Topkapi palace is one of the best attractions of Istanbul; I went there with high expectations and I left the palace with even higher impression of how beautiful it is!
Harem section requires additional entrance fee (unless you have Istanbul Museum Pass) of 15 TL but it really worth visiting because the imperial hall, the most beautiful room in the palace, is inside the section . Again, as with any major attractions, visit early in the morning when there is less people. I made a second visit around 11 am on the last day but didn’t go in because the queue to buy the tickets was extremely long!
Visiting Topkapi Palace is like taking a glimpse into how the Ottoman Sultans lived in the height of their great empire – the amount of efforts and resources went into perfecting the art, culture and power. At the same time, it made me feel sad to think the once-great empire had fallen to crumbles and ruins. Lucky for us, the tourists, we get to visit the palace which we won’t have any chance to go inside if the Ottoman empire is still in power.
In a lot of places in Istanbul, the artworks take the form of Islamic calligraphy and being a total stranger, I couldn’t make sense of their meanings or appreciate them.
On my second day in Istanbul, I started to realize that the food around Sultanahment area is just meant for tourists, taste terrible and overpriced. (Couldn’t have been early?!) So, I began my search to find more authentic food that local eats. Again, there is always the dilemma of a paranoid traveler – safety issues on a solo trip. I still haven’t adapted to the city and worse, I can’t figure out the people yet. In most Asian countries I have been to, it is always easy to get a feel of the people – probably because this is also where I born and live. It was my first trip into the region and their culture is too new to me and vastly different.
The touting were aggressive and in one occasion, I got taunted because I ignored them. My mom called me and I was busy on the phone when one guy approached me. It pissed him off because I ignored him and he started swearing at me. But then again, I met with some really friendly people now and then.
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