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First time trip to IST July 15th-19th,2013

Frankfort...
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First time trip to IST July 15th-19th,2013

I am a 44 year old American female traveling alone to Istanbul for the first time. I'm not an experi enced world traveler and only speak English. I"m very excited about this trip but want to know if it's relatively safe to walk alone on the streets and if I will encounter enough English speakers to get by?

Also, my hotel is the Marriott on the Asia side, am I going to have trouble getting to and from the "must see" areas? I choose this hotel because I can use my Marriott points to save money...but if it's going to be too much hassle to get to fun areas, then maybe I should change?

Lastly, what is the least expensive way to travel between the IST airport and the SAW airport.

Thanks for any and all responses!

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1. Re: First time trip to IST July 15th-19th,2013

We stayed in the Sultanahmed area, wife and two daughters, very convenient to many locations we did not have to use public transportation we walked to Blue Mosque in about 5 minutes after that you are in the area of many important sights, many restaurants also, concerning safety just use common sense leave early, stay in the area were you will see many turist, english would not be a problem I was even surprised that sales people even spoke spanish, we found people very helpfull and polite, we did find the market sales people to be a little bit pushy, and prices might not be that great.

I would recommend the old city , just for the convenience and the limited time you have, be prepared to enjoy an amazing city and culture, our plans to go back are in the works.

PS. Learn a Little bit of Turkish, good morning, please, thank you, yes, no, etc. real basic stuff use your google translate and you can also listen to the pronuntiation, it will go a long way when you are there.

Enjoy your trip and be prepared to go back.

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2. Re: First time trip to IST July 15th-19th,2013

Hi Margo. I, too was a solo female traveler to Istanbul with many of the same questions. You can use the SEARCH button at the top and enter "solo traveler" and get many confirmations as to what I say to you.

I felt completely safe. I spoke no Turkish and it never was a problem. It is amazing what a "point" and smile can accomplishment in purchasing or in a lokantasi (local eatery literally meaning "workers' restaurant") where you will find wholesome, home-cooked authentic meals at a fraction of what you will find at most restaurants if you are looking for a bargain every now and then. Most stores and restaurants spoke necessary English to make a sale!

Getting to the Historical Peninsula is very easy via a 20-minute ferry ride and are frequent. The ferry stop in Eminonou will be within walking distance to the Sirkeci area and just a few minutes via tram. You will also be near the embarkation point of the Bosphorus Cruises. I went on the most wonderful 1.5 hour trip and highly recommend it.

Best planning advise is get a copy of RickSteves Istanbul Guide which is very user-friendly and offers outstanding DIY walks through the city which is easily maneuverable with the excellent transportation system.He also lists "suggested itineraries" for 3, 4, and 5-day "must do's"

Your time on the Asian side should include your first "experience" in true Ottoman cuisine at Ciya restaurant, surrounded by an amazing area of wonderful grocers, fishmongers, deli's and bakeries, candy shops, bookstores, fast-food shops and smells you are not likely to find in Kentucky.There are some fantastic "take away" offerings if you want to have a light snack in your room. Olives? Cheeses? Fresh and dried fruits?

And, last but certainly not the least, check the upper green bar at the top of this page and click on THINGS TO DO, and/or use the SEARCH area again and enter "4-day itinerary". Suggestions there from DE's and past visitors may help you customize your visit towards your individual interests. I also absolutely got spoiled and sponged to delight in a hamam. It will be memorable.

You have made a very wonderful decision on choosing this destination.

Regards, and Godspeed.

Sharon

Edited: 01 July 2013, 05:34
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3. Re: First time trip to IST July 15th-19th,2013

Margo, welcome to ıstanbul.

marrioot Istanbul Asia is far away from the historical attractions but if you want to use Marriott points, you should use Ritz Carlton at Taksim or the Edition hotel at Levent. Have a look: "tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293974-i368-k6370…".

Between IST airport and SAW airport, the best way to transfer is to use HAVATAS shuttle buses. Take the HAVATAS bus from IST to Taksim and another HAVATAS bus from Taksim to SAW. This will cost 10 +13 = 23 TL/person.. "http://havatas.com.tr/en/".

good luck,

enigma...

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4. Re: First time trip to IST July 15th-19th,2013

Hi Margo, Istanbul attracts many solo female visitors. Just put "traveling alone" or something similar in the search block for the forum and you can read about lots of experiences and get some helpful hints.

Generally you just have to use the same street smarts and common sense you would use when visiting any metropolitan area.

The Marriott hotel on the Asian side is a long distance from just about everything you will want to do. Located in a business and financial district it is designed for business travelers. I would not stay there simply because I would spend too much time just getting to and from the hotel. I would try to switch to another Marriott property or select an inexpensive hotel in Sultanahmet or Sirkeci. I think you will enjoy your experience more if you are not isolated way out at the Marriott hotel.

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5. Re: First time trip to IST July 15th-19th,2013

Sorry Margo. I did not know the location of your hotel on the Asian side and just assumed it was near Kadikoy. But I entirely agree with the previous posters in their recommendations for staying in the Sirkeci area, if not the Marriott that Enigma suggests. Sirkeci is adjacent to Sultanhamet and within walking distance or a short tram ride of minutes to all the major sites. I can personally recommend the Erboy Hotel. By pulling up reviews, you will see it is a favorite of many forum members, offers good rates, nice and impeccably clean rooms, and a staff that will make you feel as a treasured guest.

Sharon

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6. Re: First time trip to IST July 15th-19th,2013

Hi

My partner and I are planning to travel to Istanbul around 13th July for a week.......just wanted to check to see if recent troubles had calmed a little and that it was safe to visit this area.....many thanks

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Frankfort...
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7. Re: First time trip to IST July 15th-19th,2013

Thank you all for the responses so far! I'm getting more excited the more I read and am put to ease about the safetyand communication issues. I've decided to cancel the Marriott plans altogether and try out a hostel for the first time in the Old city. So, changing gears based on your suggestions! Any suggestions or tips about hostels. Safe? Comfortable enough? The way to go to get to the adventure?

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8. Re: First time trip to IST July 15th-19th,2013

Margo, the hostels are good and safe at Sultanahmet and Sirkeci. Lots of people use them. You can use Metropolis Hostel, Second Home Hostel, or Cheers Hostel. Check their reciews."tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g293974-Istanbul-Hote…".

good luck,

enigma...

Edited: 06 July 2013, 04:40
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9. Re: First time trip to IST July 15th-19th,2013

Big change from Marriott to a hostel. I'm afraid I am of no help. I've never stayed in a hostel.

10. Re: First time trip to IST July 15th-19th,2013

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