It was a last minute decision for the business trip, I could not get a direct flight from Singapore to Istanbul which is available on Singapore Airlines, I had to transit via Doha before reaching Istanbul. We arrived almost 5am in the morning and there wasn’t much crowd and the weather was freaking cold !
Change Currency and Purchase Sim Card !
Turkey does not really relies on Euro currency for daily usage and 23 did not managed to find any currency exchange for Turkish Lira while we were in Singapore or Qatar airport. The first thing was to find a currency exchange counter to change my US dollars into Turkish Lira. Internet connection would be the second on my mind. While strolling inside of the departure hall, we managed to purchased a 4GB sim card for 84 Turkish Lira (est. 44 Singapore dollars), sufficient enough for our 3 days in Istanbul. We had to deal though “finger language” as the salesperson only speaks their local language.
Tip: Try downloading World Nomad’s Turkish Language App from iTunes App Store, I believe that will help with better communication in Turkey.
Getting From The Airport To The Hotel
As we walked through the departure hall, a relentless cold wind blown across our face, sending shivers down to our spines. However, that didn’t stopped me from lighting a cigarette before pulling out my winter jacket from my luggage. A line of bright orange taxis were waiting for customers, chatting among themselves.
We finished our last puff of cigarette and hopped into the first cab in the queue. The driver was not able to understand english and I had to pulled out my hotels.com booking confirmation and showing him the address below he drove off. It was an exciting journey to the hotel while the cab driver was speeding and we could hear our luggages rolling for side to side in the car’s boot. It took us less than 10 minutes before reaching our hotel. The driver looked annoyed when I was trying to pay him with a 50 Lira note and rudely demanded that I should change at the hotel’s reception counter. I searched through my pockets and managed to pulled out some small changes to pay for the cab.
Tip: Try to get more small changes at the money exchange counters as it will be much easier to pay for the cab and other stuff. It was understand later from my Turkey’s friend that they does not like to accept large notes.
Our Hotel – Renaissance Polat Istanbul Hotel
We was greeted politely by a intern staff and I tried to check in our rooms but in normal cases, they only allowed us to check in at 2pm in the afternoon. It was only 6am in the morning and there was still a couple of hours to go before our appointment. There was two choices – either we stay at the lobby and check in after our appointment or we pay for another night’s rate. Fortunately, the intern staff tried to consult his manager and they allowed us to have an early check in for an additional 100 euros which we agreed immediately. This allows us to have a good bath and rest, keeping ourselves refresh. Furthermore, they have upgraded us to a sea view room without any additional cost !
Renaissance Polat Istanbul Hotel
Sahilyolu Cad. No: 2 Yesilyurt
Tel: + 90 212 414 1800