Authentic Istanbul. Cultural Istanbul. Charming Istanbul... All waiting for you to explore.
My name is Oguz Kosebalaban and I will be glad to take you through my Istanbul time tunnel, and your day in Istanbul will be as much fun as the movie "going back to future", or you may choose the wrong tour and end up listening to a guide repeating a text like a tape recorder; don't risk yourself! :)
(Please note that minimum per day rate is 100euro for guiding and 100 euro for a comfy VW Passat, or 120 Euro for a walking tour based on 1 or 2 visitors; plus surcharge for additional pax. Please only contact if these rates work for you)
On our tour we will include little detours as a flavor of small and well hidden gems of Istanbul. You will be welcomed at a number of charming places not available to large tour groups, we will take the benefit of being a small tour group, and agree once more, as in this case, less is more :)
I have suggestions for a better experience of Istanbul; may it be a walking tour of the old town, Topkapi Palace, Asiatic Istanbul with the first mosque of the world designed by a woman, a better Bosphorus cruise experience, 1-2 hr tour of highlights of the Archaelogical museum with some of the most impressive artifacts of the world including Alexander The Great Sarcophagus, First love letter of the world, the Jewish heritage.
Lesser known but the most juicy Byzantine legends are waiting for you on my tours as we walk through the Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern, and talk Turkey.
In Grand Bazaar we will not only skim the surface merely as shoppers, but have an experience of Turkish, Ottoman, Byzantine, Armenian, Jewish, Russian, Middle Eastern art products ; as I offer a brief highlights of the Bazaar tour, while we are also getting familiar with the art of negotiating.
In Spice Market - Egyptian Bazaar we'll not only simply smell best of saffran, sample the best Turkish delight, sip Turkish coffee and apple tea but we will also hear centuries old stories lying behind them, ignored by most tours. We will also cover some of the less visited side streets for fond surprises. Rustempasa & New Mosque, as well as Pet, fish & produce market are also in this area for those who are interested in.
A nice compliment I received on a tour was "A Renaissance Man in a Byzantine city". In Istanbul, all in one city you will find yourself in a city, that is; Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Republican Turkish, western, eastern, modern, conservative, Moslem, Christian, Jewish, romantic, intriguing, vibrant, mysterious, timeless, extremely scenic, the arena for some of the most impressive events of the world history.
I will be glad to take you through my Istanbul time tunnel, and your day in Istanbul will be much fun, just like the movie "going back to future". Or you may choose the wrong tour and end up listening to a guide repeating a text like a tape recorder; don't risk yourself! :)
After many years of guiding in Istanbul I am in the process of writing my own guide book of Istanbul: I think, because of being in the field I get a chance to see what lacks in the guide books written by foreigners. I am a blogger and some of my feed have got a publicity on internet. I am a former photo-journalist of the first Turkish parents magazine; almost all the photos I use to introduce my tours on toursbylocals.com are from my tours or my work.
I have a bachelor's degree in Political Sciences as well as my guide's licence. I film documentary short movies; In 2007 International Istanbul Festival I was a finalist. My travel articles are also popular among my colleagues. I will be glad to provide samples, and I am sensible enough to adjust the info level on tours; or else too much or too deep information over the dose kills the joy.
Some of the guides are lecturers; they keep on telling and telling an article like a text taken from a book; they add enthusiasm into this lecture as well; but if they lack in interacting; visitors end up nodding for too much 'impressive' information too much too digest.
Your tour guide should be a very good dose planner; to differentiate between a good medicine and the poison. Also on a private tour you have the comfort of doing what you like, but your guide should be a very good adviser: If he is too much into antiquity, you may end up visiting just old monuments of Istanbul, with little or no taste of Istanbul. Do not risk your Istanbul days with another tour, sign up for my tours while supplies still last :)