So you’ve decided to move to Istanbul. Hoş geldiniz and congrats on a fantastic decision! We’re confident you’ll love it here just as much as we do.

Yabangee has had the privilege of collaborating with many amazing people who were kind enough to share their experiences and make life easier here for all of us. We’ve put together some of their content to streamline the process for new arrivals, as well as hopefully offer some useful information to long-term residents. As we’ve been around for a while now, this is just a sampling of the hard work everyone has put in, so please do feel free to explore the site for additional valuable content.

If you’re interested in events, you can always check out our What’s On section. We do also host our own events and regularly share relevant content via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Finally, if you have any thoughts to share or notice anything is out of date in our guide, please don’t hesitate to drop us an e-mail to editor@yabangee.com. If you happen to be interested in writing or photography, we’d also love to consider you for a position on our team of volunteer contributors.

Hadi başlayalım…

Orientation Guide
Photo by Talha Ayar

Getting Started

There’s a lot to process when you first move to the city! You’ve got to worry about the legality of your stay, where to find an apartment, opening a bank account, registering your cell phone, etc. We’ve put together a few pieces on what you can expect to deal with at the start.

Getting Your Residence Permit in 13 (Somewhat) Easy Steps – If you’re planning on staying longer than the duration of your 90 day visa, then booking a residence permit appointment is the first thing you’ll want to do. Once booked, you’ll be able to legally remain in Turkey until the date of your appointment.

Residence Permit Health Insurance – Our Quick, Easy and Affordable Application Process – You’ll likely notice as soon as you try to book an appointment that you’ll need an insurance policy number to complete the process. We’ve partnered with a reputable agency to provide the cheapest prices possible. Fill out our form to get a quick price quote and additional details on claiming your policy number.

Residence Permit Frequently Asked Questions – Sometimes getting a residence permit can be a little complicated, especially in the cases of unique circumstance. You’ll find some of our most commonly received questions on the process here.

Opening a Bank Account in Turkey – There are a number of reasons you might find yourself needing a bank account in Turkey. The process is actually quite painless, but you’ll want to be sure to have everything prepared as bank employees will frequently be unaware of the requirements for registering an account for a foreigner.

Photo by Kyndall McDorman

Learning Turkish

In our experience, there are plenty of foreigners who never bother to learn the language beyond the absolute basics. While you may be able to get by with just survival Turkish, it’s really worth the effort to push beyond and even just reach an intermediate level. So many wonderful expressions to learn and it’s really helpful for those times you’ll want to argue with someone.

Learning Turkish: What You’re Up Against – When entering battle, it’s always good to know about your opponent. The same holds true here.

5 Tips for Learning Turkish as a Native English Speaker – We can use all the help we can get…

23 Turkish Phrases I Wish Someone Had Taught Me – A fun fact is that this actually happens to be our most popular piece on the site to date. This is a fantastic cheat sheet to get you started on your language journey.

Survival Taxi Turkish – Unless you have a car, it’s very likely that you’ll be spending a lot of time practicing your Turkish with taxi drivers.

Your Most Important Vocab Lesson: The Haircut – Getting a haircut in Turkey can be intimidating, especially if you’re pretty specific in how you like your hair styled. This vocab guide should sort you out.

Learning Turkish: 10 Idioms That Are Sure to Impress – If you really want to impress locals with your Turkish, then you’ll want to sprinkle some idioms into conversation. These are guaranteed to do the trick.

Introducing Asya Tömer: Comprehensive, Affordable Turkish Courses for All Levels – While you might be able to learn quite a bit from the internet and casual conversation, there’s really no better way to learn Turkish than to take a course. We’re consistently impressed with the quality at Asya Tömer. If you fancy filling out the form via the link, you can sit on some lessons to see if it’s a good fit for you.

Diaries of a Couch Potato: How to Learn Turkish via Kiralık Aşk (Love for Rent) – You’ll often meet locals with fantastic English who learned the language from TV shows, video games, etc. You can do the same! If you fancy a bit of drama in your TV shows, then this is a great starting point.

Photo by Sveta Nekrasova

Lifestyle & Useful Information

Now that you’re living here and have sorted the basics, it’s time to make the city feel like home.

How to Make Friends as a Foreigner in Istanbul – Don’t be intimidated! In a city this large, there are plenty of opportunities to meet new people and form meaningful relationships.

Maintaining Your Sanity in Istanbul: 10 Tips – In your first few months, you might find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed. Take a deep breath…

10 Must-Have Apps for Living in Istanbul – Some of these apps will save you countless hours and quite a bit of money in the long run.

Istanbul Recycling 101 – Embracing an environmentally conscious lifestyle in this city is actually not that difficult.

An ode to public transit. Thank you, Istanbul! – With plenty of various methods of public transit to choose from, it’s always good to express some appreciation.

Expat Life: Having a Baby in Turkey – Plenty of foreigners choose to have their babies here rather than going home for the process.

A Guide to Istanbul Earthquake Preparedness – It probably won’t be long before you experience a tiny tremor. However, with a larger earthquake constantly a subject of caution, it can’t hurt to be prepared.

Travelling to Turkey with Pets 101 – Bring your furry friends with you!

Leaving Turkey with Pets 101 – Also, don’t leave your furry friends behind!

An Expat’s Guide to Hamams – Go relax and regenerate in one of the city’s iconic bathhouses.

9 Tips to Know Before Visiting a Turkish Home – It’s inevitable that you’ll eventually get invited to a local’s house. Avoid committing a faux pas.

The World is a Square: A Briefing on the History and Rules of Tavla (Backgammon) – If you haven’t learned how to play backgammon yet, you’ll want to do so ASAP. A great way to kill some time and gain some street credit.

Getting Married in Turkey: Frequently Asked Questions – This country has plenty of stunning places to get married in and the process is reasonably straight-forward.

My Big Fat Wedding Dress: An Istanbul Guide – Trying to find that perfect wedding dress here?

Tipping in Turkey – Confused about tipping etiquette in Turkey? Don’t be.

Getting to the Airport: More Than One Way to Getaway – Plotting for a flight out and want to do so cheaply while avoiding traffic? Don’t we all…

5 Tips for Getting Around Istanbul with a Young Baby – Go forth and explore the city with your little ones!

Istanbul’a Hoş Geldiniz: Best Istanbul-Centric Facebook Groups – While not everyone has a Facebook account, there are plenty of groups worth bookmarking for their valuable cache of information.

10 Reasons Why Living in the Deep West Isn’t So Bad – Are you living a little bit farther west than most of your friends in the city? Plenty to be positive about!

Biking the ‘Bul – Biking in Istanbul is becoming more accepted year by year, so don’t let the traffic hold you back.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the ‘Bul – We love it too!

There’s No Such Thing as a Simple Turkish Wedding – The degree of truth in this title can only be understood after attending a few.

Rakı Dos and Don’ts – Do it and do it regularly.

Tax Season Approacheth: Tips for U.S. Expats – Don’t let filing taxes get you down.

Luggage Delayed? How to Claim Compensation – Yes it happens from time to time. Know your rights and claim compensation.

How to Donate Blood in Istanbul as a Yabangee – For the benevolent among us.

Seasonal Foods in Turkey: A Breakdown – Spend some time at your local market and you’ll soon realize that knowing when to get the freshest ingredients requires a bit of work.

15 LGBT Friendly Spaces in Istanbul – The LGBTQA community in Istanbul regularly inspires and there are plenty of openly welcoming destinations to choose from.

Photo by Colin Craig

General Culture, History & Holidays

Turkey has so many unique, deeply enriching qualities. Learning about and experiencing them is perhaps the greatest aspect of living here.

Famous Turks: The Mysticism of Mevlana Celaladdin Rumi
The Top 5 Yeşilçam Films
Ramadan in Turkey: A Primer
Kurban Bayramı: A Guide to “Sacrifice Feast” in Istanbul
Five Essential Turkish Films
Istanbul Street Names: The Stories They Tell
Müslüm Gürses and The Rise of Arabesk
Christmas in Istanbul: 5 Last Minute Ideas
The A-Z of Turkish Music
Ibrahim Tatlıses for Beginners
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Turkish Fortune-Telling Culture
Republic Day: A Last-Minute Guide
Istanbul: So Good They Named It Thrice
Barbarossa: A Monument in Passing, But a Legend on the White Sea
Istanbul’s Historical Hamams and the Public Bathing Culture
Eleven Things No Turkish Home Should Be Without

welcome to istanbul
Photo by Alan Pedder

See, Eat, Drink, & Do

There’s something for everyone in this city. With an endless list of destinations worth checking out, boredom is no longer an issue.

Visit & Do
Plenty of historic places to visit, projects to work with, and ways to stay active.

Top 10 Forgotten Historical sites of Istanbul
Come what may, Spoken Word Istanbul is here to stay
Live Music in Istanbul: 12 of the City’s Best Venues
Istanblues Be Gone! A Rainy Day Guide
6 Permanent Istanbul Collections Worth (Re)visiting
Introducing ATÖLYE: A Community for Creatives
3, 2, 1, Let’s Run Istanbul!
The Passages of İstiklal
Rezan Has Museum: A Gem on the Golden Horn
The Next Frontier: A Barbershop in Bebek
Running the Istanbul Marathon
An Ideal Sunday Morning: Çakmak Kahvaltı Salonu and Beşiktaş Hamamı
Büyülü Fener: A Magic Lantern to Istanbul’s Past
The Şakirin Mosque
Green Getaway: Atatürk Ormanı and Florya Sahil Parkı
Istanbul Parks and Treats: A Pairing
Istanbul’s Hidden Architecture: Şemsi Pasha Mosque
Levantine Lessons: Discovering Syria in Istanbul
Small Projects Istanbul: Emphasizing Education
Review: Spoken Word Istanbul @ Arsen Lupen
Off the Beaten Track in Istanbul: Secret Food/Drink/Activity Spots
Playing Tourist in Istanbul: Where to Find Peaceful and Relaxing Spots
Tarlabaşı to Feriköy: Sunday Pazar Walk
Exploring the Princes’ Islands: The Kınalıada Mosque
Istanbul’s Hidden Architecture: The Camondo Stairs
St. Mary of the Mongols: The Last Byzantine Church
Miniatürk – Educational and Fun!
Bosphorus Walk: Rumelihisarı to Bebek
Tophane-i Amire Culture & Arts Center
The Last Round: Boxing, Martial Arts, and a Social Conscience
BU Paws: Boğaziçi University’s Dog Sanctuary
City Highlights: Sancaklar Cami
Who Loves Public Speaking?

Eat & Drink
It’s a taste bud overload! Time to eat and drink your way through this list of useful destinations, treats, and pop-up experiences.

Top 10 Craft Beer Destinations in Istanbul & Brew Breakdown
The Basics of Pairing Drinks with Turkish Street Food
Eight Organic, Health Food, and Exotic Markets in Istanbul
A Glimpse at the Magic of Turkish Tea
The Best Cheap Eats in Istanbul
In Search of Mantı
Winter Drinks: Searching for Real Sahlep
Beers of Turkey: Then and Now
Finding and Tasting Turkey’s Microbrews: Gara Guzu and Pera
Tribute to Ayran: An Expat Love Story
Jacqueline Cookies: A Sweet Taste of Home in Cihangir
Ringing in the Chinese New Year with Pop-Up Restaurant Istanbul
Feriköy Organic Market and the Lady of the Cake
Moda Van Kahvaltı: Brunching in Turkey
An Evening with Popist Supper Club: Istanbul’s Newest Pop-Up Dining Experience

Neighborhoods
Our Take 5 column looks at the team’s favorite spots in various neighborhoods across the city.

Take 5: Cihangir (A Morning on Başkurt Sokak)
Take 5: Çengelköy
Take 5: Kuzguncuk
Take 5: Vefa
Take 5: Beşiktaş
Take 5: Karaköy
Take 5: Karaköy (Shopping Edition)
Take 5: Gayrettepe (Relaxation Edition)
Take 5: Üsküdar
Take 5: Üsküdar (Merkez Edition)
Take 5: Kumkapı
Take 5: Ortaköy
Take 5: Nişantaşı (Glitz Edition)
Take 5: Balat
Take 5: Kadıköy

From Boza to Bourbon
Fancy something to drink? Follow Cameron and Sveta as they document some of the best locations for a quality beverage.

From Boza to Bourbon: Pickle Juice at Petek Turşuları
From Boza to Bourbon: Tea Gardens
From Boza to Bourbon: George’s Bar
From Boza to Bourbon: Beer Hall
From Boza to Bourbon: 1924
From Boza to Bourbon: The Populist
From Boza to Bourbon: Mandabatmaz
From Boza to Bourbon: Külhanbeyi
From Boza to Bourbon: Street Juice
From Boza to Bourbon: Chacha at Café Niko
From Boza to Bourbon: House of Hops and Barley
From Boza to Bourbon: Vefa Bozacısı
From Boza to Bourbon: Dem Karaköy
From Boza to Bourbon: Norm Coffee

Street Market Smarts
Our 2017 column offers all you need to know about some of the most worthwhile markets in the city, with some visual flair from our photographers.

Street Market Smarts: Spice Bazaar (Mısır Çarşısı)
Street Market Smarts: Kapalıçarşı (Grand Bazaar)
Street Market Smarts: Beylikdüzü Beygah Pazarı
Street Market Smarts: Bomonti Organic Market (Şişli %100 Ekolojik Pazar)
Street Market Smarts: Beşiktaş Cumartesi Pazarı
Street Market Smarts: Tarihi Salı Pazarı (Göztepe, Kadıköy)

Yabangee Recommends
We’ve got oddly specific questions in this 2015 column. We also, fortunately, have oddly specific answers.

Yabangee Recommends: “Where do I take my friend who says there is no spicy food in Istanbul?”
Yabangee Recommends: “Where can I go when I’m the third wheel on an awkward date?”
Yabangee Recommends: “Where can I take my friends or relatives who want to try Turkish ev yemekleri?”
Yabangee Recommends: “Where can I go for a non-chocolate dessert?”
Yabangee Recommends: “Where can I get my bike repaired and grab a cup of coffee?”
Yabangee Recommends: “Where’s the best place to break up with someone?”
Yabangee Recommends: “Where can I have a leisurely breakfast and not be elbow-deep in my neighbor’s menemen?”
Yabangee Recommends: “Where do I take my vegan friend out for brunch?”
Yabangee Recommends: “Where can I go to enjoy a few beers and play pool without having to share a table with guys who own their own pool cues?”
Yabangee Recommends: “Where do I take my Turkish friend who just moved back from abroad out for dinner?”
Yabangee Recommends: “Where should I take my tourist friend who won’t admit to being a tourist?”
Yabangee Recommends: “Where do I take my friend who is sick of Turkish tea?”
Yabangee Recommends: “Where can I find the best köfte in Kadıköy?”
Yabangee Recommends: “Where can I find the best falafel in town?”
Yabangee Recommends: “My friend thinks the only good breakfast spot is Van Kahvaltı Evi. Where can I take him out to brunch to prove him wrong?”
Yabangee Recommends: “Where can I go for a set menu and cocktail in the middle of the week?”

Insider Trading
Our 2014 column offered an insider perspective from our team on some of their favorite destinations in the city. There’s plenty more to be found here.

Insider Trading: Museum of Turkish Jews in Karaköy
Insider Trading: Bosphorus Brewing Company
Insider Trading: Aynalıkavak Palace
Insider Trading: Terkos Passage
Insider Trading: Atatürk Arboretum
Insider Trading: Istanbul Military Museum (Askerî Müze) in Harbiye

Talya Baker
Photo by Talya Baker

Travel

Some of the best advice we can give is that living in the city requires a bit of travel every now and then. Fortunately, Istanbul has seemingly every type of destination available with just a little bit of travel time necessary. Perfect for short holidays, weekend getaways, or even just a day trip. You can see our full travel section here.

Weekend Getaway: Alaçatı
Kaş: A Journey to the Gem of the Lycian Way
Green Getaway: Polonezköy
Camel Wrestling in the Land of the Efe
Returning to Selçuk Year after Year: Camel Wrestling and Authenticity in Travel
Waymarking the Carian Trail – Part 1
Waymarking the Carian Trail – Part 2
Cappadocia: Just Go Already!
Weekend Getaway: Ayvalık
Alanya: The Mediterranean Jersey Shore
Cappadocia: A Few of My Favorite Things
Weekend Getaway: Xanthi & Thessaloniki (Part 1)
Weekend Getaway: Xanthi & Thessaloniki (Part 2)
Thermal Baths: The Ultimate Winter Holiday
Yeşilce: An Extraordinary Village with an Ordinary Name
Memnun Oldum, Antakya
Ani: A Timeless Beauty on the Edge of Turkey
Kısmet in Gaziantep
Weekend Getaway: Muğla
Weekend Getaway: 48 Hours in Sofia, Bulgaria
Rouketopolemos: Greek Easter in Chios, Rockets Included
Weekend Getaway: Lake Sapanca
Burgazada: Escape from the City
Weekend Getaway: Bursa
Hiking the Lycian Way: What to Pack
Magnificent Monument to Raging Narcissism: Nemrut Dağı
A Daytrip to the Black Sea
Green Getaway: Iğneada Longoz Forests National Park
Antalya Heat
Southern Excursion: Turunç

Photograph by Mustafa Çankaya

Who’s Doing What?

So many inspiring people working on meaningful projects. You can find a full list of our interviews here.

In Conversation with Samer Al-Kadri of Pages, Istanbul’s First Arabic Bookstore & Cafe
In Conversation with Istanbul Improv Community — The Clap
In Conversation with Hilary Sable, Founder of “Cihangir…Cool for Cats”
In Conversation with Berna Kahraman of Onbironsekiz, Turkey’s Storytelling Podcast Community
In Conversation with Sinem and Murat of The Hobbit House
In Conversation with Burak Bener of Montag Coffee
In Conversation with Talha Kaya, Co-Founder of Indie Game Studio Kayabros
In Conversation with The Away Days
In Conversation with HICCUP, Istanbul Electronic Music Pioneers
In Conversation with Teymour Ashkan, Founder of Istanbul&I
In Conversation with Sandrine Ramboux, Founder of C@rma
In Conversation with Sami Hamid, Director of VR First Bahçeşehir
In Conversation with Luke Frostick and Thomas Parker, Editors of the Bosphorus Review of Books
In Conversation with Janelle Berberoglu, Co-Founder of Chikirina
In Conversation with Moritz Marwein, Co-Founder of JÜS
In Conversation with Anne Solhaug Tutar, founder of Natura by Anne
In Conversation with Senem Tüzen, Director of Ana Yurdu (Motherland)
In Conversation with Aslı Akbay of Take Me Up the Bosphorus
In Conversation with Omar Berakdar of Arthere
In Conversation with Banu Uğural, Artist and Expert in Upcycling
In Conversation with Vahid Evazzadeh, Theater Director and Filmmaker

ATÖLYE Spotlight
As we’re based out of the creative community ATÖLYE, we have the opportunity to learn a lot about the impressive projects taking place all around us.

ATÖLYE Spotlight: In Conversation with Jak Akdemir, Remote Engineer for Tumblr
ATÖLYE Spotlight: In Conversation with Funda Küçükyılmaz, Account Manager of Flint
ATÖLYE Spotlight: In Conversation with Carla Lemgruber, Design Consultant & Freelancer
ATÖLYE Spotlight: In Conversation with Tolga Dizmen, Head of Culture and Operations
ATÖLYE Spotlight: In Conversation with Emre Erbirer, Communications Coordinator
ATÖLYE Spotlight: In Conversation with Lesia Petrovska, Interior Architect
ATÖLYE Spotlight: In Conversation with Oki Kasajima, Freelance Designer
ATÖLYE Spotlight: In Conversation with Çiçek Kahraman, Co-Founder of UKA Film
ATÖLYE Spotlight: In Conversation with Meltem Şahin, Illustrator, Animator and Educator
ATÖLYE Spotlight: In Conversation with Zeynep Şen, Writer, Translator and Literary Agent
ATÖLYE Spotlight: In Conversation with Ayşe Esin Durmaz, Makerlab Associate

Photo by Sina Opalka

Student Life

University life in Istanbul is a fun, one-of-a-kind experience. If you’re interested in being a student representative, you can always drop us an e-mail to student@yabangee.com.

University Guide: Yıldız Technical University
University Guide: Istanbul Şehir University
University Guide: Bahçeşehir University (BAU)
University Guide: Sabancı University
University Guide: Bilgi University
University Guide: Istanbul University
University Guide: Boğaziçi University

Photo by Olga Bondaruk

Just for fun!

What’s the point of all this work if we can’t get creative (or sarcastic) and have a little fun as well?

The Many Cat Personalities of Istanbul
Tackling Turkish Tinder: 15 First Dates
Çays & Guys (Part 1): Exploring Winter Drinks and Online Dating…
More Çays, More Guys (2): Exploring Online Dating & Winter Drinks…
A Guide to Correctly Queuing in Istanbul
Look Familiar? Five Movies Set in Istanbul
10 podcasts to help you beat the Istanbul commute

And finally, for anyone considering leaving this city… we must emphasize there are at least 166 Reasons Not to Leave Istanbul.

As we’re constantly generating content, growing our team, and exploring all that’s on offer in Turkey, you can expect this list to change over time. If you’d be interested in getting involved, drop us an e-mail to editor@yabangee.com.

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