I departed from Kuala Lumpur at 2315.. It took approximately 11 hours from KL to Istanbul. The next flight was at 1815. About a half day transit.

In Istanbul airport, after finishing the customs check and everything at 0600 local time, I enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate at Caffe Nero. There goes my first 11Lira! It wasn’t the drink that I was interested in, its the wifi! Unfortunately the wifi wasn’t working. What a waste! Hahaha

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There is a nice Mosque provided in the airport, located on the first floor. Here, they call the mosque as ‘mescit’.

TravelSharm002After asking few locals, finally I found the place for the tour registration. They named it as Hotel Desk, on your right when you leave the arrival gate. There is not even a banner mentioning about the tour, plus most of the staff there do not even know about the existence of this tour. LOL. At the counter, they will take your boarding pass for reservation. I have to wait for 2 hours since my tour starts at 0900.

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Beside the hotel desk is a baggage point where I left my laptop bag which costed me 18 Lira.

Sharp at 0845, there was a lady calling people’s name and started to give us the ticket for the tour. Then, we straight to the bus and brought to a breakfast place.

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The restaurant for breakfast and lunch

We were served with a British style breakfast; bread and butter, eggs and few more. Tamara is the name of the restaurant. The same place where we were going to have our lunch (supposedly, will talk about that more later).

The first place to be visited is The Blue Mosque, or the real name is Sultanahmet. You can enter if you want, but please bear with the super long queue.

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The Blue Mosque

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The Blue Mosque

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The Blue Mosque

There is a monument called The Obelisk of Theodosius in front of the blue mosque. From there, we proceed to the Basilica Cistern, an underground water reservoir.
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Me infront of The Obelisk of Theodosius

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The Basilica Cistern

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The Basilica Cistern

After that, we took a tour inside the Ayasofya or Hagia Sophia Museum. The tour guide will leave you for an hour in this museum and set a meet time for lunch at 1245. After lunch they will bring you to the Istanbul Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam and spice bazaar. But since I’m a Hard Rock’s fridge magnet collector, so I left the group and walk to the other side of the city where the cafe is located.
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Inside The Hagia Sophia Museum

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Inside The Hagia Sophia Museum

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The Hard Rock cafe is located in Taksim Square, one of the famous tourist locations in Istanbul. There are many ways to go there from Hagia Sophia, but I chose to walk so that I could enjoy the scenery, at least.

On the way to Taksim Square, I passed through Gulhane Park, walk across the bridge name Galata Koprusu. That bridge has 2 levels, the upper side is for mass transit and the lower part is where many seafood restaurants located. I also walk along Istiklal road. A shopping centre along a road just like Oxford Road in London or Jalan TAR in Malaysia.

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The Istiklal Road

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The Istiklal Road

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The Taksim Square

The Hard Rock Café is hidden between the buildings, but thanks to the Google Maps, I managed to find it. After buying the fridge magnet, I spent few hours in the Taksim Square, only then I leave the city to the airport around 1530. Since the traffic was good, It took about half an hour from Taksim Square to the airport by bus, that cost me 10 Lira.