First Impression on Istanbul

I’m here! I’m finally here! Ladies and gentlemen, today I write to you from my rental apartment in Istanbul!

To be honest, I don’t know if I will be able to blog daily especially when I am on the go, but I promise to write some simple updates whenever I’m relaxing in the apartment/hotel room.

Let’s see, I left my home in KL at 5pm yesterday. I finally checked into the apartment at 10am local time (4pm Malaysia time), so it took me almost 24 hours of combined traveling to arrive! So you can forgive me for not taking pictures of the Istanbul Ataturk Airport. I was basically a walking zombie as I got off the plane. Not even 10°C temperature could wake me up from my lethargy.

I took the Havatas Bus to get from the airport to Taksim, where my apartment is located. I think this is the cheapest and most convenient way to get here. The bus ride costs 11 Liras (approx. RM 15 or USD 4) and they depart every half an hour. You don’t have to purchase tickets in advance, you just get on the bus and the bus driver will sell you the tickets on the spot (cash only). It is a big tour bus, so there’s space for your big luggage. And the ride takes anywhere between 30 minutes to 1.5 hours depending on traffic.

FYI, for comparison, a Uber ride costs about 100 Liras for the same destination, and while metered taxi if done properly should cost about 60 Liras, apparently Istanbul’s cabbies’ notoriety surpasses even that of Malaysian cabbies, so taking a taxi to Taksim could cost as much as 60 Euros!

Anyway, I did shoot some photos from the comfort of the Havatas bus.

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I like their suburb roads
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But once we got near the city center, the sights remind me of KL >.<
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Some ancient tower?
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By right we could see across the Sea of Marmara to the opposite side, but it was very foggy this morning.
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Point Hotel – Havatas bus drop off point in Taksim.

My host is a nice person (so far). By right, my apartment booking starts from 12 noon, but I arrived at 9.30 AM and my host who was busy cleaning up the apartment, immediately walked out to this drop off point to guide me to the apartment.

We arrived back at the apartment by 10 AM, and he allowed me to take possession of the apartment as soon he was done cleaning. So I left for a quick walk around Taksim Square and took a few more shots.

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Taksim Square
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Istiklal Caddesi

I have to mention these were all taken using my handphone. Don’t worry, I will come back with the camera soon…

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Simit Sarayi

This Simit Sarayi must be a very popular simit chain here in Istanbul. It seems like they are around in every corner, every street. Simit is… well… in layman term, Turkish donuts. I will try them in due time…

But I was really tired and in need of a nice hot shower and a couple hours in bed. So after a brief walkabout, I wandered back to the apartment. Fortunately, there’s a convenience store just a few shop lots away. In fact my host highly recommends this store. So I went in and grabbed some supplies to last me for a few hours.

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Turkish fruit juices

Absolutely no idea what these words mean, but that’s perfect! Do what the locals do, drink what the locals drink!

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Lay’s Firindan

I know, it is Lay’s, but I’d like to think this is a unique Turkish flavor. Yogurt ve mevsim vesillikleri cesnili patates cerezi flavored Firidan. Let’s call it Yogurt flavored.

I paid 9 liras for these and 2 bananas. I don’t even know if this is cheap or expensive. But I reckon this is a necessary spending. Since the store owner seems to know my host (else why would he be recommended?), I suppose by buying something from him, he (hopefully) might be more watchful of my apartment unit when I am out and about in the coming days 🙄 …

And that’s it! It’s 12.50 noon here now, I’ll go take a quick nap, and hopefully I will wake up to properly explore Taksim for a bit. And maybe get a nice dinner or something…

44 Comments

  1. You got there safe and sound after planning your trip so well.
    This Taksim Square looks happening and not in isolated places. I would have problem buying the food and drinks but you managed well.

  2. Finally! Instant Bull updates!

    The day you’ve been waiting for is here. Don’t worry about blogging. We are very patient people. We shall slowly wait for your updates. What’s most important is for you to fully enjoy yourself there.

    Happy Holiday!

  3. Those photos are actually very nice and crisp. It sounded like a full on morning out and about like that, having just landed 😀

    It looks quite quiet there where you are living. Maybe it’s just the early morning. Lays chips? Well, looks like this is a junk food trip 🙄

    • Full on morning out? That’s very far from the truth. I think my pictures might have been misleading then… 🙄

      Looks can be deceiving. My place is as far away from being quiet as you can imagine. I’ll write about that later…

  4. Wow.. so nice.. Istanbul… Yes, do post up more pictures and post about this place whenever you can… Looking forward to reading your adventurous place and photos…

  5. I went to Istanbul in 2014 and fell in love with that place. I stayed at an apartment in the Beyoglu area (10 min walk to Taksim, 20 minutes to Taksim Square). We took a taxi from airport to apartment and vice versa and it cost up around 60 liras for one way (2 of us so it didnt feel like such a heavy expense).

    There is this amazing chocolate place at Istikal Cadessi, if you walk with Taksim square behind you, the store is on your right. The display window is just filled with bars of chocolate. I wish I wrote down the names of the little cafes full of old turkish men and yummy food (at cheap ish price).

    • Well, 60 liras sounds great, that’s the “locals” price!

      I think I saw the chocolate place that you mention. Heck, I think I’ve seen a lot of chocolate places on Istiklal!

  6. yea, Istanbul taxi are notorious. My colleague and I were being charged ‘kaw kaw’ when we once took a taxi back to our hotel, somewhat double than the usual rate and summore that driver wanted to ‘steal’ more from us by claiming that we missed out paying one note! (*i actually saw him hiding that note under his seat). Yea, we argued the driver and we won. Try out their famous Turkish tea, it’s soothing on a cold day.

  7. Don’t worry about blogging during this trip and just enjoy your vacation :). Though I am looking forward to hearing more about your take on Istanbul and what you end up doing there!

    • I think I did a lot of nothing today, to be honest. Not sure if that’s bad or in fact good though 🙄 .. But my impression is definitely improving!

  8. Yup, Istanbul’s city center sure looks a tad bit like KL. Now, don’t worry about blogging frequently, man. Just enjoy your trip and return with amazing stories to share. 😛

    The same happened to me before when I was travelling to Perth. I couldn’t take much pictures of the airport in Western Australia either due to the exhaustion too. ><

    • I guess when the brain is tired, then all pre-determined ideas and plans will get thrown out the window… 😐

    • Heh, I couldn’t taste any yogurt in there unfortunately. I actually thought it was sour cream and onion flavor when I bought it, but no, tasted nothing like that. It is a new flavor to me. 🙄

    • No, not really. (According to my apartment host) For the locals, they don’t really take Uber, because Uber is priced higher than taxi by 50% and the taxis won’t fleece the locals like they would the tourists. Also, the taxis here are Opels or Volkswagens instead of Potong Saga. In fact they look somewhat like the yellow cabs of NYC. So the incentive to take Uber rides is really not there…

  9. I can relate to the zombie part if you’re in a plane for 24 hours. I experienced that once, can’t remember if it was 24 hours but I remembered I was served 3 meals on board! >.< So, take a good rest…and don't bother with having to blog daily….just enjoy your trip-lah! ;D

    • The flight alone probably won’t be 24 hours. The furthest direct flight are probably from Malaysia to London or LA, both 14 hrs plus. If you go any longer, then it is more than halfway around the world and you can opt for the other direction already LOL! 😀

      I won’t try to blog daily. I’ll try to blog as and when I can. 🙄

    • Yeah they do, but I came by Singapore Airlines (because I was redeeming with m KrisFlyer miles). I’m actually flying to Barcelona from here in a few days time by Turkish Airlines, but they have a collab with Air France and the plane I will be on is an Air France plane…

  10. Istanbul !! Ohhhh, so this is the place la, which you booked last year, and so secretive about it.. You go alone or with friends/colleagues? Work trip or personal trip? Update me again la, after giving birth I forgetful jor.. One word (if it’s personal trip), stay safe 🙂

    • Hahaha, I come alone to “lau long”… Actually my secret mission is to kidnap a European bride back home wahahaha! 😀

  11. Thanks for taking the time to write us a post before your nap. Did you sleep at all on the long flight?

    Hp photos are good enough. Lay chips and fruit juices for breakfast, ok.

    Enjoy your vacation! Stay alert and safe!
    Hope you made friends with the dog.

    • I fell asleep in short bursts, like 15, 20 minutes. But nope, nothing concrete…

      No, I stayed away from that dog. That specific dog. I discovered it has a “base camp” right in front of a fancy apartment residence just opposite of me. 🙁

  12. oooh!!! you are in Istanbul already!!! interesting, I’m going to wait to see more photos and about your trip.. I’ll stay tuned!! BTW, have fun and enjoy the trip~~ 🙂

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