Turkey Trip Day 1 : Singapore to Istanbul and Ferry to Canakkale

Turkey was our next country to “conquer” as we have not had the opportunity to visit this country (ahem @ GoTurkey.com :p) that spans between both Europe and Asia continent. As there is a language barrier and a vast distance to travel if we were to do a free-and-easy by ourselves, we decided to join the Chan Brother’s 10D7N Turkey travel for only $2100 per person. It is very affordable because $1000 would be the price of the air ticket while the remaining $1100 is used for meals, transportation, accommodation, attraction tickets, tour guide as well as taking out the hassle of planning all the routes around Turkey. It is especially worth it when you get to skip the MASSIVE queues outside the major attractions in Istanbul!

We chose to travel via the Turkish Airlines flight (instead of Singapore Airlines) because of the timing of both departure and arrival flights. We departed at 12:30am and arrived at 6:30am in Istanbul (both local times), having full days in Turkey on the departure and arrival days!

Upon arrival at the airport, we were greeted by our local guide Enis who brought us immediately to Istanbul to visit the Hippodrome of Constantinople, Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque), Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia.

Attractions in Istanbul Turkey

Turkish Airline Departure Dinner
Turkish Airline Departure Dinner
Turkish Airlines Breakfast
Turkish Airlines Breakfast
Tour bus from Ataturk Airport to Istanbul
Tour bus from Ataturk Airport to Istanbul
Guide Enis explaining the Hippodrome
Guide Enis explaining the Hippodrome
Egyptian Monument Hippodrome Istanbul
Egyptian Monument Hippodrome Istanbul
More monuments at the Hippodrome of Constaninople Istanbul
More monuments at the Hippodrome of Constaninople Istanbul

If you take a look at the monuments at the Hippodrome, you’ll realise that they are formed up in a single line. During the Roman era, it was actually the central columns of a chariot race. Imagine the chariots going round the columns resembling an elongated oval shaped race track.

Exterior of Sultan Ahmed Mosque aka Blue Mosque
Exterior of Sultan Ahmed Mosque aka Blue Mosque
Interior of Sultan Ahmed Blue Mosque
Interior of Sultan Ahmed Blue Mosque
Dome of Blue Mosque Istanbul
Dome of Blue Mosque Istanbul
Exterior of Hagia Sophia Museum
Exterior of Hagia Sophia Museum
Mosaic at Entrance of Hagia Sophia
Mosaic at Entrance of Hagia Sophia
Why are people trying to make a wish here?
Why are people trying to make a wish here?
Imperial Gate at Topkapi Palace Museum
Imperial Gate at Topkapi Palace Museum
Gate of Felicity and Kate in Topkapi Palace Istanbul
Gate of Felicity and Kate in Topkapi Palace Istanbul
View of Bosphorus River from Topkapi Palace
View of Bosphorus River from Topkapi Palace


Views from the Topkapi Palace

As we moved from the Hippodrome to the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque), Hagia Sophia Museum and Topkapi Palace, we were told of stories at these various areas…

Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque) : Have you ever wondered why there are 6 minarets (slender tower typically with a balcony) at the Blue Mosque? Legend has it that the order was to build altin (gold) towers around the mosque. However, the builder heard alti (six) instead. Hence, six minarets were built around the Blue Mosque. In fact, Blue Mosque is not blue in colour but it earned its name because of the 20,000 blue mosaic tiles used within the mosque. Hence, a touristic name of Blue Mosque was derived!

Hagia Sophia Museum : At the Hagia Sophia, there’s a hole in the wall with a long queue behind it. Everyone is actually queuing to place their thumb in the hole, make a circle with the palm of their hands and make a wish. Legend has it that an angel promised a boy to look after his equipment so that he could go back to take of his parents. The boy never returned and the angel is thought to be trapped within, granting wishes to people who came to visit.

Topkapi Palace : The first courtyard of the Topkapi palace extends from Imperial Gate to Salutation Gate while the second courtyard is from Salutation Gate to Felicity Gate. At the second courtyard, there is a Justice Tower where the Sultan would stand and witness executions taking place. However, the best part of the Topkapi Palace is actually the view of the Bosphorus River. Remember to take beautiful shots from the balconies overlooking Bosphorus. Other notable places to visit includes the treasury, religious relics (both Christian and Muslim) as well as the Royal Kitchen.

Grilled chicken with fries for lunch at Citadel Hotel Istanbul
Grilled chicken with fries for lunch at Citadel Hotel Istanbul
Rest stop between Istanbul and Canakkale
Rest stop between Istanbul and Canakkale
Ferry crossing straits to Canakkale
Ferry crossing straits to Canakkale
Cafe and sitting area on upper deck of ferry
Cafe and sitting area on upper deck of ferry
Fried Fish at Tusan Hotel Restaurant for dinner
Fried Fish at Tusan Hotel Restaurant for dinner
Must-Try Grilled mackerel at Tusan Hotel
Must-Try Grilled mackerel at Tusan Hotel
Bathroom and Bath Tub of Tusan Hotel
Bathroom and Bath Tub of Tusan Hotel
Dressing table and TV Tusan Hotel Canakkale
Dressing table and TV Tusan Hotel Canakkale
Twin beds Tusan Hotel Canakkale
Twin beds Tusan Hotel Canakkale

Itinerary of Day 1: Istanbul to Canakkale Turkey

0630 : Arrival at Istanbul Ataturk Airport
0830 : Visit to Hippodrome, Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque), Hagia Sophia Museum and Topkapi Palace
1230 : Lunch at Citadel Hotel Istanbul
1400 : Depart for Canakkale
1600 : Stopover for break
1830 : Ferry to Canakkale
2000 : Arrival at Tusan Hotel Canakkale

After our visit to all the attractions in Istanbul, we adjourned to Citadel Hotel for lunch before commencing the approximate 6 hours drive to Canakkale. This includes a ferry ride in between where the whole car drives unto the ferry to be transferred across the straits to Canakkale.

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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!

Basic Turkish Language You Should Know

Here are some simple Turkish phrases that you should know to make your Turkish trip that much more enjoyable. But for ease of pronunciation, we’ll not spell out the actual Turkish spelling but the way you should pronounce it!

Thank you – teh she kew air de room (6 syllabus to say thank you?!?!)
Hello – mehr ha ba
Goodbye – gule gule
Good morning – gew nei den (yes, we know. It does sounds like “good night”)
Good night – yeee yeee gu jay lash
I am fine – yeee yeee
No worries (not at all) – beer she dean
Yes – eh vet
No – ha year

Find out more about day 2 of our Chan Brother’s Turkey trip when we visit the legendary Trojan horse!

Related posts:

7 Comments on Turkey Trip Day 1 : Singapore to Istanbul and Ferry to Canakkale

  1. Hi, can I know how big was your tour group when you were there? The package that you took was it inclusive of the hot air balloon price?

    • Hi Nurul,

      Our group had about 20 of us and hot air balloon is an additional itinerary (ie not included in the price). For those who did not fly that morning, they could sleep in a little later and have a longer breakfast. The hot air balloon programme starts at about 6am. So when we got back, the other group had just finished their breakfast. That’s basically how its managed.

      Hope that helps!

      Tom,
      2bearbear.com

    • Hi Kati,

      Turkey is indeed a very beautiful country! Our hot air balloon flight over Cappadocia was probably one of our most memorable experience there!

      Safe Travels!

      Tom,
      2bearbear.com

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