This is something I love to share with when I went on holiday to Turkey with my family. It’s been ages since the last time I took a vacation overseas with them, especially to Europe. The tour group consist of mostly young people, three couples (including my parents of course) and one elderly lady.
We had visited many amazing cities, countrysides and historic sites during this 9 days and 8 nights trip. Here’s the fact worth knowing: Istanbul is a transcontinental city in Eurasia, which separates Europe and Asia. The journey started from Istanbul, to Canakkale, Asklepleion, Ephesus, Pamukkale, Konya, Cappadocia and the capital of Turkey, Ankara before the trip ended at Istanbul. The entire journey of this trip was closed to 7,000 kilometers! (Click this links on Turkey trip: Istanbul, Magnificent Turkey: Part 1 and Part 2)
Before you get to excited about going to Turkey the first time, be sure that you are packed with this important items so that it wouldn’t ruined the holiday. Winter season falls between November and January.
Upon arriving at Istanbul Ataturk Airport (IST) early morning, we entered into the arrival hall and suit up immediately with our windbreaker that was taken out from the hand-carry baggage from the cabin compartment. Rain has just stopped and the sun become visible behind the Sea of Marmara. Still, the weather was cold but does not hindered the young adults like me from the adventurous tour.
As we head to Ankara city on the mountain road, the temperature hits until -2 Celsius during the daytime. The area was completely covered with snow which believe it happened yesterday or two days before (Darn! we missed the snow time).
You are advise to wear long and thick pants during bedtime, although most hotels have heater in the rooms. Do get a warm shower after a long day outside before curling yourself into the nice comfy bed. It can help you to avoid getting flu or cold the next day.
It is compulsory for women to put on the headscarf when entering some mosques in the country, as a respect to their religion regardless of your own belief and religion. Don’t worry if you forgot to bring it. There are some shops selling headscarf to tourists near the entrances. Some mosques do rent them for visitors, but make sure to return once you left the premise.
It may come to a bit of culture shock when you arrive at Turkey and notice that do not serve any kind of Asian food at cuisines, restaurants and even hotels. You must know that Turkey is a Muslim country with 99% of its population are Muslim. So, most eateries are pork-free. Although they don’t serve your home country favourite dishes, you still definitely have to try their delicious Turkish rice and tomato soup once. If Turkish food isn’t what you expected to eat throughout the trip, then you can bring your own cup noodles or cereals (most hotels have this with milk). It is also a good idea to bring some snacks when taking a journey from point A to point B that takes several hours before stopping and have your next meal.
It will be handful to carry some medication like aspirin and cold medicine, especially if you travel from hot to cold country. Some people may take time for the body to adapt into a new environment and easily catch a flu or headache for the first one or two days.