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Travel Tips for Turkey


Time: Local time is GMT +2 (GMT +3 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).

Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. The European two-pin plug is standard.

Language: Turkish is the official language, but English is widely understood in the main tourist areas.

Communications: The international country dialling code for Turkey is +90. The outgoing code is 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). City/area codes are in use, e.g. Istanbul Asya (Asia side) is (0)216 and Istanbul Avrupa (Europe side) is (0)212. GSM 900 and 1800 networks cover most of the country. Internet cafes are available in the main towns and resorts.

Travel Health: There are no vaccination requirements, although a typhoid vaccine is recommended for all travellers, unless coming for a short period and only eating in major hotels and restaurants (e.g. business travellers or cruise ship passengers). There is a risk of malaria in the south-eastern part of the country, but not in the main tourist areas in the west and south-west of the country, although mosquitoes can still be an irritation in summer. Most tap water in the larger towns and cities has been chlorinated, but bottled water is still recommended for drinking. Food from street vendors should be treated with caution. Medical facilities and standard of health care are not high in state hospitals and private health insurance is recommended. Modern facilities exist in private hospitals in Ankara and Istanbul.

Local Customs: Religious customs should be respected, particularly during the month of Ramadan when eating, drinking and smoking during daylight hours should be discreet as it is forbidden by the Muslim culture. Dress modestly when visiting mosques or religious shrines. Do not take photographs of or near military and official institutions and always ask permission when taking photographs of people. There is a smoking ban on all forms of public transport and in outdoor venues (including stadiums and playgrounds). By July 2009 this will include cafes, bars and restaurants as well.

Business: In Turkey, business associates are addressed by their first names. If the associate is male, then his name is followed by 'bey', and 'hanim' is used for females. A formal, conservative dress code is observed in Turkey, and women should be careful to dress particularly conservatively. Gifts are common and are usually something the associate would use in business such as a pen or other office stationary. Business hours throughout Turkey are generally 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday with an hour taken over lunch.

Duty Free: Travellers to Turkey do not have to pay duty on the following items: 200 cigarettes, or 50 cigars, or 200g tobacco. Alcohol allowance includes 1 litre or 700ml bottle of wine or spirits. Other allowances include 5 bottles perfume up to 120ml each; gifts to the value of dm500, tea and coffee for personal consumption, jewellery and guns for sporting purposes. Tape recorders, record players and transistor radios have to be declared on arrival. Restricted items include playing cards limited to one pack.


Top Ten Survival Phrases in Turkish Language

1 - Merhaba (Mer-ha-ba) - Hello

2 - Evet (Eh-vet) - Yes , Hayır (H-eye-uhr) - No

3 - Lütfen (Lewt-fen) - Please

4 - Tamam (Ta-mam) - OK

5 - Bira lütfen, (Bee-ra Lewt-fen) Beer please

6 - Su (Soo) - Water

7 - Çok ucuz (Chok oo-juz) - Very cheap

8 - Çok pahalı (Chok pa-ha-luh) - Very expensive

9 - Teşekkür ederim (Teh-shek-kewr-eh-deh-reem) - Thank you !

10 - Anlamıyorum (An-la-muh-yo-room) - I don't understand

11 - Bu kaç Lira ? (Boo-kach-lee-ra) - How much is it ?



Visa Agencies :
Travel Visa Pro, San Francisco, USA. (866) 378-1722 or

Useful Contacts:
Turkish Tourist Office: +90 (0)212 573 4136 (Istanbul) or

Turkey Embassies
Turkish Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 612 6700.
Turkish Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 7393 0202.
Turkish Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 789 4044.
Turkish Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 (0)2 6234 0000.
Turkish Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 342 6053.
Turkish Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 (0)1 668 5240.
Turkish Embassy, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 (0)4 472 1292.

Foreign Embassies in Turkey
United States Consulate General, Istanbul: +90 (0)212 335 9000.
British Embassy, Ankara: +90 (0)312 455 3344.
Canadian Embassy, Ankara: +90 (0)312 409 2700.
Australian Embassy, Ankara: +90 (0)312 459 9500.
South African Embassy, Ankara: +90 (0)312 405 6861.
Irish Embassy, Ankara: +90 (0)312 446 6172.
New Zealand Embassy, Ankara: +90 (0)312 467 9054/6/8.

Turkey Emergency Numbers :
Emergencies: 112 (Police); 110 (Ambulance); 115 (Fire)

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