The Other Tour 2017 Itinerary

In no particular order (because where’s the fun in that?) these are a few of the experiences that you will have the pleasure of participating in. A private (we always feel the need to italicize the word private, I don’t know why) boat cruise on the Bosphorus, which just so happens to be one of the world’s, and history’s, most important and influential waterways. Strolls through neighborhoods that are both untraveled and contain more diversity than any other city in the world.

Istanbul’s alternative city tour & guide.

 

An authentic, home-cooked lunch at a real Turkish household in a district that millions of people call home. Local markets teaming with fresh produce, people and color that bring our cameras to life and get our stomachs rumbling. Walks through vibrant, exotic, poverty-stricken neighborhoods.

We spend time at any one of a number of local schools, interacting with the children and occasionally even taking part in their lessons. We see the city from multiple angles, not just conceptually, but visually. Different heights and vantage points fill us with wonder, enlightening our senses and reaffirming our appreciation for Istanbul. Our brains, churning with new ideas, thoughts and propositions all day, are truly put to the test at a local cafe where we engage in friendly competition (that doesn’t mean you don’t try to win) by playing traditional Turkish board games.

Cleanliness is important, as is feeling fresh, looking good and getting massages, so we manage to cover all 4 bases at a Turkish bath.

At the end of the day, yes, I’m going to knowingly give this portion of the tour away, we eat, drink, socialize and dance at an authentic meyhane – you’ll learn what this is once you join us ;). Finally, after party or no, we take you home, as in to your hotel. You are our responsibility from the moment we meet up at 9am to the time that you arrive back at your hotel – or even until you’re tucked safely away in your bed, depending on your preferences ;)Istanbul is where east meets west, where traditional thought meets progressive vision, where Islamic culture meets western culture. It is a city with no identity, precisely because it has so many contrasting ones. It is a city of not just one heart, but multiple souls.


Booking: info@theothertour.com


The Other Tour presents these different aspects, embraces the diversity and allows you to add to it. It is the inconsistency, the contradictions, that make Istanbul such a majestic place. You can expect to fully experience that on the tour.

The cost of the tour is 200 Euros per person. The price of the tour aside, you will not need to pay for anything all day long.

At the end of the day we will personally drop you off at your hotels with our private vehicle.

What to Bring

We recommend checking the weather report and choosing your outfit accordingly. No special clothing is required at any point during the day. Ladies may wish to bring bathing suits for the Turkish bath though by no means is it a requirement. You may also wish to bring fancier clothes to change into for the dinner. Other than that, be sure to have some comfortable shoes for walking/standing in over the course of the day. And get your dancing shoes on for the music at the end of the day!

Group Size

The group sizes range from 2-8 people.

Morning Meeting Point

The meet up location is the main gate of DOLMABAHCE PALACE (you will see the clock tower). It is located a few miles north of the Galata Bridge on the European side of the Bosphorus and is very easy to get to. The following this link will show you a picture of the clock tower we meet in front of.

The easiest way of getting there is by taxi. If you are staying in a hotel in the Old Town, the fare should be between 10 and 15 Turkish Lira (5-6 Euros). You may ask your reception to arrange a taxi for you at 8:40am. Even though it shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to get there, you can never be too cautious in this city due to the unpredictability of its traffic. If you are staying near the Taksim area, it is even closer. We recommend you leaving the hotel at 8:30am.


What we have created is much better described as an EXPERIENCE. It can be challenging not just physically (due to the roughly 3 hours of walking) but also mentally. We expect our participants to be open, engaging and curious. It is our expectation that every participant brings energy to the table (preferably the positive form) and a desire to get to know not only the city and it’s people, but the other tour participants. Please take the time to read the recommended blog posts and go though some of the past reviews and descriptions.

 

Turkish Baths in Istanbul: Top 5

Over the last 5 and half years, enjoying a scrub and massage in Turkish baths has been an integral part of The Other Tour experience. After years of trying many different ‘hamam’s in the city, we can now create a list of our favorites based on authenticity, cleanliness and of course, the price.

Here are our Top 5 recommended Turkish baths where you may like to let the dogs out:

1- GEDİKPAŞA HAMAMI

This bath is not included in any other blog post that has listed the best hamams in the city. But naturally, we differ because we only speak with experience. Gedikpaşa is real and it’s real old. It was built 1972. Even though it’s located near touristy attractions, a lot of locals still choose to go the this place.

turkish baths on the other tour istanbul

It’s big and it has the space to offer additional rooms like a pool, steam room and sauna where you can surely take your time and enjoy yourself for an extended session. Its price is also quite reasonable compared to most Turkish baths in Istanbul. If you stay in the Oldtown, Gedikpaşa may be the right one for you.

gedikpasahamami.com

2- AĞA HAMAMI

This cute little bath is located in Çukurcuma area of Beyoglu district, aka Taksim. This one was originally built in 1454, which is only a year after the conquest of the city. It’s said that this one was the very first Turkish baths that The Ottomans built in the city of Constantinople. And who do you build the first one for? Of course, the ruler!

aga-hamami-1

This may just be the bath where the Sultan and his ladies had lots of fun. And this is probably the reason why the bath does not have seperated sections for man and women. But no need to worry, women go to a different for the massage and of course, by a masseuse. So I recommend Aga Hamamı especially for couples or families who don’t want to seperate from each other.

agahamami.com

turkish baths - kılıç ali paşa

3- KILIÇ ALİ PAŞA HAMAMI

This one is new, fancy, great and a little expensive. But is it worth the money? Hell yeah!

The whole facility went through an excellent restoration and now it offers a superb service. Certainly one of the best Turkish baths ever in the history of Turkish baths! Seriously..

kilicalipasahamami.com

cinili-hamam3-1

4- ÇİNİLİ HAMAMI

If you are the kinda adventurous traveler that I respect so much, you might wanna try a bath on the asian side of Istanbul. And if that’s the case, Çinili is the one for you. It’s quite old and really cute but this is a great excuse for its high cost unfortunately. The staff is friendly and the owner lady who is always personally there, is very welcoming. It’s so calm and real authentic that I actually am very fond of this bath. It’s definitely the best one of all Turkish baths on the asian side of Istanbul.

cinilihamam.com

turkish baths

5- GALATASARAY HAMAMI

This one is the most beautiful. It’s a bit expensive but the place is worth it. Just the ceilings alone might be worth the price. It again is in Beyoglu area and staff are kinda weird but that’s probably because the building is so fantastic that they don’t really care how much business they get anyway. The original date of construction is 1458 which also makes it one of the very first Turkish baths.

galatasarayhamami.com


And here is my man Rick Steves’ take on Turkish baths.

Untraveled

We have a new project in the works – the name is Untraveled. You can check it out at untraveled.com

It’s a digital platform where we want to bring together the most underrated wonders of our planet. Places, events and companies that are way underappreciated…

untraveled-22 (1)It comes with a world map and includes amazing videos and unique information on a variety of great stuff from around the globe. There’s also an app in development stage which you can simply download on App Store and Play Store.

We’re designing Untraveled to be an interactive space where anyone can contribute freely. That means, everyone can post what they know easily and help others discover new stuff.

WHAT IS THE GOAL OF UNTRAVELED?

Untraveled is about much more than bringing out and promoting the “less traveled” of the world. It is about profound communication that transcends.

Our ultimate goal is to never stop promoting the power of travel and the idea of how we’re all backs-and-fronts to each other and we should benefit from the diversity that we luckily already possess! The diversity which may seem like conflict in the beginning.

Untraveled is about promoting peace. It is about creating change. Not because we fear lack of it but because we burn with desire for more of it. It is about travel. Travel, travel, travel! That is our goal – that everybody in the world be able to travel.

We KNOW that travel is THE best education. Because if we let it, travel helps us see through the bullshit of the daily, politic-driven, fast-spinning, heavily-polluting and over-consuming world and catch a glimpse of the truth that lies beneath the chaos and holds together the reality which actually and literally is that good old friend of us called ‘love’.

We don’t know much but we know that.

“An Iconoclastic Tour”

The Other Tour is very much a counter tour that avoids the standard tourist sites and the standard approach of herding tourists with the occasional pointing and a few humorous remarks.

The activities range from a Bosporus cruise (standard) to a lunch at the Fethi’s house in Esenler, cooked by the tour guide’s mother. Indeed the itinerary went well beyond the one stated itinerary of local markets, Armutlu. Balat and Fener, Okey lessons, and the hammam visit.

Our tour included tasting the famous Kanlica yoghurt and comfort drink sahlep while replacing the wine tasting with a night out at the Galata Restaurant & Bar where the raki and wine flowed (other tours will vary). The tour lasted 14 hours.

The tour is iconoclastic (a good Byzantine word) in two other ways.

 

The energetic but avuncular guide—accompanied by his more sedate brothers—used a mixture of humor and quips to break down the defenses of other participants to get them to bond, making all active participants part of the tour. That all this could occur in the course of a one day tour is no small accomplishment.

 

Yet the biggest departure is that there is a serious underpinning to what the tour is seeking to accomplish—Fethi’s very personal interpretation of Istanbul and modern Turkey.

His view that contrasts modern urban sprawl and mega-urbanization, inequality, and dislocation that comes from the mass migration of peoples from all over Anatolia to a city struggling to absorb them with the older Istanbul that has largely disappeared.

 

His remarks at various sites deliver a sharp critique of the forces of Turkization of the modern Turkish republic. He yearns for an era when Constantinople was a truly diverse collection of communities combining Turk, Armenian, Greek (he uses the word Rum), and Jews before nationalism and the policies of founders and leaders created a society that was less diverse and tolerant in terms of ethnicity and religion. For a tour to have a serious underlying message is impressive.

 

Most of all, The Other Tour is both memorable and fun. Unlike most tours, this one opens eyes and sticks in the mind. Highly recommended.

Visited May 2012 the other tour reviews

Introduction to The Other Tour

 The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.

Gilbert K. Chesterton


 Istanbul’s premier culture tour

experience this city,

the way she deserves:

THE OTHER TOUR


The Other Tour is not a tour. It is a detour. A detour from mainstream tourism. It is a great detour from the touristic sights of the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace etc., allowing you to immerse yourself for a short while into the Turkish way of life. Fethi gives a lot of himself by inviting you into his family home and life. He is not your guide. He is your friend for the day as you walk and talk and eat and experience Istanbul life. –A TripAdvisor Review

We set out to experience a special day in life with a simple goal in mind: experiencing the real Istanbul.

The Other Tour was established in early 2011 and since then, we have had thousands of participants from all across the planet who seek to catch a glimpse into the local culture and cuisine instead of just seeing the famous touristy attractions.

Lunch on the other tour

It is a unique tour like no other, offering a fresh look into Istanbul that has been often referred to as profound.

 

THE ITINERARY

We don’t believe in providing a step-by-step, hour-by-hour guide to what your day on The Other Tour will be like. An itinerary of that nature simply wouldn’t do the experience justice. However, you may read our itinerary to learn about the activities we engage in on The Other Tour.

 

TRAVEL FAR ENOUGH

YOU WILL MEET YOURSELF.

-David Mitchell


This is not a typical tour. The Other Tour is designed for curious travelers to explore such an amazing city together in a way that focuses more on human condition and culture rather than historical sights and museums.


Running this tour has been the best education and a fantasticly fun experience for our team and family. And we thank everyone who has taken the time to add to the wonderful collections of +500 reviews.


To book, you may email us at info@theothertour.com,

Or contact our team directly from here:

Istanbul Street Markets: Top 5 Spots

I have come across a couple of different blog posts recently covering the fantastic Istanbul street markets that adds another authentic layer to this city. Other blogs have already covered the best ones yes, but there is so many more that you only know with The Other Tour.

the other tour diana 9
Fethi with long hair

KASIMPAŞA FOOD MARKET

Aka. Kastamonu Pazarı. This place is President Erdogan’s hood! It’s right next to Taksim and it has its football club named after it. Plus, Kasımpaşaspor is in Turkish Premier League. But enough with important things.

Kasımpaşa Inebolu Pazarı is its real name. And unlike many ‘pazar’s it actually only takes place on a Sunday. (The word pazar means Sunday in Turkish, that must be origin of the name. Bazaar, remember?)

This is no ordinary pazar with regular stuff. This one brings it on! The products are special and high quality. There is a certain gourmet feeling to the whole thing. So if you’re a foodie or a professional cook, this might just be the place for you.

Istanbulites travel from throughout the city to sample the market’s mushrooms arriving from the İnebolu region. You’ll find raw mushrooms in a variety of shapes and forms as well as pickled and preserved mushrooms. The first sign of spring is the scent of the many mountain flowers, fresh herbs and fruit. –Read more on The Guide Istanbul

Location: Küçük Piyale Mahallesi, Toprak Tabya Sokak Kasımpaşa
Time: Every Sunday, 7am to 5pm

CUMA PAZARI: FRIDAY MARKET

Friday is a big a day for markets in Istanbul. But our special pick is the one in Fındıkzade. You might not know how to pronounce it but it’s easy to get there. I mean with tram.

This one is HUGE! It is extensive and full of people who comes from afar. And they come in all shades and colors. This Friday market even has carpets to buy. I will leave it at that.

And ‘Cuma Pazarı’ is still a fantastic example of the traditional street market style and feeling that Anatolian people has managed to maintain throughout centuries. The freshest vegetables, fruit and fish are always available but this one has more. Much more. Clothing, home supplies, shoes, etc.

istanbul street markets
It was a Friday. I remember.

BAKIRKÖY ORGANIC MARKET

This one does not accept vendors without a licence. ‘Organic’ is the keyword here and since 1991, this approach in agricultural products is organized within the Europen Union standarts. Bakırköy without a doubt has one of the best Istanbul street markets.

Bakırköy organic pazar also takes place only on Fridays. You can find a big variety of products here; besides all the usual suspects (has to be organic though!) you may find top quality cotton, pasta, specials kind of breads and cosmetic products. Make sure you make it early there, it gets crazy crowded.

 

KADIKÖY TUESDAY MARKET

This one’s a monster between all Istanbul street markets. Kadıköy is certainly the heart of Istanbul’s Asian side. We call it asian but it’s more European than the actual European part of the city.

 

This market is fun and rich. It has everything you may be looking for. With its 2 thousands stands and maybe 5 thousands vendors, this market covers the whole spectrum of products that Istanbul has to offer on the streets.

A temporary situation about the market is explained by Atdaa:

(The market has temporarily moved to Göztepe but will be moved back to its original location in 2017.)

When: On Tuesdays from 9am to 8pm

Where: Göztepe

How to get there: Take the metro to the Göztepe stop. You’ll see the market across the station.

istanbul street markets
Kadıköy

BEYLIK PAZARI

This one’s coming for the title! And it’s called THE BEST ONE OF ALL ISTANBUL STREET MARKETS.

It’s far outside the city center but it’s a secret gem for the real traveler. It’s in Beylikdüzü, which is a name that’s scary for the people who live there. It just reminds of ‘afar’ and ‘traffic’. But you can start the day early and make your way there on a calm Sunday morning to see the action at its best.

The vendors here are fresh and excited, just like the products they sell. And they bring unique new tastes to the table. Literally! You can have gözleme (Turkish pancakes) as you walk by and get a little hungry. Or you can just stroll down as usual and have a hard time deciding what not to buy.

 

This place may be the weirdest of all Istanbul street markets. It sells high quality clothes with very cheap prices. It has security guards and cameras with wide streets so that you don’t bump into each other. Beylik Pazarı even provides you with nursery so that you can leave the little trouble makers behind for a little while. 🙂

 

OTHER HONORABLE MENTIONS:

  • Feriköy Organic Pazar
  • Ulus ‘Fancy’ Pazar
  • Çarşamba (Fatih) Pazarı
  • Beşiktaş Saturday Pazar

Check out Atdaa.com’s special post for these awesome Istanbul street markets.

Laura’s Istanbul

Here are some amazing pictures Laura (from Australia) took. She and her 3 good friends joined The Other Tour in May and we had a wonderful time together. She is a therapist in Australia and we had great conversations all through the day. I think her intelligence and sweet nature shines through her photography – so I hope you enjoy the gallery.