Turkey is 3 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT + 3)
Health & Safety
Emergency telephone numbers; Police 155 Medical 112 Fire 110
Climate and Clothing
In late October, the weather in Istanbul is generally cool and slightly overcast. Daily temperatures average 18 C (64 F). Temperatures tend to drop in the evening, so a jacket is recommended.
Cuisine and Restaurants
Turkish cuisine is among the most varied and extensive in the world, and fine restaurants offering the classics of Turkish cuisine as well as modern interpretations of classic favorites dot the Istanbul culinary landscape. Istanbul, with a restaurant almost literally at every turn, is a real culinary treat, and a snacker’s paradise. Whether you try the variations of Kebabs, or the fresh fish from the Bosphorus or the numerous kinds of fresh vegetables, you are guaranteed the delicious dining experience. One can also find delicious but less expensive tastes for budget conscious attendees. In every part of the city there are small cafés and restaurants and kiosks serving excellent food in the lower price category. If you’re looking for a taste of the world, international cuisine is available at enticing locations across Istanbul, historic and modern, many with breathtaking views of the Bosphorus. As always being said, cosmopolitan Istanbul is not only a meeting place of cultures for centuries but also a meeting place of cuisines.
Having travel insurance is highly advisable. For minor problems, it’s customary to ask at a chemist/pharmacy (Eczane) for advice. Ensure you know the generic name of your medicine; the commercial name may not be the same in Turkey. The word for hospital is ‘Hastane’. Usually doctors in Turkey speak English.
The majority of the banks have ATMs and there are a huge number of free-standing ones at strategic points. They operate in the same way as those throughout the USA and Europe. There is an option on most to choose the language and in some cases to choose Turkish Lira, Dollars, or Euros. If you use a ATM in Turkey, use one that is located outside of a national bank and also during regular business hours. Mon-Fri 9am-5pm. This way if you experience any problems with your card you can directly report it at the bank. Also do make sure that you advise your bank of your planned travel to Turkey. If not the bank may freeze your card after one or two transactions.
Taxes & Refunds
Turkey has a value-added tax (VAT) known as the katma değer vergisi (KDV). Don’t forget to ask the shopkeeper for the Global Refund Check for your purchase over 100 TL + VAT in one store. Some shops display a blue, grey and white ‘Tax Free Shopping’ sign in their window, conveniently signalling that they are participants in the refund scheme. When you leaving Turkey, latest in three months following your shopping simply show your purchases, ‘tax free’ invoices and passports to customs officials, where staff will stamp the receipts to confirm that you are leaving the country, have your Global Refund invoice/check stamped. You have several choice to collect your refund. You can have immediate cash at your nearby Cash Refund Office, or mail your customs validated check to Global Refund-Turkey within 90 days for direct crediting of a chosen credit card or a bank cheque to be sent to your address. Atatürk Airport Cash Refund Office or İşbank open every day – 24 hours. Sabiha Gökçen Airport İşbank open every day – 24 hours. Karaköy Harbor İşbank open every day – 24 hours.