Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Turkey: A tourist destination with endless delights

Secara Rawak

Nining Istifa Suryani, Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt

Straddled between Europe and Asia, Turkey is a land steeped in history and natural wonders. From the arid deserts of Cappadocia to the beautiful turquoise water of the Marmara Sea. The diversity of Turkey is a wonderment and a source of endless delights for tourists, a trip that would surely as sweet as the famed Turkish Delights.

I spent 12 days in Turkey, 4 days in Cappadocia and the remainder of the trip at Istanbul.

Captivating and mysterious Cappadocia

turkey sarawak_0000Cappadocia was captivating, barren and mysterious. Home to the famed fairy chimney caves, spectacular views via hot air balloons and underground cities that go floors deep. Cappadocia is a sparsely populated area, their more popular towns being Nevsehir and Goreme.

Whilst travelling between the towns are extremely affordable (less than 5TRY for return trip) via buses however can be very time consuming as it normally takes between 10-20 minutes one way.

The most famous tourist activity would be the hot air balloons, a multitude of companies offering different hot air balloon rides. It is important to note on a few criteria, 1) weather conditions, 2) the experience of the hot air balloon pilot, & 3) number of people in the basket.

The slightest whim of bad weather would and could potentially cancel all hot air balloon rides, prior to your trip it is of the utmost importance to check the weather conditions!

The prices would normally range in between 100 – 150 EUROS. Going up to 500m, Cappadocia seems superbly surreal.

Aside from hot air balloons, there is also the Derinkuyu underground city. The largest underground city complex in Cappadocia, going 60m underground. Its narrow paths, dim lighting and insidious nature creates a mystifying unrivalled atmosphere that is truly unique to Cappadocia’s underground cities.turkey sarawak_0002

One of the best ways to see the sites of Cappadocia is via ATV. It would be best to take the 2 hour ATV tour as it’s the least exhaustive. You won’t miss out on any sites as the packages visit the same locales. The ATV tour includes famous locales like Love Valley, Cavusin, Sword Valley and Girls Monastery just to name a few.

Istanbul contested by Muslims and Christians

A city revered by the ancients, contested by Muslims and Christians alike, known formerly as Constantinople. Uncontested it terms of historical value, seat of multiple empires and emperors.

Moving around Istanbul is a breeze. The tram system links up a large part of the city, the numerous ferries and the underground metro. All you need is an Istanbul card which could be easily purchased at the numerous pay stations scattered nearby all public transport stations. An all in one card similar to the Oyster Card utilized in UK.

Istanbul is home to numerous UNESCO Heritage sites. The iconic Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace are conveniently located within 5 minutes of each other at Sultanahmet Square.

The Hagia Sophia needs no introduction, first constructed as a church during the Byzantine era, converted to a mosque after the conquest of Constantinople, eventually opened up as a museum.

The Blue Mosque is a beautiful mosque still being used till this day, lined with beautiful blue marbles and décor in which its name is derived from.

Topkapi Palace was the Sultan’s residence during the Ottoman Empire now a museum that displays the grandiosity and luxurious lifestyle of the Sultan.

For the shopaholics, going down Istiklal Avenue is highly recommended. Easily reachable by the metro, getting off at Taksim Square. A variety of international brands interspersed down the street. Spending a leisurely day walking down Istiklal will surely fill up your day. It’s possible to even get all the way to Galata Tower which is full of life at night.

Impressive shopping malls in Instabul

turkey sarawak_0005Aside from Istiklal Avenue, Istanbul also has some very impressive shopping malls. Istinye Park is probably the most luxurious mall Istanbul has to offer. To get there, simply take the metro to ITU Ayazaga, and take a bus that stops nearby the mall, which are plentiful.

Housing some extremely luxurious brands Istinye will surely delight the more extravagant shoppers.

However, for those looking for more affordable goods, there is also Cevahir Mall and Forum Istanbul.

To get to Cevahir simply take the metro and stop at Sisli. Forum Istanbul is a bit further out, taking the T1 tram to Zeytinburnu and it’s a 15 minute walk from the station.

For the best and freshest seafood, make sure to get visit Eminonu pier. Under the bridge there are a huge number of restaurants offering fresh seafood at extremely affordable prices. Most popularly known for their grilled fish sandwiches served on eccentrically decorated boats. – SARAWAKVOICE.COM

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