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“SRM Travel Ltd-Private Old Town Walk”

Istanbul Tour Guides - Day Tours
Ranked #147 of 490 Tours in Istanbul
Attraction details
Reviewed July 23, 2013

My husband and I recently took a private one day walking tour of the Old City with Mr Burak Degirel of SRM Travel that was recommended in Rick Steve's Book on Istanbul. This book is actually written by the husband and wife team that run this travel agency. We paid $325 U.S. as a couple for an intermediate guide for an 8 hour day-that was supposed to run from approximately 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Meals and museum charges were extra. Our guide, Burak, a pleasant young man spoke excellent English and picked us up at our hotel around 9:15 a.m. He gave pretty good explanations of the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Hippodrome and Underwater Cistern. He explained to us how to travel around the city by tramway and we did so the next day with no problems. We were a bit disappointed that he did not come to the second floor with us at the Hagia Sophia. We later learned that many guides have this habit of providing "free time". At first we thought that our guide was perhaps not allowed upstairs. However, we saw other guides from other agencies wearing tour badges continuing with toursI This again occurred at the Underwater Cistern. Regrettably we think this "free time" is designed to let them have a cigarette and a coffee. At the price we paid, we were looking to soak up all the information we could gather. We had Rick Steve's book. We had paid to have a guide accompany us and tell us precisely what we were seeing-not just to receive a general overview-something we could have done on our own. We had a pleasant lunch near the Blue Mosque at a restaurant that specialized in meatballs. During lunch Burak explained the student protests in detail. After lunch we had a very brief visit of both the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market. Both tours were very perfunctory and we felt rushed. I told our guide that at the end of our holiday we would be back on a Sunday and I asked him specifically if the Grand Bazaar was open for business. My guide books had warned me that the Grand Bazaaar was closed on Sundays. Our guide assured us that because it was the busiest tourist season that the Grand Bazaar would be open on Sundays. Turns out that my guide books were right and that our guide was wrong. This was information that he should have verified before glibly giving the incorrect information. We then took the tram to the New District and walked along Istikial Street. It is a very modern street with the typical shops you would see anywhere in Europe or North America. It is hard to believe you are in Turkey. As we have travelled extensively around the world and particularly throughout western Europe, this was not something that thrilled us. However our guide was extremely proud and asserted that this was the "real" Turkey that we would see in Ankara and elsewhere. We then proceeded to Taksim Square. I was extremely nervous about going there, but it proved to be completely non eventful as this was mid afternoon. At 3:30 p.m. our guide wanted to call it a day as he lived nearby. I wanted to visit the Galata Tower and a few nearby sites. While he said that he would accompany us to the Galata Tower and even back to our hotel, it was obvious that he wanted to go home. I suggested that we stop for a coffee. I asked him some questions about other areas of Turkey that we would be visiting. He had some knowledge of Cappadocia, but it was rather limited. We parted company at 4 p.m. While we had a very pleasant day and our guide was a nice young man, we felt that we could have done equally well on our own.

14  Thank carefree-travels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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24 - 28 of 48 reviews

Reviewed June 2, 2013

Yaren is an very special tour guide. Not only is she educated in art and architecture, she has a wonderful enthusiasm that is infectious. She also is flexible and Imaginative. We toured with her for two days. The first one day we saw spots on everyone's to do list. We enjoyed lunches and got recommendations. We stopped for warm Simit (Turkish bagels) from a street vendor. We asked Yaren on the second day to take us to some of the hidden treasures of Istanbul. She happily obliged and we went through Chora Museum learning so much from Yaren that we will be talking about it for years. Yaren opens the eyes of visitors to the wonders of Istanbul.

7  Thank Happytravelor187895
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 23, 2013

I found Taylan Tasbasi thorugh SRM Travel as recommended by Rick Steves' Istanbul Guide Book. Taylan provided a fantastic private guided tour of Istanbul for my wife and myself and my 3 daughters. He showed us all of the essential tourist spots including the Mosques, the Topkapi Palace, the Underground Cistern, and the Grand Bazaar. He was organized and extremely knowledgeable.
Beyond that, he took us to parts of Istanbul that were off the beaten path and that we could never have found on our own just by following a guide book. He took us through the winding streets and up dark and dusty stairways and had a guard open up a special door so that we could finish our climb to the top of the roof of one ancient building in order to have the same spectacular roof top view of Istanbul that was used in a recent James Bond movie.
He even took us on a ferry ride across the Bosphorus to see the less visited Asian side of Istanbul .
He understands American habits and when my daughters were tired of sightseeing he made sure we had a Turkish coffee and Turkish candy break . He even entertained my daughters by reading their Turkish coffee grounds to predict who their future boy friends would be.
For lunch, he took us to a great local restaurant not listed in the guide books and gave us the name of a restaurant for dinner that provided the best meal with the most spectacular view that we experienced in Istanbul
He is a guide that can make your visit a memorable one
I booked him through srmtravel.com and they were an efficient and courteous agency.
His email is taylantasbasi@hotmail.com

13  Thank 123ssg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2013

Wow, where to begin, I found Yaren though SRM Tavel guides in Rick Steves Guide book on Istanbul. She is amazing, highly educated in history and architect as well as archeology. Our families spent three days with her, seeing everything you can imagine and learning a vast amount of information along the way. She did not try to take us to buy a rug...this was my experience with other tour guides on previous visits to istanbul, she took us to see what we wanted and suggested other things of interest. This trip was also amazing as we were two families with 5 children total ranging from 6 yrs of age to 12 years of age, and she kept us all interested and engaged. What a lovely person, I would highly recommend Yaren to anyone who is traveling to Istanbul.

9  Thank Ronda d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 19, 2012

We recently travelled to Istanbul for the first time and as we only had 3 days we wanted to get the most for our money.We went with Tureb Tours as a walk in and were treated very well from the start.The guy at the desk was very helpful and advised of all the different tours and which was the best for the time frame we had.We chose a full day tour of the Bosphorous river with Spice Market and a palace as well.There was also a leather factory visit as well.We were picked up in a large mnibus which was driven very well by Yaseem.He managed those small winding roads with great dexterity.On board was our guide,Handan Onal who gave us all a cheerful greeting and proceeded to inform us of our day.After lunch everybody else left the tour as they only had half day ones so there was just we two and Handan and Yaseem.It was a very relaxed and pleasant day.Handan has a lot of knowledge about her country and she was easy to understand.i would highly recommend this company

5  Thank Kerry E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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