JENNA DAVIS
WORLDWIDE

Hi, I'm Jenna. I am a Canadian expat living in Germany and blogging my way through sustainable travel. I'm here to help you ease yourself into travel that's a little more sweet for our earth. I make mistakes on a daily basis, but that's what the blog is for - learning and growing! See you on the road!

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Can Tourists Be The Answer To A Brighter Istanbul? | #TrainLineTravel 

By on June 20th, 2015

 

It is no secret that Turkey has their own issues to deal with rather than focusing on whether tourism is sustainable or not. After talking to many locals throughout Istanbul it is apparent that tourism is helping make a positive impact on the city, but just how much of an impact?

Istanbul
When I sit back at home in Germany or Canada it is easy to see what solutions we need to implement into our tourism industries and how to do so. Though, when sitting in the crowded streets of Instanbul, it’s not the ease of implementation that I’m thinking about, but ‘how the hell do we start?’ and ‘where on earth do we start?’ 
 
It is a different culture, a different country and an entire different perspective on life. So my hopes in this blog post is to write to you all that I loved about Istanbul and how we as tourists can help change the way that tourism is conducted in the city.
We as tourists have already changed our travel focus from seaside resort go-ers to culture seekers and health care tourers. Of course this goes without saying, seaside resorts and cruise lines are still a big craze for many travellers. This is the side of tourism we should all be trying to lean away from.

What To Love About Istanbul 

You usually can’t go wrong visiting historical sites, mosques and archeological sites, but what about the rest of your time in Istanbul? You’ve likely heard about all the typical sights to see (The Blue Mosque, The New Mosque, Hagia Sofia, Galata Tower, etc.), but I’m hoping to enlighten you on a few other things you should consider.
kadikoy

Bike Tours in Kadikoy

There may not be many options on the European side to stroll through the city on a calming bike tour, but there are certainly numerous paths on the Asian side which you should be taking advantage of. I decided to take the easy ‘blue’ path along the waters edge a spent about 3 or 4 hours of the day roaming around by bike. PS. If you’re looking for a bike rental, Hush Hostels Lounge has what you need (and is a short walk from the ferry pier).  If this is something that may peak your interest, I highly suggest you read Jeff’s blog over at Jeff’s Bike Tour for some more tips on this route through Kadikoy, Istanbul.

Istanbul

Sali Pazari Market (Tuesday and Friday)

To my surprise, this isn’t an extremely touristic place to be. The only reason I decided to visit the market was because there was a cute little picture of a fruit basket on the Hush Hostels map with an arrow to the market – ‘who doesn’t love markets’ I thought. Sali Pazari has a whole lot of everything, open Tuesday’s and Friday’s make sure you check out both days if you have time. Tuesday is more for the sales of fresh fruit and veg with a combination of numerous ‘knock off’ shops for apparel, shoes and accessories. Friday is wonderful, you have the weekly fresh fruit and veg of course and then the remainder of the market is filled with textiles and flea market stands. TIP: There is a food stand at the main entrance where you can get this incredible pastry filled with cheese and spinach. The woman cook it on a large cast iron skillet – like a crepe skillet, only 10 times larger in size. 

Istanbul

Picnic by the Water & Watch the Dolphins

Just because you’re overseas adventuring through an entire new country, doesn’t mean you need to be running around every second of the day finding new areas to explore. I was there for 6 days and though I had the intention of running around exploring every site I could, I soon realized that in order to fully enjoy my time in Istanbul I would need to slow down and take it in day by day. Venture over to Kadikoy (Asian side) or better yet, stay there! Along the waters edge there are numerous parks, cheap cafes and lush green patches of grass for a picnic. Take advantage of the street eats in Istanbul, pack a lunch and sit by the river. We were lucky enough to see many dolphins swimming around that week.

Istanbul

Fortune Readings & Turkish Coffee

Though I don’t have many recommendations for where to do if you’d like a Turkish coffee and fortune reading (I also don’t want to be held liable if you get a fake), I had a delicious Turkish coffee and fortune reading right in the comfort of my hostel (Hush Hostel). Whether you believe in fortune readings or not, it’s kind of a cool thing to experience while in Istanbul. Tactics: 1) Enjoy the coffee, 2) Flip the cup upside down on a saucer, 3) Patience, sit and hangout for 15 minutes or so, 4) Pick up the tea cup and have your fortune read (this happens between the lines of coffee grains).

istanbulistanbul

Hush Hostel 
Okay, so perhaps the hostel alone isn’t an attraction, but I could have stayed months in Istanbul without leaving the Asian side or my comfortable little nooks in the Hush Hostels. I had the opportunity to stay at both Hush Lounge and Hush Moda, both which are located in Kadikoy. Take a look at just a few of the photos I snapped while hanging out.
Hush Hostel
DSC_0047
DSC_0056

istanbul

Hush HostelHush Hostel

Hush Hostel

 

How to Support Sustainable Tourism in Istanbul

Turkey has had a serious influx in tourism over the past 5 to 10 years and has surpassed more than 32 million international tourists in one year. There is no doubt that we have the ability to make a sustainable change in the way tourism is conducted in the city.
Of course I could go into extensive detail on how and why we should do so, but I’m thinking that will take quite a bit of research and a few more trips to the city for that. For now, here are a few good tips to keep in mind when travelling to Istanbul.
  • Book into sustainable hotels and/or hostels
  • Avoid bus and car tours, take a free walking tour instead
  • Pack a picnic and visit some of their local green spaces
  • Use public transportation instead of private taxis
  • Purchase food and snacks from local vendors, buy fresh and local products before pre-packaged international goods
  • Request sustainable options everywhere you go:
    • No plastic bags
    • No disposable cutlery, dishes, etc.
    • No cleaning services during your stay

The list does go on, but I want to see what suggestions you may have for travelling sustainably in Turkey. Have you been before? Have you learned about the impact of tourism on any given destination? Share your thoughts below, I’d love to know!

Hush Hostel

Wait! Before you go, perhaps you’d like to take a look at all that I experienced while on vacation in Istanbul!

http://www.youtube.com/embed?listType=playlist&list=UUtcM6aY8nwuDIu5wqMeEHPA

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