Before your departure from home, check your passport if it is valid at least for 3 months. Your stay in Turkey as a tourist is limited up to 3 months.
Always keep your passport handy especially at the entry port.
Turkey's time zone is Eastern European Time (+2 GMT).
Major credit cards & traveler's cheque's are accepted in big cities however you may need to carry some cash with you. The best exchange rates usually are offered by the change offices & secondly comes the post offices.
Passport is not required for domestic flights within Turkey, however you will be asked for photo id.
Visiting mosques in Turkey, you will have to leave your shoes at the entrance or carry them in your hands. Women in most mosques are required to cover their heads with a scarf & be covered to knee & elbow levels. Silence is required inside the mosques, it is suggested that you shouldn't laugh loudly inside as this may offend people praying. Most of the mosques are closed to visits at prayer times.
Going online is pretty easy & inexpensive in Turkey. Most hotels have an internet room or corner & internet cafes are widely available throughout the country.
There are no special immunization requirements for traveling to Turkey.
Antique pieces are not allowed to be taken out of the country, this is a crime.
Use & traffic of any kind of drugs is strictly illegal.
Photographing the Turkish ladies especially in the rural areas may offend them. The procedure is, just direct your camera towards them, if they say no, or mean it with gestures, just leave it. Some people including ladies might not be camera shy & if photographed, they will probably give you their address hoping to receive a copy from you. If you promise them you would have to send a copy, please do, or don't promise.
Visiting museums, in some of the museums you are not allowed to take pictures or use flash, before you go in, just check if there is a sign with a camera crossed over, which means keep your camera in your hand bags, or check them in. Also, as a universal rule you are not permitted to touch any of the artifacts displayed.
If you are visiting Turkey in summer time (particularly July & August), you may need a sun hat & sun blocks to protect yourself against sun burning, also people with sensitive skin should have something to cover their shoulders for the same reason.
If you are visiting Turkey in winter time (Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar), you will need warm clothes & have your umbrellas & raincoats with you.
Public restrooms are available at the town centres, museums, restaurants, mosques & gas stations, usually a small service charge is expected (50c). It may be difficult to find a european style closet especially in rural areas. Western style can be found at gas stations & restaurants along the major tourist roads. In any case, you should have your own toilet paper & Kleenex where it is unavailable at public rest rooms.
Food matters, although the sanitation is taken seriously & strictly controlled at tourist places by the authorities, some rare instances of diarrhea have occurred, that's partly because of the hot & spicy meals eaten, or the guests may have a sensitive stomach. So, have some medicine with you against stomach upsets & diarrhea. Those who are vegetarian will be able to find vegetable food or at least omelet which is very popular in Turkey, almost in every town.
Most of the restaurants display their food in windows, or waiters can bring the samples if you request. Also, the menu that shows available food can be found at your table in Turkish & most areas in English as well. If you are eating out in a restaurant, waiters expect some tip usually 10% of your bill & it is not included in your bill, you can leave it at the table separately.
Water, although it is safe to drink tap water, it is recommended to buy bottled water for drinking which can be found almost at store, that's because the city water is chlorinated for sanitation reasons of which you might not like the smell. You can safely brush your teeth with tap water.
Electricity, those who use 110V or any other than 220V at home need a converter as Turkey has 220V power system. Please check your electric appliances before you use them in your hotel room.
Usually hotel guests are not allowed to bring any food & drink into hotel rooms, but in most cases, this is tolerable. If you will so, put them in a black plastic bag that will be provided at the grocery.
If you are provided a breakfast & dinner ticket by the hotel reception to eat in the hotel restaurant, have it with you, as though not all of them but some of them may require it at the entrance of the restaurants.
Don't forget to return your hotel room keys before your departure from the hotel, as this will cost the friendly hotel receptionists a lot.
Some of the hotels have energy saving systems. You may need to insert the metal attached to your room key in a slot which is usually right behind the room door. When you remove it from the slot, all electric appliances including air-conditioning will automatically turn off. If you would like to leave your a/c on, separate the key from metal attachment & leave the metal in the slot while you can take the key with you.
Crossing the streets in big cities, before you do that, make sure that the car or whatever is at a reasonable distance to allow you cross the street safely. Because, in Turkey, cars have the privilege to use the streets. You can safely walk on the pedestrian walk ways.Turkey is one of the safest countries in the world to travel, but some rare instances of crime, theft & robbery happen in big cities. Especially, if you would like to walk around the city at night, leave your valuable stuff, money & passport at hotel safety box. Almost every tourist hotel has a safety box service free to hotel customers.
Phoning from your hotel room might be expensive, alternative would be to use the public phones available out on the streets, or in some hotel lobbies. All you need is to buy a telephone card from Post Office (recognizable by 'PTT' sign), which comes in 30, 60 & 100 units.
If you are traveling independently, check which dates that the museums are open to visits. Most of the museums are closed to visits at least one day a week. Archaeological sites can be visited everyday from 9 AM to 5 PM (this may change from summer to winter).
You may be approached by vendors at archaeological sites trying to sell ancient coins or fragments of a statue or a piece of pottery, don't buy them, they are fake. Even if not you can find your self in real trouble at the airports since they scan all your luggage on X-ray machines.
Usually customs check at entry & departure ports is not strict. However, customs officials are authorized to check your hand bags & suitcases. At their request, you have to open up your bags & suitcases.
If the kids approach you saying 'bon bon', they mean some candies or chewing gums. Or saying 'kalem', that means pencil, or in some cases 'Para', which is money.
If you are annoyed by street vendors trying to sell something to you, don't look interested in their products & look the other way. Even if you start an innocent dialog, that may take your valuable time.
If you would like to contact or speak to local people especially kids, go ahead, they love it.
Some airline companies may require a final flight confirmation a few days before your departure flight, please check it with your flight ticket agent.
Always pay attention to where you are walking, as there may be some holes in the street or some steps up or down.
Although there is no restriction on the sale & use of alcohol which is available at stores, the guests should avoid drinking in public during the month Ramadan.
The information provided here is given in good faith & has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change & some of the information may become out of date. If you have any queries, please contact us for current updates.
Last Updated: 8/Jun/2011