Friday, April 12, 2013

Day 1- Istanbul, Here I Come

Day 1

Our journey to Turkey has been planned 6 months ago.  We joined with a tour group of 60 pax.  At 7 pm, we rented a van to dispatch 8 of us to KLIA.  This trip is a 10 days trip to Turkey.

Aircraft MH0030 took nearly 10 hours flying from KUL Kuala Lumpur International Airport to TAV Ataturk International Airport.

After cleared the CIQ, our local group leader, Puan Rozana under Al Hijjrah Vacation Sdn Bhd introduced us our tour guide. His name is Ali.  He is a nice, knowledgeable and friendly guy.  

 In Turkey, besides Turkish Lira (TRY), they also accept USD and Euro.  The exchange rate for the USD to TL is 1.775 and Euro to TL is 2.275. And USD to Euro is 1.287.  For ringgit Malaysia (MYR), we need MYR 1.70 to get 1 TRY.

The group used 2 busses and our first journey was to Bursa.   See the map and note the arrow

To go to Bursa, we took a ferry similar to Penang ferry to cross the Marmara Sea.  It took about 30 minutes to reach the other side. 

In Turkey, it was understand that each tourist need to undergo and enjoy enjoy the “Turkish Attractions” such as the Turkish Delight, Turkish Underground, Turkish Bath, Turkish Balloon… and it is always Turkish by the first name.

Each day, Ali will teach us Turkish word. The first day he taught us the word “Mar-hah-bah” which means “Hello” in Turkish.

After 5 hours journey, we stopped near Celebi Mehmed Social Complex and Green Tomb for solat and lunch.

Done with the lunch, we headed to the Grand Mosque known also as Ulu Cami in Bursa.  Bursa is the third largest city in Turkey after Istanbul and Ankara.  Ulu Cami is the landmark of early Ottoman architecture.

Next to Ulu Cami, there got this unique bazaar called Koza Han known as Silk Cocoon Market with shops selling some stuff.   Look alike Central Market.

Rozana, the group leader

Done for today, everybody looked very tired.  We went to stay at Bala Hotel.  

1. Today tips – (1) better bring enough Turkish Lira or USD for better exchange rate.  Most of the shops accept USD instead of Euro.

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