Ever a city of cultural convergence and commerce, modern Istanbul’s 11 to 12 million annual international visitors can find themselves beckoned into shops and restaurants in their native tongues. There are a great many things to see in Turkey, but for the traveler looking for a truly unique experience, the Grand Bazaar is a feast for the senses. Constructed in the 1450s following the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, the Grand Bazaar is alive with color, smells, and sounds. With over 5000 shops, the market is open from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday, with closures on Sundays and bank holidays. Here are some tips having an optimal shopping experience in the Grand Bazaar, so grab some Turkish Lira (currently 0.36 to the US dollar) and hit the market where the wandering visitor can find everything from fortune telling rabbits, to vibrant textiles, rich spices, and much more.

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 12.52.22 PM

Where to Stay

If you’re looking for a place to stay in the middle of it all, at Niles Hotel Istanbul – Special Class, the rooms have Ottoman style décor, and air conditioning or the DoubleTree by Hilton Istanbul Old Town for modern chic with affordable prices.

Hitting the Grand Bazaar

Upon first entering the Grand Bazaar, expect to immediately see a dozen things you want to buy. It is a rookie mistake to commit to the first eye catching object, so try to refrain from buying the first thing you see. Instead, spend some time walking around and observing many shops (with a smartphone, it’s easy to pin the location to return later) to get an idea of price range and item selection. With some 5,000 shops stretching 60 streets, there is a lot to see. The high domed Cevâhir Bedesten at the market’s center was originally constructed by Sultan Mehmet II as a dedicated area for the trade of textiles. The building still stands, and continues to house some of the market’s most precious objects and antiques. There’s much to see, so consider staying at the Barcelo Saray Hotel for easy return trips.

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 12.53.20 PM

Local Hospitality

Many shopkeepers will offer çay, or tea, to browsing patrons. To refuse is rude, though acceptance at some 16 shops might very well be a bit much. To avoid coming out of an afternoon feeling like a water balloon, politely accept and sip, accepting does not commit the shopper to making a purchase.

Haggling like a Pro

Many Americans are inexperienced with haggling or bargaining, but it is typical in a great many countries around the world. It is common to feel uncomfortable or embarrassed when starting out, but trust us, it can be quite fun and exhilarating once you’ve had some practice and walk out of a transaction with a great price! Vendors will often intentionally inflate prices because they 1) expect patrons to bargain, and 2) generally charge more to tourists. To get a feel for fair prices and how to bargain, it can help to try to inconspicuously observe locals haggling. If the price is wrong, one might try thanking the vendor and moving to leave the shop, at which point, the vendor may counter by asking what price you want. Alternatively, the vendor may walk away, but if you refuse to cave, and the last price was not too far off from reasonable, they may return to resume haggling. It can also be helpful to find two vendors with the same item and play them off one another. While you should be confident and firm while bargaining, keep your tone light and friendly. The business owners often have families to support, so don’t be rude.

When a particular item catches your eye, avoid showing too much interest or enthusiasm, especially if that item is rare as the shop owner will know they have the upper hand as they know you cannot find another vendor with a potentially better price and will stay firm.

If haggling still feels uncomfortable, there will be shops with fixed sticker prices, but expect to pay much more at such establishments.

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 12.53.35 PM

Carpets

No trip to the Grand Bazaar would be complete without shopping for a Turkish carpet. However, this can be quite an expensive process, and it is very difficult to know the value of the prospects. If you want to be safe, try a trusted shop, as many carpets are now manufactured in China and it can be difficult to tell—there is a list of trusted shops here (though it is certainly worth while to visit small shops in the Bazaar). There is a range of materials, like silk or wool; designs, which are specific to the different cultures who hand-make the rugs (the more intricate the pattern, the more expensive); dyes, natural and chemical (natural dyes are less subject to fading, and do so more gracefully than chemical dyes); number of knots per square meter (the more knots, the better made, the more expensive); sizes (prayer rug sized to large).

Visit several carpet shops, where the vendors will treat you to a show of their wares (this can take hours). Do not buy on the first day, but rather, return to your favorite shop after having visited several, getting a sense for colors, patterns, and prices. Always buy handmade rugs. Again, definitely haggle for the price, but do so respectfully and with some humor.

Consider how to get a purchase home—a canvas duffel bag lined with plastic can help protect the textiles, though some shops offer shipping services.

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 12.53.40 PM

Dressing to Local Customs

While foreign visitors are not expected to dress according to local customs, when visiting any of the mosques, one must dress appropriately for admittance.

At the Aya Sofya or Blue Mosque, which are very close to the Grand Bazaar, men must wear long pants, and women must wear cover to mid shins. Women must also don a wrap or pashmina covering their heads. Wraps are supplied at the entrance of the Blue Mosque, free of charge or more stylish choices can be purchased easily in the Grand Bazaar.

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 12.53.27 PM

Dining

A day of haggling can work up an appetite. There are incredible options available to the traveler, but we recommend heading over to the Galata Bridge for an Istanbul fish sandwich. Fishermen catch, grill, and serve their catches fresh on their boats so you can enjoy a delicious, fresh dinner while watching the sunset over the Golden Horn!

  This article was posted on Hipmunk's Tailwind blog by The Hipmunk on November 1st.

Published in Turkey

Turkey is a country that is popular for its glorious history and ancient buildings. If you are looking for a pressure free get-away, this is the privilege spot to arrange your visit. This nation can give you a complete unwinding from the hurrying around of city life. The pleasant scenes, innumerable landmarks, inviting and accommodating local people, rich society and artworks will all make your outing extraordinary.

Hagia Sophia Museum

At the point when talking about chronicled destinations in Turkey, Hagia Sophia Museum is a paramount milestone in this nation. This spot initially started its trip as a congregation and after that was changed over into a Mosque. In any case, now, this verifiable site is operating as a historical center thus it is open for individuals from any religion and society visiting from diverse nations of the world. This sublime game has the attractions of both a congregation and a mosque.

Blue Mosque

An alternate chronicled site that ought to be visited while in Istanbul is the Blue Mosque, which fits in with the seventeenth century. The heavenly construction modelling in this spot will draw in you all things considered. The pale blue shadow that falls in this mosque from the towers and minarets found close is the purpose for the name of this mosque. It's area in the capital city makes it the best vacationer spot in Turkey.

Egyptian Spice Market and Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey

The other incredible spots you can find in Istanbul are the famous Egyptian Spice Market and the Grand Bazaar, Haghia Sophia and Topkapi Palace. These four extraordinary spots define Istanbul. Top pattern spotters call Istanbul "The World's Hippest City" and you will know why when you stroll around Cosmopolitan Istanbul. Find out why Istanbul is a shopping sanctuary by visiting the more than 4000 shops and restaurants around the Egyptian Spice Market and the Grand Bazaar. In the event that building design and workmanship are your strong point, then the 30 million gold tesserae inside Haghia Sophia will clearly flabbergast you. On the off chance that you are a devotee of the Ottoman Empire, then come and visit the Harem and its four patios inside Topkapi Palace.

Ankara

While the amazing sights and experience of Istanbul may overpower you, Turkey's capital Ankara is likewise a spot you ought not to pass without going around the city. Its nearby history goes far over to the Bronze Age with the rise of the Hatti progress. It gloats of a few incredible spots like Ataturk Mausoleum, which is the entombment spot of the Turkish Republic organizer, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. If you need to see a 360 perspective of the city of Ankara, then go on top of a slope where the Citadel of Ankara is superbly arranged. It gloats of a customary structure that serves as a typical structure for the whole city.

Pamukkale

In the matter of Turkey visits, a standout amongst the most visited spots is the Pamukkale. The Crystalline spring waters make it the best spot to visit. It is thought to be the most overall protected chronicled pearls in the nation. Ephesus is an antiquated focus and it is ideal to pick a bundle that has this spot as a part. Cappadocia is an alternate spot to visit and it draws in individuals with its rough structures.

Published in Turkey

Most of the residents of New Zealand live in Auckland and not without reason. Auckland is amazing! You never get bored. Not even when you're on a budget and staying in Auckland. So here the five things you should do for free in Auckland:

The Gallery of Modern Art / Auckland Museum

For culture you have to be in Auckland. Enough museums to visit and the Auckland Museum and The Gallery of Modern Art are even for free. The Auckland Musuem teaches you about the Maoris and the history of New Zealand, plus even has a section about the amazing flora and fauna and information about volcanoes with a real simulation room; how would it feel to experience a real earthquake. Pretty cool!

Auckland Museum

The Gallery of Modern Art is the opposite of the Auckland Museum and focuses more on experimental art. So if you like art with a sharp edge? Than you should certaintly go to the Gallery of Modern Art.

Visit one of the many volcanoes that Auckland has to offer

Yes, Auckland has enough volcanoes to satisfy everyone -- approximately 50! So search for a volcano near you and enjoy the view. Some top volcanoes in Auckland are Mount Eden and One Tree Hill (U2 even wrote a song about this one). You have a beautiful view over the city and even at night it's a nice sight to see with all the lights. And who doesn't like lights, right!

Dive in the nature

Also the big city Auckland has a lot to offer when it comes to nature. Nature here in New Zealand is never far away. Go to Mission Bay to enjoy the sun and the ocean off to Waikere Ranges where you can enjoy a nice walk or a nice "barbie" (barbecue) with your friends. Lot of hiking trails to keep you busy all year long

Discover the harbour

The harbor has a lot to offer and there's a lot to see. Enjoy the beautful blue waters or visit the information center of head for the Wynyard Quarter where you can see amazing, big, luxurious yachts.

Auckland Harbor

There is always something going on over there, or just enjoy the New Zealand cafe culture. Or just relax in the grass. Everything is possible in the harbor.

Visit one of the different markets that Auckland has to offer

The French Market, the Fish Market, Victoria Market... Auckland has a lot of markets and all are within easy reach. What better way to spend a saturday? Especially the French Market in Parnell is worth to pay a visit. Try all the different free french foods. What more do you want?

Have any additional suggestions?

Which is your favorite?

Published in New Zealand

Login to The HoliDaze to submit articles and comments or register your blog.