My husband and I are traveling to Turkey and staying in Istanbul for 2 days before we take our Mediterranean cruise. We will have been traveling for 20 hours by the time we land. Does anyone have any advice regarding with dealing with jet lag? Just want to make the most of our brief time there. (We leave Canada at 11:25 am and arrive 20 hours later in Istanbul at 4:50 pm).
Whatever you do, don't go to the Grand Bazaar right away. It's sensory and visual overload and you might end up with a bunch of stuff you wouldn't have bought if you had more sleep. On the first day, do something mellow, like just strolling (Gulhane Park by Topkapi Palace is lovely for just taking it easy), eating, maybe taking a Bosphorus Cruise if you're not too tired, and just easing into the city slowly. It's a very busy, dense city so just give yourself a day to relax a bit. I would say try to steer clear from shopping because it takes a lot of energy to keep saying "no" over and over to salesmen/touts. When I went there and had terrible jetlag, it was all I could do to keep awake after dinner. After the first night, I was feeling great and ready to explore.
I agree with Agnes, no shopping with jet lag/fatigue!
A stroll through the Topkapi place grounds, or to the Hippodrome, would make a nice walk. If the Underground Cistern is open, you could visit that, but it's rather dark inside.
You are arriving at a good time of day as far as I am concerned. I've not been to Istanbul so I don't know how long it will take to get from the airport to your hotel. You may just have time for a nice dinner, stay up til 9 or so and go to bed. Do have some snacks and/or water available in case you wake up way before breakfast is served!
Laughing at the advice not to shop with jet lag! I will take that under advisement!
Here are some good tips from Huffington Post..nothing revolutionary, but still helpful (for example, being in the dark cistern may not help your jetlag at all, so that's something to consider). I think when you're really tired, your senses and ability to reason are really impaired and it's very easy to be taken advantage of, especially by some aggressive folks (taxi drivers, touts, money exchange, etc). People sometimes overestimate their (ideal) activity levels upon landing and what they can physically muster, so it's better to be conservative and do less than more. I stand by the "no shopping until awake and sane" motto unless we're talking very small value items. Istanbul is one giant bazaar, the shopping opportunities are almost endless.
Interesting article! I did not know that about light in AM or PM based on which way you are flying.
Thank you all. I see that planning ahead according to direction and time zones is key. That article is invaluable! thanks!
Totally agree about not visiting the Grand Bazaar first thing. Personally I'd take a stroll along the sea front, outside the city's wall to Gulhane Park entrance then enter the park from there. You'll probably see your ship docked. Fresh air will do you good.
A no shopping rule makes sense. Walking through Gulhane Park in the evening is lovely. You could also visit the Blue Mosque and avoid the heat of the day. There are always many people about in the park by the mosque which makes the evening festive. Restaurants are not hard to find. Enjoy!