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Turkey Travel Guides

The Basics:


Electricity

220 volts AC, 50Hz. The European two-pin plug is standard.

Language

Turkish is the official language, but English is widely understood in the main tourist areas.

Tipping

Tipping is a way of life in Turkey and it is customary to give some small change for most services, or a small percent of the bill. In bigger hotels and restaurants if a service charge is not added to the bill, it is customary to tip between 10 and 15%. For taxi fares it is enough to round up the bill. Attendants at Turkish baths expect to share about 15% of the total bill if service has been good.

Safety Information

Due to the current situation in neighbouring Iraq, travellers are advised to be cautious and check with their embassy for a safety update before departing for Turkey.. There is a significant threat from terrorism in Turkey and there have been a number of terrorist incidents, including small explosions, around the country, including in Istanbul and the capital, Ankara. Explosions on the Aegean Coast and the Mediterranean have killed and injured many people, including foreign tourists. Kurdish militant groups, as well as international terrorist groups, are currently active in Turkey and further attacks against the tourism industry in particular are likely. The Turkish economy is heavily reliant on tourism, which Kurdish separatists have repeatedly threatened to target. There are continuing incidents of local terrorism in Eastern Turkey, particularly the south east. Visitors should avoid any public demonstrations. Street crime is relatively low although visitors should guard their valuables at all times. A number of sexual assaults have been reported in coastal tourist areas. Many parts of Turkey lie on a major seismic fault line and are subject to earthquakes and tremors; several fairly recent earthquakes have shaken eastern Turkey, the southwest and southeast.

Local Customs

Religious customs should be respected, particularly during the month of Ramadan when eating, drinking and smoking during daylight hours should be discreet as it is forbidden by the Muslim culture. Dress modestly when visiting mosques or religious shrines. Do not take photographs of or near military and official institutions and always ask permission when taking photographs of people. There is a smoking ban on all forms of public transport and in outdoor venues (including stadiums and playgrounds). By July 2009 this will include cafes, bars and restaurants as well.

Business

In Turkey, business associates are addressed by their first names. If the associate is male, then his name is followed by 'bey', and 'hanim' is used for females. A formal, conservative dress code is observed in Turkey, and women should be careful to dress particularly conservatively. Gifts are common and are usually something the associate would use in business such as a pen or other office stationary. Business hours throughout Turkey are generally 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday with an hour taken over lunch.

Communications

The international country dialling code for Turkey is +90. The outgoing code is 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). City/area codes are in use, e.g. Istanbul Asya (Asia side) is (0)216 and Istanbul Avrupa (Europe side) is (0)212. GSM 900 and 1800 networks cover most of the country. Internet cafes are available in the main towns and resorts.

Duty Free

Travellers to Turkey do not have to pay duty on the following items: 200 cigarettes, or 50 cigars, or 200g tobacco. Alcohol allowance includes 1 litre or 700ml bottle of wine or spirits. Other allowances include 5 bottles perfume up to 120ml each; gifts to the value of dm500, tea and coffee for personal consumption, jewellery and guns for sporting purposes. Tape recorders, record players and transistor radios have to be declared on arrival. Restricted items include playing cards limited to one pack.


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