- The currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TL). You are able to exchange many currencies easily all around Turkey. The easiest currencies to exchange are Euro (€) and Dollar ($). There are many exchange office’s located in the most central places all around the country to make things easy. When exchanging money or making a payment, make sure that the notes do not have any slits or are not torn, as they may be unacceptable. People are also able to use their credit cards while in Turkey, like MasterCard, VISA and American Express.
The current money rate is around
Euro – 1€ – 3,35TL
Dollar – 1$ – 3,00 TL
Sterling – £1 – 4,50 TL
- Turkey is a rapidly growing country and constantly there are new types of transportations added to the daily lives. Main transportations available in Turkey are;
Subway (Metro) – at the moment there are 5 lines on the European side and 2 on the Asian side of Istanbul and a few that are under construction. The subway was first opened in 2000 and is rapidly growing to provide people a better service. The subway is also available in most of the large cities.
Bus – there are many bus routes available for transport. Everyone at all ranges uses buses. There are two types of buses, which are single rate charged and some that are double rate charged.
Metrobus – metrobus is a fast bus route used in Istanbul that has 45 stations. Metrobus was begun in 2007 and is at the moment one of the most used transports.
Taxi – taxis are easy to find all around Turkey. They are mostly based to a taxi office but can easily be found on the road as well. The color of taxi can vary depending on the city but they are mostly yellow. The prices of the taxis are generally lower in more crowded cities. In Istanbul the prices are a very low compared to more developed countries.
Minibus – minibuses may be in blue or yellow colors, and are very useful for short distances. They are pretty easy to be found and are able to pick and drop a passenger wherever they want to get on or off.
Ferry – ferry is available in Istanbul. A ferry is used to travel from the different coasts. Ferry is very demanding especially in the summer. People enjoy throwing simit (traditional circle shaped bread with sesame seed) to the birds and having their tea whilst traveling.
Tram – tram is available around Turkey and is a very quick way of traveling. It is traffic free and a more joyful way to travel.
Funicular – funicular carries around 30.000 passengers daily from Taksim to Kabataş in Istanbul within 2 minutes.
Marmaray – Marmaray was opened in 2013 in Istanbul and is still under construction for more stations. Marmaray goes under the sea between the two coasts of Istanbul and connects them together.
There is a very high amount of traffic mostly in larger cities, due to the high population and lack of transport vehicles.
- It will be a good idea for people who are willing to travel to Turkey to bring fewer clothes, as it is unbelievably inexpensive to buy clothes in Turkey. There are many malls opening all around Turkey. There are also bazaars on certain days in each neighborhood where from clothing to accessories everything can be found at very low prices.
- Turkey is very rich when it comes to food. People are able to find great food with very little prices almost everywhere around the country. In Turkey you are able to find various kitchens like worldwide, Turkish, Italian, Spanish, Chinese and many more. Generally hygiene is important for Turkish people but still do not choose places with low profile or places located in deserted areas. You are able to take away or eat in almost everywhere like small places, fast food restaurants, pubs, clubs etc.
- People who are willing to stay for more than three months in Turkey will have to get a mobile joint to their passports to be able to use their mobile for a longer period. After three months, the mobile phones that are not registered will be blocked.
- Taxi’s are yellow colored and have a logo of their taxi office they belong to. When you get into the taxi you will see a taximeter that will add up the total sum of your whole journey so that you pay the correct fee. You must be careful and ask the taxi driver to open the taximeter before your journey starts, and do not pay more than the fee on the taximeter. In some taxi’s you are able to pay with credit card or cash but always have your cash ready when taking a taxi.
- To use transport in Turkey like a bus, ferry or subway you will need to use a card that is same sized as a credit card. You are able to get the card from most of the stations or close-by shops, markets and use machines. These cards work in most of the public toilettes as well.
- Turkish people are really friendly and welcoming. They may seem distant at first but they are actually quite helpful and fun. They are generally not smiley and distant to the strangers but if you get to know them, you will see how affectionate, close and generous people they are.
- You can be surprised to see many stray cats and dogs wandering around the streets of Turkey. They cause no harm and are regularly vaccinated by the government. As a sign of this, dogs have little tags and cats have little ticks on their ears. Turkish people love feeding and petting the animals on the streets. The reason for this may be; people are mostly living in apartment flats and they don’t have much space to keep a pet, so they manage to get through their affections, with the animals around their neighborhood.
- Turkey is one of the safest countries in the region. Istanbul has the highest crime rate, as it is the largest metropolitan in Turkey. But still Istanbul has a lot less crime rates than many of the worldwide metropolitans like New York and London.
Pickpocketing and scam are most common crimes. Even though they are rarely seen, as being a tourist, one must be more cautious, while they may attract more attention. You must take care when entering crowded places such as the Grand Bazaar and shopping centers. There are several precautions taken in places that are more suitable for scam, like extra amount of securities and policemen.
- Before traveling to Turkey, people must check to be sure if they need to obtain a visa before coming. Around 120 countries are either can enter without a visa or they can get it online. The rest of the countries have to apply for visa from the Turkish Republic representatives in their countries. People also must make sure that their passports are valid for minimum 6 months before traveling to Turkey.
- You are able to find all sorts of people around Turkey. Most people are able to speak second languages like English, Arabic, German, Russian and Greek. However, in some areas, it may be hard to find people speaking in different languages. It will be good if you are able to learn a few words in Turkish to have a very positive first impression. Also keep in mind that Turkish is a really easy language to learn.
- While in Turkey try spending time exploring its rich history. The Seljuk’s, the Mongol’s, the Ottoman’s and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk… These all have played big roles in shaping the worldwide history. There is so much to discover and find out that will amaze you.
- In Turkey the traffic is on the right. People planning to rent a car or planning to visit Turkey with their own transport must remember to keep on the right. Traffic is highly dense in crowded cities and people are generally driving faster and pay less attention to pedestrian crossings, so always be more cautious on the traffic.
- The Turkish cuisine is very rich. Turks like eating mostly traditional homemade meals, kebabs, döner and fish foods. Turkish deserts are very tasty too. You must try different types of baklava and Turkish delights.
- Business hours in Turkey are usually from 8:30am – 5pm. On Saturdays most of the places can be open half day or whole day and on Sundays they are closed. If you need to visit the bank or other official places, then make sure you go before 5pm during weekdays.
- Turkey is very developed in healthcare. Pharmacies are stocked well and are very affordable. If you are on medication it is a good idea to bring enough of your medication for your time being in Turkey. If you run out or need other medications, like painkillers, they would all be easy to find. To get medication like painkillers, you do not need a prescription, but for other medication, the pharmacists will be more than happy to help you if you bring a letter or prescription. If you don’t have your medicine and prescription, then medicTurkey can arrange a consultation for your treatment.
- When visiting a mosque it is very important to wear appropriate clothing. You will need to cover your hair, shoulders and knees. Most importantly shoes need to be taken off. In most of the mosques headscarves, long skirts and trousers are available to be borrowed, but of course it will be a better idea to pack a scarf from home or buy one from the many alternatives that the Turkish market provides. The mosques are all carpeted so don’t worry about taking your shoes off.
- If staying at a hotel, make sure you keep the hotels card with you at all times, just in case you get lost. If staying elsewhere, it is important to have the address or contact details of the place with you. If you do get lost or can’t find your way back home, ask a taxi, police office, any businesses around or any decent looking people.
- Turkish people are very sensitive about their history, culture, family and national issues so it would be best for you to be inoffensive on those issues.