I’ve been wanting to write this post for quite some time now but for some reason I kept avoiding it. The truth is I didn’t know what to write. Should I write about how amazing and beautiful everything was or should I mention what really happened?

I went through some other people’s posts on Istanbul to see if anyone else had the same experience. Nothing! Everyone seemed to be happy and had a hell of a time. But then I thought most people will probably just write the good stuff. No one says that they have to confront begging children every morning while they get out of their 5 star hotel in India, the horrid humidity they have to tolerate in south east Asia or that it can be a total pain in the ass that locals don’t speak a word of English in Spain. Not that no one does, but let’s be honest, most of them don’t! But traveling is not all sunshine and roses. Not even if you’re going to Istanbul!

There’s a reason Istanbul is the 6th major tourist destination. Because it’s pretty damn good. An epic cradle of civilization, a water front city that spans in two continents, delicious food and lots to see. What else could anyone want?

But it’s not all that. Sometimes just one act of impoliteness from a local can ruin your whole adventure. It can happen to any of us. Let’s just say it happened to me more than once. It just happened that I didn’t stumble across the nicest people. From the waiter of a restaurant who found it offending that I asked him for the address of another restaurant, to the ticket seller who was too annoyed to answer more then one question or a receptionist of a decent hotel in the heart of Istanbul who could not speak an acceptable level of English. Let’s not forgot those who seem to forget the fact that if Istanbul is blooming more than ever, the tourists have a great part in it and they don’t just come there because there’s nowhere else to go.

Now was this an exception? Of course it was! Does this mean Turkish people are unfriendly or rude? Of course NOT! I’ve had too many amazing Turkish friends to associate a few creepy people with a whole nation. And never I will. But this is how it was and it’s totally fine. Istanbul is not so far away so I can always give it a second try.

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Now to the bright side! To the side that makes me want to go back and start over. So I can gaze at the breathtaking ceiling of the Blue Mosque, treat my belly with a delicious Turkish Kebab and listen to the enchanting call of prayers between the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia.

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Istanbul is extremely clean, a little more expensive than I expected and very green. I loved to see the well living picnic culture amongst the locals as parks were packed with families in the afternoons. Istanbul is where you’ll catch a glimpse of the heavenly mosque domes where ever you are, where you would walk the footsteps of royals in Dulmabahce palace, get dizzy taking in all that delightful smell at the Spice Bazaar and be in awe when you step inside the Hagia Sofia. Istanbul reminds me of home, of having tea in tulip shaped glasses, of indulging my sweet tooth with Baklava and failing at bargaining in the Grand Bazaar.

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It’s a thriving city where it’s streets are paved with temptation. Istanbul is a blend of authenticity and heritage, of old and new, of tradition any modern. Istanbul is the reunion of Europe and Asia that have finally came to peace…

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16 thoughts on “Why I need a second chance with Istanbul!

  1. Bijan says:

    Unfortunately this behavior is not limited to Istanbul. It is seen wherever the interest of the customer is not the main focus. In the US it is mostly seen in government establishments such as the post office and the subway system. However privately owned places where “customer is always right even if they’re wrong” the employees are much nicer to the customers. At least to their faces 🙂

    Good read. Unbiased. Keep it up.

    • Matin says:

      Thanks Bijan. Unfortunately all the behaviors I saw were from private places apart from the tourist attractions. I believe some of these people had so many customers that a few unhappy one were not going to stop the money from flowing.

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  4. Patrick Duclos says:

    “Istanbul reminds me of home, of having tea in tulip shaped glasses, of
    indulging my sweet tooth with Baklava and failing at bargaining in the
    Grand Bazaar.”
    And failing at bargaining? Really? Ha! Ha! Ha! So in other words, you really have to go back right? 😀

  5. Alex B says:

    Istanbul is honestly one of the most incredible cities on earth. I’ve heard some people have bad experiences there, but I cannot even fathom how that happened. I’ve been there 6 times in two years (yep, came all the way from North America for my love of this place)– going for the 7th time later this fall, and I fall more in love each visit.

  6. Alex B says:

    Istanbul is honestly one of the most incredible cities on earth. I’ve heard some people have bad experiences there, but I cannot even fathom how that happened. I’ve been there 6 times in two years (yep, came all the way from North America for my love of this place)– going for the 7th time later this fall, and I fall more in love each visit.

  7. Kiran says:

    Hi, I agree with you. Unfortunately I too stumble across to a very rude local in the very start on airport. Instantly I feel scare why I’m going into his country. But thanks God later I had very good experience inside country. I met so many nicest people from hotel to restaurants and shopkeeper every body was nice. In fact a couple of shopkeepers gave me small gift when I told I’m from Pakistan.
    Only problem majority of them don’t understand and speak English.
    Bargaining in grand bazaar really works. Overall in had good experience.
    Good manners and ill mannerism is perhaps the very own choice of individual. I hope they must realize that they representing their country.

    Your blog is really awesome. I have read few posts but I’m gonna read all.

  8. helen says:

    reading this post was very interesting because i can totally understand your perspective.
    I am Iranian who grew up in US, so I naturally love all the middle eastern cultures and traditions. last year, i began watching 2 to 3 Turkish dramas and became very curious about how Istanbul is like. so last summer, I travelled to Istanbul with my parents (we were very lucky to get visas because for a short period of time, turkey would not issue visas to American tourists). Anyways, my family and I decided to visit France for 3 days and then take our second flight to Istanbul. I was very excited about meeting Turkish people, eating tasty food, and visiting a few popular places. However, from day one things kinda started terribly.
    When we arrived at the hotel, none of the staff could speak English. at some point the receptionist said that he can’t find any reservations under my name, which made me extremely worried because I already had paid for 12 days of our stay. Then he said that he has found the reservation/check-in info in their system but can’t give us keys to any room because their guest will not check out till 11 am. the way that the receptionist explained things was super confusing, so eventually my dad came over and said, “umm…let me translate the receptionist’s English for you!” somehow my dad could understand what the guys is saying. then we decide to just leave our luggage in the hotel’s security room without getting any room keys and went to buy some breakfast from the restaurants close by. we were walking around when a young guy approached us and said, “you guys should try breakfast at this place.”
    my parents and I looked at the menu and thought “well the options are alright, we will order 2 items and see if its good or not.” when we walked into the restaurant, the young guy said to the owner that he has brought us into the place and should get some money (20% ) from the owner. Within 2 minutes, the owner and young guys just started screaming at each other. I took my parents’ hand and said, “you know what, let’s leave. these this situation is too crazy for our sleep deprived minds.” As we were about to leave the two men insisted on us to stay and kept on pushing us to buy more items from a menu that did not have any price…just random pics. we told them that we’ll only buy 2 items. after the breakfast we realized that there is a reason why the menu didn’t have any price on it, it’s because they charged us so much money for the most basic breakfast ever.
    this was just day 1 of 12 days that we stayed in Istanbul. We did meet good people however, the were generally more educated (especially doctors and university students) who were very genuine and open-minded. Otherwise, all the ppl who had business were generally dishonest. I hated how they treated us different if they would find out that we are from US. I always introduced myself as an Iranian traveller because i did not want their fake “kind” treatments.

    • Matin Lashkari says:

      Hello Helen,
      I’m so sorry you had to go through this. Unfortunately, this is the case in many countries and you’re often treated differently based on your nationality and the colour of your skin. Thank you for taking the time to share your story. Thankfully my second trip to Istanbul went perfect and it washed away all the bad memories. 🙂

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