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Turkey

Places To See In Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey is a place rich in culture, art and history. There are so many places to see while in Istanbul. Some places are just around the city while the others are in the outskirts. Below is the list of places of interest in the beautiful city of Istanbul.

The Sultanahment Mosque or famously called Blue Mosque – It is called the Blue Mosque because of its  interior blue Iznik tiles.

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Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia – This beautiful church is adorned with magnificent frescoes and mosaic tiles which were covered in plaster when Turks conquered Istanbul and ordered the conversion of the church into a mosque.
Galata Tower – The tower is a prominent fixture in the Old Pera or Beyoglu District. It was used as an observatory tower to aid the Turkish defense during the 1300s. For the tourist, this tower offers an great 360 view of the Asian and European side of Istanbul.

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Obelisk Monument
at the Hippodrome

Hippodrome Square and the Obelisk – Chariot races took place in this square. Elections were done via chariot races in the Hippodrome during the Byzantium days. In one area of the Square stands the granite Obelisk carved in Egypt and brought in Istanbul around 1450 BC by the Byzantine emperor Theodosius.
Grand Bazaar – This is a vast shopper’s delight, housing more than 4,000 shops selling various goods from carpets to spices to wares. It is a big labyrinth of shops constructed in 1464 upon the order of Mehmed II.
Basilica Cistern – The underground water reservoir is right beneath the Stoa Basilica. It has 336 columns of either in Doric and Corinthian  style which hold the high ceiling.
Topkapi Palace – This place used to be the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire. The palace is situated between the Golden Horn and the Marmara sea of Istanbul and offers a great view of the Bosphorus.
Dolmahbace Palace – This extravagant palace is like a mini Versailles and has many French influences in its designs and interiors.

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Istiklal St. in Taksim

Istiklal Street in Taksim – This is a well-known pedestrian street is the melting pot of people of all walks of life. It is teeming with cafes, pubs/bars, restaurants, movie theaters and shops and has a tram running in the middle of the quaint street. St. Anthony Church (a Catholic church) is also located along this street.
Museums – Rahmi M. Koc Museum, Istanbul Modern Museum, Kariye Musem, to name a few.

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Spice Up Your Travel with a Bit of Activity

Photo credit: yahoo.com/images

Train Tour of India
Indian train tours have been a delightful source of inspiration for film makers, poets, authors and even just normal travelers seeking a charming break from boring routines. They offer an exclusive view of the Indian country side: from the tea estates in the Southern most point of India to the Western most corner of Gujarat.
You can fly cheaply into India with Go Air, and then hop on board The IndianMaharaja Deccan Odyssey which is commonly known as the Palace on Wheels as only the royalty of India travelled in this elegant train from Mumbai to Delhi.  Enjoy fascinating onboard activities as the scenic beauty of the Thar Desert passes by. This is just one of the 5 luxury trains that ply through India. For royal treatment, book early and relax deeply aboard these opulent trains.
The Toy train that connects New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling is a fascinating tiny steam train once used to transport potatoes. The hill railway is now considered as a World Heritage Site. The train trudges through the dense forests and vast tea plantations giving you a splendid close view of tea pickers with baskets strapped on their backs.


Photo credit: yahoo.com/images


Golf Holiday in Turkey

Turkey is a place of mysteries, a melting pot where the Middle East meets the Mediterranean. It has a fascinating heritage bragging of thirteen successive civilizations. Turkey also boasts of some of the finest golf courses in the whole of the Mediterranean region.
For a relaxing seaside Turkish golf experience, Belek is ideal located in the Antalya region. Antalya is also home to the PGA Sultan course curved through lush green eucalyptus and pine described as one of Europe’s finest and attached to Turkeys finestgolf resorts. The magnificent National Antalya is reasonably routed across gently rolling terrain and mature pine and eucalyptus trees. The Antalya Pasha winds its way through the trees and crowns the Sultan beautifully.
If you are awed and inspired by nature visit the Old Course at Gloria golf resort which lies at the beautiful forest at the feet of the Taurus Mountains. It is a challenging course: to score in this course you have to hit the ball well because of the tight tee shots and greens.  
Photo credit: yahoo.com/images
Surfing in Morocco

Morocco is a place where seemingly all adventures take place: surfing is still in its bucket list of exciting activities you can engage in. Agadir is endowed with some of the best waves and most diverse surf spots in the world.  From the most experienced surfers to the basic learner, Agadir is ideal for a memorable surfing holiday.
Essaouira beach has the perfect conditions for beginners, the excitement of catching your very first magical wave, the fear of the waters and the desire to become one with nature will hook you on to surfing forever. For experienced surfers theTaghazout region has more challenging spots like Sidi Kaouki, The Cave and Imessouane.
Imessouane is a small fishing village with two renowned surfing spots, the Bay and the Cathedrals. At the Bay you can catch a wave as high as 500 meters from the harbor all the way to the beach. You will also be fascinated by the goats climbing trees!
This post comes from Tom at Top BackpackingDestinations

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Exploring Bodrum: The Castle of St. Peter

Posted in Bodrum, castle, Europe, Thomas Cook, tips, travel, Turkey, vacation
on May 26, 2013
Thousands of holidaymakers flock to Turkey year after a year to grab their own morsel of sunshine. With plenty of cheap holidays in Bodrum, it’s no wonder that this port city is a popular haven for visitors from all over the world. While there are plenty of excellent accommodation options available from Thomas Cook, try and peel yourself away from the poolside and the fabulous beaches and enjoy your surroundings during your stay. With so many attractions, it’s not just about the sun, sea and sand in Bodrum.  

Built by the Knights Hospitaller in the 15thcentury, Bodrum Caste (or the Castle of St. Peter as it is also known) is a prime attraction in the resort of Bodrum and an excellent way to spend a couple of hours if you want a break from the beach. Overlooking the harbour, this majestic castle is open to the public and its grounds also include the Museum of Underwater Archaeology for your perusal.
An excellent example of late Crusader architecture, the castle has stood strong throughout the years. Originally a stronghold to help protect the Knights Hospitaller from the Selcuk Turks, the castle now stands as a monument of historic architecture that can be seen for miles around.

The castle itself is open to the public today and while this alone is enough to satisfy its visitors, the museum provides even more gratification. The Bodrum Museum, or the Museum of Underwater Archaeology, isn’t just a bunch of relics but provides an enriching experience for all who make the effort to visit.

Exhibits take you through the lives of ancient mariners and include the oldest ever excavated shipwreck exhibition as well as antiquities and a coin and jewellery hall.

It’s easy to head for the beach every day and relax for the duration of your holiday but when there’s so much to see, it’d be rude not to sample anything but the Mediterranean. Take a look at the excellent value summer holidays from Thomas Cook and look forward to exploring more of what Bodrum has to offer.
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Madison Hotel in Istanbul

Posted in accommodation, hotel, Istanbul, Madison Hotel, Taksim, Turkey
on September 16, 2011
Madison Hotel is a deluxe 4-star property located in the lively area of Taksim in Istanbul. Its great location is ideal for travelers who want to have easy access to cultural, entertainment, historical and business centers around Istanbul.
We stayed in Madison Hotel for 2 nights only. It was a short break to fully enjoy Istanbul. In 2002, the hotel was not yet fully refurbished and it looked slightly dimmer and smaller as compared now. Madison Hotel has now been renovated to look more modern and bigger. 

All photo credits: www.madison.com.tr

The room accommodation price starts from Euro 112 per night.

This hotel offers modern-design rooms from double, twin, junior suite and single bedroom.  Rooms have the basic amenities like the mini bar, hair dryer, private bath, satellite TV channels, safe box, telephone, air conditioning, modern designed furniture and free wi-fi access.
So if you are planning to have a short vacation from the hustle and bustle of your daily life, head to Istanbul and enjoy the richness of Turkey’s Asian and European history, arts and culture.
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Istanbul – The City in Two Continents

Bhosphorus Side
Photo credit: copyright www.riatravelbug.blogspot.com

Istanbul is a beautiful city in Turkey. It lies on the Bosphorus Strait and stretches on both the European (Thrace) and Asian (Anatolia) side of this strait. It is the only city in the world that lies in two continents.

We visited Istanbul in October 2002. It was actually our first European trip. We applied directly at the Turkish Consulate in Dubai at The World Trade Center. The visa application was not a tedious process unlike the Schengen and US visa we have applied for in the past. We went in the morning to submit our documents and the interviewer only asked us one question. I forgot what the staff asked but I vividly recall what he said next. He told us to collect our passports the next day. That was it. We were given a week-long visa validity to enter Turkey.

We only stayed for 3 days and 2 nights and booked our accommodation in Madison Hotel in Istanbul. It is a 4-star property located in Taksim area close to Taksim Square, Topkapi Palace and other tourist attractions.

I got a good deal on the hotel because of my travel agent status then. My husband and I flew to Istanbul via Singapore Airlines (and I loved their service! The flight attendants made us feel very special even if we were in economy class) during the airline’s promotional travel deals. Since I was an assigned staff in the Singapore Airlines counter, our ticketing head office left a message to the tour operators in Istanbul to give me and my husband a free return airport transfer. The airline fare was also a steal because I only paid around US$160 for both of us and that was Dubai-Istanbul-Dubai! Talk about the perks of being a travel agent!

I’ll talk about the hotel and other places of interest on my other blog post later on. Meanwhile, here are some of the few photos we had in Istanbul. Unfortunately, we only had few snaps because our very unreliable digital camera had to malfunction during our trip.

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Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

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My hubby posing in Taksim Square near the tram track
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