Announcement: Kabataş Pier in Construction

Hey guys, I just want to inform you that Kabataş Pier is currently under construction for the Metro M7 Line (Kabataş – Mahmutbey) which will connect Kabataş to Mecediyekoy onwards directly. What’s in Mecediyekoy? One of my favourite shopping mall in Istanbul, Cevahir Shopping Mall! It used to be the biggest shopping mall in Europe.

For those who had been in Istanbul, and had experienced the Tramvay, Funikuler & Metro M2 (Yenikapi – Hacisoman Line), there is no direct metro from Sultanhamet to Mecediyekoy, in fact you have to make the interchange in Kabataş; from tramvay to funikuler, and from funikuler to metro. So the governement decided to build a new metro line in Kabataş and make it easier and faster for the folks to travel (and save more money of course, yay!)

Because of the construction, Kabataş Pier had been closed to public and it will only be opened again once it is finished. The metro line is expected to complete by 2018. The new Metro M7 Line (Kabataş – Mahmutbey) stations will be as follows:

  • Kabataş (transfer to: T1, F1, İDO)
  • Beşiktaş
  • Darphane
  • Fulya
  • Mecidiyeköy (transfer to: Metrobüs, M2)
  • Çağlayan
  • Kağıthane
  • Nurtepe
  • Alibeyköy
  • Yeşilpınar
  • Veysel Karani
  • Akşemsettin
  • Kazım Karabekir
  • Yenimahalle
  • Karadeniz Mahallesi (transfer to: T4)
  • Tekstilkent
  • Yüzyıl
  • Göztepe
  • Mahmutbey (transfer to: M3)

kabatasmecidiyekoymahmutbeymetroroutemap

So guys,  again please be reminded that if you wish to visit Princes’ Island, you will need to take the boat from Eminönü instead from now, since Kabataş Pier is closed. Hope this helps. Adiós!

#island #istanbul #travelblog #backpacking #budgettravel

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Caravanserai: The Hans of Grand Bazaar And Where To Find Them

Caravanserai, the 1st time I’ve heard this word was in 2008 when I came to Turkey for touristic purposes (gosh I sound like I am applying for residence permit!). It was the name of one of few well known restaurant which offers you marvelous belly dancing & other folks’ dances and songs performances while you indulge in your delicious meal. (God, now I sound like I’m selling tours, lol!) 

Back then I didn’t know much about the Silk Road, Turkish culture nor Seljuk history. I didn’t even bother to ask what is caravanserai. I am ashamed to say that I was indeed – ignorant. After living in Istanbul for quite some times, I realized that caravanserai plays an important part in Turkish history. There are many caravanserais all over Turkey, and the biggest one in Turkey is the Sultanhani in Aksaray, which is located on the old Silk Road, heading to Konya.

Okay, what do we know about hans aka caravanserai? They are actually inns for traveling merchants in the olden days. Caravanserai were available everywhere, covering North Africa, Asia, and Southeastern Europe especially along the Silk Road. So basically, in modern day han or caravanserai would be known as roadside motels but with more sophisticated functions, there are rooms to sleep, free services to look after the animals and feed them and also open flea market at the same time. In Turkey itself there were hundreds of caravanserai along the Silk Road and they were all free of charge for the 1st 3 days only. All caravanserais have the same architecture, they all look like a castle, with tall wall surrounding it and there’s always one pavillion mosque for the travelers to perform their prayers in. The government will provide all security guards, imam (for prayers), and general workers to keep the caravanserai running for free. Of course these people got paid by the government, but the government were not making money from the caravanserai itself.

So caravanserai, han, which is which? Well, they are basically the same thing. Caravanserai (Kervansaray in Turkish) is a word originating from Persian language and it was used for huge inn, served as road station outside of towns. However, the smaller inn built inside a town is called by its Turko-Mogolian name, Khan. As time goes by the Turks also started calling it as Han. Since there is no such letter as ‘Kh’ in Turkish language, the Turks find it hard to pronounce it; thus the omission of the 1st letter, ‘K’.

One of many interesting things I have heard about caravanserai or han in the olden days, traveling merchants will drop in, keep their donkey or other animals and belongings there while they have their goodnight rest, but still thievery was something very uncommon. Interesting right? We are now living in a world where we have our doors and gates locked but still people break into your house to rob – Tsk, shame.

Septa Unella Game of Thrones

During Seljuk time, the government assured all people that they can stay in the caravanserai safely, without having to worry if their belongings will be stolen. Sort of like insurance guarantee I must say. It was so safe that the people during those time used to say, ‘nothing will happen to you even if you travel from Izmir to Van with a pot of gold on your head’. ‘Aw, come on! There must be some cases?’ I know some of you will probably be saying this, but as part of the insurance for staying in the caravanserai, if such cases occur, the government will gather all the people from that particular area (to which the caravanserai belongs to) and collect money from everyone to reimburse the person whom his belongings or animals got stolen. But of course, in case of fatality, then there’s nothing can be done for the reimbursement apart from catching the killer. But until now, no such cases had been documented. Cool system I must say.

Okay, end of Caravanserai 101 – Introduction. Let’s move on to Caravanserai: The Hans of Grand Bazaar and Where to Find Them. Okay for those who don’t know what is a Grand Bazaar (Kapali Carsi), it’s one of the famous closed bazaar in Istanbul. There are approximately around 4000 shops in Grand Bazaar, along with its hidden hans.

Many of them are dedicated to particular staff, small and most are run-downs. However there are few that you still can visit safely. Below is the simplified map of Grand Bazaar along with the hans that I found online.

istanbul-grand-bazaar-map-1

Istanbul Grand Bazaar Map (credit to original owner)

So, go ahead, try the map and enjoy exploring the hans of Grand Bazaar! Till we meet again next time, and – out!

Madame Tussauds Made Its Way To Istanbul

Hi guys! Great news! The famous Madame Tussauds has finally made its way to Istanbul, Turkey! Located at one of the most happening spot in Istanbul, Taksim is sure not just home to Madame Tusssauds Istanbul but also a home to hundreds of famous brand stores such as Mango, H&M, Zara and many more!

For those who didn’t know, Madame Tussauds is a wax museum in London with branches in a number of major cities. Madame Tussaud’s is famous for displaying waxworks of famous people from all around the world. Founded by wax sculptor Marie Tussaud, It used to be known as “Madame Tussaud’s”. Now, Madame Tussaud’s is a major tourist attraction in not just in London, but also in many big cities around the world. displaying waxworks of famous people. Now, Madame Tussaud’s is not just available in London, but it has its branches in all over the world.

Apart from this, all hotels in Istanbul are currently having a major discounts in their price. So now is your chance! Grab your suitcase and come and join us in Istanbul!

 

madame-tussauds

 

brad-and-angelina

 

madam-tussauds

Senarai Pengiktirafan Kelayakan University Antarabangsa

Salam to all! Baru2 ni ramai orang tanya, macam mana nak semak status pengiktirafan sesebuah university di luar negara, especially Turkey. Tak kurang jugak yang nak tahu kot2 ada course2 baru yang ditambah ke list asal seperti yang saya share di blog lama saya sebelum ni. Maklumlah, ramai yang teringin nak belajar di bumi Turki, tapi seperti yang saya beritahu sebelum ini, x semua course yang ditawarkan di negara ini di iktiraf oleh kerajaan kita.

Berdasarkan pengamatan saya, x kurang juga dengan yang nak sambung belajar dalam bidang agama. Sesetengah tu pulak rasa negara Arab dah x cool so Turkey nampak lebih cool untuk di war-war kan kepada sanak saudara handai di waktu raya nanti. Boleh la buat modal kembang hidung di kenduri kahwin atau waktu open house hari raya nanti. Di sini saya nak jelaskan, walaupun bumi Turki pernah agung dengan kerajaan Uthmaniyyah satu masa dahulu, ianya kekal sejarah semata2. Kalau nak kata pasal agama, orang Malaysia jauh lebih Islamic berbanding orang Turki sendiri dalam lebih kurang 2-3 kali ganda. Jadi kepada yang betul2 nak belajar pasal agama tu, saya cadangkan sila pergi ke negara2 seperti Jordan, Madinah, Mesir dan sebagainya, tapi bukan Turki! Orang Turki cakap Arab pun x reti! Jangan kata cakap Arab, yang pandai baca Quran pun berapa kerat je yang ada :(. Jadi memang sangat2 tidak relevant. Tarikat yang merepek2 banyak lah!

Tapi, apa yang lebih penting saya ingin tekankan di sini, takkan nak gadaikan masa depan semata2 nak nampak cool dan ikut trend orang belajar kat luar negeri kan? Saya sure adik2 dan mak bapak sekalian berfikiran jauh lebih matang dari itu. Ye la, xkan nak berhabis duit beribu riban hantar anak ke Turki dan habis masa 4-5 tahun belajar lepas tu balik Malaysia degree x laku ye x?

Oleh itu di sini saya nak share link yang akan menunjukkan semua list2 university yang diiktiraf di Turki berserta dengan kursus yang diiktiraf sahaja. Kepada yang berminat, boleh layari link terbabit, tapi saya harap saya x lagi dihujani pertanyaan2 seperti “kalau course ‘x’, iktiraf x?” Kalau selepas melayari link terbabit, dan adik2 masih lagi ada rasa untuk bertanyakan soalan seperti di atas atau yang sewaktu dengannya, maka akak boleh beritahu adik, duduk je di Malaysia belajar, x yah susah2 habis duit mak bapak pergi belajar di luar negara, sebab salah satu cabaran utama belajar di luar negara ni adalah kena pandai berdikari.

 

Sistem Pengiktirafan Kelayakan

 

Santa Claus

Instant Fun Fact: Santa Claus Was Born in Turkey

Well who doesn’t know this famous guy?

‘A joyous, white-bearded man, sometimes with spectacles and wearing a red coat with white collar and cuffs, white-cuffed red trousers, and black leather belt and boots and who carries a bag full of gifts for children.’Wikipedia

During Christmas’ eve many children around the world will go to sleep excitedly waiting for this guy to swing by and drop their most anticipated gift. Well, the heart wants what it wants. According to the rumor, Santa will come and drop the present for only well behaved children. But do you know that the modern Santa Claus figure is derived from a historical Greek Bishop figure, who was born in Myra, Turkey which is known as Demre today?

Myra, Turkey

Santa Claus, or the Saint Nicholas of Myra, was born on 15 March 270 and passed away at the age of 73 years old. He was born from a Greek Family during the Roman Empire. He was in fact born from a rich family. According to the Wikipedia, he made it a practice on his feast day, which is on 6th December in the Gregorian calendar, to give present in secret, such as putting coins in the shoes for people who had left them out for him.

Well, who would’ve guessed? Ho~ ho~ ho~

Perangai Pelik Orang Kita Bila Ke Luar Negara… (Malay)

Ok, aku x sure bangsa lain macam ni atau x, tapi sebab aku Melayu, aku nak cerita pasal bangsa aku sendiri yang mana setengahnya ni berlagak x kena tempat…

 

Dari pengalaman aku sendiri, dah ada berapa ekor dah kenalan or total strangers yang aku encountered sendiri buat perangai ni, old friend, neighbours, office colleague, total strangers you name it.

Type 1 – Tak Suka Terserempak Sesama Melayu
Korang pernah jumpa x jenis ni? From my own experience, jenis ni yang paling banyak aku jumpa. Jenis yang bila nampak sama2 melayu, dia cepat2 pandang ke lain buat2 x nampak, and mak pun dengan gembiranya nampak melayu, terus tegur dan bagi salam. Dah bagi salam, jawab salam pulak alahai… Nampak sangat senyum dibuat2 dan terus pandang ke lain agaknya dalam hati tu sebut; ‘Ala… Jumpa orang melayu la pulak!’ Selalunya yang perempuan perangai macam ni, yang pasangan diorang pun agaknya segan sebab xnak nampak biadap, teruskan la jugak conversation yang hidup segan mati x mahu… Phrase yang paling best saya pernah dapat;

‘Dah berapa lama duduk sini? Oh 2 tahun ke? Takde la lama sangat!’…

Hmm excuse me? Berapa lama dah ko duduk sini? *smh*

Jack Sparrow WTF

Type 2 – Denial: Buat2 Tak Tahu / Tak Kenal Member Sendiri Yang Duduk Di Luar Negara
Bagi aku la, jenis ni la paling x semenggah sekali. Apa masalah diorang ni agaknya ya? Datang berjalan ke luar negeri, ada member atau kenalan lama yang memang dah menetap di sana bertahun2, apa salahnya kalau xnak jumpa pun at least give them a heads up? It doesn’t hurt right? Ok, aku paham kalau member tu berlagak, but yang aku selalu kena adalah;

 

Kronoloji:
  • Kenalan datang Istanbul
    Aku dapat tahu melalui FB post gambar Istanbul and komen2 yg berjela2 tentang gambar terbabit
  • Aku komen dengan baiknya dan gembiranya tengok member lama datang Istanbul dengan harapan maybe we can catch a chat or two (ye la baik hati sangat kan, nak bawak jalan2 around Istanbul for free, walhal aku ambik upah kot untuk orang yang aku x kenal sebenarnya!)
  • Member abaikan komen aku dan terus menerus reply komen2 lain, Mungkin sebenarnya dia x suka saya?

Case 1: Tapi, masa aku datang wedding dia happy je dengan gembiranya sambut aku dan bergambar?
Case 2: Tapi, dia reply je komen2 aku dekat gambar2 lain dengan baik, xde pulak rasa dia sebenarnya menyampah dengan aku?
Case 3: Tapi, masa kat ofis dulu boleh je kita lepak makan lunch sama2 dan bila aku balik Malaysia hari tu boleh je dia siap ikut hang out mengopi sama2?

  • Dapat tahu dia balik ke Malaysia balik oleh post check in kat airport dengan status ilahi, i.e: ‘Alhamdulillah dah selamat sampai ke tanah air sendiri!’

Baiklah~

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Type 3 – Aku ke Kau Yang Duduk Di Istanbul?
Hahaha type ni memang kelakar, ok aku setuju maybe sebab dia banyak google dan baca dari blog2 travelers lain jadi dia banyak dig info pasal Istanbul or Turkey before dia datang. But bila kadang2 aku betulkan info2 yang dia dapat tu dan propose dengan something yang lebih membina or actually worth it, mereka abaikan.

Yang x boleh tahannya, kadang2 info about culture atau apa2 bende lain yang dia baca tu x betul pun, tapi beria2 pulak dia berdebat. Pendek kata jenis ni jenis bodoh sombong.

Aku tinggal ko kat celah2 area Umraniye tu kang baru ko tahu! Balik sendiri!

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Type 4 – Nak Makan Makanan Melayu 24/7
Ni pun satu hal jugak ni, dah nama pun traveling kan, kalau setakat travel jauh2 setakat nak ambik selfie, xnak cuba langsung makanan local, baik duduk Malaysia senyap2… Sanggup bawak Maggie dari Malaysia banyak2 makan Maggie seminggu sebab x leh masuk makanan Turki…

Let me tell you one thing, makanan Turki ni macam makan Arab jugak, they share the same palette… Kalau dekat Malaysia tu korang excited sangat makan makanan Arab, apsal pulak x leh makan makanan Turki? Come on la, Izgara (grill) kat Turkey ni macam BBQ kot, kat rumah korang boleh plak korang ber BBQ?

Di sini la secebis bab type 3 aku nak masukkan sekali, katakan la ko x leh masuk jugak makanan Turki no matter what, dengar la nasihat aku bagi tau kedai2 lain di Istanbul, makanan Uyghur ke, Cina ke, India ke, Nasi mandi ke… Ni x nak dengar jugak… Kedai mamak or nasi arab kat Malaysia ko boleh pergi pulak? Ok bersangka baik, maybe dia x cukup duit, I can understand that. But seriously, ada je yang jenis terlebih mampu pun masih buat perangai ni!

but why
Type 5 – Penyakit Was Was
Ok type ni pulak ok sikit dari type 4, tapi still dia bawak jugak ke’Melayu’an dia ke Turki. Bila nak pergi makan, dia akan tanya, ‘halal x?’ Dude, Turkey ada population of 70 Million people, dan 98% adalah Muslim. Sini memang rata2 food halal. Pendek kata, nak cari makanan halal di Turki adalah lagi senang dari nak cari makanan halal di Malaysia!

‘Tapi kedai ni jual arak?’ is another form of question yang selalu saya dapat. One thing korang kena ingat. Orang Turki walaupun Islam, diorang memang minum arak macam minum Cola. FULL STOP. X kira la dia Islam ke x, diorang memang minum arak. Ada yang x minum, tapi banyak lagi yang minum! So kalau jumpa kedai makanan jual arak, sila jangan over takut sangat, diorang minum arak, tapi diorang x campur dalam makanan macam western food or chinese food.

‘Tapi gelas dia guna tu gelas bekas arak!’ Ok, jenis ni sila jangan travel, duduk je Malaysia diam2… Gelas arak, selalunya gelas lain, dia x pakai gelas yang sama dengan gelas Cola, or gelas air kosong. Tapi kalau ada pun yang jenis pakai gelas sama dengan Red Wine tu, slalunya tempat high class, tapi yang minded macam ni selalunya xde la pun sampai nak ke kedai2 macam tu.

By the way, gelas yang bekas arak tu, kalau ko basuh dengan detergen and bilas pun dah cukup dah… ‘Eh, kalau dia basuh x bersih?’ Again, sila duduk Malaysia diam2, jangan travel.

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Type 6 – Cheapskate
Yang ni pun kronik. Suka bargain… Jangan ko bawak penyakit Chow Kit tu ke sini… Agak2 la nak bargain pun, kalau sampai masuk dalam kedai ada brand pun ko nak bargain… Memang aku pun malu beb! Makan midye dolma tepi jalan pun nak bargain, beli simit nak bargain, aku bawak ko shopping kat Tahtakale ko bargain beria2 dengan penjual kat situ, serious aku yang paham bahasa Turki ni malu bila dia maki ko bersepai, rasa nak lari jauh2! Belum lagi bile penjual tu jeling aku semacam sebab bawak pembeli macam ni…

Note:

  • Midye Dolma: Kupang inti nasi harga dalam 0.50TL untuk size kecik and 0.75TL untuk yang besar
  • Simit: Roti bagel sesame, harga sekeping 1TL
  • Tahtakale is one of the cheapest area in Istanbul, wholesale area for locals

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Type 7 – Terlebih Ramah
Yang ni aku dah x reti nak nasihat macam mana. Kalau di area Sultanahmet tu please do not speak to strangers. Jangan layan pun, kalau dia tegur apa pun buat bodoh je. Why? Sebab kat situ sangat ramai conmen. Dia akan pancing korang dengan macam2 taktik, contoh;

‘I have been to Malaysia!’
‘Dari Malaysia? Nenek saya duduk kat Malaysia!’
‘Kawan saya kawin dengan orang Malaysia!’
‘I love Malaysians, saya nak kawin dengan orang Malaysia!’

Just walk away, don’t say a word, never response. Diorang ni akan guna macam2 taktik untuk get you engage in conversation dan nanti ko mudah terjebak. So please. Dah ramai yang kena, so don’t add yourself to the statistic.

One Does Not Simply Talk to Strangers.jpg

Tapi dalam banyak2 type ni, yang paling aku x boleh bla adalah type 2. It really gets on my nerve. X payah la sombong and berlagak sangat, dunia ni Allah punya. Bukan ko sorang je travel, berlambak lagi manusia lain travel. X payah la nak rasa macam kami yang duduk di sini ni will ruin your holiday mood.

Contoh macam aku, jangan kata member, orang yang x jadi amik tour package, yang aku x pernah kenal pun aku boleh bawak belanja lepak kat Mado makan Kunefe siap… Bukan nya kalau ko datang jumpa aku, aku nak mengemis dari ko pun… Alasan seperti ‘sorry la Wanie, aku busy kat sana, x sempat nak jumpa’ memang x bley terima langsung. Sebab ko datang bercuti, aku kerja kot, boleh cari waktu luangkan masa untuk jumpa kawan lama, apa kejadah ko yang bercuti tu lagi busy dari aku? Ntah ke aku kena bawak client malam ke? Kalau betul busy pun, balas komen aku kat gambar ko or mesej aku explain ringkas pun aku paham, save me ur lame excuses please.

Kudos to those yang datang sini and walaupun x pernah kenal aku selama ni tapi sanggup find a time to meet with me under recommendation of your friends or acquiantances. You guys rock!

What about you? Apa jenis perangai orang Melayu yang x semenggah yang korang pernah jumpa waktu travel?