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Trip report "solo woman impressions" redux

New York City, New...
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Trip report "solo woman impressions" redux

Hello all,

My wonderful trip to Istanbul has ended, but I have no doubt that I will return. The title of my report refers to an earlier forum post that I hope other women will check, since the writer sums up my impressions: this is an incredibly easy city to visit alone. In part, the hustle of the merchants is based on engaging you to buy: where are you from? Please, just a cup of tea? But it is also hospitable, and the reality is that anywhere you go in the world there is an advertising style. In the u.s. we put up with commercials at the movies and blaring announcements in the grocery stores!

Because I went on the friendly Istanbul Eats tour I made a friend and joined her and her friends for a meal. I would recommend talking to other women, since they are almost always welcoming

Beyond the tourist area I also found everyone warm, generous, and helpful. I learned to take the tram by looking around and asking for assistance. People showed me how to buy tokens, transfer. In the grand bazaar, I approached a covered woman to ask if she knew where I could find a toilet. She and three of her friends escorted me down an alley to tiny hammam and a pay to enter restroom!

A few recommendations

Cemberilitas Hamam was delightful. The scrub was more like an English governess than a spa!

Rustem Pasha mosque, exquisite, empty when I visited, a little hard to find

Istanbul Modern Art museum. Excellent Collection and a beautiful cafe with windows on the Bosphorus.

Ciya Cafe for the best, most unusual salads and mezze you will ever try.

Wandering neighborhood near Ciya for markets. Gorgeous. Go to the candy and pastry shops where the displays rival Paris.

Huge newly remodeled mosque near Istanbul Modern. Again, I was alone! This is February, but it was still amazing to be in a huge mosque, I think as big as the blue mosque, completely alone.

Of course you must see all the other main sights, but these were among my favorites.

As cold as it was (and it was snowing as I left) I would not hesitate to recommend a winter trip. Prices are lower, and no waiting or crowding anywhere.

Thanks to all the forum participants for loads of helpful advice. I think this is the best forum I have ever used!

Copenhagen, Denmark
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11. Re: Trip report "solo woman impressions" redux

The Istanbuleats.com walk is actually 125 US$, so slightly less than in euros. If you think this too expensive, or like us feel that the better part of a day was a little more time than we had available, there is now an evening Kebab crawl, which is shorter and cheaper. And sounds like a lot of fun.

Hunbille

Istanbul, Turkey
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12. Re: Trip report "solo woman impressions" redux

Hi Enigma,

The mosque was Kilic Ali Pasa by Sinan, just across Tophane; just as beautiful but of course a 16th Century classic. If you happen to be there one day, remember to visit the cemetery at the back if you like old tomb stones.

Istanbul, Turkey
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13. Re: Trip report "solo woman impressions" redux

What to know about the Turkish Bath? Here's a list, I hope you'll find it useful:

1.You do not need to book, they are open until midnight. 2.I recommend that you go last thing in a day and with an en empty stomach. It's not as hot as a sauna so you can stay longer. It's a comfortably warm temperature inside.

3. You pay at the cashier just after the main entrance. There are two separate sections: one for men, one for women. 4. After you pay, you walk to the area where there are lockers. You will be helped with lots of other women who work there. They are aware you are tourists so they help you a lot. 5. Women who work in the bath speak very basic English which you might find quite direct at times: Sit, walk, there, come! 6. Full nudity is not the norm. You will be asked to keep your underwear and will be given a cotton wrap to cover. 7.You are given a small soap and a loofa in a box. Please keep your tip in this box also, you are expected to tip the ladies who work there. It's difficult to keep the money dry. 8. Your glasses will get steamy so will your camera. Leave them in the lockers 9. Now it's time to walk into the wet room. Once you open the doors ......the rest is the experience itself...so I will not get into more details.

There are clean towels, more wraps, hair driers, soap, shampoo, oil etc...unless you wish to use your own items, you don't really need anything else to carry with you.

We love the Hamam in this part of the world, I hope you like it, too!

Bethesda, Maryland
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14. Re: Trip report "solo woman impressions" redux

Hello,

To the ladies who used the cemberlitas hamam, is the wonens section completely separated from the mens; can you get the servise in a private room. Where do u receive the massage. Looks like a nice place, 'd love to make a visit when in Istanbul.

Thanx

encinitas,calif.
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15. Re: Trip report "solo woman impressions" redux

loved your trip.i was there last year with a group and now i would be happy to go alone and see turkey again. i went in march and it was cold, even snowed but it was beautiful. i do think i will consider a solo trip..your review brought back great memories and i wish i could go to the turkish bath/scrub again...

Saratoga Springs...
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16. Re: Trip report "solo woman impressions" redux

did you feel safe at night in istanbul alone?? im so nervous to go!!!

Edited: 10 October 2012, 07:36
Desborough, United...
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17. Re: Trip report "solo woman impressions" redux

I will be going to Istanbul early next year.This will be the 4th visit on my own and I have never felt unsafe.I go out at night to eat,rather than eating where I am staying and it's always been ok.People are bound to ask you if you want to go in their shop/restaurant etc.but a smile and a polite "no thank you" or "I've already eaten,thank you" goes a long way.Once you have been,you will want to go again.Enjoy!!

encinitas,calif.
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18. Re: Trip report "solo woman impressions" redux

i did feel safe at night. we were in a well lit area and we walked on the main street to dinner and back each night. if it was far we took a taxi.we were not our very late as we had tours booked bright and early. iwalked all around alone and so long as you don't get lost you should be fine.ismile if they smile and it was the best trip. you will love it. be sure to have a turkish bath near the grand bazaar.wish i had a trip planned again!!

Redditch, United...
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19. Re: Trip report "solo woman impressions" redux

I totally agree with you. I went to Istanbul as part of my Mediterranean cruise (cruise.co.uk/cruise-destinations/…).

Granted, I was with my friend I wasn't alone. I can see everything you say being true though as I would happily return on my own. Thanks for this post it mentions a few things I never had the time to see and you've made my mind up about definitely going back next year (hopefully).

Is it less busy in winter?

Desborough, United...
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20. Re: Trip report "solo woman impressions" redux

I don't think it is less busier in the winter - it's just such a great place to go at anytime of the year,although I do think summer is to hot to be walking about a lot,seeing the sites.The hop on-hop off bus is good value.I usually go all round once and make a note of where I want to get off and do that the 2nd time around.Be sure to visit Mr.Delicious's Baklava shop !!!