While planning your trip to Turkey do not forget to check your passport if it is valid for at least 90 days! For tourist visas (issued at border gates), there is no need to apply in advance or to fill in any forms. If you are flying to Turkey, you will buy your visa at the Turkish airport on arrival. You will see the visa desk, situated just before passport control. You must buy your visa, which will be stamped on your passport by the official, before you join the queue for passport control. The visa cost must be paid in cash. Visas are multiple entries and are valid for three months. Each passport-holder, including infants, must purchase a visa. With tourist visas you will not have the right to take up paid or unpaid employment or to reside, or to study (including student exchange program) or to establish yourself in business in Turkey.
Currency & foreign exchange:
The New Turkish Lira is available in notes and coins. The exchange rate is determined daily; several banks and exchange offices are available. Traveler's check can be cashed in most banks. Hotels and many shops and restaurants accept foreign currency. There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency that travelers can bring cash. Hotels, restaurants and shops accept all major credit cards. (American Express, VISA, MasterCard/Euro Card, Diners Club)
The official language is Turkish. English and German are widely spoken in major cities and tourist resorts, and you will find that most Turks welcome the opportunity to practise their language skills and will go out of their way to be helpful. Foreign visitors who attempt to speak even a few words of Turkish, however, will definitely be rewarded with even warmer smiles.
Some useful words and phrases:
Hello··· Merhaba (mare-hah-bah)
Good Morning··· Günaydin (goon-eye-din) (said on meeting)
Good Day··· iyi günler (ee-yee goo -n-ler) (said on meeting or parting)
Good evening··· iyi akşamlar (ee-yee ak-sham-lar) (said on meeting or parting)
Good night·· iyi geceler (ee-yee gedge -e-ler) (said on meeting or parting)
Please··· Lutfen (lute-fen)
Thanks·· Tesekkürler (tesh-e-kiir- ler)
Yes·· Evet (e-vet)
No··· Hayir (higher)
I want··· istiyorum (ist-ee-your-um)
When?··· Ne zaman? (nay za-man)
Today·· Bugün (boo-goon)
Tomorrow·· Yarın (yah-run)
Where?·· Nerede (ne're-de)
My name is.......·· ismim......(is-mim)
Water·· su (sue)
Milk·· slit (suit)
Beer··· bira (beer-a)
Wine··· Şarap (shar-ap)
Tea·· cay (ch-eye)
Coffee·· kahve (car-vay)
Food··· yemek (ye-meck)
Be careful!·· Dikkat!
1· birr (beer)
2· icy (icky)
3· üç (ouch)
4· dört (dirt)
6· altı (al-ter)
8· sekiz (seck-is)
9· dokuz (dock-uz)
10· on (on)
Days of the Week:
Sunday·· Pazar. There are a number of phrase books and language guides, some with audio cassettes or CD's, which are widely available.
ID Cards and Passports:
Turks have compulsory ID cards, which they must carry with them at all times. Foreigners are also expected to carry such ID with them, which means that you should keep your passport with you at all times. In case you loose your passport, you should immediately contact your country's embassy or consulate in Turkey.
There are two types of police in Turkey - civil police and military police, gendarme. In many areas you will see that there is the one or the other, and that both fulfil the same function. In some places, there are also specialist tourist police. If you need to report a crime you should go to the nearest police station to where the crime occurred. In touristic areas there will usually be someone available, who speaks English or you can always request a translator. You will usually be asked to submit and sign a statement. It is advisable to request a copy of any relative document in case you need it at a later stage.
To dial abroad from Turkey, dial the international code 00 followed by the country code, and then the number including the local area code, but removing the first 0. For example, a London number with an area code of 0207 would be dialed from Turkey as 00 44 207 followed by the number. To dial Turkey from abroad dial the international code 00 followed by the country code, 90 and then the number including the local area code, but removing the first 0. For example, a Fethiye number with an area code of 0252 would be dialled from abroad as 00 90 252 followed by the number.
There are public phone booths which accept cards or tokens (jeton) which can be bought from post offices (PTT) or local shops. Some public phone booths also accept credit cards. Network coverage is extremely good and it is very rare to be in an area where your mobile does not work.
Time Zone: Turkey is 7 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, and 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
Mobile Phone: A mobile (cell) phone is very useful in Turkey. You could use your own phone in Turkey via international rooming for one month. However, it is necessary to register the mobile phone in order to use it for longer terms or with a SIM card bought from a Turkish network operator. Unregistered phones will be blocked and unable to receive or make calls after a certain period of time. There is no charge levied for this registration, and no customs documents are required. Take your mobile phone and your passport to a shop of a Turkish Network Operator (Avea, Turkcell or Telsim). Buy a SIM card, and the clerk will register the SIM card's mobile phone number with your handset's IMEI number, and with your personal information.
Emergency / Ambulance 112
International Operator 115
Directory Assistance 118
Reversed Charge Calls 131
Fire Department 110
The preferred means of transport in Turkey is by coach and the air-conditioned intercity coach services are comfortable, fast and inexpensive. Each town has a bus station (otogar), where each bus company has its own office, where you can make reservations and buy tickets. Alternatively, you can buy tickets from local travel agencies.
Turkish post offices are easily recognizable by the yellow and black 'PTT' signs in front of them. Major post offices are open from 08.30-17.30 Monday to Friday. In addition to selling stamps and telephone tokens and cards, some post offices will also exchange cash as well as international postal orders and travellers' cheques. There is also an express postal service (APS) operating to 90 countries for letters, documents and small packages. A wide variety of special stamps are available in all PTT centers for philatelists.
Working Hours: Offices and banks are generally open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM from Monday to Friday, with a break between 12:00 to 1:30 PM
The Marmara, Aegean and Mediterranean coasts display a typical Mediterranean climate of hot summers and mild winters. July and August are the hottest months with temperatures around 29°C. The humidity is a little high during summer in these regions. Temperatures increase a few degrees when traveling to the south and water temperatures also become warmer. The swimming season is from June to September along the Marmara and North Aegean coasts, while it is from April to October on the South Aegean and Mediterranean coasts.The Black Sea Region has a moderate climate; the summers are warm and winters are mild. In this region the rainfalls are heavier than in any other region.
The swimming season in the Black Sea Region is from June to early September and the weather is not so dependable. There is quite a difference between the coastal regions and the inland regions which are at higher altitudes. The climate reaches its extremes in central and eastern Anatolia with hot, dry summers when the temperatures may reach 42°C, and cold, snowy winters. Spring and autumn are best for sightseeing and traveling.
Those who use 110 V or any other than 220 V at home need a converter as Turkey has 220 V power system. Please check your electric appliances before you use them in your hotel room. Only the five stars deluxe properties would have converters so it is advised to bring one with you in case it is needed.
Although tap water is chlorinated and, therefore, safe to drink, it is recommended that you consume bottled water, which is readily and cheaply available.
Taxis: Available at taxi stands or hailed on the street. All are yellow and have meters.
Food matters in Turkey:
Sanitation is taken seriously and strictly controlled in general by the authorities. Those who are vegetarian will be able to find vegetable food or at least omelet which is very popular in Turkey, almost in every town. The Turkish and Ottoman Kitchen is one of the world leading kitchens (Supposed to be the third after the Chinese and French). Dishes are mainly cooked with meat (lamb, chicken and cow -please note that in Turkey pork is not eaten-) and vegetables (Beans, Eggplant, Peppers, Onion, Garlic, Potatoes, Courgette). Rice, macaroni , local specialties made from flour (Pide, Manti, Gozleme, Borek...), sweets (Baklava, Kadayıf, Burma, Sobiyet ...) are all widely eaten. Most of the restaurants display their food in windows, or waiters can bring the samples if you request.
Weights and Measures
1 inch = 2.54 centimeters
1 centimeter = 0.3937 inches
1 yard = 0,9144 meters
1 meter = 1.0936 yards
1 mile = 1,6093 kilometers
1 kilometer = 0.6214 miles
1 pound = 0,4536 kilograms
1 kilogram = 2.2046 pounds
At various establishments like hotels, restaurants, Turkish baths, barbers and hairdressers, tipping at a rate of 5% - 15% of the total is common. Taxi and 'dolmus' drivers on the other hand, do not expect tips or even rounded fares.
Five times a day, the 'müezzin' calls the faithful to prayer in the mosque. Before entering a mosque, Muslims wash themselves (face, hands and foot) and remove their shoes. Foreign visitors should also remove their shoes and show the respect they would have to any other house of worship and avoid visiting the mosque during prayer time. Women should cover their heads and arms, and not wear miniskirts. Men should not wear shorts. (In certain famous mosques, overalls are provided for those not suitably dressed.)
For valuable gifts and souvenirs, such as a carpet, proof of purchase is necessary, together with receipts showing that any currency used in its purchase has been legally exchanged. Please note that it is strictly forbidden to export antiques from Turkey. Minerals can only be exported with a special document.