- On 06/10/2020
- In Tips for travellers
Tourist Traps In Istanbul
Because of its opulent cultural heritage and accessibility, Istanbul is a very popular touristic target especially with the development of the airline industry. The number of tourists that visit Istanbul is annually increasing, when the pandemic ends 15 million people, which is equal to the population of the city, is expected to travel to Istanbul. Turkish people is known to be quite hospitable however like everywhere there are ones who try to take advantage and line their own pockets. There are some ways that the tourists are easily trapped, awareness of these acts will help you not to experience any incovenience during your visit to Istanbul.
Common Tourist Scams in Istanbul
If you are obviously a tourist by your appeareance, a shoeshiner guy who does not shine shoes to make a living but is just scamming, drops his brush on purpose when he is sure that you see him dropping. You think that the poor guy will lose his business without his brush and try to help him by either giving him notice or handing him his brush. He apparently becomes appreciated and wants to shine your shoes in return. He insists even that you do not want him to, he does not leave you till you are the victim. You think that he shines your shoes as a favor to your gesture but in the end he asks a remarkable amount for his service and becomes aggressive if you refuse to pay him the amount. So, the right thing that you have to do when you see a shoeshiner in front of you is just to ignore.
The taxi drivers in Istanbul are mostly honest however there are some drivers that use to hang out by the touristy spots in order to defraud tourists. They always take the longest way, sometimes they even drive you around to take you to your destination. There is also a common scam used by these drivers. If you hand him a banknote they take it then change with a 5 lira note and insist that you gave him that one. This is the main trick, does not matter which currency you hand to the driver. The other things that you have to be careful about checking the approximate amount before you get a cab and to be sure that the taxi belongs to a station but is not independent.
These men have two major spots to waylay, the busiest tourist attractions like Sultanahmet or Taksim neighborhoods. The approach mainly differs regarding the time of the day.
In the daytime mostly in the old city, you do not have to ask anything or get in a conversation, when they see you looking for a thing or find your way they come up to you offering for help and they are always eager to help you in a very polite way. Then the conversation gets long and closer, in the end they offer you a drink or you find yourself being guided by him. On the way, he always has a shopkeeper friend or relative and you stop by to have a cup of tea at that store. You generally end up spending a fortune at the end of this day as the setup is beyond professional.
In the evenings the target is single men who are looking for a nice atmosphere to have drinks and the spot is mostly Taksim. When he see a desperate man, by creating a chance to open up a conversation, they try to take you to a pub/bar where he goes often and you may enjoy the ambiance. He is always good looking in chic clothes and quite knowledgeable speaking different languages fluently. When you are ok to go, he takes you to some dark, cheesy place where women wear revealing clothes and not hesitate to join you ordering drinks. Then the acts and the conversation become weird and the con man somehow leaves you alone with these women. At the end, when you ask for the bill to get out, an extraordinary amount is asked from you. The staff at the bar becomes very impolite if you are not willing to pay and it usually ends up drawing money from an ATM machine with the bodyguards of the bar. You just have to ignore these man or do not get involved in a conversation even you think that the men is just trying to help you.
Not only related with the scams above but you should always watch yourself when touring another country as some surprising inconvenient moments you may encounter. A guided experience will help you worry less about these incidents and we are always available to assist you regarding all your needs travelling to Turkey.