Welcome to Istanbul, Turkey
I fell in love with Istanbul. The city of the east and west; Europe and Asia. I loved the hectic markets, the language, the food, and the culture. I almost did not make it to the city but am very thankful that I did. I am also longing to go back so we will see what 2016 has in store. From here, I did a trip to Cappadocia for a couple of nights and then flew to Bangkok.
Bosphorus River Cruise
On the suggestion of my host, Gizem, I went on a Bosphorus River Cruise. It was an hour boat ride down the river and back with some information shared on the loudspeaker that I couldn't hear. To get to the site, take the DT1 bus to Ortaköy and walk towards the water. Bring your appetite because all along the port are booths selling kumpir: a large (huge) potato mixed with butter and cheese and topped with sausage and all sorts of veggies.
Don't miss the chance to visit a Turkish hammam. Although many of these are very built up and a touristy activity for locals themselves, there are still some more authentic options. Read about my experience here.
I cannot speak personally about the hostels as I stayed with a friend of a friend (thank you for being amazing hosts Gizem and Burak!). From a quick Hostelworld search though, I see there are many options ranging from about 7-15 euros. It would probably be fun to stay near the Taksim square area if you plan to go out on the town.