Sunday, February 17, 2019

TravelxMFG : Lost in Turkey

Lost in Turkey, Solo trip to Turkey, Solo Traveling to Turkey

Warning, long post ahead!

Soooo on my last winter holiday, me and my parents planned to have a nice family trip to Turkey for seven days. We were going to have a backpacking trip so we did not travel with any travel agencies. Okay, sounds challenging. My father told me to make the itinerary, so i gathered informations about Turkey. The hotels, transportations, foods, attractions, etc etc. I made the full 7 days itinerary, complete with the estimated cost.

We already bought the ticket a week before the trip. It was such a good deal, the ticket cost was 8mil rupiah/person round trip with Etihad Airways that we booked via Traveloka. And the visa was very easy to made, you just have to fill some informations online (https://www.eturkeyvisas.org) and pay 300thousands rupiah/person, and voila, your eVisa will be emailed to your email. It's as easy as making a Facebook account.

Departure

Our flight was scheduled at 5pm from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. So we went from Bandung to the Airport with train. We took the morning train so we wouldn't miss the plane. Everything went well here. But there's something going on..

I noticed that my dad's health had been really unwell. He was looking very tiring. Well yeah i thought that he was sick, but i thought that he was not that sick and still fit enough to go to Turkey. But as we arrived in Gambir station, my dad said something. Here it goes.

"Aduh cape euy, kayanya bapak gabisa kalo ikut ke Turki." My dad said.
It turned out that my dad has a chronical gastritic.
"Gimana atuh? ke rumah sakit dulu? Keburu ga?" My mom said.
"Gaakan keburu kayanya. Yaudah berdua aja ke Turkinya, bapak gaakan ikut." My dad said.
"Eh jangan, mamah khawatir kalo bapak sendirian. Kalau semuanya bertiga gajadi aja gimana?" My mom replied.
"Oh..Yaudah atuh kamu aja sendirian ke Turki berani ga? Daripada hangus semuanya tiketnya?" My dad said as he pointed at me.

And i was like, damn. It's always been my dream to do solo traveling, but solo traveling to Turkey for 7 days? Man, it's so challenging. Well, yeah of course i said yes! yes yes yes! I've never been so excited but scared at the same time in my life. That's how i got into solo traveling to Turkey.

So i said goodbye to my parents, took my luggage and left the Gambir station to the airport. I took the bus to the airport. I remembered that i was alone inside the bus, and waving to my parents, knowing that i would be all alone in a country far away from home for a week. Damn, so exciting and challenging.



So i checked in in the airport, and got my ticket.

Long transit ahead!

Etihad Airways

So after i checked in, i got into my plane. And i was so impressed by how good this plane is. I'm gonna tell you why this plane is so awesome! (This is not an endorse though haha)



I boarded the Economy Class, but the meal was really good, something that you'd only get on Indonesia's business or first class meal.


And the in-plane entertainment was really good. You can watch movies, live tv, play Angry Birds.

The movies were so up-to-date! I watched Venom, Ocean 8 and many other movies during the flight
There was even a live tv with international channels! isn't this cool?
And a wifi, if you're rich enough to afford them.
You can also play Angry Birds
There's a live-cam feed pointing downwards of the plane. Dude, this is the future!
This isn't important but, the warm water did actually warm, even when the plane was airborne!
Low battery? No problem!

That's all about the plane. I got 8 hours of flight to Abu Dhabi, alone.. My introvert side had never felt so happy, haha.

Transit at Abu Dhabi

I arrived at Abu Dhabi Airport at 11.30pm. I was damn tired, i wanted to book a room at the airport hotel but it was fully booked. Finally i found a place to sleep. I couldn't sleep properly but, what can i do?
The airport
Finally arrived!

It wasn't a good sleep but what can i do?
Anyway Abu Dhabi Airport was good, but not as good as Changi ofc. Here are some photos :

Airport Interior

Not so good eh?
The bus


Arrived at Istanbul



At 9.30am in the morning, i had another flight from Abu Dhabi to Istanbul. I finally arrived in Istanbul at 2pm. Tips, when you arrive in Istanbul Airport, buy Istanbulkart. It's a card for all public transport (Bus, Tram, Metro). It costs 5TL (around 15k rupiah).


The Istanbul Ataturk Airport

My hotel was located in Fatih region, near two major landmarks, Hagia Sophia and Sultanahmet mosque, 20km from the airport. I took the metro and then tram to get there. It was very simple and convenient, and tourists-friendly too. I wish Indonesia could have the MRT soon (soon in Jakarta).





Full of people


Man i thought traffic only exist in Indonesia

Well i took the metro from the airport to Aksaray, and then i took the tram. When i first arrived in Istanbul, i really wasn't that excited. Until i got out from the metro..
Man, now i felt like i'm in Europe!

This is the view right when i got out from the metro station
When i got out from the underground metro station, i was mesmerized by the view. I swear, it looks better in picture! I mean, you really dreamed to go to Europe, and you finally see european style-buildings! You can imagine how excited i was! like, Lost in Europe, you know right! Haha.

But, it was also my first experience to go to four-seasoned country. And it was really, really damn cold! Man it feels like inside a refrigerator. It was 2°C, and i hadn't put my coat! such a big mistake. And i was lost too, i had to ask to strangers for direction to Tram Station. Luckily people speak english here and he showed me a way to the tram station.

After a long trip, finally i arrived at my hotel. It was a nice hotel really (Star Holiday Hotel Istanbul), with a good price (500k rupiah/night) considering its place.

So Picturesque, right?
The Hotel Room
This is The Hotel
The view just outside my hotel
Shops outside my hotel
Soo that's the end of day one. I finally rested after 25 hours of flight with transit.

First day in Istanbul

I woke up at 5am at the next day. But i realized, damn it's still dark! Then i checked the muslimpro for prayer schedule, and i realized that the Subuh prayer here is at 7am. And i was like, i regretted that i woke up so early, and so then i slept again.

Sultanahmet Mosque

After waking up again at 7am, i went to the nearest landmark, the Sultanahmet Mosque to pray and did sightseeing.

The Mosque
You can see the Mosque from right outside the hotel.
There's something unique about Subuh praying in jama'ah here. Usually in Indonesia, after Subuh adzan has been announced, we immidiately do the prayer. But not in here. Here, after the adzan, the Imam did some dzikir first for like 45 minutes. Right, you have to wait for 45 minutes before doing the jama'ah prayer. I was confused really, but when i googled about this, i found an explaination that it's their custom to do such thing.

I had to wait so long..
The mosque at dawn.
And one more tips, if you're traveling here in winter, it is advised to do the ablution at the hotel. Because there's no warm water for ablution in the mosque. Seriously though. I did the ablution at the mosque and man, it was very very cold! i couldn't feel my hand after i did the ablution!
The Mosque Interior (The mosque was in a renovation so i couldn't see the dome)
Interior
Another interior
View from the entrance

One of some challenges i faced when i travelled alone was, finding somebody who would take a picture of you. Yeah, especially when you're shy, well i'm shy. So i waited like 15 minutes to identify which person would i ask for help to take a pic of me. And you have to speak in English, of course. Unless you find some Indonesian tourists if you're lucky enough.
Took me long enough before i got this pic..
It took lot of guts to get this photo! haha
Well after i had gone to the mosque, i went back to my hotel. I took the shower then i did breakfast. And i was really stunned by the view from the breakfast room. Very amazing for a 500k rupiah/night hotel. Here's the view :
I took this literally from the window of the breakfast room
Tea + View = Priceless
Egg and stuffs


Hagia Sophia Museum

Hagia Sophia
After i did my breakfast, i went to Hagia Sophia Museum. The entrance was 60TL (Around 180k rupiah). But on the way to Hagia Sophia, i met a lot of cute cats! Really, the cats here are very cute! I love Istanbul!


Isn't he a cutie? :3
Whatcha looking at?
Another fat cat
Befor i enter Hagia Sophia, i looked for people passing by again, to take a pic of me! this time i was kinda get used to it haha.


Some facts about this site, The Hagia Sohpia was built in 6th century by the Roman Empire as a Catolic Church. But when Constantinopel fell to the hand of Ottoman Empire in 1453 by Sultan Mehmed II, it became a Mosque. And it was turned into a museum in 1930. That's why the interior of this site has both Catholic and Islamic decorations. Here are the interiors :

The masterplan

The history of the site

The map

Entrance
It has both Islamic and Catholic Decoration
A mimbar with Catholic decoration
7th Century Marble
Marble Door
Please don't be bored with pics of me haha
Another 7th century marble
Some decor
The crowd
Window
View from the Window

Bosphorus Strait Cruise

After i had done the tour in the museum, i went to take a Bosphorus Strait Cruise. The price was around 120 TL. Well actually it could be cheaper, you could just go to the Eminonu port just north of Faith region, but i didn't know so i ordered a Bosphorus Strait Tour. I was picked up from my hotel to the port.

But before that, i tasted Turkish Doner Kebab for the first time! but it was disappointing, really. The price was 10TL, but it wasn't worth it. Tips : Don't buy Turkish Doner Kebab near Landmarks. Buy them at a restaurant. Because usually Turkish Doner Kebab from foodstalls near landmarks are usually tasteless.


Looks good but doesn't taste that good
The cruise interior
The cruise exterior

The Bosphorus Bridge, Connecting European Continent (left) and Asian Continent (right)

Another Bosphorus Bridge photo. You can see Hagia Sophia Mosque in the far right.

Dock


A mosque


Castle

It was really cold and windy

The city

This is a high school i think, i forgot

Kempinski Hotel Istanbul
The cruise lasted for one and a half hour, and then i was transported back to my hotel. Tips : If you want to take a Bosphorus Strait Cruies tour, do it on a sunny day! Otherwise you'll get a not-so-nice view like i experienced

Hunger Games

Well after i did the tour, i took a shower and rested in my hotel. A little bit intermezzo here. That day was on 6th January of 2019. And also on that day, was just the day before the beginning of Hunger Games. Hunger Games is a custom in ITB where you have to choose classes you want to take. You choose your classes online, and you have to choose them fast because otherwise you will not get the classes that you want cause it'll be full. And most of the times, the server is overload. It begin at midnight (00.00 o'clock). Yeah, i did the Hunger Games abroad in Turkey! But no worries though, Turkey's timezone is 4 hours behind Indonesian timezone, so i don't have to stay the night like other people did haha. I did it succesfully, yeah!

After doing the Hunger Games, i went for dinner. I ate Kofte in a restaurant (Sultanahmet Koftecisi) just next door of my hotel. Kofte is like a meatball. It costed 22 TL. Well it tastes good, worth for the price.

A restaurant that has been estabilished since 1920

Can you imagine, having dinner alone, in a country far away?
The interior, look historical enough.
Well that's for the day one~

My first Snow Experience!

I woke up at 7am on that day (not at 5am anymore). It was a really cold morning. I almost did not want to go outside to the mosque at that morning, because it was so cold, even on the inside of the hotel. But as i opened the hotel door to go outside, i found myself mesmerized by the view.
Snow!
Yeah, it was snowing outside! Wow, it was the first time in my life i experienced snow. You know, i was really really excited. I danced around like a bopung (Bocah Kampung), you know, haha. And yes you can do it because you're all alone in another country. Who cares if somebody notices you, right? haha.
Seeing the snow for the first time was a truly magical experience
Wrote my name in snow haha
Hagia Sophia in Snow

Meeting Indonesian Students

There was something interesting happened after i did the Subuh prayer. So after Subuh prayer, i stayed for a while inside the mosque. I noticed some Indonesian guys in my shaf. They looked like the same age as i am. Cause i didn't want to be disturbed & wanted to stay alone, i moved myself to the corner of the mosque, away from them. But then they approached me, and asked me :
"Mas, dari Indo juga ya?"
"Iya nih. Dari Indo juga"
"Sama siapa? Bareng tur?"
"Engga nih, sendirian aja.."

And they were kinda amazed that i was solo traveling. Well if i were them, i would be amazed too.
So they asked me to join with them, well so i joined them! Now i'm not solo traveling anymore (not sure if i should be happy or not hahaha). Soo i continued my trip with them, and i moved to their hotel.
Hippodrome

But before i moved to their hotel, i spent my last time being alone. I went to Istanbul Hippodrome. The Hippodrome of Constantinople was a circus that was the sporting and social centre of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. It was build during the Byzantine Empire at the 4th century.
Built in 4th century, this monument is still standing
The explaination
And i met cats again!
Soo cute haha
The surroundings of Hippodrome. So picturesque

After going to Hippodrome, i went to have lunch. And then i went Topkapi Palace. But it was closed. So i went to Istanbul Adana Market Instead.

The Topkapi Palace Entrance

Adana Market, the second biggest Market in Istanbul
After going to those places, i went to my new hotel. I was so tired because i had to walk and drag my suitcase to my new hotel (About 800meter from my old hotel). I wanted to go search for dinner but i was so damn tired, so i slept instead. I slept at 8pm, right after Isya Prayer.

New Day, New Hotel

The view from my new hotel window
Soo i woke up at the next day, in a new hotel. This hotel is cheaper (300k rupiah/night - Sultan Inn's Hotel) and it has two beds & breakfast included.

Meeting a guy from Uyghur, China

So i had my breakfast there. When i had a breakfast, i met a middle-aged man, he asked me where i was from, so i replied that i was from Indonesia. Then we chatted. I found out that he was from Uyghur, China. Yeah, the conflict region of Uyghur. He was studying in Malaysia, but his Visa was revoked because of Najib Razak's scandal, so he moved to Turkey. He told me things about Uyghur, China. Here are those things, summarized :

  • 90% of the Mosques in Uyghur are destroyed by the Chinese Govt.
  • The remaining Mosques are still there, but people don't dare to go there.
  • People have to go to Concentration Camp, where they are re-"educated". They're forced to learn communism, in a harsh way. He said that people there had to choose "Allah is Great" or "Communism is Great". If someone choose "Allah is Great", then that person would have to go to jail for 5 years. Muslims are also forced to eat Pork & Alcohol.
  • It is almost impossible to do protest because the goverment is so trick. Even the ownership of a knife is restricted. You have to go to the police station if you want to buy a cooking knife. Even knives in restaurants are chained to the tables

Well i can't confirm his stories were true but if it's true, then i am very sorry about the Muslims in there. I pray and i hope that they can gain freedom immidiately. It is a violation of human rights. We have to do something with this.

Going to Grand Bazaar of Istanbul

Soo after having my breakfast, i went to Grand Bazaar to go shopping for souvenirs! yay! This Bazaar is the biggest market in Istanbul, and was built on 15th century.
Soo symetrical, right?
Turkish Porcelain
Turkish Herbal Tea
And here it is! The famous Turkish Delights
Turkish Delights is like Indonesian Mochi, but it is filled with various stuffs like nutella, chocolates, cinnamon, fruits and stuffs. You have to try it if you go to Turkey! the price was 240k rupiah/kg. But it was really worth it!

After that i went to have lunch. With Chicken Kebab. It was around 40k rupiah, and it was okay. but the rice tasted weird haha.

Kebab, with rice!
After that i went to Istanbul ├╝niversitesi. But i didn't go inside, just taking picture at the gate haha.

Perfect shot!

Istiklal Caddesi


Istiklal Caddesi or Istiklal street is a one kilometer long street where you can walk around and shop. It's such a beautiful street, kinda like Braga Street in Bandung. You can find many things here, but mostly branded fashion items. And it's cheap!

This is where the first image of this blog was taken!

The tram
Crowded street
#Hypebeast lol
Turkish Local Brand
LC Waikiki is a Turkish Local Brand, here you can find good products with cheap prices. I bought a  nice european style sweater just for 100k rupiah.
The best picture of me all time. Somebody please submit me to ITB Hitz, for real though! haha
I did my second lunch there, with my friends. The restaurant was also beautiful, but i only bought soup because it was all expensive in there haha.
Beautiful restaurant. You can guess how expensive it was
This was the cheapest food, soup, at 21k rupiah
After that i went to Galata Tower, a historical tower built in 1348, now it's a restaurant & museum. But i didn't go inside because the line was soo long.
The Galata Tower
After going to Galata Tower, we went to Meikarta.
Kidding, it's a logo of Istanbul Metro haha.

From the Galata Tower, we went to my hotel, then we went to have dinner. Did i eat kebab again? No, now we went to Malaysian Restaurant.
Bihun with Teh Tarik! 50k rupiah
This restaurant was also visited by Mr. Dahlan Iskan, just 5 days before we went there (look at this article https://www.disway.id/r/319/pancingan-aceh-istanbul).

Having our belly filled, we then got some sleep in the hotel.

Last Day in Istanbul & Going to Bursa

There were not so many things to do left in Istanbul. Well we could go to Museums but it was expensive. So we decided to go to Bosphorus Bridge. Here are some photos :

You can see Sultanahmet Mosque from here
Me with the strait background
There are seafood restaurants beneath the bridge
The other side of the Bridge
Galata Tower is visible from here

Journey to Bursa

We went to Bursa with a bus. With a bus company called Pamukkale. Bursa was around 100km from Istanbul, the journey took 3 hours. The bus ticket price was 150k rupiah.
There were TV on each seat in the bus!
Arrived at Bursa city. It was like 0 degree there. Very cold..


We ordered a Domino Pizza when we arrived there. I swear, it's the best Pizza i've ever eaten. You have to try it if you ever go to Turkey. (Sucuk Sever Pizza).
Best Pizza in the World. 100k rupiah.

Bursa City

Bursa = Bandung
So we arrived at Bursa City. We booked a hotel called Kadi Konagi Thermal Hotel. The price was 1.4million rupiah/night (Expensive eh?). But it was a 4 bed room, so it was worth it.

The Room
The Hotel from the Outside
The view from my room was beautiful. Here it is :
You can see city lights

View in the morning
Panorama View

Skiing at Mount Uludag

Bursa city is known for Mount Uludag, a common place for skiing.
Mount Uludag
I was damn excited to go there! I mean, first snow, now i was going to go skiing! Wow, such an experience right?

But...
The mountain was closed.. due to strong winds.
Soo i went to the Zoo instead.. :'(
Bad weather :(
On my way to the Zoo
Feels like in Cimahi, right?
But sometimes, it feels like in Korea

So i was kinda disappointed, of course. But as i got to the zoo, my dissapointment was cured. I was amazed by how gorgeous the zoo was!
This has to be the most gorgeous Zoo i've ever visited
Feeling like in Game of Thrones
The dome

Pink birds, um i mean, flamingos!

Cutie little red pandas!

Cats! i mean, small leopard

Real-life sized teddy bear? No it's a real bear!

Australian Monkey

This Kangoroo must be tired to travel from Australia all the way to Turkey

Mr. Kowalski and Friends

Red-booty baboons!

King Julien and his Servants

This is a horse stable. So beautiful

Llama

Dinner in Bursa

After having enough seeing animals, we had a dinner, in Atmosfer Restaurant Bursa. It was a good restaurant, with reasonable price (30k-50k rupiah). I tried Pide (Turkish long Pizza), Iskender (Minced meat, but it tasted like Siomay, really!), Kunefe (Turkish Fried Dessert) and Trileci (Turkish cheesecake). I also tried Ayran (Turkish salted yoghurt, that Turkish people drink this everytime after they eat, and it tasted so yuck, i hate it).

Pide tasted like Pizza, Iskender tasted like Siomay, Kunefe tasted too sweet i think, it's like a mozarella cake,but it's deep fried so it was a bit weird, but it's good i think. Trileci was the best dessert, it tasted like a smooth cheesecake.

Feeling like in Bandung, right?
Me and the gangs
Iskender
Kunefe
Pide
Trileci
Ayran, the salted yoghurt
I also went to see the city skyline. It was not far from the restaurant. The wind was very strong, i almost dragged by the wind (Seriously, it's that strong!).

Some historical cannons
Skyline
The wind is so strong, it's hard to hold your phone
We went to our hotel afterward, and get some nice sleep.

Last day in Bursa

On our last day in Bursa, we planned to go to Mt. Uludag again, but it was still closed :'( i guess that's a sign that i should visit Turkey again someday haha.

Even in Bursa, there were still cats everywhere!

Anyway, we moved to my friend's dorm from the hotel. We ate some good Turkish chicken fillet.
Turkish Chicken Fillet, 50k Rupiah
The dormitories
After that, i said goodbye to my friends, the Indonesian students. There was some kind of mixed feelings i experienced. I just known them for several days, but i already felt like there's a connection between me and them. I hope we can meet again, someday. But i was kinda happy that i was alone again now haha. I took the same Pamukkale bus to Istanbul, then i stayed in a hotel near the airport. The hotel was surprisingly good! just for 300k rupiah/night (Sahra Otelicik). Here are the photos :

Two beds

Nice Interior

Me trying the 100k rupiah sweater. Looks good right?

Last day in Turkey

I never thought that 7 days would be so short! I really wanted to extend my stay in Turkey, because i haven't experienced much of Turkey. But what can i do, uni was starting already, in two days. Anyway on my last day, i went to the mall to buy some, chocolates!
Let's go to the Mall!

Timezone?

The famous subtle art..

I'm gonna miss this view

My last kebab in Istanbul (This is the best so far tbh)
I flew to Abu Dhabi after that, i passed the mountains near Tigris River, with stunning views.
Snowy Mountains

It looks better in reality
Arriving at Abu Dhabi again
I did an overnight transit again. Funny thing was, Mount Uludag was opened when i was already in Abu Dhabi, and my friends went to Uludag :(. Then i flew back to Indonesia..
Sunset somewhere over the sky of Indian Ocean

Epilogue

And that's it! That was my journey. I hope you enjoyed it, thanks for reading my post, i know it's a long long post but, i hope this could give you some insight about Turkey.
I thank to all my Indonesian students who had accompanied me during my trip (Ravez, Aad, Fakhri, Joe, Bima, Irkan, Adam, Tamima, Cantika, and other friends i didn't mention), i hope the best for your studies.

And for your information, here are some rough count on how much money i spent :
Round trip ticket - 8 million Rupiah
Hotel for 7 days - 2.1 million Rupiah
Foods for 7 days - 1.5 million Rupiah
Transportation for 7 days : 1 million Rupiah
Souvenirs : 1 million Rupiah
Total Cost : 12.6 million Rupiah ~ 13 million Rupiah
Not that expensive right? Yeah, Turkey is not so expensive, even compared to Singapore. I highly recommend Turkey, because the food is halal is cheap, the sceneries are beautiful and people speak english. If you want to ask something, just hit the comment!