Got back from our trip to Istanbul this Friday. We all had a great time and the weather was just perfect (ranging from 12-17 C with light rains). I would definitely recommend it and if time permits; one should also include Antalya in the tour which is also a major tourist attraction of Turkey.
The package was arranged nicely and went smoothly as per the provided plan. It accounted for three days of our six day tour and we visited different places during the remaining three days and I have a good friend to thank, for giving me all the right details.
I’m going to list down our activities during this week-long trip which others could consider if they are also planning to head out there.
- Day 1: Guided tour of the city. We were taken to the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar.
- Day 2: A ship cruise across the Bosporus and we got off the Asian side and were taken by Bus to a nice veiw-point that also had 53 variety of tulips and an excellent view of the coastline. After that we were taken to some souvenir shops and a mall (the mall can be skipped, they are all the same).
- Day 3: A ship cruise to one of the Princes’ Islands. It was very peaceful and scenic with lots of cafes and stalls and a nice horse carriage ride through the island. Spent the evening on our own exploring the Taksim area and buying souvenirs and stuff.
- Day 4: Visited Istiklal Avenue that has a lot of shops and stalls. They also have a street that is filled with shops selling musical instruments of all sorts. Almost bought a mouth-organ there.
- Day 5: Visited the Dolmabahce Palace and then walked over to the Ortakoy Pier right under the Bosporus Bridge. Later on bought tickets for and attended a mesmerizing Sufi music and dance show that consisted of swirling dervishes and a sufi band.
- Day 6: Visited the Ayasofya Mosque and then the Basilica Cistern (Sunken Palace). On the way back we also went to the Spice Bazaar.
I would definitely recommend one to get hold of a city map and then utilize the excellent mass transit system they have to move around. Everything is nicely interconnected (subway, trams, rails, etc.).
More pictures, here.
It had been a while since we last went on a proper vacation. So I took off a week from work and we’re now in Istanbul, Turkey. The weather here is amazing right now and slightly chilly in the evenings. That’s a welcome change from the heat that’s finally rearing its ugly head back in Kuwait.
The package consists of 3 days of arranged activities and 3 days free for us. So far we’ve been on the Istanbul city tour yesterday and the Bosporus cruise today. Both were pretty good and you can tell that this is a major tourism hub because there’s a lot of tourists here and the guide says that its pretty much how it is throughout the year. The city tour consisted of a trip to the Blue Mosque (that has six minarets – an interesting story in itself), a visit to the Topkapi Palace and a few hours at the Grand Bazaar. The Bosporus cruise was very scenic and the cool breeze was amazing. Rohail had a great time after displaying some dislike for the cruise boat initially. Tomorrow we’re due for a trip to the Princes’ Islands.
The very first day was a surprise because it was May Day (Labor Day) and apparently they have some violent protests here in Taksim where our hotel is also situated. There were loads of riot police all around and there was a lot of violence going around. We just whiled it out inside the hotel till it was over by evening.
The police patrolling Taksim due to May Day protests
We’ve done our fair share of souvenir shopping and overall the trip is going really great. We plan on visiting Istiklal Avenue on one of the free days to check out the markets and stuff. Amongst the popular stuff we’ve noted here are leather products, carpets and lamp shades. The ‘evil eye‘ or ‘nazir’ is also very commonly seen around here and I’ve also picked up one fridge magnet version of it.
An evil eye product
Since last week I’m in Bangladesh on a project. Since the stay was going to be more than a month; Maliha and Rohail have accompanied me.
The roads here are extremely crowded and generally there’s a lot of poverty. On the flip side; Dhaka is very green and it sure is a nice change from all the sand I’m used to seeing in Kuwait. The weather is also pretty decent and we’ve been going around meeting people and friends. They kept us at a hotel for a week and yesterday, finally moved us to a nicely furnished 3-bedroom apartment, since it was very difficult for Maliha to manage things in a single small hotel room.
Rohail has been enjoying the rides on the cycle-rickshaw here and constantly blabbers and waves around his hands in excitement. It is a commonly used means of transportation and consists of a carriage that is connected to a bicycle. I’ll be putting up pics when I get the chance as things are extremely busy at work currently.
I’m looking forward to catching a weekend when I can go and visit Chittagong, which is a very beautiful and scenic city.