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“Ozkan Bicer - Excellent Guide” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Turkey Tours by Local Guides

Turkey Tours by Local Guides
Gulbahar Caddesi No:48, Istanbul 34387, Turkey
+90 538 439 7811
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Ranked #71 of 280 Tours & Activities in Istanbul
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Owner description: Turkey Tours by Local Guides is a company run by licensed tour guides providing private Istanbul tours, shore excursions, day trips to Ephesus, Cappadocia, Bursa, Iznik, Edirne, and many more places in Turkey. Provided by Fast Book Travel License no: A-6202
Dallas, Texas
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
16 attraction reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
“Ozkan Bicer - Excellent Guide”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2012

I always get a guide on my journeys - so much better to have knowledgable people show you their city. I have had many good guides over the years. Ozkan was another lucky find. Its not just about seeing the main attractions. Its about having someone who understands what you want to see, and how you want to experience the sights. Ozkan spent as much time as we wanted, but also knew when to move on before we suffered from museum fatigue. He ran interference for everything and had our tickets in advance and ready go, allowing us to bypass the crowds. His knowledge was extensive, his English exceptional, his patience admirable, and his driving was perfect. I particularly enjoyed his honest answers to our questions. He is Muslim, and I was very happy to have the opportunity to find out more about this important faith and his opinions on world politics. Spending a day with Ozkan gave us a wonderful opportunity to be immersed in Istanbul and enjoy its sights, Mosques, and people. He took us all over the city, not just the Sultanahmet area. We ate at a very good outdoor cafe for lunch (casual at our request), and he took us for coffee later in the day at a great spot with a spectacular view. All in all, it was an excellent day with a really nice and comfortable guide. It is well worth the money to have his expertise and company for the day. If I am someday able to return to Turkey I would contact him again for additional guide assistance.

Visited September 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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187 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
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English first
Lexington, Kentucky
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Needs six stars. Maybe seven.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2012

Outstanding service. Speaks better English than I do. Arranged schedule to visit the Bazaar before the crowds. Driver took the children (and Mom) back to the boat while the rest of the group visited the cultural sights. Would really like to go back and spend more time in his company.

Visited July 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Moses Lake, WA
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Private tour worth the extra money”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2012

We feel the value added by a private tour vs the extra cost was well worth it. Prior to the trip, Ozkam arranged the itinerary based on what we had expressed an interest in seeing. Prior to our arrival, he had booked the air flights and hotel rooms. He responded to our questions patiently and pleasantly and was gracious as we "tweeked" our schedule. When we had one extra day for sightseeing, he recommended a day trip to Edirne, Turkey, a place we hadn't really considered and it was the perfect addition to round out our introduction to Turkey. There was a different guide in each of the areas we visited, Istanbul, Cappadocia, Endirne & Ephesus and each of them were outstanding in their knowledge of the area, fluent English and their different and unique personalities added to the overall experience.
Since we didn't book the flights and rooms, I can't say for sure what we paid extra for the private tour, but I would guess it was around $200 a day. What did we get in return? First, they saved us numerous hours by booking the flights, determining the itinerary and booking rooms. Their choice of rooms were wonderful in terms of cleanliness, size, service and location. They provided transportation in comfortable vehicles from the airports, hotel rooms and during the tours. For places needing admission tickets, they were purchased for us in advance and we essentially walked right in without standing in line. Note that there is no admission cost to the Blue Mosque and it was the only place we spent any time in line. They also arranged the tour schedule to avoid the largest crowds. We did a group tour in Athens and the difference in the experience with the private tour was noticeable. We learned and saw a lot in the group tour, but had to stay on their schedule and didn't have the opportunity to ask many additional questions. With the private tour, we could go at our own pace and because we received more detail on what we were seeing and could ask questions, we learned so much more about the sites we visited.
The price we paid for the private tour included everything except the admission/entry fees to the sites and meals/refreshments. Due to a rain and wind storm one afternoon, one of the scheduled venues was cancelled. We were on our own for evenings and dinners, but the guides gave suggestions on where to eat and where to go and how to get there. We paid 1/2 of the tour cost up front on the credit card (in US dollars so there wasn't a foreign exchange fee). The other half was due in cash when we arrived. Since this was a honeymoon and we wanted to have as few last minute loose ends as possible and we were spending the first week in Greece and wanted to avoid carrying a lot of cash, we asked if we could pay it all in advance. If we would have put the second half on the credit card, there would have been a substantial processing fee so Ozkam set it up to pay on Paypal which reduced the fees considerably.
Overall we were very pleased with our decision to go with the private tour and this tour group in particular. Ethical, knowledgable, pleasant, efficient - I recommend them highly.

Visited August 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ozkantheguide, Owner at Turkey Tours by Local Guides, responded to this review, September 12, 2012
Dear Bret and Kara,

I am glad to hear that everything worked out the way we wanted.

Hope to see you again.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palmerston North, New Zealand
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Everything we could have hope for”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2012

The initial communication with Ozkan prompted a rapid and helpful response and the communication remained this way right up to our 5 day visit to Turkey. The whole organisation of our visit was excellent. Our 5 days were packed from early morning to evening with 2 day tours of Istanbul, and visits to Ephesus, Capadoccia and Gallipoli. Although we were a little concerned initially about being based in Istanbul and taking day trips (2 by plane) to other destinations, this worked out extremely well without the hassles of carrying luggage from place to place. We were also fortunate to have an excellent hotel - Harbiye Residence, where the room was spacious and clean and staff very friendly. Our guides were all very good with excellent knowledge of the various sites and the country in general. A special mention for Abdil, our guide for 3 of the days. His relaxed but highly organised approach was an absolute delight. Nothing was too much trouble - especially when we wanted to spend a little extra time shopping or seeing something different. And, of course, there was the introduction to a number of "very local" restaurants which was an added bonus. If you're looking for a guided tour of Turkey you definitely wont be disappointed with Turkey Tour by Local Guides.

Visited September 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Islamabad, Pakistan
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Thumbs Up for Turkey Tours and Ozkan Bicer (Owner/Guide)”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2012

As an American Ambassador often posted to South and Central Asia, I knew Istanbul reasonably well as one of the great cities of the world and wanted to show it to friends who had never been there. Ozkan organized a well-paced, three-day tour that gave us the essential great sites, a few things off the beaten track to discover, and excellent restaurant recommendations. He knows his history well but doesn't impose a pendantic lecture at each historic site. I especially like his sometimes edgy but always appropriate humor -- he's a fine psychologist and knows how to put his clients at ease. I strongly recomend him and his company.

-- U.S. Ambassador Richard Hoagland

Visited July 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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