Hints and Tips for Travellers to Turkey
Friendly behaviour is always treated with kindness. Show some respect to elderly people and learn some Turkish words and phrases. Women should dress suitably if they don't want too much publicity and harassment.
In the centres of tourism, life style is modern and orientated to Western Europe, but as soon as you leave the city, traditional behaviour and clothing becomes the norm.
Currency and Credit Cards
Credit cards are widely used all over Turkey. But don't believe that you can pay everywhere by credit card alone. You will go to some places which will not accept payment by credit card. Particularly in some little restaurants and bars, payment by credit card is not common.
If you need to change money, always compare both the rates available and the commission you will pay. Quite often the post offices are the cheapest places for exchanging. However, that depends. If there is a private change office, they sometimes offer good rates as well. Be careful to ask if there will be any service charge added on because that can mean you will lose money. Therefore, compare the rates offered and ask for additional costs on the total exchange.
All electricity in Turkey is based on a voltage of 220v. Most plugs used are similar to the ones in Europe so you don't need an extra male plug. It is a different system, though, to the British system, so ask at any of the bigger stores for adapters, or, of course, buy one before you come. Sometimes there are power cuts, but they usually last only a short time. This has been caused by the quick growth of the cities (not enough electricity yet available over here) or by building work.
Health and Vaccinations
There are no special vaccinations necessary if you travel to the main tourist areas of Turkey. For detailed information you should ask your doctor at home.
Important telephone numbers you may need are:
- - police : 155
- - ambulance : 112
- - fire brigade : 110
Bear in mind, it is very unlikely there will be anybody able to speak English.
In all the tourist areas, you will find lot of internet cafes, but do not expect the same speed you are used to at home. The costs for using the internet are really low. If you are the owner of a flat or have your own villa over here, the internet can be really interesting for you, because with quick ADSL connection you can use it for cheap telephone calls as well. If you do not have an account yet, it is possible to install them in Turkey.
Except on Friday, which is a holy day for the Muslims, you are allowed to visit the mosques daily. Please be careful about what you wear. You should always cover arms, shoulders and legs. Women should cover their head with a headscarf.
Some hotels and markets sell international newspapers. There are also a few local newspapers written in German or English available. For example there is "The Turkish Daily News" and Alaturka - Culture and Travel Magazine to Turkey.
The opening hours differ from shop to shop and place to place. In general you can say shops are open from early morning to late at night, in fact, some of them never close. Banks, the big mega stores or all state offices have similar opening hours to those used in Europe.
Passport and Visa
Usually, visitors from Europe don't need any visa before travelling to Turkey if their land of origin has travel agreements with the Turkish government. That means you simply get a visa on arrival at the airport. Some extra agreements have been entered into so that some foreigners from Europe don't need to pay for this, while others have to. Visitors from Britain still have to. Be careful to check the expiry date of your passport. Turkish customs officers do not allow entry with expired passports.
Pharmacies, (Turkish "Eczane"), are available everywhere throughout the coastal areas. Most of them are open until late at night and they are really experienced in helping patients who suffer the typical tourist complaints. Usually, someone will be able to speak English as well. After closing hours there is a system comparable to that in Europe, so you can find pharmacies on duty all night long. Hotel receptionists, hospitals and most of the taxi drivers know exactly which pharmacy is open.
There are not really any restrictions when taking photos in Turkey. Some elderly people may be a little suspicious when you want to take a photo of them. Also, be a little considerate when taking photos next to any mosque or at religious monuments. If you are not sure, it is simple and easy to ask for permission, even if you do not speak any Turkish.
Like everywhere in the world, it is strictly forbidden to take photos in any military area or of military equipment. Be careful when in places such as these.
Postcards usually reach their destination after one or two weeks, so don't be surprised if you are home much earlier than your card! Post offices are in the centre of the towns and stay open until late at night.
Lots of daily necessities are less expensive than in Europe. You can be confident when buying most Turkish products because of their high quality and moderate prices compared to imported European products. In supermarkets and normal shops you will not be able to barter over prices. However, this is possible and even expected in the bazaars and markets.
The sun is much more intense here than in Europe. So please do not forget to use sun protection cream with high UV resistance and wear a hat or something similar. Don't stay out in the sun around lunchtime. Remember, children?s skin is more sensitive, so please be aware. Protect your children from the intense rays of the sun.
Taxis are available everywhere. You should agree the price before starting the journey and you should check that the meter is working properly.
The country code for Turkey is 0090 or +90
The country code for England is 0044 or +44
The country code for Australia is 0061 or +61
The country code for Ireland is 00353 or +353
The mobile phone network works excellently in all the busy areas.
Theft does not often happen. Turkish people are known to be honest. However, like everywhere else in the world, whenever it is crowded you should always be careful. Don't leave anything unattended, you never know. Cash, money, or jewellery should always be kept in secure places.
Dolmus - Mini bus
For short distances, the Turkish dolmus is a wonderful way to get from one place to the next. The dolmus will stop whenever and wherever you want. You pay cash directly to the driver, sometimes by passing the money from hand to hand up the bus via other passengers. If you want to get off, just give a sign or call the driver and he will stop immediately if possible.
+3 hours GMT,+ 2 hours WEZ, +1 hour MEZ
If you are happy with the meal and the service, it is normal to give a tip of at least 10 %.
Tourist Information Centres
Mostly situated in the centre of town. Please ask a taxi driver or policeman.
In Turkey the same system as Europe (metric system) is used.
Camels and Donkeys
A special adventure is to ride on a donkey or a camel. Don't forget to agree the price beforehand, but take the money with you and pay after the ride. If you want to take any photos, ask, otherwise you will need to pay for that as well.
Turkish people love children and they spend a lot of time with them. Your children may be kissed and be picked up, this is quite normal in Turkey. But if this is too much for you, don't worry. Just say something and it will stop.
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Cultural Monument Wiener Riesenrad at Prater