Turkey

Hagia Sophia, Turkey

Turkey’s long and colourful history guarantees a fascinating singles holiday for travellers at the very least, if not a dizzying but eye-opening cultural adventure. Many have walked the country’s lands, and much has happened here over the course of centuries. To set foot where so much history has taken place—the landing of Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat, the birth and eventual fall of the Byzantine Empire, and the flourishing of the Ottoman Empire—can indeed be a humbling experience.

Turks are widely known for their bravery and the immense pride they have for their heritage. Anyone who visits the beloved homeland will certainly be made aware of the fact and will proceed to understand why this is so. Turkey offers not only a history lesson packed into some 300,000 square miles of land, it also provides a cultural depth comparable to China’s and a diverse array of sights and activities for tourists to enjoy. It’s really no wonder why the country is among one of the most visited in the world.

 

Location: Turkey, Asia/Europe
Size: 783,562 km2
Capital: Ankara
Largest Cities: Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Bursa, Adana
Climate: The best times to visit Turkey would be April to May and September to October, or spring and autumn. Coastal areas tend to have a more moderate climate while inland areas experience more extreme temperatures, especially during winter and summer.
Population: Around 75.5 million people

Language: Turkish

Religion: Islam

Literacy Rate: 95.3%

Government Type: Republic

Head of State: President

Land Borders: To the northwest, Bulgaria; to the west, Greece; to the northeast, Georgia; to the east, Armenia, Iran, and Azerbaijan; to the southeast, Iraq and Syria
Currency: Turkish lira
Natural Resources: Coal, iron ore, copper, chromium, antimony
Main Agriculture: Tobacco, cotton, grain, olives, sugar beets
Main Industry: Textiles, food processing, autos, electronics, mining
Electricity: 220 V AC, 50 Hz
Time Zone: GMT+2, GMT+3 (summer)

Country Tel. Code: + 90
Visa/Passport: Australian passport holders are required to obtain a visa before entering the country.
Airport: Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IST) is the country’s busiest airport and is located 24 kilometres west of the city centre. Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW) is the country’s other international airport. It serves Istanbul as well and can be found 35 kilometres southeast of central Istanbul.
Departure Tax: The TRY 15 departure tax is levied only on Turkish citizens
Getting Around: Travellers will find the Turkish public transport system effective and convenient. Prices are reasonable, be it for domestic flights or for train or bus rides for long-distance travel. Facilities are usually comfortable, and coverage is fairly extensive. For shorter distances, travellers can choose between the minibus (or dolmuş) or the metro, which serves cities like Istanbul, Izmir, Bursa, and Ankara.
Credit Cards: For the most part, Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted, especially in areas that are frequented by tourists.
Drinking: The legal age is 18 years old, though the government has recently been passing new regulation that tightens alcohol consumption.
Shopping: Bargaining is common practice in the country, and being a foreigner does not exempt anyone from haggling as long as they aren’t somewhere too classy. As well, tourists can apply for a VAT refund when buying from shops with “Tax-Free” stickers on their shopfront. Shopping for souvenirs shouldn’t be too challenging in Turkey. Turkish delights are a crowd pleaser and can be found in almost every corner of the country, as is Turkish coffee. For non-food items, travellers have the choice of silk dresses and scarves from Bursa, Castile soap from the Aegean region, or precious stones from Ürgüp.
Tipping: A 10% to 15% tip is common practice in Turkey, although some establishments do add a service charge to the bill. Tips are not expected though certainly appreciated in smaller or cheaper establishments as well as with cab drivers. Sometimes, cashiers or cab drivers do not give the exact change simply because they do not have enough 1 kuruş coins to do so. This is completely normal and should not be cause for distress or alarm.