Thursday, 14 July 2016

Turkey Part 1: From Muscat to Istanbul

Those of you who follow me on Instagram (@sidraamjed) know that I went to Istanbul with my sister-in-law ('N') 2 months back. This being our first trip to Turkey, we did all the touristy things, went to all the touristy places but we tried the food that the locals eat, which was incredible by the way (will get to that in the next post)
This trip was amazing in so many ways, first and foremost, it was just me and my sister-in-law, so just a girls' trip. Secondly, leaving behind the blistering heat of Muscat, the gorgeous weather of Istanbul was a welcome change, temperature ranged from 16°C to 22°C throughout our stay. The overall cost of the trip was really cheap as well (Thank you FlyDubai!)

So, for the next posts I will write as much as I can about our trip to the city of two continents!

The whole idea of this trip started in February, when J was just going through his facebook and saw deals from Flydubai. Husband couldn't go because of work. 'N' had some work related thing in Istanbul as well, so this deal came just in time. We booked our flight the very next day.
The cost of per ticket was 89 OMR (24,208 pkr), which was really cheap as compared to the normal fare for Istanbul which range in between 170 to 220 OMR (depending on the airline)


So on 3nd May 2016 we packed our bags and got ready to experience Istanbul!
Our flight was due to depart from Muscat International Airport(MCT) at 12:35 pm and set to arrive at Sabiha Gokcen International Airport at 20:25 pm, with a 3 hour transit at Dubai International Airport(DXB)

Beautiful Oman
In Front of Me
You can see the Burj Khalifa in this picture. Okay, just barely.

3 hour transit time wasn't that bad either, which we spent roaming around the dutyfree shops.
We had lunch (KFC, another very 'healthy' choice)at the Dubai airport. One drawback to travelling with Flydubai is that they dont serve complimentary meals during their flight, which i was quite disappointing with, You can buy the meals in-flight though. I'm always looking forward to meals in a flight, like a kid, seriously!
But we took this in stride considering we were travelling on pennies!
We did have food before we boarded so we were pretty full, and we had a stash of chips too!

The overall experience of travelling with flydubai was above average. The seats were okay, leg space was a little tight, but the seat next to us was empty, so it compensated for that. The staff was just okay thought, my sister-in-law had to literally wait an hour for a bottle of water!

We landed at Sabiha Gokcen Airport at 8:25 pm. After getting our baggage, the first thing we did was get credit for the sim (cousin's sim). The service provider was Turkcell and the package we opted for was 1 GB internet and 30 minutes of international calls for 40 TL (5.300 OMR / 1450 PKR). This took us about an hour.

Enroute Istanbul

Before landing
Sabiha Gokcen International Airport

The hotel we chose was near Taksim Square and the best way to travel from the airport was through Havatas bus service. The bus departs every 30 minutes from right outsie both the airports (Sabiha Gokcen and Attaturk) to designated stops to many parts of the city. You can travel to your hotel by taxi or through a shuttle service that you can book in advance, but they are both pretty expensive.If you're travelling on a budget, like us, than Havatas is the way to go. 

The ticket from the airport to Taksim was 14 TL per person (1.800 OMR/ 508 PKR), which is pretty cheap as compared to the taxis, they charge around 80-100 TL

We did a lot of research on this, and booked our hotel near the Havatas Taksim Square stop.

It was raining when we landed, sight for sore eyes!
The bus took about 1 hour and 15 minutes to reach Taksim Square,. Out hotel was a 5 minute walk away (Thank God for trolley bags!). It did get pretty cold walking in the rain, \but we cme prepared with jackets and umbrellas (which by the way we didn't have the time to open). arrived at the hotel soaking wet! 

Dinner that day was just Pringles and water as it was late, and we were soooooooo tired (the 'o's in my so, making you realize how tired I was. This does not make sense. But please get it?)

So this was the first day!
We were excited for the adventure to begin, tummies full of junk food, reached our hotel in one piece, a good day all in all!

Next post would be our Day 2 in Istanbul, our walk from Istiklal street to the Galata Bridge!
See ya!