Istanbul, Turkey

Blue Mosque in Istanbul
Blue Mosque in Istanbul
Sponcered Link
Sponcered Link

Flying to Istanbul, Turkey

On January 15, we left from the Protea hotel in Dar es Salaam before sunrise to catch the flight at 7am to Istanbul. A quick security check was required before entering into the airport. After checking in our bag and passing the regular security check, we went to the lounge for breakfast.

As we landed in Cairo for transfer, the desert view was not surprising but still amazing. Our flight landed on time but the flight to Istanbul was delayed, so we just waited at the lounge and had some light food.

We arrived in Istanbul in the evening. As we stepped out of the terminal, the cold winds reminded us that we were back to the northern hemisphere (temporarily). We took the hotel shuttle around 6:30pm and just rested at the hotel for the rest of the day.

Day-Tour in Istanbul

Next day, we did a day-tour in Istanbul, mainly Grand Bazaar and Blue Mosque. In the morning we took the hotel shuttle to the airport and then purchased the Istanbulkart (Istanbul Card for public transportation) at the ticket machine with assistance from station staff (no English on the ticket machine) to go to Grand Bazaar by light rail.

Grand Bazaar was huge, with countless stores. The market had various sections, separated by product types. We saw lots of tea cup sets, lighting fixture, seasoning, snacks and other souvenirs. Lots of options and many of them were really pretty. The building itself was also a great local icon.

After we had lunch and kebab sandwich, we walked to Blue Mosque. The mosque was spectacular and we were able to see it even from a few blocks away. It started raining in the afternoon but the majestic mosque was still amazingly beautiful. We also spent some time sitting inside and enjoying some peaceful moments.

On the way back, we bought some local snacks and another kebab sandwich. After getting back to the hotel, we quickly packed up and jumped in the hotel shuttle to catch the flights for our next destination – Galapagos.



Taxi from Protea Hotel to Dar es Salaam Airport (DAR)

Price: 39,000 TZS / ride
Payment: Cash only
Ride time: 40 minutes

This taxi ride was arranged by the hotel per our request (the price should be agreed upon reservation through the hotel reception).

Flight from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to Istanbul, Turkey

Price: US $131.49 / person by Egypt Air

From Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to Cairo, Egypt
Trip time: Approximately 5.5 hours
In-flight meal: One meal with snacks (packaged cookies)

Dar es Salaam Airport (DAR) Tanzanite Lounge (in International Terminal)

The lounge was accessible for Priority Pass cardholders. It served cereals, sandwiches, bread, pastry, boiled eggs, samosas, packaged juice, soda, tea and coffee. The restroom was clean.

From Cairo, Egypt to Istanbul, Turkey
Trip time: Approximately 2 hours 10 minutes
In-flight meal: One meal

Cairo Airport (CAI) First Calss Lounge (in Terminal 3)

The lounge was accessible for Priority Pass cardholders. It served variety of food, including cold sandwiches, beef stew, fried chicken, pastry, desserts, as well as tea/coffee, hot chocolate and soda. Free Wifi was also available.

Hotel Shuttle between Istanbul Airport and Marriott Courtyard Hotel

Price: Free
Trip time: 15 minutes
The pick-up location was right outside the terminal. Depending on the date and time, the shuttle ran every 30 – 60 minutes. No shuttle during late night.

Istanbulkart (Istanbul Card for public transportation)

Price: 24 TRY, including cost of the card
No English on the ticket machine. luckily we found station staff to assist us. We used the card for our day-trip in Istanbul. While the card was shareable, the transfer discount was not applicable beyond the first passengers.


Marriott Courtyard Istanbul International Airport

Price: 7,500 Marriott Hotel points / night for a double bed room
Check-out: 10am * Late checkout up to 4pm is available for free for members above Gold status.
WiFi: Yes, available and stable in the room
Amenities: Yes, shampoo, body wash, towels, hair dryer and a mini refrigerator
Meal: Not included. Two small bottled water and welcome snacks were provided fro free per our hotel membership.

All the luggage had to be scanned before entering the hotel. The room was comfy and the service was good. We had a very relaxing stay.

Food / Restaurant

Deli outside of Grand Bazaar

Price: 19 TRY for a plate of red fried rice and beef with eggplants
This was a small deli outside of Grand Bazaar, with seating area on the second floor. The food was pretty good and the bread on table was free.


Price: 6 TRY
LocationGoogle Maps (store might be changed)
The kebab sandwich was pretty good. The place was small but still a few seats inside.

Local Kebab

Price: 3.5 TRY
Location: Google Maps (Not sure exactly where but around this area)
We followed the locals and got a kebab sandwich from this food stall. The sandwich with local seasoning was absolutely amazing and it was really cheap.


Price: 30 TRY for 8 pieces
LocationGoogle Maps
To use up our cash, we went to this dessert place and pick up various small desserts. Overall pretty good.


Blue Mosque

Website: Homepage
This is a historic mosque and popular tourist site located in Istanbul, continuing to function as a mosque. During the day, there was prayer time when the mosque was only open to prayers. Refer website link above for regular open hours.