The main international airports in Turkey are located 30 to 45 minutes outside Ankara and Istanbul. During rush hours, you travel time to the city can stretch to over an hour. Metered taxis are always available and there is regular bus service to the city as well. It is advisable to write down the full address of your destination for the taxi driver.
Citizens of New Zealand, Japan and most of the countries of Western Europe, need only a valid passport for stays of up to 3 months. Australian, UK and US citizens, as well as those from Austria, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, need visas and should contact a Turkish consulate in advance. Alternatively, it is possible to obtain a visa upon entry to Turkey.
Spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) are the best time to visit. The climate is agreeable along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, as well as in Istanbul. From late October to early April, the beaches are quiet. There's little rain between May and October except along the Black Sea coast. Eastern Turkey is best visited from late June to September, as snow may close roads and mountain passes in the colder months. The Aegean and Mediterranean coasts have mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. In Istanbul, summer temperatures average 28-30A^^(o)C (82-86A^^(o)F); winters are chilly but usually above freezing, with rain and perhaps a dusting of snow. The Anatolian plateau can be hot in summer and cold in winter. The Black Sea coast is either mild and wet or chilly and wet, depending on the season. Mountainous eastern Turkey is very cold and snowy in winter and only pleasantly warm in high summer. The southeast is dry, mild in winter, and very hot in summer, with temperatures reaching as high as 45 A^^(o) C (113A^^(o)F).
Legal tender is the Turkish Lira.Unlimited foreign currency that may be brought into Turkey, however, the same is not true for Turkish currency taken out of the country. It is advisable to check with the customs department for specific information. The exchange slips for the conversion of foreign currency into Turkish lira should be kept, since you may be required to show these when reconverting your Turkish lira back into foreign currency, and when taking souvenirs out of the country (to prove that they have been purchased with legally exchanged foreign currency).
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Businesses are generally open from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. Some are open for a half day on Saturdays. Most people buy fresh produce at open-air markets or bazaars, but get other goods from supermarkets (in large cities) or neighbourhood shops.
Public telephones have three different systems: Phone-cards, tokens and credit cards. Phone cards and tokens are sold at Turkish Telecom offices. Tokens are called "jeton" in Turkish. Throughout Turkey, phone numbers consist of two sections; area code (3 digits) and the number itself (7 digits). During weekdays from 18:00 to 06:00 and on weekends, calls are cheaper. All post offices in Turkey bear the yellow "PTT" or "Telekom" sign. Larger post offices are open from 08:00-24:00. In most of the cities in Turkey, there are internet cafes, especially in tourist areas.
Electrical current in Turkey is 230V, 50Hz.
Turkish (official), Kurdish, Arabic
Lightweight summer clothing is ideal with a wrap, sweater, or jacket for cooler nights and air-conditioned premises. Adequate sunglasses, hats, and high factor sun creams are essential, especially for children. Casual dress is appropriate for most occasions, formal dress where the establishment dictates or for important functions.
Most major cities and towns are linked by regular rail services. Turkish State Railways offers coaches, sleeping cars, restaurants, with lounge cars offering first and second-class service. Trains are very busy and you should buy tickets well in advance. When travelling intercity by train you are advised to take only "ekspres" or "mototren" trains as other services tend to be cramped, smoke-filled and slow (it is often quicker with the improvement in the road system to travel by coach). Turkish train timetables indicate stations not cities. For instance, Istanbul's two stations, Haydarpasa and Sirkeci, but not Istanbul will appear on timetables.
It is probably best to use public transport, rather than hire a car. In Istanbul and other major cities traffic congestion and the lack of parking spaces can delay your journey considerably.When planning your trip, you should be aware that journeys, in large cities, between meetings could take twice as long as you expect, because of traffic conditions. Your schedule should be as loose and flexible as possible, to counter inevitable delays.
Metered taxis in cities are cheap and plentiful. The meter is running at night rate when it shows two red lights. Tipping is not expected but a small sum is usual for special courtesies. It is advisable to write down the full address of your destination, as drivers may not be familiar it in the major cities. Taxi drivers have been known to drop passengers "near" their destination before disappearing. Also available are the much cheaper "Dolmus" taxis, which have fixed routes and carry up to eight passengers. Tipping is not customary.
Hire cars are available at main hotels, airports and travel agents but are expensive. An international driver's licence is preferred, but most foreign licences are accepted. Roads are generally good but local driving can be erratic.
Private health facilities and dentists are very good. Public health facilities, hospitals, and dentists are adequate. No special vaccinations are required before entering Turkey. If you intend to travel to eastern Turkey, you are advised to have hepatitis vaccinations and anti-malarial tablets before you go. It is advisable to take out full medical insurance when visiting Turkey.