In order to help you feel comfortable about your trip to Istanbul, we have tried to provide you with some simple yet accurate answers.
Do women have to cover their heads when visiting a mosque?
The only time visitors to Turkey are asked not to wear shorts and women are requested to cover their arms and legs is when they visit a mosque. This is asked as a gesture of respect, much as when tourists visit European cathedrals. While, for cultural or religious reasons, many Turkish women do cover their heads, it is not obligatory for a tourist to do so. You may barrow a scarf at the entrance of the mosque.
Won’t the water or the food make me sick?
Visitors may prefer the readily available and inexpensive spring-water since Turkish tap water is highly chlorinated and doesn’t taste very good. As far as food goes, while they should exercise the same caution they would in any other new country, visitors need not to worry about what they eat. Visitors are encouraged to explore Turkey’s excellent and varied cuisine, particularly its kebabs and local fish, without worries.
Can I have alcoholic drink with dinner?
Of course you can… Cheers! In fact, you’ll find your Turkish hosts will probably join you in a drink and take great pleasure in initiating you to the delights of Turkey’s national drink: Rakı. Similar to the French Pernod but with more of a kick, rakı is an integral part of Turkish cuisine and has a unique culture surrounding it. Rakı is traditionally enjoyed along with appetizers, called meze. Served in small portions like tapas, meze includes everything from goat cheese to grilled calamari. Rakı also goes exceptionally well with freshly-caught grilled and fried fish-both Turkish specialties.
Should I take traveler’s cheque or can I use my credit card?
Major credit cards are welcome at many shops and restaurants in Turkey. Traveler’s checks are also an option, but, as a rule credit cards are more convenient. ATMs all over Turkey provide cash advances on Visa and MasterCard and also accept Cirrius and other major bank cards. When you use an ATM, you receive your money in New Turkish Lira, which is charged to your card at the daily exchange rate, on that day.
Please be informed that at the lobby floor there is an ATM and you may change your foreign currency (USD, Euro) or your traveler’s cheque into New Turkish Lira as well as at the Reception Desk for 24 hrs.
What is the tipping custom?
The major restaurants usually do not add tip to bills, therefore the general tendency is to leave approximately %10 tip of total bill.
Should I bargain at the Grand Bazaar?
We highly recommend you to bargain with shop sellers at the Grand Bazaar.