Turkey is one of the few countries that cover two continents. Anatolia, the largest part of the country is located in western Asia whilst Thrace, the much smaller part, forms the extreme southeastern tip of Europe. Between them lies the beautiful natural dividing line of the Bosphorus. Turkey not only connects two continents, she also brings two different cultures together. This is a country where East meets West. In some respects, this is a country where the West starts and in some other respects this is a country where the East begins. This unique location gives Turkey the opportunity to provide a synthesis between traditional cultural values and modern Western approaches. Its unique location, its complex and diversified history enables Turkey to reach a synthesis between traditional values and modern perspectives.
Turkey is a blend of rustic and technological, old and new, oriental and occidental. There are an enormous variety of things to see and do ranging from water sports to mountain trekking, archaeology to night clubbing and river rafting to raki (an aniseed-flavored grape brandy) drinking. Whether you leave Turkey with magnificent carpets, amulets, belly dancing tips, an appreciation of its history, or just a tan, you're likely to want to go back for more.
The unit of Turkish currency is New Turkish Lira. On January 1st, 2005, the Turkish Central Bank has put in circulation the New Turkish Lira (international code TRY and in Turkey YTL) by removing six zeros from the Turkish Lira. Together with this operation, Turkey has recovered its cents called "Kurush". The currency was revalued and is worth one million of the old Turkish Lira. So be careful with your money and always check banknotes. If you see many zeros on the banknote, it is the old Turkish Lira.
Old Turkish Lira was accepted in all shops and banks till the 1st of January 2006, now it may be exchanged only at the Central Bank of Turkey. With the value of the Turkish lira always sliding, it's best to change money every few days. Banks and exchange offices are generally only open weekdays -you may find it hard to convert your traveler's checks on weekends. ATMs are common in Turkish cities, towns and resorts, many of them connected to worldwide cash point networks such as Cirrus or Plus and to credit cards (Visa seems to be most widely accepted). Keep some exchange receipts, as you may need them to change liras back at the end of your stay.
In cheaper restaurants it's not necessary to leave more than a few coins in the change plate. In more expensive restaurants, tipping is customary. Even if a 10-15% service charge is added to your bill, you're expected to give around 5% to the waiter directly and perhaps the same amount to the maitre d'. Porters expect a dollar or so; in taxis you might like to round up the bill; in other situations, for example, helpful guardians at archaeological sites, delicacy is required. Although a tip may be initially refused through politeness, you should offer the money a second and a third time. After three refusals, you can safely assume they really don't want the money. Bargaining is pretty common in Turkey - you're mad not to bargain for souvenirs. For hotel rooms, bargain if you visit between November and April or if you plan to stay more than a few days.