Turkey, in the month of Ramadan. Exciting!

Surely you’ve heard of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul? Or maybe you know by its famous name, “Blue Mosque”, a name that refers to the blue tiles that line its walls. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque with its classic Ottoman (Ottoman) style architecture was built in the early 17th century during the reign of Sultan Ahmed I, directly opposite the Hagia Sophia, separated by a courtyard and garden. This magnificent and beautiful building is one of the most important landmarks in Istanbul, until now it is used as a mosque, but is also open to tourists when it is not used for religious events.

Well, during the month of Ramadan, Sultan Ahmed Square which is located next to the mosque, or also known as the Hippodrome of Constantinople, turned into a sea of ​​super fun ethnic night markets! Starting to open in the afternoon, targeting those who want to break their fast, until midnight it is still crowded. From local residents, domestic tourists, to foreign tourists, most of whom come from neighboring countries. Stalls and stalls serve various types of traditional food. From colorful cotton candy that can be mixed while still hot to form customized lollypops, to heavy meals like various types of kebabs!


Merchants sell a variety of goods. Souvenirs and ethnic knick-knacks, even children’s toys are rife. Shisha stalls of various flavors and aromas are here and there to gather with friends and relatives and relax together. Everywhere, Turkish music blared. Here and there are dance performances, including the Whirling Dervish where men don long white shirts and dance in circles at breakneck speed to the beat of an immersive song.


Of all the food served, from the variety of kebabs and sweet treats of various colors and colors, my favorite is ice cream!

Ice cream? What’s so unique? The ice cream here is chewy! Springy?

Yes, the ice cream is chewy. Not your ordinary ice cream. The ice cream maker is not an ordinary ice cream maker. They wear traditional Turkish clothes, and they pandas do ice cream tricks and will play tricks on the shoppers! This chewy ice cream is also sticky. It’s so sticky, when scooped up with a stir stick, 1 drum of ice cream lumps can be lifted at once, coming out of the drum as 1 giant lump, and the ice maker will nimbly throw it into the air and catch it. It’s an astonishing show. While demonstrating other tricks, he will make the customer’s ice cream cone. But when he gave it to the buyer, there was another trick. The cone that was already in the hands of the buyer (i.e. me), suddenly disappeared! Because the ice maker skillfully stuck the stick in the ice cream lump and pulled it into the air. The ice cream floats in the air! And all the audience burst into laughter laughing at me standing in shame with my bare hands outstretched, missing the ice cream. My own stomach already hurts so bad from laughing so much! 


Btw, that’s a photo of Luke, Ryan’s younger brother, when the Turkish ice cream maker was working on it, hehehe…

How about the taste itself? After I stopped laughing and my stomach didn’t hurt anymore, then I could try. The texture is like a chewy marshmallow, but frozen. Very pleasant to chew on.

As satisfied as we were in the night market, before returning to the inn, we always stopped by the benches that lined the front of the Blue Mosque. In front of us is the blue Blue Mosque, behind us, separated by a garden, is the pink Hagia Sophia. It’s a bit far from the bustling night market at the Hippodrome, but we could still hear the faint crowd.

Soon sitting there, a shout was heard, “chai, chai, chai, lira, lira, lira….”

The tea sellers came with their snacks. “Chai, lira.” That is, only one lira for 1 cup of hot tea, served with lumps of sugar. We always buy it every night. Straighten your legs while calming yourself down from the excitement of the night market that we just left. Even when we were too lazy to go around the night market, we still stopped by the front of the mosque to enjoy the quiet quiet night. Our accommodation is not far from there.


We sat in the quiet of the night, enjoying the view of the serene blue mosque, which was tempered by the soft light of the spotlights around it, under the black shade of the night and the stars scattered in the sky, while sipping a very simple hot sweet tea. Oh, the pleasures…

That is my memory of Istanbul in the month of Ramadan…

A few financial tips in Turkey

Maybe it’s more appropriate to call it sharing our personal experience than as tips, but hopefully it’s useful

The currency of Turkey is the Lira. 1 Lira is currently around 5 thousand rupiah. At that time, we entered Turkey by road, namely from Greece. We took the train, which had to be connected by bus because Turkey had just experienced a major flash flood that flooded the railroad tracks high enough to render the track unusable. At that time we had no lira at all. We only had Euros left from months of traveling in Europe. When we arrived at the station, we withdrew cash at the ATM using an ATM card. No need to bother looking for a money changer, because there are many ATMs. We save the euro as emergency cash, and after Turkey we plan to stop by Europe again. Lodging here can be paid for by credit card, reducing the burden of having to withdraw large amounts of cash. It is more practical and safer to only bring cash as needed. Avoid theft or carelessness resulting in loss of money


Oh yes, there are lodging villages from backpacker to luxury classes around the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. The location is very strategic for the visitors. Lodging, food, shops, and even important landmarks are within a short walk. Say hi to Ryan and Josh! Josh is Ryan’s younger brother That’s the view from the roof top of our hostel in Istanbul, Hagia Sophia!

Ramadan Selfie Contest from CIMB Niaga

Speaking of Ramadan, have you heard about the #hariginigitu special edition Ramadhan meme contest from CIMB Niaga, haven’t you? It’s very easy, enter your selfie with an expression of being bothered by bringing cash vs. practically using an ATM card, credit card, online banking, or cellphone account, and select the appropriate meme text, that’s it. If you are lucky to win, you can get a prize of 1 million Rupiah per person! Not bad, selfie with a million prizes!