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Istanbul possess a certain cultural mystic, paved by way of its interlocking geography between the East and the West. The city itself strongly reflects this physical and cultural position, giving it a unique identity that is tricky to pinpoint but easy to fall in love with.

The cultural and financial hub of Turkey, Istanbul is also the most densely populated city in the country, with over 14 million residents currently residing there. Get lost in the city’s historic alleyways, listen to the hum of street hawkers and the weekly muezzin incantation, or simply admire the city’s breathtaking skyline that is punctuated with ornate mosques, minarets, palaces and skyscrapers. Istanbul is a true modern-day fairy-tale town.

Getting Around

Istanbul is a large metropolis with a number of close-knit districts. Unfortunately, its public transportation system leaves a lot to be desired, with few routes offering concise, direct lines.

The bus system, consisting of both city-owned and private buses, form an extensive network. However, visitors are more likely to use the trams or the metro as buses don’t run within the Sultanahmet district anymore. If you’re planning to take a fair bit of public transport, purchase an Istanbulkart, a prepaid card that works on buses, trams, suburban trains, metro and some ferries.

The private dolmuş minivans are also popular amongst locals and some travellers, although this carpooling system does take some getting use to.

By Metro Train

The metro is made out of four lines, but tourists will find line M1A and M2 the most useful. The former passes through both Ataturk Airport and the Otogar Bus Station, while the M2 passes the vicinity of Sultanahmet and goes on to Galata/Taksim and beyond.

By Taxi

Istanbul’s yellow taxis are a dime a dozen around the city. But hailing one down isn’t the problem - many drivers will try their luck to tauntingly push you to agree to a fixed rate, instead of running by the meter. If this happens, decline firmly and walk off.

On the bright side, taxi fares in Istanbul are highly affordable and the rates don’t fluctuate form day to night

By Car Rental:

With your hands at the wheel and the wind in your hair, the world is yours for the taking.

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For guests of Ascott’s serviced residences in Singapore, enjoy up to 20% off car rentals, valid for a more than 28-day self-drive period.

For more information on car rentals, visit the AVIS or BUDGET website.


By Dolmus (Shared Taxi):

Adopting a ‘carpool’ method, the dolmus is a minivan that collects passengers heading in the same, general direction. The vehicle only starts moving once it has been filled to its capacity of 8 people. It’s a great, eco-friendly way to travel, severely reducing carbon footprint in the long-run and is a great way of shaving off a few extra lira from your fare.

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