Getting to Know Turkey A to Z


Airport departure tax
Departure tax is levied which is usually included in your flight ticket if you buy through your travel


It is fun and joy to bargain so long as you know where and how to bargain.
Local stores are NOT places to bargain where you buy your basic essentials such as water, drinks,
foodstuffs, printed materials,etc.
Supermarkets, departmental stores are NOT places to bargain.
Only touristic items may be purchased with some bargaining power which may vary from 10% to
25% depending on what you buy and how you pay. Such touristic items are carpets, leather goods,
jewelry and a variety of souvenir items.
DO NOT BARGAIN for every item you show interest please!

Business Hours
Government offices are usually from 08.30 am to 4.30 pm with a lunch break for one hour, usually
12.00 am – 01.00 pm Monday through Friday. Turkey is a secular state and follows Gregorian
calender; hence, Saturday and Sunday are weekends. Banks are from 09.00 am to 5.00 pm. Most
banks are open during lunch break, otherwise 12.30 pm – 1.30 pm is lunch break. Shops are usually
open from 09.00 am to 8.00 pm. And departmental stores from 10.00am to 10.00 pm. Money
exchange offices are from 08.30 am to 06.30 pm. Museums are closed on MONDAYS as a general
rule with few exceptions.


Turkey has a subtropical climate; hence, variations do occur depending on the place and the
Istanbul and surroundings: Summer hot and some humidity. Average temperature 27C (80F).
Winter rainy and chilly. Average temperature 8C (46F), though sometimes very mild and warm.
Occasional rain between September and April, hardly any snow.
Western and Southern Turkey: It enjoys warm Mediterranean climate where winters are warm
with a lot of rain and summers are hot and humid. Average temperature in winter is 15C (60F) and
35C (95F) in summer. A lot of rain between September and April, though not every day!
Central and Eastern Turkey: Winters are cold and considerable snow precipitates whereas
summers are hot and dry. Temperature in winter 0C (32F) or even minus and in summer 35C (95F).
Average altitude 1000 m. (3500ft) and above.
Turkey’s climate shows similarities throughout the country between April-May and September-
November in each region.
In general, weather is warmer along the sea coasts, in the west and south; and cooler in central
Turkey and at higher elevations.


In spring and fall, bring a warm jacket or a sweater and windbreaker. In summer, wear cool light
colored cotton clothing, sunglasses, a hat and apply sun block lotion, but have a light sweater for
cool evenings at higher altitudes. In winter, you will need warm woolen, waterproof and thermal
clothing and rain gear.Bring comfortable and informal clothing and sturdy, non-skid walking shoes
for sightseeing.
Dress at dinner is informal or casual, though you may wear a dress or jacket if you wish.

Normal air-mail postal service between Turkey and North America, Asia or Oceania can take up to
ten days; courier services (APS, DHL, FedEx, UPS, SkyNet) take only a few days. Telephoning to a
foreign country from Turkey can surprisingly be expensive, up to $3-5 if you call from a hotel. Be
sure to inquire about rates and surcharges at your hotel before you call. The cheapest way to call
home is to use telecards, prepaid telephone cards on sale at telephone centers, post offices, and by
vendors nearby. You may also use your credit cards on public phones. If you must call from your
hotel, special calling services often result in lower phone bills. When calling from Turkey, try these

Australia Hello Homeland (0-0) 800 61 1177
Hong Kong Hello Homeland (0-0) 800 852 1177
Singapore Hello Homeland (0-0) 800 65 1177
USA AT&T USADirect (0-0) 800 1 2277
USA MCI Call USA (0-0) 800 1 1177
USA Sprint Express (0-0) 800 1 4477
(subject to change without prior notice!)

To call or fax to Turkey from your home, dial the codes to connect to the international network, then
90 for Turkey, and then the area code without the 0 at the beginning (212 for Istanbul, 312 for
Ankara, 232 for Izmir, etc.) and the seven-digit local number.

With the exception of Russia, Turkey is the largest country in Europe. It has lush valleys filled with
fruit orchards, snow-capped mountains, rolling grasslands, and 8000 km ( 5000 miles) of pinefringed
coastline. Graceful mosque domes and minarets define its cities’ skylines. The countryside
harbors hundreds of splendid remains from the Hittite, Urartian, Phrygian, Classical Greek,
Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk Turkish and Ottoman civilizations.

It is generally a very safe country to easily travel around. Crime is mainly looked upon by most
Turks as the most shameful behaviour to commit. Like any other cosmopolitan city around the
world, there is a limited level of pickpocketing in major metropolitan cities (ie Istanbul, Ankara and
İzmir) where you have to be careful about! A money belt is most probably the easiest and safest
way to carry your money and personal items while on tour it also enables you to leave your hands
free in order to take pictures.
Excess amount of money, passport and other valuable items should be kept at the safety deposit
boxes provided by hotels or locked up in your suitcases.

A traditional Turkish breakfast includes boiled eggs, varieties of cheese, olives, sliced tomatoes and
cucumbers, fresh bread with butter and jam or honey, fruit juice and coffee or tea. Lunch or dinner
may begin with meze (Turkish appetizers), including a variety of salads, vegetable purees and
pickles, stuffed vine leaves, crisp fritters filled with cheese or mashed potatos, and succulent olives.
Meat is delicious grilled lamb, though beef and chicken are also frequently served. Fish from the
surrounding seas is succulent when grilled, fried or poached. Wonderful fresh vegetables accompany
everything; eggplant alone is served in 40 different ways! Turkish desserts include luscious
puddings, rich baklava with a lot of sugar and nuts and very rich pastries. The best hot drink is
hearty Turkish tea grown on the Black Sea coast. Famous Turkish coffee comes next. Fruit juices are
refreshing. Turkish wines are palatable, and the beer is good. The favorite strong drink is rakı, grape
brandy flavored with aniseed, customarily mixed half and half with water.
Imported alcoholic beverages are often available as well. Pure bottled spring water is available
Turkish cuisine is not demanding on the palate, but is very fattening. So weight-watchers beware!

Currency & Credit Cards
Turkey’s currency is Turkish Lira (TL). Banknotes are available in denominations of TL 200, 100,
50, 20,10, 5 and coins are of 1 TL and Kurush (cents) 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1.
To get the best exchange rate, wait until you arrive in Turkey to buy Turkish Liras.
Most hotels will exchange major foreign currencies (Euro, US$, JY, UK), but currency exchange
bureaus (Döviz Bürosu) definitely give a better rate of exchange as they have competitive rates
and give faster service, but may accept only cash, not travelers’ cheques. Definitely bring more
cash! Cashing travelers’ cheques is applicable to 6-10% commission!
Note that cash and travelers’ cheques of some currencies cannot be exchanged in Turkey, or only at
very low rates. These include the currencies of like Brunei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia,
New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.Bring a major currency instead.
Most shops accept cash and travelers’ cheques; many also accept major credit cards. It’s a good
idea to carry US$50 cash in small denomination biils at all times. Most people will take them if you
don’t have liras. The better hotels and shops, car rental companies, airlines, and some restaurants
accept Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club and, to a lesser extent due to high percentage of commission,
American Express. Cash machines (ATM) connected to international banking network
(Cirrus/Mastercard, Plus Systems/VISA) can be found in all major cities and resorts. Look for them
at airports, on major shopping streets, and in bazaars and shopping malls. You may use your bank
ATM card or major credit card to receive Turkish Lira or at some ATM’s, Euro or US$ in cash. ATM
exchange rates are good, and instructions for use are provided in English, French, German and

It is illegal to buy, sell or export antiquities. Customs officer may check your luggage at departure.
Punishment is severe, including fines and imprisonment Drug trafficking or carrying any illegal drugs
is severly punished where you may end up in prison. The current restriction on the import of
personal goods is 400 cigarettes or 50 cigars, seven bottles of liquor, five bottles of perfume and
one kilogram (2.2 lb) of coffee or tea. (Known to be correct at time of printing!)


Turkey operates on 220 volts, 50 Hz, with round prong European style plugs. Luxury hotels often
provide 110 volts, but only for electric razors in bathroom. Travellers should bring a plug adapter
and/or travel transformer (available at electronics shops) for appliances just in case. Hotels cannot
provide more than a few at a time!

The large cities like İstanbul, Ankara and İzmir, all cater for a wide variety of tastes, including movie
theaters, where most films are shown in their original languages with Turkish subtitles; night clubs,
ranging from the exclusive (with restaurants, bars and discos in the 5-star hotels and along the
Bosphorus), to the more traditional variety featuring live shows, Turkish music and belly dance. At
various times throughout the year, Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir host international cultural, art, music
and movie festivals. Check with your travel agent and/or tour guide or the info dest at your hotel
for more details.


Getting Around
If you know your way around you can hop on city buses and trams in Old Town. Subway available in
certain parts of the city only, but expanding. Buses and trams have fixed prices and you should buy
tickets before you get on! Tickets available at tram and bus stops where you pay slightly more if
you buy from a street vendor.Taxis all have meters, but beware that some may take you on a longer
route claiming the jammed traffic or rush hour! Taxis apply 50% surcharge between mid night and
06.00 a.m. Round up the fare to the nearest last digit of 5 or 10 or 20 etc. for tipping.


To stay in the best of health, be careful not to overdo it. Eat and drink in moderation and get plenty
of rest.
Sun & Heat : Use sun block lotion regularly and wear a hat to avoid sunburn. Drink liquids regularly
in hot and dry weather even if you don’t feel thirsty to avoid dehydration.
Food : Consult your doctor concerning Travellers’ Diarrhoea. Changes in food can disturb digestion,
so go easy on spicy food. Be careful not to overeat.
There are also a number of excellent hospitals operating to international
In Istanbul
American Hospital, tel:0 212-311 2000
French Hospital, tel:0 212-246 1020
German Hospital, tel 0 212-293 2150
International hospital, tel:0 212-444 0663
In Ankara
Hacettepe Medical Center, tel: 0312-305 5000

Most Turkish hotels follow the European standard, with twin beds, two chairs and a small table,
direct telephone, TV, minibar, small bathroom with a combination of bath tub/shower and WC


Turkish, an Ural-Altaic language with links to the Finno – Hungarian, Japanese and Korean
languages, is spoken by 250 million people. English, German and French (one out of three) are
taught in every Turkish public school, and most tourism personnel can speak at least one. Many also
speak Spanish or Italian, some Japanese, Korean and Arabic. Turkish is a phonetic language which
uses the Latin alphabet with special pronunciation for a few letters.Turkish ‘c’ is pronounced like
English ‘j’; ‘ç’ like ‘ch’; ‘ş’ like ‘sh’; ‘ö’ like ‘ur’ (German ‘ö’); ‘ü’ is like French ‘u’; shape your lips
to say ‘oo’, but say ‘ee’. Undotted ‘I’ ( ) is pronounced ‘uh’. Soft ‘g’ (ğ) is not pronounced at all; it
lengthens the previous vowel slightly.
Hello – Merhaba
How are you? – Nasılsınız?
I’m fine, thank you – İyiyim, teşekkür ederim
Good morning – Günaydın
Good evening – İyi akşamlar
Please – Lütfen
Thank you – Teşekkür ederim
Yes – Evet
No – Hayır
There is; (it) exists – Var
There isn’t; (it) doesn’t exist – Yok
I want – İstiyorum
Water – Su
Money – Para
Toilet – Tuvalet

Protected to the north, west and south by sea; guarded to the east and south east by impregnable
mountain ranges, Turkey has the varied landscape of a continent complete in itself. Arable plains
change over long distances into areas of steppe and pasture suitable only for livestock, surrounded
by barren rocky regions or dense swathes of virgin forests.
Throughout the course of history the landscape has played a key role in determining the settlement
of civilizations, migrations, invasions and the spread of numerous religions.


Medical Care (see also under Health)
All Turkish cities have hospitals and towns have clinics, often with staff who speak at least
some English.

For visiting mosques, dress neatly as you would visit a church. It is a MUST for everyone to remove
shoes at the entrance of a mosque before stepping on the carpet and equally important NOT to wear
shorts or short sleeves. Women should normally cover their head with a scarf.


People & Population
The Turks came from Central Asia to the Anatolian peninsula a thousand years ago. Within a few
centuries they had built a small kingdom into a great empire which ruled all of the eastern
Mediterranean, much of Eastern Europe, and parts of Asia. Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent (1520-
1566) was the envy of the other enlightened Renaissance monarchs of Europe. In later centuries the
empire declined. After World War I, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk founded the Turkish Republic (1923).
Today Turkey is a democracy with a population of 72 million and has a fast-growing free-enterprise

Political Structure
The Turkish Republic is a unitarian, democratic and secular state. Turkey belongs to NATO, OECD,
the Council of Europe and is an associate member of the EU.

Porterage at the international airports will be minimum US$2 per piece depending on the size of
your luggage. Porters at hotels will appreciate about US$2.- per piece in and out. Some few
hotels, mostly 5 star ones, do charge for porterage at $ 3-5.- per piece.


The Turkish population is 99% Muslim, yet Turkey is a secular state which grants total and complete
freedom of worship for non-Muslims, including Christians, Greeks, Jews, Armenians and other
religious sects.

Road Signs
All the road signs are in blue and white and written in Turkish except the signs to historical
sightseeing spots being yellow. City centers are usually signed with “Centrum” in Latin. All the
major national roads are in good condition and usually have 4 lanes. There are some toll roads in
certain areas.


Safety (see also under Crime)
Turkish cities enjoy crime rates much lower than European or American cities of comparable size,
though the wise traveler will take normal precautions against pickpockets and other petty street

The essence of shopping in Turkey is not shopping in western style shopping malls or department
stores although very good examples of these do exist. The real excitement in shopping is getting
lost in historic bazaars which date back to five hundred years; of bargaining with shop-keepers
whose great-grand fathers have kept the same trade and sold the same wares; to be surrounded by
the hustle and bustle of the hawkers, merchants and the salesmen at every corner; and ultimately
to obtain some authentic Turkish souvenirs. Favorite souvenirs include hand-woven Turkish carpets
to last a lifetime; good quality of leatherware and accessories, fine embroidery and jewellery, folk
costumes and fashion in cotton, leather, silk and wool; craft items made of brass, copper, wood
inlaid with ebony and mother-of-pearl, evil eyes, precious metals and stones. Colored tiles and
pottery are a Turkish specialty, as is carved meerschaum, often made into cool-smoking pipes.
Do not buy old Greek or Roman coins, statuary or pottery as it is illegal to buy and/or export
antiquities; penalties are severe. Goods up to 100 years old are usually not considered antiquities. If
you buy a carpet, keep the receipt to show to the customs officer upon departure.
Regarding payments; besides cash, hotels, shops, car rental companies, airlines and most
restaurants accept major credit cards such as VISA, MasterCard, American Express, JCB and Diners

It is always advisable to bring swimwear as you may have a chance to swim at the hotel pool,
thermal baths or by the seaside depending on your itinerary and the season.


Terms and Conditions On
1. Bookings; Booking should be made as early as possible to guarantee the passenger’s choice in
the Guaranteed Departure Programme. In order to offer the passengers more flexibility, our Free
Sale System makes it possible for you to make an unlimited number of bookings with instant
confirmation. This system applies up to 15 days prior to the departure date. After that time i.e.
within the last 15 days before the departure date, any bookings should be confirmed with our office
2. Cancellation; In the event of cancellation, cancellation charges are as follows;
Between 21-15 Days 25% of the package cost
Between 14-07 Days 50% of the package cost
Between 06-00 Days 100% of the package cost

3. Responsibility and Liability
Where our Company has not been negligent nor in breach of any duty, we assume no responsibility
for injury, damage, accident, loss, delay or irregularities that may be caused to person or property
where such occur as a result of circumstances beyond our control. The transportation companies or
firms shall exempt from all liability in respect of any detention, delay, loss, damage, sickness or
injury, by whomsoever caused and of whatever kind occurring of or to the passenger at any time
when the passenger is not on board a carrier of conveyance used or operated by the transportation
companies or firms. All tickets, coupons and orders are furnished and issued subject in all respects
to those terms and conditions under which the means of transportation or other services provided
thereby are offered or supplied by owners, operators, public carriers managing agents or agents.
Our company will not be responsible or liable (for damages, refund or otherwise) for:
A. Mechanical breakdowns (except where it is due to negligence on the part of our Company or its
agents), government actions, weather, Act of God strikes compulsory quarantine or other
circumstances beyond our control.
B. The failure of the client or their agent to obtain required documentation (eg. health certificates,
visa, passports, etc).
C. The failure of the client to follow reasonable instructions including but not limited to check-in and
check-out places and times.
D. Accidents of any kind occurring during the Customer’s independent activities
E. Theft, robbery or lost property
F. Food poisoning, Isolation as a result of infections, diseases or any condition likely to endanger
the health or safety on the tour members or impair their reasonable comfort.

4. Unused Tour Services
No refund will be made in respect to accommodation, meals, sightseeing tour or any other services
which are included in the tour fare but not utilized by the tour participant, either in part or full, or
where passenger amends, cancels or otherwise varies arrangements after commencement of the

5. Goods Purchased During Tours
Our company shall not be liable to the Customer for any goods purchased by the Customer during
the tour which is of defective quality, not suitable for the Customer’s purpose, not in conformity with
samples provided to the Customer or rejected by the Customer for any other reason whatsoever
notwithstanding the goods are purchased in shops the visitation of which comprise part of the tour
itinerary or which are specifically recommended by our Company, our guides, employees, nor shall
our Company be liable to refund to the Customer the purchase monies of the aforesaid goods

6. Meals
All local meals are as stated on each itinerary by the code letters(B) breakfast, (L) lunch and (D) for
dinner. Tips and Taxes included are basic service charges (10-15%) and taxes (V.A.Tax between 08-
18%) as imposed by hotels and local governments. Should there be any changes in the tax ratio the
difference will be reflected on rates.

7. Smoking
Smoking is strictly prohibited on the coach; however, regular comfort stops are arranged at certain

8. Child discount for tour packages
Age of 03-07 years old child sharing room with two adults (extra bed) 25 % discount.
Age of 03-07 years old child sharing room with two adults (no bed) 40 % discount.
Age of 03-07 years old child sharing room with one adult no discount.
Age of 00-02 years old child sharing room with two adults (no bed) 100 % discount.
Age of 07 years and above no child discount is provided.
All prices are in American (US) Dollars

9. All our customers who are travelling on Orion Tour buses are insured under American
Home Insurance Inc. with the following schedule of coverage
A- Accidental Death € 15.500
B- Permanent Disability € 15.500
C- Medical Expenses (Accident and sickness) € 1.550
D- Lost Luggage and Damage € 775

Time zones
Turkey is on Eastern European time (UTC +2). Turkish clocks are turned ahead one hour (UTC +3)
from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in September for daylight saving (summer) time.
During this period Turkish time is
5 hours behind Thailand & Indonesia
5 hours behind Brunei, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Manila, Singapore, Indonesia, Taipei
6 hours behind Seoul & Tokyo
7 hours behind Australia
9 hours behind New Zealand
2 hours ahead of London
3.5 hours ahead of India
7 hours ahead of New York
10 hours ahead of Los Angles
From late October to late March, the time difference is the same in countries which observe daylight
saving (summer) time, but one more hour behind those which do not.

Tipping has gradually become a necessity on any tour for guides, drivers and transferman.
On regular bus tours $5.00 per person per day for guide and $3.00 per person per day for driver
should be anticipated and budgeted by clients. Where the number of passengers is less than 6
a minimum of $25.00 per day for guide and $15.00 per day for driver should be taken into
consideration. As for transfers between hotels and airports $10.00 for transferman and $10.00 for
driver are sufficient.

Travel Documents & Visas
An international passport, which should be valid for at least 6 months beginning with your departure
date, is required for immigration at airport and hotel procedures.
Passport required except for holders of;
– “Laissez Passer” issued by United Nations, -Military Identity Card issued by a NATO country,
– No visas are required for nationals of Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong,
Iceland, Israel, Japan, Luxemburg, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea,
Sweden, Switzerland, Vatican,
– Visas may be obtained on arrival for nationals of USA, Canada, Australia, Austria, Belgium,
Holland, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain,
Length of stay and number of entries vary depending on nationality.
– Visitors who need visas must also hold documents and tickets required for return/onward travel.

Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is strongly recommended for any possible loss or damage to your luggage, medical
emergencies and some travel related accidents. Consult your travel agent about this important


Keep your passports, money and other valuables in the hotel safe deposit boxes that are usually
provided free of charge.


Although local people drink the water out of tap travelers are recommended to use bottled water
only for drinking purposes. Washing and brushing your teeth with tap water is no problem as the
water is purified and densely chlorinated. It is important to note that NEITHER bottled water NOR
any other drink is included in your program unless specifically mentioned otherwise.