Two years I lived in Turkey in the 1980s. I returned to Istanbul five years later, but I hadn't been back to Kusadasi, the coastal town where I lived the longest. I was able to spend a few days this year in Istanbul, which is one my favorite cities. Orhan Parmuk's memories of Istanbul are worth reading if you visit the city. Although I was there only for a short time, five years ago I could sense the sadness that hangs over Istanbul. But this time it seems to have vanished. Istanbul may have found its place in Europe, even though you see more women wearing long black cloaks and head scarves now than you did five years ago. They could have been visiting istanbul to cappadocia by plane, which is the majority of Turkey.
You should know that Istanbul has two airports. One is the Ataturk Airport and the other is the SAW on the Asian side. You can book a shuttle service online if you plan on landing in Istanbul. Only pay once you reach your destination. Once you have arrived, you will be met by a representative and taken to the minibus that will transport you to your hotel. You pay the driver at your destination. The cost is 10 euros per person. You will be given an impromptu guided tour through the Bosporus, so that you don't have to purchase one of the tour companies' "Bosporus tours". The river is shown from both sides and you are informed what it is.
Sultanahmet is the best place to stay. This is because it is affordable. 65 euros per night is for two people to share a double or twin bedroom with an ensuite bathroom. You can find Saint Sophia street at the back the famous Saint Sophia church, which is now a museum. It is also close to the Arasta bazaar. There are a variety of hotels along that street, all with the same room price.
Sultanahmet is the place where Saint Sophia and Blue mosque have faced each other for centuries. These buildings are also iconic, as is the Topkapi Palace, which is close by them. You will find a park separating the two museums. As you approach the church, which is said to be the oldest in Christendom you will see tram-lines and modern trams that will take you to either the Grand Bazaar and the Bosporus. Near the tram stop, you'll see the Mosaic Cafe, which offers fusion food. It is a mix of East and West, which is Istanbul's ultimate identity. Turn right, walk past the cafe, and you'll find a cul de sac that houses the Sah (pronounced shah), a bar, bistro, and restaurant. This is where you can enjoy excellent Turkish food, and live music from the Istanbulls on Tuesdays and Fridays. It's a nice place to relax and a great escape from the bustle of the city.
Although you will find the most affordable souvenirs in Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, such as carpets, it used to be cheaper to purchase them in small shops in Istanbul. However, this is no longer true. You are expected to negotiate - don’t accept the first price.
You can take a bus to Bodrum and Kusadasi if you get tired of Istanbul. Tickets may also be booked through any travel agency. The nearest tour agency is the best place to book as they are the pick-up point for the shuttle service that will take you to Aksaray. You can take the bus over the Bosporus to Kusadasi, which reduces the travel time. However, you'll be told it takes 12 hours. The bus is comfortable enough to sleep in, and you can get refreshments and food at any stop along the route for 34 euros (70 Turkish Liras). There are no toilets aboard the bus so it stops every two hours. It takes approximately twelve hours to get from Bodrum.