. Bring cash but not too much
It is very handy to have cash in hands because a lot of local places and all airport transfer buses don’t accept cards. An airport transfer from Sabiha Gocken will cost
₺ 15.00 (Turkish Lira) per person, about £2.10.
However, just like anywhere else in the world, tourists are targets for scams and robbery in Turkey too, so carry a small amount. Don’t worry about withdrawing from ATMs and get bad currency exchange, because safety comes first.
Or you can do that and carry your exchange money in a travel debit card like WeSwap. You can exchange to Turkish Lira on the go, withdraw it from any ATMs, and still able to get great exchange rates. We have tested this in many countries, and just can’t recommend it more!
3. Take trams and metros in Istanbul
Public transport in the capital city of Turkey is very convenient, can even compare this to transportation in London. After all, Istanbul is quite a developed city.
You can use a metro pass, similarly to an Oyster card, to travel around. The deposit for it is ₺ 6.00 and the cost for each ride will be reduced down to
₺ 2.6 instead of ₺ 5.00.
Another reason for taking a public transport is that yellow taxis will charge you probably twice as much if you’re a tourist. Basically, ignore people who are asking if you need taxis after you’ve come out of the airport transfer bus.
4. Turkey is cheap, but beware
Nearly everything in the country is so cheap, you can easily throw a feast every single day. However, if you want to explore more local and cheaper food just remember these things:
- Street food snacks should not cost more than ₺ 20.00 (Turkish ice cream, etc.)
- Meal should not cost more than ₺ 50 – 60.00, about £7 -9.00 (unless going to an exquisite place)
- Even souvenirs should cost you around ₺ 60.00 each (excluding jewelries or expensive items)
5. Bartering is the key for souvenir shops
This doesn’t apply to Grand Bazaar because they literally have signs saying ‘no bartering’. Other than that you can always use this trick.
From #4 when we mentioned about souvenirs should cost around ₺ 60.00, is because items such as a lamp, blanket, etc. really doesn’t cost much. We got a medium sized lamp for less than ₺ 60.00 after bartering a bit in Cappadocia, but it costs ₺ 120.00 in Grand Bazaar.
So is the blanket, we were able to get a really nice one for ₺ 55.00 in Cappadocia, but some other places would charge us ₺ 80.00 or over ₺ 100.00 in Grand Bazaar. Seriously, don’t be shy because they are making way more profit than you think!
Another great way to see this lovely country is by travelling through by road, an experience that is shared in a great article on travelling overland in Turkey