Stumbled upon a deeply knowledgable, entertaining and very accommodating personal guide in Istanbul. Mr. Ramazan (Ram) Guloglu is a passionate historian with much to share about important sites, but he will also talk about current events, take you to his favorite local restaurants and the best sweet shop in the city, and to any other destination you'd like to see. Ram does walking tours with public transit, or, if you want to splurge, uses a private car with a hired driver. He's funny, informative and an all around pleasure to spend the day with. Ask to see the Chora Church -- it's an absolute gem and not on most travel itineraries. TripAdvisor
We had a wonderful day with Ram, the highlight of which was poking around in antique stores in a hidden neighborhood in Istanbul. He was so knowledgeable! I recommend him highly and am looking forward to our next trip to Turkey when we hope to adventure into the Eastern part of the country with Ram. TripAdvisor
Private Guide for Istanbul Our guide, Ramazan Guloglu, was excellent (we have had many guides in our travels). His website is www.turkeyforholidays.com TripAdvisor
I am writing to you to express my thanks for conducting a wonderful, individual guided tour of the major tourist sites of Istanbul in June last. Your fluency in English and your knowledge of the major sites including the Topkapi Palace, the Roman Cistern and the Blue Mosque were particularly helpful for me, as a history professional. I can recommend your knowledge, courtesy and efficiency without reservation to any tourist who wants the inside story on Istanbul's past and present.
Professor A I Taylor
Thank you so much for having shown us your beautiful city. You know how uneasy I was about putting myself and my children in the hands of someone found through a web sight but after about 20 minutes I felt as if you were just like and old friend.
Barbara & I would like to say an enormous Thank You for the wonderful day in Istanbul we shared with you. Your knowledge and enthusiasm are amazing, your passion for your city was so obvious, and only reinforced our desire to revisit Istanbul in the future. Whist touring the city we never felt rushed, and you were so attentive. When we were viewing things on our own, you were never out of sight, which made us feel secure. We will have no hesitation in recommending you, and please feel free to use this message on your website.
Ram you truly are one of Turkeys great treasures.
Barbara & Peter
We recently spent 18 days in Turkey; seven of those days were spent with Ram. This first three were in Istanbul - and included four other friends for a total group of six. The other four days were just the two of us plus Ram and Mevlut, our driver, in southeastern Anatolia. Touring with Ram either in a large metropolis like Istanbul or through 100s of miles of "rural" landscape is like traveling with an old friend who is very knowledgeable and connected. In both instances, we visited the usual tourist stops - the well-known and recommended. But we also visited several places not in any tour guide and some of those places are the most memorable of our journey.
In arranging our trip to Southeastern Turkey, we completely relied on Ram. He made all of the arrangements for us - car and driver, hotels and airline. Everything went per plan and met all of our expectations. All the prices were extremely reasonable and there were no up charges. Mevlut met us at our hotel in Urgup and we drove to Kayseri to meet Ram and begin our journey. The first Ram took us to Mt. Nemrut in central Anatolia: a long drive which was made more interesting by stopping for fresh fruit at a roadside stand, sheeps head soup in Kahramanmarash, and special ice cream on our way out of Kahramanmarash. We arrived at our hotel in Mt Nemrut and were able to dash up the mountain to catch the fading light at the peak. The next morning we climbed Nemrut before dawn to see the light of the new day strike the statues on the eastern slope.
After leaving Mt Nemrut, we caught a car ferry across the dammed lake created by the Ataturk Dam on the Euphrates. This ferry was a locals only - we were the only tourists something we really liked! Later that day we visited Diyarbarkir, Hasankeyf on the Tigris River and ended up seeing the sunset over the fortress town of Mardin. The next morning we toured Mardin including an old Syrian Orthodox Monestary, Darul Zafaran. We then headed to Sanliurfa. However, due to a chance conversation with Ram, we changed course and drove to Ceylan Pinar, a HUGE state run farm. Ram convinced the guards to let us in! We saw dancing ostriches and a bottle fed baby gazelle in addition to the pistachio trees and other crops. We sped onward to the old testament city of Harran with just enough time to view it at sunset - then finally we arrived in Sanliurfa.
The next morning we drove outside of Sanliurfa to visit Gobekli Tepe, a site in no tour book that contains the excavated remains of the oldest known temple in the world. It was Gobekli Tepe that was responsible for drawing us to Southeastern Turkey and it was the information we found on Ram's website that led us to contact him. Our visit to this site was exactly what we hoped it would be! After this visit, we returned to Sanliurfa to tour that city including a visit to the bazaar where we looked for and purchased handmade shish (for shishkabab at home) as well as a visit to a modern shopping center at our request. After seeing all the ancient sites, we wanted to see a slice of modern life in that part of the world.
Throughout this four day journey, Ram was very careful to pick out restaurants for their cleanliness and quality of food preparation so that allowed us to sample the local cuisine and in all its variety, without upsetting our western digestive systems.
We would gladly use Ram again anywhere in Turkey. Not only did he take us on a journey that exposed us to Southeastern Turkey, but he could answer our questions as well as the questions that came out of the answers he provided. Both he and Mevlut were good company - very easy to travel with.
Ellen and Richard Lary
Colorado Springs, USA, May 2010
5333 River Road
New Orleans, LA 70123
November 9, 2009
Subject: Tour of Istanbul
As a follow up to our recent visit, October 3 & 4, 2009, to Istanbul I wanted you to know what an absolutely wonderful experience the four of us had with you as our tour guide for two days.
Istanbul far exceeded our expectations and we canít wait to come back again all due to your expert commentary and itinerary planning. When we saw 30 other passengers from our ship following an umbrella (tour guide) around at The Blue Mosque we knew we had made the correct decision to put ourselves in your hands. I donít think anyone could have shown us more of Istanbul in such a relaxed and informative way than you managed to do.
Please know that we all enjoyed our time spent with you and came away feeling we got a personal understanding of Istanbul, the Turkish people and the Muslim faith. We all give you our unqualified recommendation and would be more than happy to provide any particulars to your future clients concerning your excellence as a tour guide.
We canít wait to return again and spend more time with you in one of the most beautiful and interesting cities in the world. Continued good success, you were the best!
My husband and I wish to thank you most sincerely for the meaningful insights you shared with us during our two day tour of Istanbul with you in mid-April 2010. The actual touring experience with you surpassed our expectations. The thoroughness of descriptions on your website is what first attracted my attention when I began searching for a guide for our two day port stop in Istanbul. You were able to reassure me that the pace we wanted could be accommodated and that we would be able to see the highlights of this wonderful city on our first, but certainly not last visit.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my many email questions in order to set the best itinerary for our needs. When we arrived at the port you were waiting just as you had detailed in your emails and you had transportation ready and waiting to begin our tour. With each site that you guided us through, from the Sultanahmet Mosque to Hagia Sophia to the Topkapi Palace and beyond you spoke with pride about Turkish traditions and gave us more detailed information and background knowledge than any other guides we had had in other places in the world. You are most knowledgeable about history, as well as having an insightful grasp of how the modern world is impacting Istanbul, and how Istanbul is impacting the modern world. Thank you for sharing your productive ideas with us and we hope to hear more about your visions for Istanbul.
During our two days of touring with you we noted your willingness to share not only information about Istanbul and Turkey, but also about the faith of Islam and we appreciate your efforts in the museums to connect the historic and religious aspects of this wonderful city of Istanbul. We highly recommend your services as a knowledgeable, conscientious, considerate guide who takes pride in this city and in the country of Turkey. You opened our eyes on many levels even though we had read a great deal before we toured with you.
Thank you for also making special arrangements for us to taste the orchid root ice cream and for your patience with my deep interest in the antique section of the Grand Bazaar. I also appreciated your support of my first attempts to speak a few words of Turkish. Your sense of humor and genuine help made our two days of tours with you a dream come true. Due to your capable management of every facet of our tours you have whetted our appetite for future visits to this most magnificent city of Istanbul and the marvelous country of Turkey. With your deep rooted interest in the welfare of Istanbul and its future I believe you should establish a dialogic relationship with the Turkish Board of Tourism to increase the awareness level of the wonders of Turkey with other countries of the world. Thank you again for your inviting and welcoming ways of sharing your beautiful city with us.
Wishing you continued success,
Ralph Mac Leod and Elaine Mac Leod, Ph.D.
A thank you note for the excellent care you provided during our two days in Istanbul. We could not have been more pleased with the sites and experiences. Your knowledge of the city, the historical sites, the history of Europe and Asia, along with current events gave us all insights which you do not get from the every day tour guides.
We would encourage any of your potential customers, who are looking for more than just a walking tour of the various historical sites to avail themselves of your knowledge and expertise.
Please feel free to provide us as references.
Dick and Pam
Budd and Mary
December 19,2009 my husband, my 20 year old son and I went to Turkey to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary as a family trip. There are many tour guides but Ram stands out as the very best. We are so grateful to Ram for making Istanbul the wonder that it is. It is easy to read books; but Ram made the history and culture come alive. Ram's English is impeccable and we knew instantly that we could ask questions.
He is an expert in Ottoman History but also advised us on places to see outside of Istanbul. He planned a great itinerary. He was patient and he arranged for a luxury van and driver to take us. When we exited the Dolmabahce Palace the van was right at the entrance. He included a walk though a Bosphorus town that was very different from Istanbul. It was a great contrast.
We loved Turkey, the people and the history. Ram was a big part of this as we had a personal relationship where we spoke of our families and traditions in the two countries.
We are grateful to Ram.
Bailey, Rosarie, Philip
San Francisco, CA
Rosarie J. Hartmeyer, Ph.D.
We began our trip with you as our email guide and ended with you as a very close friend we now consider to be part of our family and who we'll treasure the rest of our lives. Your information about what we'd see and do was meticulously accurate but understated ≠ it was better than we expected.
Dale Mattock, PhD. and Bill Robertson
"This was my second visit to Istanbul. Last year (2008), my then 8-year old daughter and I bought an excellent 12-day packaged tour of Turkey through Insight. I fell in love with Turkey and wanted to share the experience with the rest of my family. Unfortunately, my two other children are only 2 and 4 years old. The Insight tour would have been impossible with small children.
So, in 2009 we decided to take a Greek island cruise with a stop in Istanbul (in my opinion, one of the most impressive cities in the world). Our family group consisted of 4 adults (my wife and I and my older parents) and my 3 kids. The cruise excursion would have cost us more than 600 Euros. So we decided to hire our own guide for a lot less. We searched the Internet and e-mailed at least 10 different guides. We booked with a gentleman named Ramazan (Ram) Gulogu because of his quick and thorough responses to our e-mails. From our experience with dozens of guides, Ram was the best guide that we've ever had in all of our travels.
We were met at the cruise ship terminal even before the appointed time. Our minibus had leather seats and A/C. This was by far the most comfortable bus of any of our tours. The guide spoke excellent English. He was trained as an engineer in England. To avoid the crowds of the 3 cruise ships in port that day, at Ram's suggestions, we did our tour in reverse from most of the cruise ship excursions.
Our tour started even before most of the sites were opened. We got a bus tour of the city with stops at Rumeli Fortress and the incredible Theodosian Wall. These were not included on any cruise ship excursions. We first went to the Topkapi Palace at opening time when it was virtually empty of tourists. We felt like we had the place to ourselves for a couple of hours. We then went to the Blue Mosque, the Basilica Cisterns (at my request because my previous tour did not have it) and finally, the awe-inspiring Hagia Sophia. Our tour was on a Sunday, so the Grand Bazaar was closed. We knew this from our guide's e-mail so we had seen it the day before on our own.
We think that hiring a private guide was the best decision we made in seeing Istanbul within a limited amount of time. Ram was very professional, pleasant and extremely knowledgeable about everything we had wanted to know about Turkey. He was very considerate and paced our tour slowly for both the children and my older parents. In fact, we took nearly two more hours than previously agreed to. We did not have to wait in any lines at any of the sites and stayed as long as we liked and, finally, unlike most cruise ship excursions in Turkey, no forced shopping. I would recommend the private guide option for all cruise ship passengers if you have a group of 4 or more. I would also highly recommend our guide Ram."
Alex Khuu, usa.
We recommend Ramazan Guloglu without hesitation. He is a knowledgeable and experienced guide, and a delight to be with. Ram worked hard and successfully to make Istanbul the highlight of a month-long tour of Eastern Europe. He guided four of us around Istanbul for three days in October of 2009: One day we walked, starting from our hotel in the Sultanahmet quarter, and beginning with Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. The second day we used public transportation to reach more distant parts of the city, and took a Bosporus tour on a small sightseeing boat. The third day Ram arranged a private van to reach sites less convenient to public transportation.
No tour of Istanbul would be complete without at least a couple of hours on the Bosporus and the Golden Horn, It provides an entirely different perspective of the city, whose history and present status depend so much on the water. The boat Ram arranged for was large enough for us to be comfortable on this busy waterway, and had its own guide and sound system, yet it was small enough and had few enough passengers that it was almost like our own private yacht. We would not have found this boat on our own.
Ram brought the same level of knowledge to our land touring. In three days, we saw everything we had planned, and many fascinating spots we had not even known existed. These bonuses included the Bulgarian St. Stephen Church the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and the Cathedral of St. George, among many others.
We hope your trip to Turkey will be as enjoyable as ours. Ram would certainly help make that happen.
Peter and Florence DeRose, USA, October 2009
we would like to thank you for guiding us in the magnificent Istanbul!
Due to your efforts our dream to see Hagia Sophia came true although it seemed quite unrealistic in the beginning due to very short time we had.
We have seen and learned much more, and we have really enjoyed it. These just-few-hours within our long and impressive trip overseas, Istambul became one of the greatest moment we have brought to home.
You have managed it prefectly! From meeting us in the airport to sharing with us your knowledge, respect and love to Istanbul, everything was just great. We gald we meet you!
If you decide to visit Kyiv one day, we will be happy to show you the very best of it. And definately we are to vistit Istanbul again!
Looking forward to seeing picture of famous tomato :)
With the very warm regards,
Maryna, Vadym, Liza
Kyiv, january 2009
we returned to Berlin with a very nice memory of the men, who was our guide in a wonderful way through the historic city of Byzanz, Konstantinopel and Istanbul, introducing us in the short time we had available to a maximum of this historic an lively city, telling us in an interesting way about the polis, backed up by his large knowledge of history. Thank you. You made us curious and wanting to return to continue.
See you soon.
Best wishes and nice greetings from
Jan and Kiki
Berlin, Germany, April 2010
T. + 49 171 211 23 97
F. + 49 30 803 76 13
you are an accomplished guide, most informative and communicative, who takes wonderful care of your clients. We always felt comfortable and secure with you, and you made us feel most welcome with your outreaching style and warmth of personality. (I won't mention those wonderful tomatoes, as you might not have enough of them to go around!). In summary: you made us feel most welcome and very special.
Michael A. Clegg CPM
216 861 7200 office, October 2007
I highly recommend Ram for his expertise in Turkey . He was very prompt in replying to e-mails and once we meet in Turkey , he was everything we had hoped for in a private guide. Not only did he have first-class transportation but he was able to include many more sightseeing events than we would have been able to visit had we been on our own or gone on a big bus. He was very knowledgeable and his English is great. Many thanks to Ram for a memorable trip to Turkey !!
Becca Pack, usa, May 2009
I just wanted to tell you how much our entire group enjoyed our two days with you in Istanbul. Your expertise as a tour guide was instrumental to our having a great experience. We appreciated your friendly, knowledgeable approach and enjoyed all your recommendations for restaurants and entertainment. All in all it was a great experience.
Executive Vice President
APCO Valve & Primer Corporation
949-412-7780 mobile, December 2008
This is Patti and Keith Hall from California USA. We were in the group from Apco Valves that you guided through Istanbul in November 08. Just wanted to let you know we thought you were a superb guide. Full of interesting facts about the city and it's history. You kept a good watch on our group as we seemed to go in many directions sometimes and we all felt very comfortable in your care. You made our visit to Istanbul most enjoyable. We wish you well and thank you again for a delightful two days.
Patti and Keith Hall, December 2008
Thank you for the beautiful tour of Istanbul. It was a pleasure having you as my guide and as my friend.
615 9th Ave. 4-R
N.Y, N.Y. 10036
My mother and I have been blessed to meet Ram our guide in Istanbul during our visit to this magnificent city in October 2008. Ram guided us through the many historical sites and generously assisted and educated us in a deep and meaningful way to understand the rich culture of his homeland. He is a considerate and hospitable man with an impeccable grasp of the English language. I look forward to my next sojourn to Turkey and meeting with Ram once again to continue learning from him.
Australia, December 2008
Jane and I and two other couples spent three months in Europe with the last two weeks in Turkey. We were fortunate to have Ram as our guide. Before practicing as a professional guide Ram was a history teacher and has a love for the subject and his country.
We all well remember Ramí ability to bring places alive, especially when you visit locations such as Ephesus, Troy and similar historical sites that are so special when visiting Turkey.
If you are fortunate enough to obtain Ramís services you are sure to enjoy Turkey.
Stewart & Jane Wright
Thank you for an exceptional tour of Istanbul. Your tour was a highlight of our recent cruise and land trip to Turkey. We enjoyed the out of the way places we were able to visit. Your knowledge of history and information was outstanding. We look forward to a return trip and tour with you!
David and Joyce Pollock
San Mateo, CA
We have just returned from a twelve day trip to Turkey. We were in the capable hands of our guide. Ram is very knowledgeable, prompt, willing and attentive. Many details were openly discussed in emails prior to the tour.
All arrangements were complete, all schedules workable. I have already recommended him to others in our agency.
Haynie Travel/American Express
641 S. Hebron Ave.
Evansville IN 47714
Before departing our 3 Ĺ day guided visit to Istanbul, we wanted to register our high satisfaction with the guiding services of Ram. He has worked tirelessly to ensure that our family had a well rounded, extensive and enjoyable visit here.
I would add that we are very demanding travelers. We travel extensively and are exposed to numbers of guide. At the same time, together with parents, we have two children who are teenagers, Ram has had to satisfy both ends of this spectrum - well traveled parents and teenagers with short attention spans. He has succeeded very well with this difficult mission.
Ram knows a great deal about Turkish history and art, and speaks excellent English. We consider him to be 100 % reliable, arriving ahead of time each day and going above and beyond during each long day.
We would be happy to serve as references both for your agency and for Ram and the driver. We were seeking a five star experience all the way here in Istanbul and Ram, our driver, and your agency all delivered on that desire.
The Halprin family
Juliet and David.
We deeply appreciate the efficient way you made our journey both educational and exciting. You anticipated all of our interests and needs and illuminated each experience with your knowledge and scholarship. We would be proud to recommend your services to anyone wishing to take a cultural trip of this kind.
"We recently travelled through Turkey with Ram for fifteen days. The tour was excellent.
With Ram's help and guidance we discovered Turkey to be one of the best-kept treasures in the world.
We sampled so much of the country and its culture from Istanbul to Cappadocia and back again.
We found the travel, accommodation and food were great value for money.
We thoroughly enjoyed our fortnight and look forward to being able to visit Turkey again with Ram."
Richard & Sue Miller,
I was fortunate to have Ram as my guide while I was on a business trip in July 2008.
My plans were changed unexpectedly and I had a day in Istanbul before my connecting flight to Copenhagen.
The hotel put me in touch with Ram and he organised an impromptu tour of the city for me.
Our comprehensive visit to the major city sites was both educational and enjoyable and Ramís passion and knowledge brought everything to life.
I would recommend Ram as a guide to anyone interested in exploring this fascinating city.
Back in 2003 I was living in London and the pilgrimage to Turkey was a high priority, in particular to attend ANZAC celebrations in Gallipoli. We booked a trip, arrived in Istanbul with much excitement, and joined the remaining tour party at a comfortable hotel in a very central location.
On the first morning of the tour we met Ram and for the next fortnight we were under his wonderful guide, showing us all around Turkey - Gallipoli, Troy, Pergamon, Pamukkale, Ephesus, Cappadocia and many more wonderful places.
My friends and I could not recommend Ram highly enough. He was not only very easy company, but ensures that you have a wonderful time, educates along the way with stories of historical importance and context with his wonderful grasp of English and is a genuinely nice person.
Having lived in London now for nearly 7 years, I can still look back fondly on the tour around Turkey as being one of the best trips I have ever done. Much of that is the wonder of Turkey's history, contrasts of landscape and sheer beauty. But by far the overwhelming winning factor is Ram.
To top that off, one of my great friends met his now wife on Ram's tour and they have just had a baby boy. Good work, Ram!
I came to Turkey with my friend and her family. We had a wonderful tour of the Blue Mosque and the Imperial Palace Topkapi, thanks to Ram. His details of the historical background added much to our enjoyment.
He also guided us to a beautiful restaurant with a terrace top that provided an incredible view of the Blue Mosque from a distance. Thanks again for a wonderful time.
Love The Norries, Phillips and Yuseps.
51 Stranraer Place,
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Our day with Ram in Istanbul was excellent. His friendly and expert insights into the marvellous historical sights of the old town brought everything to life. We would recommend Ram to anyone wanting an introduction to this great city.
Pat and Paul [England], June 2009
We traveled from Virginia to Turkey to visit the wonderful culture and history of Istanbul. Our very first day in Turkey was spent in Istanbul where we were guided by Ram. His tour was amazing! It was very insightful and educational. He is very knowlegable in the History of the main tourist attractions in Istanbul and of Turkey in general.
If you want to see and understand Turkey, this is the gentleman to call!
Derek and Teresa from Virginia.
Thank you for making our trip so enjoyable and going out of your way to give us many extra experiences.
We will always have fond memories of our visit to your lovely country. We hope that one day you will be able to come and stay with us.
You would be most welcome.
Margaret and Campbell des Forges.
344 Omokoree Rd.
Tauranga, New Zealand.
Thank you very much for a wonderful and memorable holiday. I shall remember lots of things about my stay in Turkey but your presence will be with me for a long time.
15 Ashby Road,
Thank you for a wonderful trip and expert guidance. We have enjoyed our tour of classical Turkey and our introduction to the Ottoman Empire.
Rita and Wendy
Thank you for a great 5 days. We feel we have really seen and understood a lot of Turkey.
All the best for the future.
Thank you for your email. We had a wonderful time in Istanbul...especially the mosques and bazaar. We also loved the honey. It was a pleasure to meet you and we hope to return to Turkey and see the Anatolian Highland areas. Our beautiful rugs arrived last week and the look terrific. The Black Sea trip was very interesting...especially Trabazon and Sumela. Best of luck to you.
Peter and I would like to thank you for a wonderful time we had in Istanbul.
This particular trip of ours was supposed to be Greek Islands cruise that just disembarks in Istanbul. Your professional knowledge, attention, planning, your kindness and personal charm, in combination with a beauty and most fascinating history of you city, made Istanbul a decisive highlight of our trip.
Both, my husband and I, feel that you definitely went way above and beyond the Call of duty. Your presentation of Istanbul and your knowledge and love for Turkish history is positively contagious. We are looking forward to coming back and working with you again.