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Mall of Istanbul (MOI) : Shopping Eating and Relaxing on Day 8 of Turkey Trip!

Mall of Istanbul (MOI) was where we spent our last day of our Turkey Trip. In fact, we were given the option of taking the Bosphorus Cruise, visiting a huge shopping mall and spice market for $100USD per person. We gave that option a miss because we wanted to really “take things down a notch” and relax before heading back to Singapore. That decision also saved us $200USD ;) But there’s another reason why we decided to skip the tour, and that’s because our hotel, Wyndham Grand Istanbul Europe (formerly known as Wyndham Istanbul Petek) is located close to the LARGEST shopping mall in Istanbul – Mall of Istanbul (MOI!).

With that, we decided to enjoy a leisurely breakfast, take a dip in the indoor pool of Wyndham Grand Istanbul Europe, before we headed out to Mall of Istanbul – a mere 10 minutes by taxi (about 20TL)

Wyndham Grand Istanbul Europe to Mall of Istanbul

Breakfast spread at Wyndham Petek Hotel Istanbul

Breakfast spread at Grand Istanbul Europe

Beautiful sunny side up with croissant

Beautiful sunny side up with croissant

Reception of spa area of hotel

Reception of spa area of hotel

Gym overlooking swimming pool

Gym overlooking swimming pool

Swimming pool of Wyndham Petek Hotel Istanbul

Swimming pool of Grand Istanbul Europe

Mall of Istanbul (MOI)

Mall of Istanbul (MOI)

Inside Mall of Istanbul

Inside Mall of Istanbul

Moipark inside Mall of Istanbul

Moipark inside Mall of Istanbul

Inside Moipark - an indoor amusement park

Inside Moipark – an indoor amusement park

The breakfast buffet spread at Wyndham Grand Istanbul Europe was the only international buffet spread during our Turkey trip this time round. There’s the usual breads, cereals and egg station that is more familiar to the Singaporean taste. But what really surprised us was a HUGE SLAB of honeycomb at breakfast! Yummy (and supposedly healthy)!

After the hearty breakfast, we headed to the 24 hours fitness centre. There, you can enjoy the swimming pool (with nice views), gym (overlooking the swimming pool), Turkish bath as well as full spa services.

The only catch about using the swimming pool is that you’ll have to pay 5USD for a swimming cap – compulsory for both men and women. To us, it was more like an entry fee. Looking past that small little issue, you’ll soon be glad that you made the decision to stay and enjoy. Afterall, Wyndham Grand Istanbul Europe is an international 5 star hotel.

After an enjoyable swim (with no one else at the pool), Kate and I went for our baths separately and we have 2 amazing experiences to share…

Tom : Next to the swimming pool, there are separate Turkish baths for both ladies and men. What I enjoyed about the Turkish Bath is that the design is classy yet traditional with soothing music in the background. The temperature of the water have been adjusted and filled up to nice warm temperature, ready for your bath. Remember to take some soap from the shower area into the Turkish bath.

At the centre of the Turkish bath is an octagonal bathing slab. It is warm. The most enjoyable part of the bath is to lie on the heated slab and soothe your mind and body after 7 days of travelling. Ah…definitely a must try!

Kate : While Tom enjoyed the Turkish bath, I enjoyed the shower facilities of the hotel. Turns out that there are jets surrounding you as you take your shower. Much akin to an automated car wash :p. Definitely recommend taking the shower after the Turkish bath. Cool!

All about Mall of Istanbul (MOI)

Traditional Turkish stuffed baked potato - Kumpir

Traditional Turkish stuffed baked potato – Kumpir

Kumpir stuffed full with ketchup and mayonnaise sauces!

Kumpir stuffed full with ketchup and mayonnaise sauces!

Food court inside Mall of Istanbul

Food court inside Mall of Istanbul

Restaurants at food court Mall of Istanbul

Restaurants at food court Mall of Istanbul

Dinner at Aldar restaurant next to Mall of Istanbul

Dinner at Aldar restaurant next to Mall of Istanbul

Mushroom pasta Aldar Restaurant 19TL

Mushroom pasta Aldar Restaurant 19TL

Turkish chicken kebab 20TL V GOOD!

Turkish chicken kebab 20TL V GOOD!

Ambience of Aldar restaurant

Ambience of Aldar restaurant

Final bill at Aldar restaurant - Cheap and Good

Final bill at Aldar restaurant – Cheap and Good

Mall of Istanbul is the largest shopping mall in Istanbul that has more than 350 stores for the most avid shopping enthusiasts. There’s also a food court (Gourmet Center) at the top level and even an indoor amusement theme park (the largest in Turkey) by the name of Moipark – all 15,000m2 of it!

Even for Singaporean standards, the Mall of Istanbul is huge. We took about 6 hours to cover the entire mall (which of course includes shopping, resting, chilling and marketing). But our biggest find has got to be the Aldar restaurant which can be prominently seen at the entrance of Mall of Istanbul.

When you enter into the restaurant area (there’s also a cafe area), you would think that you have entered into a fine dining restaurant. Chandeliers, tall windows overlooking the streets and posh decorations within. Having not seen the menu before we entered, we really prayed hard that the price was acceptable. Next, our waiter, who by the way spoke excellent English, came to attend to us. The head waiter (WHAT?!) then came by to say hello to us and asked if everything was fine. We certainly hope so…(referring to the menu)

The waiter then came back with a tablet (electronic menu!) and showed us how to navigate through the menu. As we browsed through, we heaved a sigh of relief. Even with the description above, the meal would cost the same as an average priced meal in a Singapore restaurant ($20 per person). So we went ahead and ordered the mushroom pasta and Turkish chicken kebab. Both of which tasted AWESOME!

The portion of the mushroom pasta was HUGE. Good for two to share (and more). The flavours of the mushrooms were evident and the sauce was thick and creamy, just the way we like it. At 19TL ($10SGD), it was a steal! The highlight of the evening was the chicken kebab. First of all, it was tender and juicy! This made the dish stand out from all other dry and hard chicken kebabs that we have tasted before. The smoky and slightly charred texture also brought out the overall taste of the chicken and its spices. Shiok!

We ordered a lemon tea for 5TL and the total bill came up to…44TL! No additional taxes! (WHAT??!?!!?!) Hence, if you’re ever visiting the Mall of Istanbul, be sure to pop by Aldar’s, you won’t regret it. It was easily the best meal of our entire trip!

Itinerary of Turkey Travel Day 8: Mall of Istanbul and Wyndham Grand Istanbul Europe

0700 : Breakfast buffet at Wyndham Grand Istanbul Europe
0800 : Swimming and relaxing at the Turkish baths and showers
1000 : Depart for Mall of Istanbul
1900 : Arrival back at Wyndham Grand Istanbul Europe
2000 : Complimentary airport transfer
2200 : Meet up with rest of tour group
0040 : Depart from Istanbul Ataturk Airport back to Singapore

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Additional snippets of information

– Wyndham Grand Istanbul Europe is located at Mimar Sinan Cadessi No: 80-82 Gunesli, Istanbul, 34212. They can be reached at +90 21 24640000

– Mall of Istanbul is located at Süleyman Demirel Bulvarı, Mahmutbey, Başakşehir, 34306 Istanbul, Turkey

Mall of Istanbul is about 10 minutes away from Wyndham Grand Istanbul Europe. Taxi ride costs about 20TL per trip.

– There is complimentary airport transfer every hour from Wyndham Grand Istanbul Europe to the airport. You will have to make reservations with the concierge.

– There is also complimentary transfers to the city. Departing at 10am in the morning and returning at 4pm in the afternoon.

Related posts

This post is part of our 10 Days 7 Nights Turkey travel with Chan Brothers. Below, you can find other relevant posts covered during this trip.

Turkey Trip Day 1 : Singapore to Istanbul and Ferry to Canakkale
Turkey Travel Day 2 : Visiting the Trojan Horse of Troy and Ancient City of Pergamon
Turkey Travel Day 3 : Visit to Ephesus / Turkish Bath and Hot Springs of Lycus River Hotel Pamukkale
Turkey Trip Day 4 : Pamukkale Cotton Castle and Journey to Cappadocia!
Turkey Trip Day 5 : Cappadocia, Kaymakli Underground City, Goreme Open Air Museum and Turkish Night Celebrations!
Hot Air Balloon Flight in Cappadocia with Royal Balloon : Turkey Travel Day 6!
Turkey Travels Day 7 : Istanbul’s Camlica Hill, Grand Bazaar, Taksim Square and Istiklal Shopping Street!
Mall of Istanbul (MOI) : Shopping Eating and Relaxing on Day 8 of Turkey Trip!

We hope you have enjoyed our coverage of our 10D7N Turkish travels with Chan Brothers during the winter months (27th December to 5th January). Let us know what you think in our comments section below!

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Turkey Travels Day 7 : Istanbul’s Camlica Hill, Grand Bazaar, Taksim Square and Istiklal Shopping Street!

As we wind down towards the end of our Turkey travels, we headed back from Bolu to Istanbul on Day 7 of our travels. But before we left Bolu’s Koru Hotel, we took the opportunity to capture many snow covered scenes around the hotel!

Koru Hotel Bolu to Istanbul Turkey Travel Day 7

Facade of Koru Hotel Bolu with snow from the previous night

Facade of Koru Hotel Bolu with snow from the previous night

Breakfast buffet area of Koru Hotel Bolu

Breakfast buffet area of Koru Hotel Bolu

What we had for breakfast @ Koru Hotel Bolu

What we had for breakfast @ Koru Hotel Bolu

Snow covered driveway of Koru Hotel Bolu

Snow covered driveway of Koru Hotel Bolu

Snow man made by members of the tour group

Snow man made by members of the tour group

Arty shot of snow and pine tree

Arty shot of snow and pine tree

Kate enjoying the snow

Kate enjoying the snow

Arty shot from window of our hotel room

Arty shot from window of our hotel room

Icicle formation at Koru Hotel Bolu

Icicle formation at Koru Hotel Bolu

When we arrived at the Koru Hotel Bolu the previous night, though we could see some of the snow, it was already too dark to take any good shots. So we woke up early this morning and warmed ourselves up with a hearty breakfast before heading out to take these photos.

The awesome thing about Koru Hotel is that its vicinity is covered with pine trees. This means that as the snow covered the pine trees, a beautiful snowy scene is presented before you…Ahh…

Then it was a 3 hours drive back to Istanbul where our first stop was Camlica Hill.

Top Attractions in Istanbul Turkey Travel Day 7

Sunrise with snowy landscape enroute from Bolu to Istanbul

Sunrise with snowy landscape enroute from Bolu to Istanbul

Tunnels that cut through the mountains

Tunnels that cut through the mountains

Sunny snowy landscape after the tunnel

Sunny snowy landscape after the tunnel

Camlica hill free toilet next to the restaurant

Camlica hill free toilet next to the restaurant

Bosphorus strait and Bosphorus bridge seen from Camlica Hill

Bosphorus strait and Bosphorus bridge seen from Camlica Hill

Tom overlooking Bosphorus strait

Tom overlooking Bosphorus strait

Nuruosmaniye gate or gate 1 of grand bazaar

Nuruosmaniye gate or gate 1 of grand bazaar

Tom at Grand Bazaar Istanbul

Tom at Grand Bazaar Istanbul

Turkish lamps at Grand Bazaar Istanbul for 30TL (inclusive of lamp stand)

Turkish lamps at Grand Bazaar Istanbul for 30TL (inclusive of lamp stand)

Turkey is the only country in the world that borders between continental Europe and continental Asia. From Camlica hill, you can see views over the Asia part of Turkey as well as the Bosphorus Strait. The Bosphorus strait connects 2 bodies of water; Sea of Marmara to the south and Black Sea to the north. Views over Bosphorus strait is simply breath-taking…

Tip: At Camlica Hill, there’s actually a free toilet next to the atas (high class) restaurant.

Next, we headed to one of Istanbul’s biggest attraction – The Grand Bazaar! You will first be taken to the Nuruosmaniye Gate or gate number 1 (of the 21 gates in Grand Bazaar). If you’re lost, simply ask for the direction back to Nuruosmaniye Gate and some the friendly stall owners will give you the general direction.

Tip : While shopping at the Grand Bazaar, you should always ALWAYS ALWAYS bargain. Secondly, you should also compare prices because there will always be more than 1 shop selling the product that you want to buy. As a reference, we bought our small Turkish lamp with a lamp stand (bulb not included) at 30TL (about $16.50SGD).

We were given 2.5 hours which we initially thought was quite short. But with all the bargaining and endless shopping options (scarves, lamps, turkish delights, souvenirs etc), the 2.5 hours flew past really quickly. We also left with a box of Turkish Delights (and a packet of walnuts) for 42TL after bargaining (yes, you can even bargain for Turkish delights after they weighed and calculated the price). Expensive but the Turkish Delights were full of ingredients. Best Turkish Delights we’ve tasted. Sample more to make your $$’s worth! ;)

We then gathered back at Nuruosmaniye Gate before heading to Taksim Square and Istiklal Shopping Street!

Bargaining at Turkish Delight Shop

Bargaining at Turkish Delight Shop

Istiklal shopping street next to Taksim Square

Istiklal shopping street next to Taksim Square

Doner Wrap for 9TL (More expensive for Beef - Go for the Chicken!)

Doner Wrap for 9TL (More expensive for Beef – Go for the Chicken!)

Roadside mussel stores at istiklal shopping street

Roadside mussel stores at istiklal shopping street

Night view of Taksim Square

Night view of Taksim Square

2bearbear and Taksim Square taken from burger king

2bearbear and Taksim Square taken from burger king

Restaurants at kumkapi

Restaurants at kumkapi

Inside kumkapi ege - Restaurant where we had our dinner with live music

Inside kumkapi ege – Restaurant where we had our dinner with live music

Room at Wyndham Hotel Petek Istanbul

Room at Wyndham Hotel Petek Istanbul

Our last attraction in Istanbul for the evening is Taksim Square and Istiklal Shopping Street. The Istiklal Shopping Street is located next to Taksim Square and is usually very crowded in the evenings. You’ll be given about an hour to shop and purchase some souvenirs. While you’re here, visit the Hafiz Mustafa Turkish Delight to bring home some beautifully packed delights for friends and relatives (prices are also cheaper here than at the Grand Bazaar). Kate and I also went to the top of Burger King and chilled there as we enjoyed the night views over Istiklal and Taksim Square. Of course, Kate got to do some shopping therapy at Mango and Zara first!

Finally, to end off the evening, we had dinner at Kumkapi Ege restaurant where there was live music. Dinner was “so so” but the atmosphere was great. The Kumkapi area can be somewhat compared to Clarke Quay in Singapore with lots of dining options to choose from.

After an eventful (and packed) day in Istanbul, we finally headed back to our hotel – Wyndham Hotel Petek Istanbul. This was the only international 5 star hotel (there were a couple of local 5 stars during the trip) during our visit to Turkey. We also found out from our travel companions that if you pay about $400 more per person, there’s another group that does the same itinerary, staying at international 5 stars every night. Well, that’s $800 bucks saved right? More Turkish Delights please!


Itinerary of Turkey Travel Day 7: Istanbul Attractions of Camlica Hill, Grand Bazaar, Istiklal Shopping Street, Taksim Square and Kumkapi

0845 : Depart from Koru Hotel Bolu
1015 : Rest stop
1145 : Arrival at Camlica Hill Istanbul
1300 : Lunch at Great Wall Restaurant (worst meal of the trip therefore not mentioned at all)
1430 : Departure to Grand Bazaar Istanbul
1500 : Arrival at Grand Bazaar
1730 : Departure from Grand Bazaar to Taksim Square
1830 : Arrival at Taksim Square / Istiklal Shopping Street (1 hour)
2015 : Arrival at Kumkapi Ege Restaurant (1 hour)
2145 : Arrival at Wyndham Petek Hotel Istanbul

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Related posts

This post is part of our 10 Days 7 Nights Turkey travel with Chan Brothers. Below, you can find other relevant posts covered during this trip.

Turkey Trip Day 1 : Singapore to Istanbul and Ferry to Canakkale
Turkey Travel Day 2 : Visiting the Trojan Horse of Troy and Ancient City of Pergamon
Turkey Travel Day 3 : Visit to Ephesus / Turkish Bath and Hot Springs of Lycus River Hotel Pamukkale
Turkey Trip Day 4 : Pamukkale Cotton Castle and Journey to Cappadocia!
Turkey Trip Day 5 : Cappadocia, Kaymakli Underground City, Goreme Open Air Museum and Turkish Night Celebrations!
Hot Air Balloon Flight in Cappadocia with Royal Balloon : Turkey Travel Day 6!
Turkey Travels Day 7 : Istanbul’s Camlica Hill, Grand Bazaar, Taksim Square and Istiklal Shopping Street!
Mall of Istanbul (MOI) : Shopping Eating and Relaxing on Day 8 of Turkey Trip!

We hope you have enjoyed our coverage of the attractions and things to do in Istanbul during day 7 of our Turkey Trip. On the last day, its essentially free and easy for us because we wanted to have a good rest before we headed back to Singapore.

We’ll also tell you why its better (and cheaper) to do so in our last post – day 8 of our Turkey Trip! ;)

Posted in Asia, Istanbul, Turkey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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