Istanbul’s Health Services are well above the world standards. Many people from other countries come to the city for health treatment. It is a rapidly expanding business.

Besides many professional sports centers, many housing complexes and residences have their own fitness centers. Also, in many districts, there are walking & jogging areas, near sea, in parks and surrounding forests.

Istanbul has a very low crime rate compared to other metropolitan cities of the world. Also Turkish people are very hospitable and helpful when you are in need.

English and some other common languages (German, French) are widely spoken. Many people also speak Italian, Russian, Arabic, etc.

Istanbul is famous with its high level hospitals and schools. You will have all kind of transportation choices as Subway, metro systems, buses, boats, ferryboats, sea buses, tunnels, etc. There are plenty of nice shopping malls, restaurants, theaters, and landscapes. There are two airports, one in European side, one in Asian side.

Istanbul has a humid subtropical climate with all four seasons (winter, spring, summer and fall). You can swim, you can play snowball and watch tree leaves fall and turn green again.

International credit and debit cards are widely accepted in shops and restaurants throughout Turkey. However it is advisable also to carry cash for the smaller shops and cafes, particularly in more rural areas.

The local currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TL) available in the following denominations: Banknotes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 & 200 TL, Coins: 5, 10, 25 & 50 kuruş and 1 TL.

Cash can usually be exchanged without commission at bureau de changes (döviz), banks and hotels. Exchange rates are published daily in Turkish newspapers and can also be found in web site of Turkish Central Bank at http://www.tcmb.gov.tr (please click “bugün” under “TCMB Döviz Kurları” on the left column).

There are no steadfast rules but it is best to use common sense when deciding what to wear. If staying on a beach resort it is fine to dress as you feel comfortable. For city breaks relaxed clothing is the most suitable with comfortable shoes and casual trousers and/or a dress if you intend to do lots of walking. When visiting mosques you should take off your shoes at the entrance and ladies should cover their hair; often scarves are provided on the way in. Both sexes should dress modestly with no shorts and arms and shoulders covered during visits to mosques.

The major GSM operators in Turkey are Turkcell, Avea and Vodafone. You can use your mobile phone in Turkey if your provider has enabled international roaming. However if you intend to stay for a long time in the country or make several calls, it may be preferable to buy a local prepaid SIM card. Take your mobile phone and passport to a Turkish mobile phone shop where your new SIM will be registered along with your handset’s IMEI number and your personal information. (Unregistered phones will be blocked and unable to receive or make calls) Turkey has very wide mobile coverage networks so you shouldn’t have any problems in the main cities and tourist resorts.

Turkey is one of the safest countries in the world with Interpol ranking it as one of the safest holiday destination in Europe. As is the case when travelling in any country though, do be careful with your personal possessions when out and about and never leave items unattended. You will find the police helpful and friendly and in many of the tourist resorts there are special tourism police who speak different languages.

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