Istanbul – A city full of scams

This was our 3rd trip to Istanbul and we were in transit while flying back from London to Singapore. This is a first time we entered Istanbul with our baby. I don’t know if we were just unlucky or had a bad day but series of incidents left bad taste in our mouth and we decided not to travel to Istanbul anymore.

It started the time we landed –

1 Immigration – There was a national team which were returning home so they were all occupying fast track usually reserved for business class passengers. It look little more than usual to clear immigration which wasn’t a big issue.

2. Arrival – This time we reserved a airport transfer using which we had good experience with during our previous visits. It took us 10 minutes to find someone who was standing with small name board. He asked us to wait till other passengers come as well which took 15 minutes and then he made us stand outside airport for another 15 minutes till our car came. It was a private transfer but car driver asked other passenger to join but he refused otherwise they wanted us to share a car.

3. Theft – You really need to be very careful when in Istanbul. My small bag was stolen from my laptop bag at the airport which we got back because it simply fell down from the had of the thief (lady in her 50s’) otherwise lots of cards including our resident cards would have gone which would cause us great trouble.

I always keep my laptop bag near me on the top of all bags so it stays in my sight. I realised that this couple (Old man and a lady) started following us at the time we were going out with suntransfer representative from arrival hall. We felt that they also arrived and going for a transfer as they had a bag with them as well. As we stand for a car in a crowded area, this lady stood one side of my trolly and the man stood other side of it then a lady took out some sweets and gave to the man which we didn’t find unusual. There was jacket hanging on her hand so while she passed sweets to the man, she managed to cover my laptop bag for few seconds and during those few seconds she managed to open a front zip and took out my small purse. Thank god that I immediately noticed that the zip was opened and the purse was gone, as we were thinking where the purse is gone, the purse slipped from her hand and fell right no to my bag which I grabbed immediately and soon both of them vanished.

Airport suppose to be a high security zone. I doubt that police and sun transfer representative were aware of the situation and it was sun transfer which put us into the situation. We were not suppose to stand for that long while we booked private transfer.

4. Over heated hotel – We got a nice upgrade and suite in Rixos Pera in which we stayed before. It felt like a sauna when we entered into the room. I immediately tried to adjust but soon realised that only hot air were coming out of the vent. Technician came to our room after we informed the situation to the front desk and he was unable to do anything. He suggested that we should off the ac and open the windows to cool down the room. The problem was that he couldn’t speak english  but I understood that it was a central ac blowing hot air and could not be controlled during winter so we opened the widows and tried to sleep which was hard because of voice coming from the street.

5. Sick baby – Finally the worst happened. Our baby was sick in the morning and having high fever. This was first time she has ever fallen sick. We gave her the medicines which we always carry with us and wanted to leave the country as soon as possible. she had very high fever as we took a long flight back to Singapore. Thank god, she was drinking but refused to eat anything.

This was a situation which made us very worried and uncomfortable. I am sure she caught some virus because the windows of our room were open during the night.

6. Transfer back to Airport – After having bad experience with sun transfers, we booked uber back to airport from hotel but the experience was bad as well because the driver didn’t understand a word of english and he didn’t wanted to close the windows or on ac.

We finally arrived Singapore and went directly to the hospital from airport and our baby was fine after 3 days of medication.

May be it was just a bad day but whatever happened left very bad taste in out mouth. No doubt that there are many scams in Istanbul, we been to many countries and never ever had any problem but there is something whenever we go to Istanbul. Last time we were the victims of shoe polish scam.

Beautiful city but full of scams.


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