Embarking on your first arrival in Turkey? Our comprehensive guide covers customs, transport, healthcare, and cultural tips for a smooth Turkish journey.
Welcome to Turkey, a country where rich history meets vibrant modernity! If you are planning your first arrival in Turkey, you might be wondering about a myriad of things, from customs regulations to transportation. In this guide, we’ll provide you with a wealth of information to ensure your Turkish adventure begins on the right foot and remains memorable throughout your stay
1. Arrival and Customs in Turkey
Upon your arrival in Turkey, your first encounter will be with customs. Ensure you have all necessary documents handy. This includes a valid passport and visa (if required). As a rule of thumb, it’s best to carry photocopies of these documents, alongside the original ones, for easy verification.
2. Navigating Transportation in Turkey
After clearing customs, your immediate next step is figuring out your transportation to your accommodation. It’s important to note that the details provided here are specifically for Istanbul, which hosts two major airports: Istanbul Airport and Sabiha Gokcen Airport.
In addition to the aforementioned transportation options, you can also consider renting a car. At all airports in Turkey, you will find a variety of rental car services providing different vehicle classes. This could be a viable option if you prefer the convenience and flexibility of having your own vehicle during your stay.
Istanbul offers a multitude of transportation options to cater to various preferences and budgets. If you’re landing at either Istanbul Airport or Sabiha Gokcen Airport, the HAVAIST shuttle service is a reliable choice. These shuttles connect to many regions in Istanbul, and depending on your destination, the cost could range between $5-10.
If you’re considering taxi transportation in Istanbul, please be aware that taxi rides can be problematic. Unfortunately, some taxi drivers may attempt to overcharge foreigners. However, if you still prefer a taxi, you can choose from a range of services differentiated by color: orange (economy, $15-25), turquoise (mid-range, $20-30), and black (luxury, $30-50) for transportation to central districts in Istanbul.
For those landing at Sabiha Gokcen, local buses operated by IETT, with routes such as 132H, E9, 130H, E10, E11, SG1, 16S, E3, SG2, 122H, KM22, and MR60, are available to various local districts. Depending on your destination, this could take 1-1.5 hours and would cost approximately $1. Similarly, for Istanbul Airport, IETT buses H-1, H-2, H-3, H-5, H-8 can get you to various districts in roughly an hour, for less than $1.
Lastly, an express metro line from Istanbul Airport with seven stops can be utilized to reach the Kagithane district, and from there, surrounding districts are accessible via the metro system. This express metro line costs around $1 and is a convenient way to explore Istanbul’s nearby districts.
It’s advisable to research these transportation options before your arrival to make your first arrival in Turkey as smooth as possible.
3. Securing Accommodation in Turkey
If you haven’t already arranged accommodation, make sure you do so promptly. Turkey offers various types of accommodations to suit different budgets and preferences, including hotels, rented apartments, and even unique choices like boutique pensions. Don’t forget to book in advance during peak tourism periods!
For a more personalized accommodation experience, consider using Airbnb. With Airbnb, you can rent entire homes or private rooms, often providing a unique and local experience. You can find Airbnb listings virtually everywhere in Turkey, and prices vary depending on the location and type of accommodation.
Although booking.com doesn’t provide services in Turkey, there’s no need to worry. You can find suitable hotels based on your requirements and budget through services like TripAdvisor, Trivago, or Google Travel.
Residence Permit Option
When planning to stay long-term in Turkey and looking for housing, it’s crucial to keep a few factors in mind. One of them is the location. If you plan to apply for a residence permit, you should consider renting in areas where it’s possible to get one. We recommend visiting our Residential Districts page for more information on this.
Keep in mind that in districts that are closed for foreign residence, you will not be able to secure a residence permit, even if you rent a property there. This is a key factor to consider when deciding where to live.
Another important point to note is that purchasing a property in Turkey can provide you with an opportunity to apply for a residence permit. This can be an appealing option for those considering a longer stay or even retirement in Turkey. In metropolitan municipalities, a real estate investment of over 75,000 dollars is required for this, while in other municipalities, the investment requirement is over 50,000 dollars.
By understanding the rules and regulations related to accommodation and residence permits, you can make informed decisions that will help ensure your stay in Turkey is comfortable and legal.
4. Registering Your Stay in Turkey
Depending on your length of stay, you may be required to register your presence with local Turkish authorities. This often involves applying for a residence permit, especially if you’re staying longer than the duration of a typical tourist visa.
If you’re planning a lengthy stay in Turkey, consider opening a local bank account. This helps streamline your finances, making transactions easier and often more cost-effective. Most Turkish banks offer accounts to foreign nationals, but the requirements vary, so it’s wise to check in advance.
Normally, a residence permit is needed to open a bank account in Turkey. If you wish to open a bank account, visit our page on “Opening a bank account in Turkey” for more information. Additionally, feel free to contact us directly for assistance on this matter.
6. Understanding Healthcare in Turkey
Before your trip to Turkey, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the country’s healthcare system and review your health insurance coverage. Turkey has a well-developed healthcare infrastructure with state-of-the-art facilities and highly skilled medical professionals. Many of the doctors and medical staff are proficient in English, easing communication concerns for international patients.
One area where Turkey particularly excels is in cosmetic and aesthetic procedures. In fact, the country is known worldwide for its high-quality aesthetic, dental, and hair transplant treatments. Many people from around the globe travel to Turkey specifically to avail themselves of these services, benefiting from the combination of top-notch medical care and attractive prices.
In the field of aesthetic procedures, Turkish plastic surgeons are renowned for their skills and the exceptional results they deliver. Whether you’re considering a minor cosmetic procedure or more significant plastic surgery, Turkish doctors are among the best in the world.
For those considering hair transplant procedures, Turkey is a global leader. With its advanced technology and expert surgeons, the country offers a high success rate in hair restoration surgeries. The cost of these procedures in Turkey is significantly lower than in many other countries, making it a preferred destination for hair transplant tourism.
Similarly, Turkey boasts world-class dental healthcare facilities offering a broad range of treatments from routine dental checkups to complex oral surgeries. The dental tourism sector in Turkey is thriving due to the affordable cost of treatments without compromising quality and service.
However, remember to ensure your health insurance covers the medical procedures and treatments you intend to receive in Turkey. If you have any pre-existing conditions, it’s recommended to investigate where and how you can receive treatment in the country.
Should you need assistance or have any queries about medical treatments or healthcare services in Turkey, feel free to reach out to us. We are always ready to help and guide you towards the best possible healthcare solutions for your needs. Your wellbeing and satisfaction are our top priorities.
Please note that while Turkey provides excellent healthcare services, it’s crucial to stay informed and take necessary precautions to ensure your health and safety during your stay.
7. Establishing Communication in Turkey
Being able to communicate effectively is crucial when traveling or living abroad. In Turkey, securing a local SIM card for your phone is a good move, particularly if you plan to stay for an extended period.
Three main providers dominate the Turkish market: Vodafone, Turkcell, and Türk Telekom. Each of these offers special data packages tailored for tourists. Depending on your data needs, you can choose from different options, ranging from 25GB to 100GB. Prices for these packages vary between 7 and 20 dollars. Furthermore, you can opt for either a physical SIM card or an e-SIM, depending on your phone’s compatibility and your personal preference.
Having a local SIM card will give you the convenience of making calls at local rates and accessing the internet without relying on Wi-Fi. This is particularly useful for using navigation apps, making online bookings, and staying connected with your loved ones back home. Remember to carry your passport with you when purchasing the SIM card, as it’s required for registration.
8. Adjusting to Turkish Culture
One of the fascinating aspects of living in a foreign country is immersing yourself in its culture. This becomes an even more intriguing experience in a country as culturally rich as Turkey, which is known for its deep-rooted history, tradition, and a unique blend of eastern and western influences.
Firstly, communication is key to understanding and appreciating any culture. Turkish people are known for their hospitality and warmth, and learning a few basic Turkish phrases can go a long way in connecting with the locals. Simple greetings like “Merhaba” (Hello), “Teşekkür ederim” (Thank you), and “Lütfen” (Please) will not only help you navigate daily interactions, but also show respect for the local language and culture.
Turkish etiquette and customs can be quite different from those in other countries. For instance, it is customary in Turkey to remove your shoes when entering someone’s home. Also, it’s important to know that Turkish people attach great importance to punctuality, especially in business and formal settings. Additionally, the culture holds a deep respect for elders, and this is reflected in social interactions.
The culture of Turkey is an amalgamation of numerous civilizations that have ruled the region across millennia, including the Hittites, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans. The art, architecture, music, literature, and cuisine reflect this fusion of cultural influences. Take time to explore historic sites, savor the diverse and delicious Turkish cuisine, and appreciate the vibrant arts scene. From Istanbul’s historic Hagia Sophia and the rock formations of Cappadocia to the folk music of Anatolia, every aspect of Turkish culture tells a story.
Becoming familiar with these aspects of Turkish culture will make your stay more enjoyable and fulfilling. Remember that cultural learning is a continuous process, and keep an open mind to fully experience and appreciate the richness of Turkey’s diverse heritage.
9. Managing Work and Education in Turkey
Whether you’re in Turkey for work or study, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with your rights and responsibilities. Understanding the country’s labor and education laws will help you have a smooth and rewarding experience.
If you’re in Turkey for work, you will most likely require a work permit. This legal document authorizes a foreigner to work legally in Turkey. Applying for a work permit involves several steps, and the requirements vary depending on your nationality and the type of job you’ll be doing. It’s crucial to gather all the necessary documents and submit them within the deadlines. Note that working without a valid work permit is illegal and could lead to severe penalties, including deportation. Please check Work Permit FAQ pages for details.
If you’re in Turkey to study, make sure you’re properly registered for your classes. Universities and schools in Turkey have specific registration procedures, which you should follow carefully. Remember that as an international student, you may also need to apply for a student visa and a residence permit. Check HOW TO APPLY FOR UNIVERSITY STUDY IN TURKEY
Whether you’re working or studying in Turkey, it’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about the country’s customs and ways of life. This will help you adjust to your new environment and make the most of your time in Turkey. Make sure you also take time to explore your surroundings, meet new people, and try new experiences.
10. Exploring Turkey
Once you’ve sorted out the practical aspects of your stay, it’s time to embrace the vibrant Turkish culture and explore your new surroundings. Turkey is a country rich in history and culture, with plenty to offer both locals and visitors.
For restaurant and venue recommendations, Google Maps is an excellent resource. User reviews can give you a good idea about the atmosphere, food quality, and service at each place. Don’t forget to leave your own reviews to help future travelers!
Finally, remember to try Turkish cuisine, visit local attractions, meet new people, and immerse yourself in Turkish culture. Your time in Turkey will be a unique and enriching experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
In conclusion, planning your trip to Turkey requires attention to details like visas, transportation, accommodation, and more. But with careful preparation and an open mind, your time in Turkey can be a fascinating mix of adventure, relaxation, and cultural immersion. We hope this guide has provided you with the essential information to start your journey. Safe travels!