Gaya Travel Magazine team were in Istanbul during the 7th Istanbul Shopping Fest held from 1 until 16 July 2017. During our visit, we savoured the city’s delights, especially its retail and dining scene, besides admiring the city’s wondrous heritage that spans over two millennia. Due to the more favourable exchange rate (TRY1=MYR1.22), travellers from Asia, especially South East Asia, will find Istanbul value for money.

Tip: Bring US Dollars (USD) or Euros (EUR) from home, then exchange them into Turkish Lira (TRY) in Turkey.



With over 122 malls all over Istanbul, shopaholics are definitely spoilt for choice.

Shoppers should check out:

  • Kanyon (!/home) – smart mall with local and international brands
  • Zorlu Centre ( – chic local fashion and place for public entertainment
  • Vakko ( – shoppers must buy the brand’s eau de cologne and in-house made chocolates
  • Emaar Square Mall ( – luxurious mall with marine life aquarium (
  • Akasya Acıbadem Konutları (– spacious and airy mall situated on the Asian side
  • Istinye Park Mall ( – perhaps the best place to shop for quality mid-priced products



Istanbul is not only great for shopping, but also dining. The following are the recommended places for travellers to consider:

  • Portaxe ( – located next to the Bosphorus strait that serves up hearty brunch buffet every Sunday from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
  • Eataly Istanbul ( at Zorlu Centre – the place to check out the best Italian food and everything about it when being in Istanbul
  • Trattoria Enzo ( at Akasya Acıbadem Konutlarımall – scrumptious Italian dishes
  • Welldone by Midpointrestaurant ( in Nişantaşı – mouth-watering and divine steak selections
  • Big Chefs AnadoluHisari ( restaurant by the Bosphorus – totally satiating West-meets-East dishes
  • Osmanli Zadeler 1879 ( – popular shop that is over one century and a half serving splendid Turkish desserts



Besides shopping and dining, Istanbul is also rich in history. Be sure to walk around the pretty neighbourboods of Nişantaşı , Beyoğlu, Galata and Ortaköy for an enriching experience:

  • Nişantaşı – hipster chic neighbourhood within Sisli district where Armenians, Jews and liberal Muslims live.
  • Galata and Beyoğlu are the areas where European communities have been residing for hundreds of years, especially around the Galata Tower that has business spaces on the street level that house trendy ateliers, specialty shops and cafes. Also check out the shops along Istiklal Caddesi leading up to the Taksim Square when exploring Beyoğlu.
  • Ortaköy – a breezy and relaxing village-like area full of shops, restaurants and bars next to the Bosphorus.

A few more tips to enjoy Istanbul:

  • Take the cruise along the Bosphorus strait to admire Istanbul from the water
  • Walk around the neighbourhoods surrounding the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia
  • Explore and shop at the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar

For more info, visit and Check out also other stories on Istanbul and Turkey on our website.

Gaya Travel Magazine extends our heartfelt gratitude to Istanbul Shopping Festival Trade Organisation and Turkey Tourism for making our trip to Istanbul memorable.

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