Remember when I said that traveling alone doesn’t mean you’re totally alone?
This statement is totally true, especially in my case. Along the way, I always find many people to talk with and even to travel with. At the beginning, I thought that would be difficult to start conversation with strangers I met on the road. But, once it’s started, it flows just like water. My memorable visit to Princes Island can’t be more fun if I didn’t meet these two strangers on the road.
I had been planned to visit this small island in one of my holiday time in Istanbul. In my stupid imagination, I was expecting to meet a prince in the island. It was on early March, and the weather was still cold that I thought. I was waiting for tram went to Kabatas at tram station closed to Sultanahmet area when I saw there were two gentlemen sitting on the bench.
I presumed they’re tourist as me, since they have digital cameras on their hands, after all their faces showed that they’re originally coming from Asia.
Tram came, and I stepped in. Those two gentlemen followed after me. One of them standing next to me suddenly asked me in my mother language,
“Hi. Dari Indonesia kan? Mau ke mana?” which meant “Hi. Are you from Indonesia? Where are you going?”
Surprisingly shock with the question since I didn’t expect that he came from the same country as mine, I answered the question shortly, “Princes island”.
Nonetheless, after those two awkward conversation, we became familiar each, he (Arief) introduced me to his friend (Junaid, Indian South African), and at the end, they decided to join me to Princes Island.
The islands consist of small islands around. Buyukada is the biggest and the most famous island among them. In Istanbul, there are many travel agent offering tour package to go to the island. However, if you don’t to use their service, coming there alone is not a bad idea. From Sultanahmet, you can get in to the tram, get out at the last stop at Kabatas, across the road and you’ll find ticket lockets to the island. There are two options for the tickets, using the speed boats or the slow one. We chose the first one.
The trip through Bosphorus was amazing where I could see the skylines of Istanbul with its special minarets from the sea. It was cold, but I couldn’t resist myself to sit on the deck, enabled me to capture beautiful moments with camera. The journey itself took 90 minutes for one way.
Princes islands had been a resort for the riches from Istanbul since Byzantine period and continued once Ottoman took over Turkey. During those times, Princes Islands became the escape places for the royals, to enjoy the privacy, especially in the summer. Vehicles are forbidden which makes the island become specials. The only vehicles we saw are ambulance, fire truck and garbage trucks. If you want to see around, the carts and bicycle rental are available.
As its name, this island is purposed as villas for the rich. Big houses could be found everywhere, but many of them are empty. I heard that the owners just use them for vacation only. Most of houses are designed using wooden structures as Victorian style houses. It’s lovely to walk in the empty road and listen to ring of bicycle and horses’ steps for sometimes. For more photos, please click here.
Due to its location separated to the main land, the price in the island is more expensive compared to Istanbul. However, we still found sea food restaurant in waterfront area with reasonable prices for the lunch.
Arief and Junaid left the island earlier since they needed to catch their flight on the afternoon. After having lunch together, we said good bye and they stepped on the boat to bring them back to Istanbul. I still had some hours before catching the last boat. I was renting bicycle and had fun to explore the island by myself.
Princes island is also famous with its ice cream, and don’t miss them. It took half an hour to finish one big cone of ice cream in the middle of cold weather of Princes Island.