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When is traffic rush hour?

Houston, Texas...
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When is traffic rush hour?

We arrive Ataturk Tue 3:50 pm and desire to be at Sultanahmet hotel by 5:30 pm. Is it possible?

We are taking a taxi from Ataturk to our hotel adjacent the Blue Mosque (hotel is 200 meters to the SE toward the water).. When is rush hour, or more particularly, when is traffic the most congested?

A key question: is public transportation metro/tram option to Sultanahmet faster than a taxi to Sultanahmet? Significantly faster?

We arrive Ataturk July 9, Tue afternoon 3:50 pm. We will not claim luggage, and we will have e-Visas. Thus, I guess the only wait will be customs, and then out to the official taxi line.

Again, can we make it to our hotel by 5:30 pm? That would be great. Arrive Ataturk 03:50, and make it to hotel by 5:30 pm.

If the taxi ride would be 45 min+, then I am wondering if we should consider the metro/tram option to Sultanahmet. Need transfer efficiency on our lay-over. Yet, if the taxi can breeze through to Sultanahmet at the Tue approx 5 pm time, then I like the idea of not having to drag our carry-ons on the metro/tram.

Houston, Texas...
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1. Re: When is traffic rush hour?

I think this contemporaneous thread may be answering my questions, at least in part.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293974-i368-k6537…

We arrive Ataturk Tue 3:50 pm and want to be at hotel by 5:30 pm. Can it be done. Is it possible. Did I already ask that?

Houston, Texas...
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2. Re: When is traffic rush hour?

As for wild guesses, if arriving at 3:50 pm, and give 45 minutes to get from plane and through customs, and then a 55 minute taxi ride, that would put us at he hotel at 5:30 pm.

Kayakoy, Turkey
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3. Re: When is traffic rush hour?

Insallah, Masallah.

Houston, Texas...
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4. Re: When is traffic rush hour?

Google Maps says it is only 25 minutes by car from Ataturk to our hotel adjacent the Blue Mosque.

Istanbul
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5. Re: When is traffic rush hour?

Clay F, You will definitely be at your hotel by 5.30 PM, barring very serious delays at airport clearance (40-50 minutes). At that hour the taxi ride following the coastal road would be around 35-40 minutes. It is more comfortable to take a taxi for 3 people. The taxi will cost around 45 TL.

good luck,

enigma...

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6. Re: When is traffic rush hour?

Yes, taxi. That is what we will do. It was our original plan, and will stick with it. The taxi ride on the coastal road might be interesting.

I was hoping to be checked into hotel by 5:45 pm, and then go to Blue Mosque, followed by a stroll through Arasta Bazaar, and then to dinner at Albura Kathisma you recommended..

We leave the next morning at 10 am for a 1 pm flight departing Ataturk, Not sure what we will do those couple of hours in the morning after we eat the hotel breakfast. and before we leave for Ataturk. I was thinking maybe walk or taxi to the Spice Bazaar, or buy tickets on-line for Hagia Sophia and skip the queue.

Edited: 30 May 2013, 10:50
Houston, Texas
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7. Re: When is traffic rush hour?

AyaSofya opens at 9:00a. One hour is not really enough too see anything. As I said before, you will be up early, so you can buy the tickets and enter right at 9:00a (on-line tickets will not work as they cannot be printed - at least to the best of my knowledge). The question is do you want to spend 25TL per person and see half of it or go to elsewhere - spice garden and Eminanu. Thinking about it, I would still do AyaSofya. We took the same flight and we were at the Hotel (about 3 tram stops before where you will be) at about 6:00p by taking metro and tram.

Houston, Texas...
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8. Re: When is traffic rush hour?

Kingwood, good comments. How was that flight? Was it brutal? As for jet lag, I was thinking to sleep on the plane when/if possible and then stay awake after arriving Istanbul until 10 pm or so. Thoughts?

I understand I can buy Hagia Sophia tickets online at home, print and bring them, and use them any day either the late afternoon we arrive or the next morning. Skip any queue. Opens at 09:00 as you said. I checked out the website. Summer hours at Hagia Sophia are 09:00-19:00 with last entrance at 18:00.

www.ayasofyamuzesi.gov.tr/en/ziyaret.aspx

I did think about the 75 TL ($40) for the three of us but still willing to do it, even if only for 45 minutes. Though instead may could do a brief stroll through the Spice Bazaar which my kids might prefer. Their website states opens at 08:00 which 1 hr earlier than Hagia Sophia opens.

Houston, Texas...
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9. Re: When is traffic rush hour?

As for the option of going to the Spice Bazaar (which my daughter wants), I was thinking to take a taxi there and maybe walk back (hotel website says it is 15 minute walk but Google maps says it is 22 minute walk). Yet, I would love to go into Hagia Sophia for a brief stroll, and focus on a couple of parts. However, can't do it all on a 21-hr layover especially dealing with jet lag in prep for 12 days in Rome/Paris. I just know that it unlikely we return to Istanbul anytime soon, maybe never, though I would like to. I knew and very important historical city but I had no idea how interesting/cool Istanbul until preparing for this layover opportunity. Anyway, just being a realist.

Edited: 31 May 2013, 01:06
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10. Re: When is traffic rush hour?

Hi Clay - You should not stress about details that can be subject to unplanned and unanticipated delays at any turn. I want to assure you that just strolling the Sultanhamet area and viewing even just the exteriors of the historic sites will be very rewarding for you and your children. Believe me, coming from Houston, this will be something they will never forget.

And inasmuch as you have only a few hours, I think you can get the flavor of the city with spectacular sensual memories-in-the making by just looking, smelling unfamiliar & exotic aromas on the streets and around the Spice Bazaar, tasting samples of Turkish Delight from many vendors along the way, and finally hearing the sea traffic noises and the mysterious Call to Prayer chant echoing over the city 5 times a day.

I would go to Mese Cafe which is highly recommended and very likely to have stuff on the menu that will be familiar to the kids and not occupy too much of your precious time, or wait til later to grab a bite. I rather think they would enjoy ducking into the Underground Cistern, built in the 6th century which is like an ancient mysterious rainforest with columns, it is a dimly-lit subterranan reservoir where classical music competes with the sounds of dripping water and occasional slapping giant goldfish, live, but contained with this cavern. Very, very cool.and and can be done in 30 minutes. The rest of your evening can be spent walking to the Eminonou area by the Galata Bridge and see the comings and goings of hundreds of locals and visitors from around the globe.

It is exciting to see the fisherman on the bridge, and the city by moonlight with the huge Mosque of Suleyman the Magnificent perched high on a hill overlooking Istanbul. Don't worry about whether you will be spending 7 additional minutes getting from one palce to the other, you will save time easily walking here rather than grabbing a cab.

So, here might be a plan to consider that will show you the best, and feel the most:

Arrive and check in by 5:30 - Head to Cistern which closes at 6:30 or wait til 9:00 am opening the next morning. Walk around Sultanhamet to the Eminonu/Galata Bridge area. Grab something to eat at either one of the many restaurants in this area, or graze on traditional "street food" available here. Tram or walk back to your hotel.

Early next morning: Visit interior of BlueMosque and/or visit the Cistern which is only minutes away.

Too much to do, so little time. Relax and just take a deep breath of history.

Edited: 31 May 2013, 03:18