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staying in istanbul

We have been offered an opportunity to stay on the Asian side of Istanbul. Most everything we want to see is on the Europe side. Does anyone recommend this or have suggestions on how to easily get to sites from there? Thanks for any input.
We plan to go the first part of October.

Posted by
6699 posts

Absolutely, take the opportunity and make the best of it. The parts of the Asian side I've been to were great for observing local life and checking out the food markets - Kadikoy, Moda, and Uskudar. It is very easy and inexpensive to ferry across the European/ Asian sides (local ferries run all day and well into the night), so there is really no downside. The upside to me was hardly any tourists and mostly locals and lots of young people, esp. in Kadikoy. The fish/veggie market in Kadikoy was worth the trip alone. I would have no reservations staying on the Asian side; I'm assuming you are not staying too far inland, right?

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you for that information Agnes. We will be staying in Moda near the coast. Good to hear about the ferries. Will probably need to get a travel pass or similar, as we were relying on walking if we stayed in the Old City. Do you know if it is hard to figure out the transportation?

Posted by
6699 posts

No, you just need to buy tokens for either the ferry or the tram (in old city or in Moda, which has its own tram) so you'll need small change. I didn't use a pass because it wasn't apparent to me where to buy one (it's called akbil or something like that). Just show up at the station and buy tokens, it's not very difficult. The trams should run every few minutes and they do get packed, so prepare for that. http://wikitravel.org/en/Istanbul

Posted by
11261 posts

I'll be a little contrarian. I don't know the neighborhood where you'd be staying, but we did take a half-day trip to Kadikoy. It was certainly interesting and worthwhile to see, and the boat ride itself was fine, but I wouldn't have wanted to do it every day. That would make me a commuter, which isn't so great for a first visit. While we did not like our hotel in Sultanahmet, we loved staying in that area, as it meant a walk or short tram ride to almost everything we wanted to see. On a repeat visit, staying outside the center would be fine, but not for a first visit (in my opinion). You said you have "an opportunity to stay on the Asian side." If this means that you can stay for free, ignore everything I said above. Free is always good. They are no longer selling new Akbil passes. You can get an Istanbulkart, which is like the Oyster in London. I forget how much it costs, but you buy it, then load it with credit. You get a substantial discount on each fare, and an even greater discount with transfers (while with tokens, you have to buy a new, full priced one every time you change vehicles). I don't know current prices, but just as an example, if you take a boat then the tram, you might pay a total of 3.5 TL with the card, whereas with tokens it might be 6 TL. If you are staying on the Asian side, you will want to get one as soon as possible (it also is much easier than tokens). More fare information: http://www.turkeytravelplanner.com/go/Istanbul/Transport/fares.html

Posted by
820 posts

Hi,
We stayed at an airbnb south of Kadikoy. It was lovely. But for 60 Euros per night you can stay near both the Blue Mosque and the Aya Sophia. Even free...I think the ferry cost 4 or 5 Lire per person per trip. Round trip 10 Lire per person time how ever many of there are of you. Walking around Sultanahmet at night is really worth the price. Stepping out you door and having it all in front of you...priceless. The IstanbulKARD for travel is a really good deal. It is always a bit complicated buying one, but it reduces your cost per ride by 40% or so. wayne iNWI

Posted by
3696 posts

Maybe you can take advantage of the free room for a few nights and then stay near the sights you want to see for a few days. I stayed at Old City Viva (right on the main drag) and it was great. Reasonable, but not elaborate. I was meeting some friends who stayed with someone on the Asia side and they had to travel back and forth each day and I know for them after a few days of it, they did realize it took up a fair amount of time, but they did love staying with the family they knew. I loved being able to just go outside and wander around after a little nap when the weather cooled down. If I had been on the Asia side I would have missed that.

Posted by
295 posts

You don't need to purchase tokens or tickets for any transportation if you purchase an Istanbulkart. It costs 7 lira ($2.50)once and can be charged and recharged with any amount. You can get them at most convenience stores - the small corner stores with colas and chips. Just ask "Istanbulkart?" We stayed 5 weeks in Istanbul this summer and got one the first day. It's OK for all buses, ferries (including to the Asis side), the Pierre Lote fenicular,, the trams, the Tunel - even the ferries to Prince's Island. Can't beat the convenience! Every time you use it the display shows the amount remaining. We shared a card (use it, hand it to the next person).