After a lot of consideration (and checking flight deals) Istanbul seems like a great candidate for my spring break while studying abroad next spring.
Although India would be extremely interesting to see, especially the tree where Buddha supposedly reached enlightenment under, I feel like it might be just a little unsafe for me traveling alone. Indonesia is still my number one pick for spring break, however, tickets to Bali cost over $1,000 and that is definitely pricey for my budget. I really do want to see them both someday, but those might have to be saved for when I’m actually working for a salary, instead of my minimum hourly wage.
So Istanbul it is! The cultural history of Turkey is something that I feel will impact my study abroad experience. With all the Western countries I’m going to see, it might be nice to travel just a little bit to the East.
From what I’ve begun researching, shopping in Istanbul is going to be excellent, and definitely something I will be looking forward to. The Istanbul Spice Bazaar will by the first thing I check out. I don’t think there will be tons of clothes, but just seeing it will be fantastic. Sali Pazari is another market that boasts the cheapest clothes around. It’s a bit of trek to get there but I feel like it might be worth it. A La Turca is great for antique shopping and highly recommended to see. Mor Taki is a great source for Turkish jewelry (something the women there love is bling) while Yargici is a great shopping destination for almost anything, also with an amazing and affordable selection of jewelry. According to Travel Muse, Yargici is comparable to my beloved Gap, which means it’s going to be a hit with me.
I’ve looked at a few travel packages and several of them sound quite amazing and pretty cheap for several hours of touring.
Imperial Istanbul Half-day Tour
Discover Imperial Istanbul on this half-day sightseeing tour. Visit Hagia Sophia, which is today one of the most magnificent museums in the world, the Blue Mosque Hippodrome with its Egyptian Obelisk, a remarkable pink granite monument built 3,500 years ago by an Egyptian pharoah. Last but not least experience the Grand Bazar of Istanbul. Well recovered for over 1,500 years, Hagia Sophia is named as one of the most remarkable museums in the world. Two stories of ancient history confronts everyone in this well preserved structure. The next stop will be at the Blue Mosque Hippodrome just in the middle of the Sultan Ahmed area including the impressive ancient Egyptian Obelisk. After leaving the Blue Mosque Hippodrome, you will finally have the opportunity to do some haggling at the Grand Bazaar, with it’s 4400 shops!
The more I research Istanbul, the more set I become on going. It’s a huge metropolitan city with tons of different options. My favorite bar I’ve looked up so far has been Ada, which is half book/music store and half bar/cafe. I guess there are even hipsters in Istanbul. If I want a relaxing or quiet evening, I’m definitely going to hit up Anemon Galata Bar where you can sip drinks and watch the sun set over Istanbul. Angelique seems like the type of place to just have a good time with dinner, drinks, and some dancing. For a crazy night out you’ll be able to find me at Araf, dancing the night away to fist-pumping Turkish techno.
Istanbul seems like it could be a dream come true. Culture clashes with modern ideas, with lots of shopping and entertainment spread throughout the city. It also seems somewhat affordable with $200 plane tickets, $50 trip fees, and a range of prices for shopping and bars this could be the perfect destination for my spring break.