A Trip to Istanbul and Historic Turkey

istanbul2Our well-travelled member RooFlyer recently returned from a holiday to some of the historic parts of Turkey, as well as Oman in the Middle East!

The trip began with a couple of Business class flights on Qatar Airways. The good service made for a great start to an exciting trip, and soon enough our member had arrived in Istanbul for the start of the Turkey leg of their trip.

It was a terrific business class trip – I made the comment to a friend that it was ‘exactly what you want business class to be like’. Seat and bed comfortable and places to put things; power point and USB accessible. Service good and responsive. Meals good and good wine selection. Price was cheapest of reasonable alternatives. IFE selection perhaps less extensive than you want it to be – but they do of course have to have a heavy Middle-eastern/Arabic selection.

There are two airports in Istanbul. Atatürk (IST) is Istanbul’s main international airport, located on the European side of the city. The other airport, Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) is less conveniently located on the Asian side of Istanbul, and is mainly served by low-cost airlines. Our member flew into the latter airport, meaning a long transfer to the Four Seasons Hotel in Sultanahmet awaited.

Istanbul is full of unique tourist attractions. Many of these are conveniently located within walking distance from Sultanahmet.

I arrived in the early afternoon, so went for an orientation walk. As I and others have mentioned, the Sultanahment attractions are very close. Within a few minutes I was walking past the Blue Mosque and the Aya Sophia

Getting around Istanbul using public transport is convenient and inexpensive. If you’re planning to take multiple trips, our member suggests purchasing an “Istanbulkart”. This card works on trams, trains, funiculars and even ferries.

The Golden Horn ferry is public transport and you can use your ‘Istanbulcard’ for it. The card is a winner. You buy it ( two liras or a dollar??), then put Lira on it and get discounted public transport rides. I put 30 lira on it (A$15) and it lasted the entire time I was in Istanbul, with lots of tram, funicular and metro rides (a long one from the airport), as well as this ferry. It doesn’t work for the Bosphorus cruises. Multiple people can use the one card (you touch it to a sensor at turn styles; it displays the amount charged and the amount remaining on the card).

Istanbul is situated right on the border between the Asian and European continents. The Bosphorus Strait, which divides the two continents, runs right through Istanbul. At around $6, a cruise on the Bosphorus is a unique attraction, and also a great way to take in the city.

After taking in the sights of Istanbul our member ventured further into Turkey, visiting the beautiful, historical region of Cappadocia as well as Izmir. Finally, a visit to Muscat in Oman rounded off the trip!

Read all about the rest of the trip HERE.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]