Husband asked me for an itinerary for 2 days in Istanbul for a co-worker, so I thought I’d post for others. This is fairly hectic but gives you the essentials.
Saturday - Start at Takism Square. Walk (or take nostalgic tram) down Istiklal to Tunel, funicular/walk down to Galata Bridge and walk across bridge (fishermen on top, fish restaurants on the bottom). Keep walking or hop on the tram for a few stops to Sultanahmet to see Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and cistern (about 2 hours to see them all, depending on call to prayer). Tram to Grand Bazaar (closed Sunday) and then taxi/walk to Spice Market, end up back at Galata Bridge and possibly see Istiklal at night. If there’s time on either end, go up to the top of Galata Tower near end of Istiklal/Tunel for views of Golden Horn and a good overview of the city.
Sunday - See Topkapi Palace in Sultanahmet and/or Chora Church (Topkapi takes a few hours with the harem, and it’s almost always crowded. Chora Church takes about an hour but it’s not as central.). Ferry over to Asian side - either take a taxi to Beylerbeyi Palace from Uskudar or walk around Kadikoy and Moda neighborhood. If there’s time and the weather is good (or you don’t want to go all the way over to Asia), spend the afternoon at a waterfront neighborhood like Ortakoy (and visit the mosque there).
More on the tourist sites here. With another day or two, I’d recommend seeing what Sabanci and/or Pera Museums have (Sabanci is way out of the tourist sites but in a beautiful area and the museum is great, Pera is right off Istiklal), have a wander around Besiktas, explore all the areas around Istiklal, and maybe even venture up to Santral.
In two weeks, we’ll be in Singapore and Penang for 6 days. I am looking forward to hot weather and eating pork or anything in noodle or dumpling form. Some links I’ve collected from social media friends and the interweb.
Part one of things I need to see in Singapore:
- If a half-lion, half-fish mascot wasn’t making me giddy enough, I’ll get to see the Merlion Hotel installation.
- More arty stuff to see at the Biennale: contraband stuff at the old airport.
- We’ll be staying at Hotel 1929, but I’m hoping to get a tour of the new Wanderlust, which looks adorable but a bit tiny for 2.5 people.
- The zoo is supposed to be aces, plus it has a baby orang, a new sun bear, and a baby sloth!
- The museum of toys has got to be weird and cool, right?
- Eat a “magical satay" at the Chinatown hawker complex.
- Mmm yakitori.
- $30S is a little steep, but the ArtScience museum is supposed to be sweet, plus husband is curious about the Marina Bay Sands’ terrifying swimming pool.
- Go to a crazy big electronics store (Turkey has many Apple resellers but no official store, and an iPad starts at $1k here) and try to think of reasons why we need an iPhone or iPad.
- Buy more pants that fit at Maternity Exchange (what an awesome concept, wish I lived there).
- Free museum hours! After 6pm at National Museum, Friday night 6-9pm at the Art Museum (thanks untraveledworld).
- Go to cheesy-but-potentially-fun Sentosa “beach” on the new monorail.
Some foodie recs from the wonderful Eating Asia:
On to Penang recs next.