Friday, September 23, 2016

Moving to Bursa and Where to Live

So you’ve decided to make the move to Bursa, the fourth largest city in Turkey and you’re wondering where to live in this city of two million people. Whether you’re moving for work, love, school or you just love the city, check out my tips below on where to live in Bursa. 

First of all, it would be helpful to know where you’ll be going everyday. Are you a student and going to Gorukle every day? Are teaching in the old city center of Heykel? Bursa is narrowly spread out across the foothills of Mt. Uludag. You wouldn’t want to commute from an eastern neighborhood in Yildirim to Gorukle everyday, as the commute would take way too long. While traffic isn’t as bad as Istanbul, Bursa traffic is getting increasingly worse with construction and an ever-expanding city.  There is a pretty decent public transport system including a couple of trams, buses and two main metros, but during peak hours, you can feel like a sardine stuffed in a tin can.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the more popular areas in Bursa:
Nilufer: Nilifuer seems to be the most desirable area in Bursa due to its expat friendly neighborhoods, nightlife and its close to proximity to public transport and just about everything else in Bursa. Specific areas that are popular among both locals and expats for living quarters are areas around the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Boulevard (FSM), the Korupark Residence area and Besevler. Housing isn’t cheap in these areas although you can sometimes come across a good deal. Rents in the above areas typically range from 800-1800 TL per month.  You’ll love these areas because of the nightlife (both on FSM and Podyum Park), the Metros at either end of FSM for fairly quick public transportation and you will feel welcomed by the locals.

Osmangazi: Before the Nilufer area became popular, most people lived in the Osmangazi areas of Heykel, Kukurtlu and Cekirge. Rents are more affordable in these neighborhoods with rent ranging from 400-1500 TL per month. Kukurtlu is a beautiful neighborhood with parks, cafes and close public transport. Cekirge is similar although a bit further from the metro. Heykel is the old city center. Traffic can be kind of tight here during rush hour and the streets are usually quite narrow. I love going to Heykel to discover cool shops and to chat with the locals. All the way out near the Bus Garage (otogar) is a massive community called Bursa Modern. The homes and towers are beautiful but if you ever want to meet up with friends (most of them will probably live near FSM), you’ll have a bit of a commute on your hands.

If you’re a student studying at Uludag University, you’ll probably want to live in Gorukle. Gorukle offers some of the most affordable housing options in Bursa but is a bit far from FSM and Heykel. While they have their own little community of bars and restaurants, it’s still a bit far out for my taste. That being said, I know many people living in Gorukle and they do not mind the commute.  Ozluce is another option between Gorukle and FSM offering newer flats with semi-affordable rent.

Many expats live in Bademli. Bademli is a neighborhood that isn’t easily accessible without a car. There is public transport but it is sparse. This area offers many “villa” type homes often coming with swimming pools and 24 hour security. Rent in Bademli can range from 1500-3000 TL per month.

Before you decide where to live in Bursa, my advice to you would be to choose a place close to public transport. No matter where you choose to stay in Bursa, I am sure your experience will be an unforgettable one.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Thinking about coming to Turkey? Think again....and then come!

Traditional Turkish Tea
Hahaha...I got you! With all the hoopla in the media regarding Turkey in the last few months, I thought I would chime in and give my 2 cents.

While visiting Seattle for the month of July, there was an attempted coup in Turkey. It was the weirdest thing: I was on a boat heading to the San Juan Islands when I started receiving messages from friends and family both in Turkey and the US. To hear of the attempted coup in Turkey was heart breaking. It seemed like just when things were starting to quiet down, this happens. My family and friends were grateful that I wasn't in Turkey during the coup attempt. Many of them advised me to change my ticket and stay a few more weeks in the US so that things could "cool off" here. Well, We didn't change our ticket and came home to what was pretty much business as usual for Turkey. No, there weren't tanks roaming the streets; no, there weren't armed gunmen on every corner. People were just going about their daily lives as they always did.

Turkish Coffee
When people ask me about if I feel scared of living here, I just remind them of the recent attacks in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. In todays world, an attack, earthquake, Ebola and just about anything else you can think of can happen to anyone, anywhere. Your location doesn't matter. If it's your time, it's your time. I truly believe that mainstream media makes things worse than they really are. That being said, you should always be aware of your personal surroundings whether you're in London, New York or Istanbul and use due diligence.
Delicious Food From Antakya

So, should you come to Turkey for work, to live with your family or to simply visit? Absolutely. Turkey still has some of the beautiful, historic places I've ever seen. The people of Turkey are some of the most humble and friendly people around.