OFF TO ISTANBUL | OFFTOWANDER.COM

OFF TO ISTANBUL

ISTANBUL, TURKEY (NOV 2015)

In case you didn’t know, I’ve been blogging about my trip around Turkey for quite some time now. I started my trip by taking the domestic flight to Kayseri from Istanbul to see the amazing Cappadocia for 3 days, then I took an overnight bus to Pamukkale to see the Hierapolis and the travertine pools for 1 day, then I spent 2 days in Selçuk to see one of the best preserved Roman ruins in the world, the Ephesus with a side trip to the nearby town of Şirince and now this post is all about Istanbul where I spent my last 4 days in Turkey.

Being in Istanbul for the first time has got me so excited for many reasons. It’s a city “where old meets new, where East meets West” so I was thrilled by the idea of staying in the European side then just by hoping on to a ferry will bring me to the Asian side. I was looking forward to see the iconic Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya), which was interestingly a Greek Orthodox church then later turned into a mosque and now a museum. I was also pretty psyched to cruise along the Bosphorus strait which is by the way, the waterway that separates the European side and Asian side. And most of all, it’s where I celebrated my birthday!

Lucky me I happen to have a high school friend who is now living and working in Turkey. He decided to book a flight from Diyarbakir to Istanbul just to see me and volunteered to tour me around for a day. Wandering in Istanbul with a friend as my personal “tour guide” was great! It saved me time trying to figure out how to get from one tourist attraction to the next and we managed to visit most of the major sites in just one day so I was more relaxed on the remaining days that I was on my own.

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Now before I flood you with my Istanbul pictures 😀 , I’d like to share how to get a Turkish visa since I have been getting some questions about it.

This information is only for citizens of those countries who are not exempted from getting a visa. If you’re unsure, you may check at www.evisa.gov.tr. And also note that I got my sticker visa from the Turkish embassy in Singapore some requirements may vary for other countries. There are two types of visa for Turkey:

  • e-Visa. This is a single entry visa valid for 180 days but you can only stay for up to 30 days. This is for those who possess a valid visa or residence permit from the USA, UK, Ireland or any of the Schengen countries. Cost: 20 USD. Get it from www.evisa.gov.tr.
  • Sticker visa. Go to www.konsolosluk.gov.tr (change the language to English) to make an appointment and do a pre-application, which will require you to upload some scanned documents. After the pre-application, you will receive a confirmation email with a list of requirements. Cost: 78 SGD for a single entry visa (back in 2015). For those who are living in Singapore, like me, here are the requirements:
    1. Visa application form
    2. Biometric photo
    3. Documents attesting to the income status of the applicant and inviting person
    4. Flight reservation
    5. Hotel booking
    6. Supporting document on the applicant’s commitment to return (Land registry, business certificate, salary table, bank account statement)
    7. Employment letter from your company in Singapore (copies are not accepted)
    8. Copies and original of your passport and resident card (PR/employment/student/dependent pass)
    9. Recent bank statements produced in the last 3 months (if travelling for touristic purposes)
    10. Travel insurance covering your travel dates. This is now required.

The e-Visa is obviously the more convenient option. Unfortunately for me, I don’t possess a valid visa from any of the countries mentioned at that time. And by valid, that means your US, UK, or Schengen visa should not expire on your intended travel dates to Turkey.

Now I hope you enjoy the photos and book that trip to Turkey soon 😉

OFF TO ISTANBUL | OFFTOWANDER.COM
Can you see the moon? 🙂

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The Harem

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Inside Ayasofya

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Basilica Cistern
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Ayasofya or Hagia Sofia

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The unique feature of the Blue Mosque is its 6 minarets. But unfortunately, I had only taken a picture of 5 when I visited lol

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OFF TO ISTANBUL | OFFTOWANDER.COM
Beware of Istanbul cats, they’re chubby and cute

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Dolmabahçe Palace

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The footwear inside the Dolmabahçe Palace

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Balik Ekmek, a kind of fish sandwich. I tried this hours before leaving Istanbul. It’s a must!

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