Istanbul | WANDERLUST With Parikshit
If you have a desi passport then you must believe in Jugaad. You must be thinking what’s JUGAAD got to do with travelling? Trust me; it’s much better to do Jugaad than going through all the paper work for VISA.
Ladies and Gents *Drum Rolls*, the Jugaad is Valid UK Visa. Yes, if you have a valid UK Visa on an Indian Passport, you can get Visa on Arrival in Turkey.
Now if you want to apply Visa from scratch (Get a pen and a paper or if you’re smart just take a photo of this list):
- Application Form – Filled with accurate info (Duh)
- Two Photos – 5cmx6cm with white background (Smile as much as you can, it always helps at the immigration)
- Original Passport
- Copy of the passport and UAE Residence visa.
- Copy of Flight and hotel bookings. (That is a must for all Schengen VISAS as well)
- Bank Statement – Three months
- Salary Certificate and NOC from your company.
Tickets and Wanderlust
If you are Wander lusting about Turkey for your next vacation then Spring is the best time to visit Turkey, autumn is next, then summer, last winter and so are the air fares, highest in Spring and lowest in winters.
The currency in Turkey is – Turkish Lira and the exchange rate is – 1.24 AED for 1 Turkish Lira (Exchange rate is variable)
Backpack and Stories
I am a little weird, I name things! My car is called Shakuntala and I have a name for my backpack as well – Betaal from Vikram and Betaal. Get it? Get it?
Ok! Before you start judging me let me tell you my favorite story from Istanbul.
So, I don’t come across as a guy who would do this but I love helping people and especially old people and homeless (you will be listening to a lot of stories like this one in my future blogs)
It was a cold wet day in Istanbul and I was doing my last bit of sightseeing before catching my flight back home. I was visiting a mosque next to the spice market – Rustem Pasha Mosque. I was just wandering around clicking pics. I saw this beautiful lady sitting in just a shawl when the mercury itself was a freezing 2 Degrees. I really wanted to talk to her; she was selling buckwheat to feed the pigeons outside the mosque. I walked up to her; she pointed her finger towards a bowl of grains, I figured she wanted me to buy one of those. I asked her how much, she showed me five fingers. By now I knew that language was going to be a problem between me and the love of my life. I paid her 5 liras, bought the grains and started a conversation (mostly with hand gestures and facial expressions)
She was stunning and had beautiful eyes. I asked her why she was sitting wearing just one shawl in that cold. She shrugged her shoulders and rubbed her thumb against her index finger trying to tell me, she was short on cash. We spoke for about 25 Minutes. By now, I knew that she had a husband who passed away and her children don’t live with her anymore. She was 70! Even in that cold I felt her warmth. I checked my pockets and luckily I had some cash left which I wouldn’t need because anyway I was on my way back to the airport. I went to the spice market bought her a couple of red shawls and gifted them to her. She kept her hand on my head and said something. I hope those words were her blessing. I asked her I could click a picture of her before I leave.I wish I knew her name, I wish I knew how to ask for her number, I wish I could have just hugged her before leaving cause on my way back on the airplane I noticed something – She was crying when I took this picture. Now scroll back up and see that tear jerking out of her right eye. I believe in the power of internet. If you go to Istanbul just look for this lady around that mosque. I hope she is still with us.
Been There Done That
Istanbul has a lot of Imperialism and I personally suggest – Take the imperial tour on your first day.
SULTANAHMET IMPERIAL MOSQUE aka BLUE MOSQUE – Across the street from St. Sophia built in the 17th century by the architect Mehmet, this is known as the BLUE MOSQUE because of its magnificent interior decoration of blue Iznik tiles. – Been There
Eat the best roasted chestnuts outside Blue Mosque (Local Delicacy) – Done That.
St. SOPHIA – This ancient basilica, built by Constantine the Great in the 4th century. It is one of the architectural marvels of all time.
HIPPODROME, The scene of ancient chariot races, the ancient Hippodrome, with its four famed monuments.
GRAND BAZAAR (COVERED MARKET) In this labyrinth of streets and passages are more than 4000 shops with each trade having its own area.
TOPKAPI PALACE – The great palace of the Ottoman sultans from the 15th to the 19th century. This palace is now also a museum and you get to click some amazing pictures.
THE BOSPHOROUS CRUISE – You have to take this cruise . Fun Fact – Istabul is one of the cities that falls partially in Asia and partially in Europe – EURASIA. This cruise is along the lines of Bosphorous and between the two continents Europe and Asia. Cool right?
TURKISH COFFEE – I mean, even coffee in CCD India tastes good. Imagine how authentic, freshly ground, freshly brewed Turkish coffee would taste? Jackpot!
PARTAYY – Taksim. This street is your one stop shop for Party. Some of the best speak easy pubs and clubs. Everyone is here over the weekends.
STREETS AND GARDENS – Istanbul has a lot of beautiful gardens and you can walk on the streets all day long. This is one thing I would definitely suggest.
Kharcha dot com (Cost Of Travelling)
Everything good comes at a cost, this trip will as well.
Flights from Dubai to Istanbul (round trip) would cost you – AED 900 on a budget airline and and 1300 on premium airlines. Also the best part about going to Turkey is most of the flights are direct, economical and 4 hours 45 minutes away.
Since I don’t really believe in staying in expensive hotels, I stayed in this hotel cum guest house called Empress Theodara. If there is one thing I’ve learned after all these years of travelling is – Stay in City Center. This hotel cost me – 170 AED per night.
With Family – A decent 3 Star hotel in the City Center would cost you from 300 AED per night to 500 AED, depending on the season.
Sightseeing – Everything that I suggested you to do in this blog would cost you under 500 AED.
Party and Shopping – BYOB – Build your own budget.
Total Cost – (Sightseeing, flights and Stay) 1800 AED for 3 Days
For More Follow me on –
Instagram – @parikshitbalochi
Twitter – @RJParikshit