First of all: do NOT underestimate the dimension and population density of the city!!!
How To Get To Bogazici University (Main Venue)
Istanbul has two international Airports, Atatürk Airport (IST) on the European side of the city Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW) on the Asian side. When preparing your itinerary for the conference you may want to consider the following points:
Atatürk airport is closer to the city center, the old town, and the conference venue on the European side. Yet, the airport has long reached its capacity, is extremely congested, and usually there are long lines at the immigration and customs counters. Public transportation form or to the airport is possible but very inconvenient, especially with bulky luggage.
Sabiha Gökçen airport, by comparison, is modern and less crowded but located further away from the city. Public transportation is quite convenient.
From Atatürk Airport to Bogazici University / City Center
Taking a taxi is by far the easiest and most likely the fastest way to get to the university. A taxi stand with dispatcher can be found immediately outside the terminal building. Taxis should be officially licensed by the Metropolitan Municipality and at every circumstance avoid any other ride than the officially licensed yellow cabs. While leaving the arrival hall at Atatürk Airport you will eventually be solicited for presumably cheaper fares on private limousines or by someone approaching you by offering a "TAXI". Simply ignore these options and head straight for the official cab stand outside the terminal, otherwise you will end up paying up to three times more for your ride.
A single ride from the airport to Bogazici University will cost about 60,- TL (appr. 22,- ). Kindly give the taxi driver the following directions:
Boğaziçi Üniversitesi (pronounce: BO-AHS-ITSCHI ÜNIVERSITESI)
Hisarüstü Mahallesi, Etiler
Shuttle Bus - Havataş
A private bus company called Havataş (pronounce: HAVA-TASCH) operates regular (every 30 minutes) shuttle buses to central locations in Istanbul. Shuttle buses can be found immediately outside the terminal building. Tickets are sold on the bus and cost about 11,- TL (appr. 4,- ). Take the shuttle bus to Taksim, which will take approximately 40 minutes, but largely depends on traffic conditions.
From Taksim, take the M2 subway line to Levent station and transfer to the M6 subway to Bogazici University (the M6 only goes in one direction and Bogazici University is the terminal station on this line).
Alternatively, you can take a a taxi after exiting the Levent subway station, which will cost about 10,- - 15,- TL, or from Taksim, which will cost 25,- - 30,- TL.
Havataş shuttle buses between Atatürk Airport and Taksim run every half-hour between 04:00 A.M. - 01:00 A.M. Please visit the Havataş website for further information.
From Sabiha Gökçen Airport to Bogazici University / City Center
Because the Sabiha Gökçen Airport is 50 km away from the city centre it is strongly recommended to use the Havataş shuttle buses to transfer to the city. Shuttle buses can be found across the the terminal building. Take the shuttle bus to Taksim (double check!!!, there are two different shuttle lines leaving from Sabiha Gökçen Airport). Travel time is approximately 1.5 hours, but it may vary with traffic conditions. Tickets are sold on the bus and cost 14,- TL (5,- ). By comparison a taxi to Taksim will cost you approximately 120,- - 140,- TL (around 50,- ) and might not be any faster.
You can also get off the bus in Levent and then take a taxi to the university campus or connect to the Metro line in case you want to get to your hotel. If you miss the stop at Levent continue to Taksim and use one of the options detailed above. Shuttle buses run every half-hour between 04:00 A.M. - 01:00 A.M.
Please visit the Havataş website for further information.
Recommended Eating Places around the University
Tahin Lebanese Food / Website
Wonderland Turkish / World Food / Website
Hazal Ana Turkish Kebap / Meze
Dalyan Balık Fish Restaurant
İspendek Fish Restaurant
Simit Sarayı Turkish Pastery / Bagel / Tea & Coffee
Poğaçacı - Turkish Pastery / Bagel / Tea & Coffee
Coffe Land Turkish Coffe / Tea / Cold Drinks
AYI Pub Beer / Alcoholic Drinks
Keçi Pub - Beer / Alcoholic Drinks
GETTING AROUND THE CITY Taxi
Using a taxi is usually the best and fastest way to get to your destination. Istanbul Taxi drivers have an amazing knowledge of the city and usually an approximate address is sufficient to get you to the right place. Please take care that you use only licensed yellow cabs and avoid Pirate cabs. You can hail for a cab on the street or find them at the many cab stands located throughout the city. Istanbul cabs use a meter and there is a single fare valid all day.
Here are some approximate fares between main locations in İstanbul:
- from Taksim to Bogazici University around 25 TL, ~$12, ~10
- from Beşiktaş to Bogazici University around 20 TL, ~$10, ~8
- from 4.Levent or Levent (Metro station) to Bogazici University around 15 TL, ~$7, ~5
- from Atatürk Airport to Bogazici University around 60 TL, ~$30, ~25
- from Sabiha Gökçen Airport to Bogazici University around 120,- TL, 50,- , 65,- $
- from Taksim to Sultanahmet (old town): around 25 - 30 TL
Public Transportation in Istanbul works amazingly well but is hopelessly chaotic. This is in particular true for transportation by bus and is more relaxed on subways and trams. You need an electronic pre-paid boarding pass (Istanbul Card) to enter public transportation vehicles (http://istanbulkart.iett.gov.tr/en). You can obtain a card (for a non-refundable fee of 6,- TL) at most major transportation hubs and all subway stations. Look for the IETT (Istanbul Public Transportation Authority) counters or vending machines. You have to charge money onto your card, which you can do at bus and metro stops or at most of the thousands of newsstands around the city. Look for Akbil Dolum Noktası) to identify newsstands that would recharge your card.
You can find information on the Public Transportation Network under http://www.iett.gov.tr/en.
Major bus lines that connect to the conference venue at Bogazici University:
- 43R Kabataş - Rumeli Hisarüstü
- 559C Taksim - Rumeli Hisarüstü
- 59R Şişli - Rumeli Hisarüstü
- 59RS Sarıyer - Rumeli Hisarüstü
- 125 Kadıköy - Rumeli Hisarüstü
From Taksim to Boğaziçi University; Take Yenikapı Hacı Osman Metro Line (M2) to Hacı Osman direction, leave at the Levent station & transfer to Boğaziçi Hisarüstü Metro Line (M6).
For more information about the other lines around the city, check the following website.
Boat / Ferry
Ferries are the most convenient transportation between the European and the Asian side of the city. Boats go frequently, either connecting opposite neighborhoods on the shores of the Bosphorus or long distance.
For more information on the Istanbul Ferry system, please visit the website.
Special water taxi service is also available, please visit the website for further information.
October is the end of summer and start of autumn in Istanbul. At the start of the month, temperatures are still high, its likely to be hot and dry. But by the end, temperatures have fallen rapidly, rainfall averages have risen, and it will feel much cooler.
You can wear any clothes you feel comfortable in. If you are planning to visit a mosque, it is advisable to bring a scarf to cover your hair if youre a woman (although these are often provided in many tourist sites), and to avoid shorts above the knee if youre a man. When entering a mosque, it is compulsory to take shoes off.
Turkish is the main language. While English is widely spoken in tourist areas, it is not very common outside these areas.
Turkey operates on 220 volts, 50Hz, with European-style dual round-pin plugs that fit into recessed wall sockets. Please make sure to check your appliances before leaving home to see what youll need to plug in when you are in Istanbul. Many appliances with their own power adapters (laptop computers, cameras) can be plugged into either 110-120 volt or 220-240 volt sockets and will adapt to the voltage automatically. Nevertheless it is advisable to bring a travel plug adaptor or power converter with you just in case.
Istanbul has Eastern European time (UTC/GMT+2).
The Türk Lirası (Turkish Lira/TL) is the national currency. ATMs are widespread throughout Istanbul. Major credit cards are accepted in most shops, hotels and restaurants. It is easy to exchange money in the money exchange offices or banks that are located throughout the city. The exchange rate is higher in exchange offices, and they do not charge fees.
Most foreign mobile phones work in Istanbul. Please make sure to check with your provider before you travel. Pre-paid SIM cards can be easily purchased at the airport upon arrival. These cost around USD$20.
Public transport in Istanbul is excellent. Buying a rechargeable Istanbul Kart can save time and money. You can buy these cards at local newspaper kiosks around public transportation stops, and they can be used on the tram, ferry, metro, funicular and bus. Taxis are plentiful, but its usually easiest to ask the hotel to call one for you. Always ask the driver to use the meter, which should be publicly displayed (usually on the rear view mirror or near the handbrake).
Food & Water
Standards of food hygiene are generally high in Istanbul. Visitors experience few food-related illnesses. To be safe, treat street food with caution. Please avoid drinking tap water, even though it is chlorinated. Bottled water is cheap and sold everywhere.
Istanbul is generally quite safe. However, pickpockets target tourist areas and crowded places. Keep handbags, camera bags and wallets secured. Accepting tea in shops and bazaars is common, but it may not be advisable to accept the offers of friendly strangers offering drinks outside these circumstances (especially invitations to bars). If you go for dinner in touristy areas, only order from menus that indicate prices for the dishes, otherwise you might end up with a very expensive bill. Its best to leave your original passport in a secure place, such as a hotel safe, but its advisable to keep a copy on hand.
Useful Expressions & Words
- Merhaba! (Hello! Hi!)
- Evet (Yes)
- Hayır (No)
- Günaydın (Good morning)
- Iyi akşamlar (Good evening)
- Iyi günler (Good day)
- Hoş geldiniz (Welcome)
- Hoş geldiniz (Welcome) - This is the first thing youll hear when you arrive anywhere, at a shop or a restaurant.
- The customary response is Hoş bulduk.
- Teşekkür ederim/teşekkürler (thank you)
- Teşekkür ederim means thank you. The customary response is rica ederim, which is equivalent to youre welcome.