Turkey is one of the most beautiful and dazzling countries I have ever been to. Despite the many cities in the world I have explored, Istanbul remains at the top of my list. It is a country whose layers are never ending. In this post, I explain my experience there and give you some Turkey travel tips!!
What you can not miss in Turkey
Some of the most amazing wonders of the world can be beholden there. Pamukkale, a mountain pure white of calcium, with warm pools of water, makes you feel like you are hot tubing in the snow but in the middle of summer. It is truly spectacular. When you are done there you can hike up to swim in a pool over ancient Greek ruins, and visit a giant, crumbling coliseum.
Ephasus hold some of the best Greek ruins I have seen and is not to miss. While Ephasus is the most famous ruins in Turkey, you can find amazing ruins in small towns all along the Mediterranean coast.
Cappadocia is inland, and a sight to behold in any season. It is a village made of fairy-like caves carved into thinly standing mountains. You can, like I did, stay in hotel rooms carved into the side of a mountain. There are also ancient underground cities to explore, dug deep in the earth.
Turkey travel tips if you are a woman
It is packed with history and culture from the Byzantine Empire to the Ottoman Empire, Muslim and Christian heritage, and even dating back to the Greeks, withruins that rival Greece itself. But it is also a country still rooted in the past in some aspects, and overwhelmed with the issues of their neighboring countries at war. I share with you some advice and tips for exploring this great nation.
- If you are a woman, I recommend traveling with a male companion. I have traveled there with only women and remain relatively unscathed, but it would have been much more comfortable with aman at my side. During the day in the touristic areas in Istanbul and along the coast, where German and Swedish tourists flocks, you will do doubt be perfectly same. But in the less popularareas or once the sun sets, it is better not to be alone. I want to reject the need for this, but in some countries it is sadly still safer, and sometimes necessary. Even my hostel, on my last visit, strongly urged us not to go into the city un-chaperoned at night. We ignored the advice and soon regretted to have, as men’s eye bored into us, words were thrown at us, and even arms aggressively grabbed us. By traditional Turkish culture it is impolite for a man to approach or speak to a women in the presence of a man she is with (regardless of who that man represents to her). While this is extremely archaic to me, it was effective in other trips I took with a male companion.
- Dress conservatively. I believe in free expression of dress and never judge people based on their clothes, it is also good to respect cultures you are visiting. And if you don’t want to be shouted at, stared at, followed, or shown aggressive behavior, I would recommend covering shoulders, cleavage, and legs. Especially if you want to visit mosques, such as the famous Blue Mosque in Istanbul, where it, along with a head scarf, are required for entry.
Other topics to take into account
Don’t bring up the Armenian Genocide or the Kurdish people. In 2010 the United States officially named the Turkish massacre of Armenians a genocide, inciting widespread anti-American protests and ‘Get Out America’ campaigns. It is still a touchy subject today as the Turkish government refutes the conflict being a genocide. The Turkish government and the native Kurdish people have a very tense and violent history. The PKK, the Kurdishtan Worker’s Party is considered a terrorist group by some countries, and has been involved in an armed struggle with the government for equal rights and an end to oppression of their people, for many years.
Do go to Turkey. Despite the unrest it has so much beauty and history to offer. No matter what part of Turkey you choose to explore, untold delights await. Stay tuned for another article on Turkish food.