Istanbul Tourist Traps

  • Tourist Traps
    by Robin020
  • Tourist Traps
    by Robin020
  • Boy selling perfume
    Boy selling perfume
    by azizshaikh09

Most Recent Tourist Traps in Istanbul

  • azizshaikh09's Profile Photo

    Fragrance Scam

    by azizshaikh09 Written Apr 11, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    While wandering on the tight streets of Grand Baazar you will come across boys selling perfumes and colognes with telling you “He is dire need of money for his family and will sell you 5 bottles of perfumes in just 30Lira (US$20)” Firstly it is fake but if you tempt to buy it for pouring on the walls of your house they will say “I was asking you for 30Euros not 30Liras”

    Boy selling perfume

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  • calledman007's Profile Photo

    Dont worry I am not a guide, I am a rug salesman!!

    by calledman007 Written Jan 15, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Hi,
    you should not worry just because you are a single lady. Istanbul is one of the safest places in the world. Just be aware that around tourist spot there are some dity salesman trying to grab you into their uncle's rug stores...
    And I found a webpage with a lot of interesting pictures and information on Turkey, maybe you want to check it out before you go. Here it is: http://www.constantinopleguide.com/about_Turkey.html

    be safe

    Unique Suggestions: Get a local paper and try not to look up as if you know where you are going...this would keep some of them away.. and if they start talking to you anyway, just tell them you dont have time for shopping kindly..

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Museum Visits
    • Castles and Palaces

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  • penny_g's Profile Photo

    Top Kapi

    by penny_g Written Jan 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    In Top Kapi, pay attention that you have to pay 20 TL for an entrance. You won't see too much for this price, while you will have to pay other 10 TL for the guiding devices, which you put on your ear during the walk and you listen to the explanations. When you are in front of the harem you will be bitterly disappointed that you have to pay other 15 TL for visiting the harem itself, which however is a part of the whole castle. I see no reason to charge additionally for the harem but this is Turkey - people work hard to take the money out of your pocket.

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  • Hello are you English?

    by louisboy Written Dec 1, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I have only been in Istanbul for 2 days, and got seriously ripped off on my first night. I was approached by a Turkish guy who asked where I was from. We struck up a conversation, as as he was also here on business and were both hungry we walked a while and ended up in a very nice restaurant near Main Street. No problem so far!! He then suggested we went to a bar for a couple of drinks, which suited me. However we ended up in "Belly Dancer" Club on Main Street. (You can see what's coming!)
    We sat down and ordered drinks, and were then joined by 2 girls. We stayed several hours, had a great time, and were presented with a bill for 3,200 Lira each!!!!!
    I am still unsure if the guy was in on the scam, or just had more money than sense. I now have neither!!

    Unique Suggestions: I have since been approached several more times by guys wanting to show me local sights. I have fallen short of telling them to f*** off, but after the other night I was sorely tempted.

    Fun Alternatives: JUst keep walking away and ignore them!

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Food and Dining
    • Business Travel

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  • Asking Hotel to Get you a Taxi

    by networkedrobotics1 Written Jul 5, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We stayed at a nice hotel in the Sultan Ahmet district of Istanbul. When we needed to get to the airport we asked the front desk to get us a taxi. As we waited outside, taxi after taxi came by that they didn't want us to take. My girlfriend is in Turkey a lot and she knew that the fare should be 30 tl from there to the airport and in fact we had just come in from Izmir and it was that much to get to the hotel. When we got to the airport the driver wanted 54 tl. What's funny about it is that the hotel had warned us it shouldn't be more than 45. It seemed like the cab driver was overcharging even over his "enhanced" fare.

    Fun Alternatives: We had dinner with an American living in Istanbul for a long time. He took us out of the way to a particular cab stand, because drivers at that stand were honest, but I don't know how you find these unless you live there.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel

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  • Watch out for porters at the airport

    by lce Written Jun 26, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I arrived at the airport in a taxi. Before I was even out of the cab to pay, my suitcase had been taken out of the boot and onto the porter´s cart. I feebly protested, but he was already off. He dumped my suitcase at the empty airline desk (not open for another hour) and held his hand out. I gave him 5 TLY, (the equivalent of $3) at which point he berated me loudly, pointing to his badge (which I suppose declared him an airport porter) and demanded 20TLY (a little over $12). I looked at him in astonishment and said, "look, I didn´t ask you to take my bags, you just grabbed them. I am not giving you 20TLY". He glared at me then said "10TLY". I refused and eventually when he realised no more was forthcoming, he stomped away calling me something which was probably rude in Turkish.

    Unique Suggestions: First, don´t let them get your suitcase unless you want to use the porters. As there are the usual airport trolleys available, I can´t see that you would need them, but if you do, ask the price beforehand and don´t be bamboozled into paying more.

    Fun Alternatives: Use the airport trollies.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Business Travel

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  • Taxis "Avoid them if you can"

    by spanital Written May 6, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I asked my hotel to get me a taxi from the hotel to Spice market. As i was new there I didn't know the place it was approx.. 5-10 mins by taxi from there but this guy took roughly 45-1 hour going around diff motorways and charged me 50 liras whereas the price should've been 10 to 15 liras and didn't even drop me in front of the place but opp and i had to cross busy traffic. If you don't know the place they'll purposely try to rip you off.

    On my way back i got another cab just in front of Spice market. This guy spoke good English, he said he was from Asian side of Istanbul big fat guy with white/greyish hair. He was friendly and asked me to put my bag in the boot. At that time I thought he was courteus but any way i asked him what was the fare to my hotel and asked him to get his meter started. He seemed friendly. anyway when got near the hotel he said the road was closed and kept on going for a mile and turned back and told me that this was the closest he could take me to the hotel. It was good half a mile from the hotel. The fare was 28 liras, I took my wallet out and gave him a 50 lira note in 5 secs he turned back and said its 28liras and showed me a 5 lira note. I thought i must have made a mistake I apologised and gave him another 50 lira note and gave him tip and got off. He was about to set off I knocked at his car and told him I had stuff in his boot. Thank God he opened his boot. Any way i realised this when I got to my hotel and counted my money.

    I was quite relectant to take taxis after these experiences but was really exhaused one day that I thought I'll take a cab back to my hotel from Taksim square. I asked this guy for the fare he quoted me double the amount. I got it halfed but this guy was really rude & nasty driving like mad and refused to drop me to my hotel and dropped me outside.

    TIPS:
    Always book your cab from and to the airport well in advance on online or by phone. I asked conceirge for the journey back from my hotel to Ataturk airport they quoted me a price thrice to what i paid from the airport to the hotel.

    Sometimes hotel staff might get commission out off taxi drivers, so beware.

    Always take TAXI NO:THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT as any problems you can inform the police and even when you note the no down tell the driver so that he knows that you don't want to be messed about.

    Always know your journey, how long it will take and land marks....

    Always ask for the fare in advance and ask the driver to start their meter.

    Always get off where you have paid to be dropped off.

    Never put anything in the boot if it can be carried inside the cab.

    Unique Suggestions: TIPS:
    Always book your cab from and to the airport well in advance on online or by phone. I asked conceirge for the journey back from my hotel to Ataturk airport they quoted me a price thrice to what i paid from the airport to the hotel.

    Sometimes hotel staff might get commission out off taxi drivers, so beware.

    Always take TAXI NO:THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT as any problems you can inform the police and even when you note the no down tell the driver so that he knows that you don't want to be messed about.

    Always know your journey, how long it will take and land marks....

    Always ask for the fare in advance and ask the driver to start their meter.

    Always get off where you have paid to be dropped off.

    Never put anything in the boot if it can be carried inside the cab.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip

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  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Hey you dropped your brush.

    by cachaseiro Written Mar 22, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    One of the most common tourist traps in Istanbul is a young guy dressed as a shoe shine boy walking right in front of you and suddenly one of his brushes falls out of his bag.
    If you then pick it up then he will be thankful and all charming and will politely put pressure on you to have your shoes polished.
    These guys generally do a pretty bad job and they will charge you 5 to 10 times as much as the normal price.
    Therefor i advice you to ignore it when some guy drops his brush as it is a scam and if you want to have your shoes polished then get it done by one of the old guys who have a stationary shoe shine stand.
    they generally do a very professional job and they are not expensive like the guys who drop their brush.

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  • SurfaceTravel's Profile Photo

    The Grand Bazaar - over-hyped and priced

    by SurfaceTravel Written Feb 3, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Everyone in the world has heard about Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, so it is a must-see, but I think it's mainly so that you can tick the been-there checkbox. The are in the dead centre has some fairly interesting looking items such as antique jewellry, but the rest of it - the majority of it - is just a huge mall with slightly different architecture than back home. The prices seemed expensive and afterwards we met our Turkish friends who confirmed that the prices there are atrocious compared to other shops in regular locations.

    Fun Alternatives: We far preferred the Egyptian Spice Bazaar. See my VT tip.

    The Grand Bazaar The Grand Bazaar The Grand Bazaar
    Related to:
    • Food and Dining
    • Family Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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  • TheLongTone's Profile Photo

    Galatea Tower.

    by TheLongTone Updated Jan 31, 2010

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I suppose this does what it says on the box....just. As you would expect, it delivers a truly spectacular view over this city. And Istanbul surely offers some of the most spectacular city vistas in the world. Its astonishing geographical situation, hilly nature, and abundance of domes and minarets all conspire towards the picturesque.
    BUT....
    It's ten smackers to get in (i.e. the same as the Topkapi palace) and really offers nothing except the view.
    inside there's no physical reminders of this edifice's history: and this was the site of the capstan which operated the chain which could be stretched across the mouth of the Golden Horn.
    Rather you enter into a wood-effect formica and chrome lobby, pays your money and are whisked to the top in a lift. At the top there is a cafe and a touristic restaurant. Which offers "an evenings entertainment you will remember for the rest of your life" (not taking the chance) and little national flags to put on your table.

    About the only concessions to history are some display boards in the lobby, some celebrating the alleged aeronautical pioneering of some bloke who is meant to have strapped on a pair of stick and canvas wings, jumped from the top, and glided to the shores of the Golden Horn. Call me a sceptic, but they give you the figures and I did the arithmetic. He would have needed the glide ratio of a modern glass glider to get anywhere near the Golden Horn.

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  • SherifSonbol's Profile Photo

    Taxi rates from Blue Mosque, Istanbul

    by SherifSonbol Written Jan 30, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Istanbul is a fantastic city.
    The only problem I faced was having a taxi from Blue Mosque area (Sultan Ahmet Mosque). Taxi drivers there are very nice, but as he takes you home, and as soon as you pay him, he usually shows up a funny currency and claims that you have given it to him. Usually the Worthless old Turkish 1,000,000 lire. He will keep complaining that you gave him bad money and he wants the real money. I agreed the first time to give him what the counter says one more time. but since this happenned twice, I took the plate number and went back to the Touristic Police station (also at Blue Mosque square), and the officer seemed very familiar with this. He took the plate numbers and sat me down and ordered a cup of tea. In ten minutes, the Taxi driver was arrested, and (To my surorise) the officer asked him also about why the coubter counted that much !!!. then he asked him to return the money back to me.

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  • TheLongTone's Profile Photo

    An interesting scam

    by TheLongTone Updated Jan 8, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Dusk is falling and everybody is going home. The shoeshine guys are packing up. I notice that one of them has dropped one of his brushes . So of course I pick it up, call after him. One likes to help a fellow human being.

    Hooked one: Now to reel him in!

    The man is effusively grateful. Thanks thanks thanks. Have a shoeshine.

    No thanks. I'm wearing sandals, and I don't want my socks polished. No thanks

    No I insist......

    And then at the end of the process....blow me down. He wants money. The shoeshine wasn't a thank-you No Give me money. Give me lots of money Actually he wants what I imagine is the price of five or ten shoeshines. He wants an effing days wages

    Sometines you have to be very rude indeed. He'd probably never heard the phrase 'Go take a flying f*** at a rolling donut' before, so he got something out of the encounter.

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  • Ice cream showmen

    by oerkenbo Written Aug 15, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There're a lot of ice-cream vendors that try to pull people in with their very fancy showmanship. They're always coy to give you a price even if you ask them point blank. We paid 3TL for an ice cream that really wasn't very good.

    Enjoy the show, but skip the ice cream!

    Beware of the ice cream man with the fez

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  • humayun72's Profile Photo

    Don't hire private guide on Sundays.

    by humayun72 Updated Jul 5, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I am very familiar with streets of Istanbul due to my frequent visits. Once I was on a stopover with some friends, when they hired a guide through hotel, without consulting me. I decided to go along and found the lady guide concocting fictitious stories about places we visited. It was Sunday and I think she had a hangover from last night's party.

    Sultan Ahmet Mosque - Istanbul Ayasophia-Empress used to attend service from here
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel

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  • Beware of the shoe polishers

    by lambypi Written Mar 1, 2009

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    Quite a clever one this - it caught me out the first time and I saw attempts to do the same twice in the two days that I was in Istanbul. Basically the way it works is a shoe polisher type person will "accidentally" drop something in front of you. Being the kind/naieve (as I was the first time) person that you are you'll pick up the guys object (usually a brush) and return it to him. Within a split second your kindness will be repaid by him squirting your shoes with polish. The instinct here is simply to walk off but the fact that he'll be doing it for "free" to repay your kindness and the fact that your shoe's already covered in liquid polish means you'll probably go along with it as I did. Inevitably the free clean ends up becoming anything but and he'll then demand a minimum and you'll have to agressivly stand your ground or be fleeced. I got away with handing over 5 lira (about £2) so no harm done but they will try to intimidate you into handing over a lot more. Istanbul's a wonderful city but if approached by a friendly stranger then they'll doubtless be after something!

    Unique Suggestions: If someone drops a brush in front of you fight againt you innate British decency. Don't pick it up, give it a good boot.

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Istanbul Tourist Traps

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