Turkey

Turkey is an astounding country. It’s played host to numerous civilisations throughout history; from the Greeks and Romans to the Assyrians, Persians and Ottomans, they have all left their indelible mark. At every turn the archaeological sites, stunning architecture and warmth of the locals surpass expectations. The cradle of cultures and civilisations, connecting Europe and Asia, Turkey’s charms extend from ancient remains to natural splendours. Many of its attractions can’t be found anywhere else in the world, such as Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys and Pamukkale’s white travertine shelves and pools.

When to Visit

Spring (April to May) and autumn (Spetmeber to October) are the best times to visit, since the climate will be perfect for sightseeing in Istanbul and on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. it will be cool in central Anatolia, but not unpleasantly so. The Black Sea coast is best visited between April and September - there will still be rain but not as much of it. Head to eastern Turkey from late June to September. With the exception of Istanbul, Turkey doesn't really have a winter tourism season. High season is from May to September, and prices are at their peak; many western Mediterranean business double their price during the period.

Highlights

ISTANBUL OLD CITY The Hagia Sophia, built in the 6th century, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, and Museum of Archaeology are just a few of the gems found in the Old City.

GALLIPOLI PENINSULA To truly uncover the ANZAC story, a visit to Chunuk Bair, the moving ANZAC Museum and ANZAC Cove, where a memorial service is held each year, is a must for all Australians and New Zealanders.

CAPPADOCIA Cappadocia has to be seen to be believed, with a spectacular and unusual landscape, vistas of ‘fairy chimneys’, troglodyte villages, incredible underground cities and cave churches on display.

EPHESUS Ephesus was one of the most famous Greek cities of ancient times with a heritage dating back to 6,000BC, and the most recognisable building, the Library of Celsus, was both a library and mausoleum.

PAMUKKALE Pamukkale is famous for its white calcified terraces with mineral-enriched waters which are believed to have curative powers and have been used as thermal baths for centuries.

CRUISING THE MEDITERRANEAN COAST Cruising Turkey’s Mediterranean coast is a delightful way to see this part of the country. Search for hidden coves and pristine deserted bays aboard a traditional gulet.

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Useful Information

Customs

Formal etiquette is central to Turkish culture, governing most social interactions and the use of space. Turkish culture has an exact verbal formula for practically every occasion. Etiquette requires the pronouncement of the proper formulas for these occasions. Strict etiquette governs intergenerational and heterosexual interactions. Unless they are close friends or relatives, older people are addressed formally. For example, older men should be addressed with the title "Bey" (Mister) and women with the title "Hanim" (Lady). Younger people are expected to be reserved in their presence. Adults of the opposite sex are expected not to act casually or show affection toward each other in public. Friends of the same sex may hold hands and greet each other with kisses on the cheek. Upon meeting, men shake hands, but a man does not shake a woman's hand unless she extends it to him. People are not criticized for being late. Business meetings usually are preceded by tea and unrelated conversation. Consideration for companions is important. One does not drink, smoke, or eat something without first offering to share it with one's companions. Homes are divided into guest and private areas, and it is improper to ask for a tour of the house. The soles of shoes are considered dirty, and shoes are removed when one enters a home or mosque.

Health

The following information is intended as a guide only and in no way should it be used as a substitute for professional medical advice relative to a travellers individual needs and vaccination history. No guarantee is made as to its accuracy or thoroughness. For further information, please contact The Travel Doctor on (+64) 9 373 3531. Vaccination against Hepatitis A is recommended for travellers to Turkey. Vaccination against Typhoid should also be considered, particularly if travelling to areas with poor sanitation. Persons staying in Turkey for extended periods or frequent travellers should consider immunisation against Hepatitis B and Rabies (especially if working with animals). Turkey is considered a low risk country for Malaria, as such insect avoidance measures and preventative medication may be necessary depending on a travellers itinerary. Regardless of destination, all travellers should be up-to-date with their routine "background" vaccinations, including for Tetanus and Diphtheria (with a booster within the last 10 years), Whooping Cough, Polio (with a booster in adult life), Measles, Mumps and Rubella (two combination vaccinations through life), Chicken Pox and a recent annual Influenza vaccination. Please consult a medical practitioner or contact The Travel Doctor for your specific risk to these preventable diseases and the appropriate avoidance measures. New Zealanders travelling to Turkey should ensure that they have adequate travel insurance to cover the length of their stay.

Electricity

Electrical Plug: European Voltage: 220 - 240 volts Modem Plug: USA Source: Korjo Travel Products. To purchase electrical/modem adapters, or for further information on this matter, please view the Korjo adapter guide at www.korjo.com.

Communications

Country Code for Turkey: +90 International Operator: 115 Directory Assistance: 118 80 Emergency Services: Ambulance: 112 Fire: 110 Police: 155 Local Police: 153/154 Tourist Police (Istanbul):(+90 212) 527 4503 The emergency services may not always have English speaking staff. In this case, you should contact the New Zealand Embassy. Information can be found on safefortravel.govt.nz.

Shopping

Museums: 9 AM to 17 PM, Tuesday to Sunday. Pharmacies: 9 AM to 19 PM, Monday to Saturday. 24-Hour duty pharmacies are available on a rota basis that the names and addresses can be found on any pharmacy.) Banks: 9 AM to 17 PM, Monday to Friday. (Some closes for lunch brake.) Post Offices: 9 AM to 17 PM, Monday to Friday. (Extended hours applied on peak periods at major Holiday destinations). Shopping Centres are open seven days a week and stay open until late.

Tipping

In Turkey, tipping, or bahşiş (lit. gift, from Persian word بخشش, often rendered in English as "baksheesh") is usually optional and not customary in many places. However, a tip of 5-10% is expected in restaurants, which is usually paid by "leaving the change". Cab drivers usually do not expect to be tipped, though passengers may round up the fare. A tip of small change may be made to a hotel porter.

Getting around

Get around Turkey by plane, car, bus, coach, train, public transport, ferry and walking. Turkey is a big country, but it is easy to get around. There are a number of public transport options in all major and touristic cities of Turkey including suburban trains, local buses, subway, trams, minibuses and taxis. Turkish State Railways (TCDD) operate passenger trains all over the country, which has a well developed railway network. On long distances, the train is a comfortable way of travel around Turkey. Especially in Marmara and Aegean and the Meditarranean of Turkey, you can travel between coastal cities and towns by local ferry, which is a good way to get around Turkey.

Language

Turkish.

Visa's

Official travel advice regarding visas is available by calling 04 439 8000 or visiting their website www.safetravel.govt.nz

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