Cheap flights to Istanbul, Turkey
The capital of Turkey, Istanbul straddles the two continents of Asia and Europe. The city is served by Istanbul New Airport (or Istanbul Airport) which officially opened on 29 October 2018, as well as Sabiha Gokcen Airport.
After a big move of operations to the new airport, Istanbul Ataturk Airport is now closed to commercial passenger flights. In future, Istanbul Ataturk Airport will serve only VIP passengers and cargo, and the IATA code of Ataturk (IST) will be given to Istanbul Airport.
Flights to Istanbul Airport
The newly-opened Istanbul Airport has the capability to handle 90 million passengers per year within its single terminal. While it’s already up and running, the airport is far from complete. By 2023, Istanbul Airport is projected to expand its capacity to a whopping 200 million passengers per year. The main airline operating in the airport is the country’s flag carrier, Turkish Airlines.
Istanbul Airport is in the district of Arnavutköy, northwest of the city centre. To get to the city from Istanbul Airport, the most affordable option would be the buses run by these two companies: HAVAİST and İETT. Depending on the destination, a ride takes between 30 to 90 minutes and costs TRY12-21 (RM9-15). An economy taxi to the city centre takes 45 to 60 minutes and costs TRY200 (RM142). For convenience, you can also pre-book an airport transfer with Skyscanner.
Flights to Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW)
35 kilometres southeast of Istanbul, Sabiha Gokcen Airport has an international terminal and a domestic terminal under one roof. A good selection of cafes and restaurants are available, as well as duty-free shops such as Lacoste, Gucci, Nike, Omega and Tissot.
Getting to the city centre from Sabiha Gokcen Airport takes 90 minutes and TRY29 (RM21) by bus, or 60 minutes and TRY146 (RM103) by taxi.
Flights to Istanbul Ataturk Airport (IST)
In April 2019, Istanbul Ataturk Airport said goodbye to its final commercial flight. While the details are not set in stone, the airport is likely to transition to other uses such as for aviation fairs and training activities.
Travelling to Istanbul
Best time to visit Istanbul
Istanbul is a year-round destination, though its summers tend to be hot and dry, with highs of 28 degrees Celsius. Even so, the peak travel season falls within summer, in June to August. During this period, the crowds are larger and prices of hotels go up.
The best time to visit Istanbul is in spring (March to May) and in autumn (September to November). During these months, the temperature tends to be pleasant. If you visit in winter, the temperature is 8 degree Celsius on average and rains are quite frequent.
Things to do in Istanbul
Walking through Istanbul will take you back through time. The architecture of the Byzantine period and the influence of the Ottoman Empire are prominent, even today. Begin your wanderings from the magnificent Hagia Sophia, admire the beauty of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, better known as the Blue Mosque, and then continue to the giant labyrinth that is the Grand Bazaar. Then, hop on the Bosphorus Cruise to view Istanbul from a different perspective.
While touring Istanbul, be sure to sample the classic Turkish breakfast which comprises cheese, olives, eggs, tomatoes, jam, honey and other goodies alongside bread. When thinking of Turkish food, you might just think of kebap, but also try köfte (meatballs), mantı (dumplings), menemen (scrambled eggs) and balık ekmek (fish sandwich).
Istanbul travel budget
The currency used in Istanbul is the Turkish Lira (TRY). TRY10 = RM7 (as of 22 April 2019).
A budget of TRY200 (RM139) is sufficient for a day of travel in Istanbul. Set aside TRY35 (RM25) for meals. As for a hotel in Istanbul, the average rate is TRY260 (RM181) for two persons each night. Getting around Istanbul by trams is inexpensive; a one-way ride costs TRY5 (RM3). Spend the rest of the travel budget on attraction fees.
Istanbul, Turkey visa information for Malaysians
Malaysian passport holders do not require a visa for staying up to 90 days in Istanbul, Turkey.
Note that the passport should be valid for at least six months from the date of entry.
How to find cheap air tickets to Istanbul on Skyscanner
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Try the Cheapest Month feature to identify the cheapest month for flights to Istanbul. This feature is especially useful for those with flexible dates.
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Information is accurate as of 22 April 2019.
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Airports near Istanbul
Frequently asked questions
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