It’s possible to change all types of foreign currency through exchange offices ,banks and hotel cashiers .
PAYMENT WHILE SHOPPING
It’s possible to use credit card , main foreign currencies like ; US Dollars and Euro are also accepted in markets like Grand Bazaar , Spice Market and in shopping malls.
Banks in Turkey are closed on Saturdays and Sundays . Except a few of them .
They are also closed during lunch breaks for one hour . ( 12.30 – 13.30 )
Tipping between 10 – 20 % will be convenient .
You can get fast internet connection through ADSL or wireless .
Internet cafes charge by hour .
HOW TO CALL
Dial “0” + city code + number for national and “00” + national code + city code + number for international calls .
Yo can enjoy traditional Turkish Baths in an oriental atmosphere.
CAĞALOĞLU HAMAMI , near Hagia Sophia
ÇEMBERLİTAŞ HAMAMI , near Grand Bazaar
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVALS
The timing of a public holiday in Istanbul is immediately obvious from the sea of red flags that swatches the city on the day itself. All public establishments, offices, schools, shops, banks and museums close for the day and sometimes for the half-day
In addition to the national holidays there are two religious festivals, Ramazan Bayrami and Kurban (sacrifice) Bayrami, whose dates are determined by the Muslim lunar calendar and therefore arrive around 11 days earlier every year.
The three-day Ramazan Bayrami falls at the end of the fasting month of Ramazan. The festival is traditionally a time when children go from door to door asking for candy. Social visits are de rigueur, and many muslims echange gifts.
Kurban Bayrami follows roughly two and a half months later and lasts for four days. This is the most important festival of the year and celebrates the near-sacrifice of Isaac by his father, Abraham, on Mount Moriah.
Offices are open weekdays between 08:00-12:00 and 13:00-17:30. Some private sector companies also work a half day on Saturday.
Shopping hours vary according to area and type of store. As a general rule of thumb, trading begins at 09:00 and finishes at 18.00. Shops are open all day Saturday, but usually not Sunday. The exceptions are the new shopping malls, which trade on Sundays, and the local corner shops (bakkal), which seem to open every day of the year, including public holidays, from dawn until the late hours of the evening. All museums are open on the weekends.
The Turks have been accused of being vain about their appearance, but once you have tried their barbers you will find it easy to forgive them. A haircut is never just that, but such a relaxing and refreshing experience that even if you’^ve no hair to spair it’s well worth considering a shave. Don’t worry about the language barrier as you’ll soon find them to be very professional, as well as in most cases epitomising the Turkish ethic of good service. You’ll likely as not be treated to a good neck message, though don’t feel shy about refusing at least some of the copious quantities of cologne with which you’ll be annointed. And all of this is given for a very reasonable price in an atmosphere that can give an insight to the contemporary local way of life.
They are very helpful to tourists, and this can be aided by always carrying your passport with you, as required by law. There is a branch of Tourism Police with whom you should deal if you have any problems, though for more urgent matters any of them will do their best to help.
Postal, telegraph, and telecommuniciation services are handled by the PTT, although the telecommunications division is now in the throes of being privatised. Post offices, recognisable by their yellow signs, are situated all over the city, the main branches being in Sirkeci on the European side and Kadiköy on the Asian side. Stamps (pul) are sold only at post offices, which now operate express mail, courier-type services (acele posta servisi), as well as special delivery express) and registered (taahhütlü) services.
In addition to the PTT, several private sector firms offer both motorbike courier services within the city and international express delivery services. There are also companies specialising in freight deliveries overland or by air. Some of the bigger intercity bus companies have their own cargo subsidiaries, too.
Telephone calls, national and international, can be made from inside post offices on an operator-assisted or direct dial basis. The cost of calls is worked out according to the number of units used. The other, and more comfortable, alternative is to use the city’s numerous call boxes, which either take tokens (jeton) or phone cards. Both can be bought at post offices and often from stalls by the call boxes themselves. International calls can be dialled direct from the card-operated phones, but not from the older jeton-operated ones which are now being phased out. Local calls can also be made from most corner shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. The post offices also offer telex and fax services.
Bargaining is very much an integral part of Turkish culture, a ritual that is generally excepted of the customer and enjoyed. Obviously, though, this is not true of the modern stores where price tickets are non-negoitable.
In Istanbul, parking is a severe problem. To avoid towing try to park in a manned garage. In case your car is towed, don’t panic. You should check the parking lots around, pay your fine and drive away.
Besides the many Turkish language newspapers, the only daily published locally in English is the Turkish Daily News. Most big international newspapers can be found at news stand in the major tourist areas and at the larger hotels. The same is true of large-circulation magazines such as Newsweek, Time, and Der Spiegel.
The electrical current in Turkey is the same as in Europe – in other words 220 volts, 50 cycles. Plugs have two round pins and come in two sizes, the smaller variety being more common.The larger ones are always grounded.
Istanbul’s recent population explosion has turned the city into an enormous expanding urban mass, with many buildings still under construction, and a transport infrastructure that has yet to catch up with the new demands that are being made of it. It therefore makes location a very significant consideration in the choosing of accomodation, and proximity to intended destinations should be carefully taken into account, of course dependent on your means of transport. Prices vary greatly from region to region, with anything that has a view of the Bosphorous commanding, for obvious reasons, very high prices- though it may surprise some to learn that property along some parts of the shore are indeed more expensive than in Beverly Hills. More modest houses though will be found to be in general much more reasonably priced, especially in comparison to other major European cities. There are also the real estate agents (Emlakci) who may very well be able to help.
WORK AND RESIDENCE PERMITS
There are, as there always have been, a large number of foreigners living and working in the cosmopolitan city of Istanbul, and you do get feeling that this is encouraged, which closer ties with the Eurpoean Community should only reinforce. The inevitable bureaucracy may sometimes belie this impression when you are in the middle of it. Knowledge of Turkish is essential at many stages of the process, and eventually the matter is best handled by your employer.