Yet another message from a traveler
victimized by the single-male criminals:
"I am the latest unfortunate
victim [March 2012].
"Shortly after getting off the
funicular, I was walking towards İstiklal
street when someone said something
to me in Turkish which I obviously
didn't understand. This led us to having
"The gentleman was older,
probably about 50-55, claimed to work
as a chef in a hotel, invited me to
come by to eat at the hotel "on
He was also missing some teeth. Anyway,
we were walking down İstiklal street
when he mentioned knowing a bar. I
really didn't think we were going inside,
just that he was going to show me where
"We walked down a side street
to a place on a street called Buyuk
Parmakkapi, which is the 3rd street
on the left as you walk down İstiklal
street from Taksim square [map]. It's right
next to Pandora books, a place that
sells books in English. You have to
walk up some steps, past an internet
cafe to reach the bar.
down and some drinks appeared. I thought
about declining as I rarely drink but
I figured I might as well be social.
Next thing I know two women sat down
with us. I obviously knew they were
prostitutes but unfortunately, I completely
blanked on the "overpriced
"So I was obviously surprised when
the bill came to $600. My 'friend'
kept saying he would pay half, leaving my
total at $300. Fortunately, I don't
carry that sort of cash with me.
weighed the odds of pushing past the
guys and making a break for it, but
I had no idea what sort of people I
was dealing with. So I gave them what
I had in my wallet which was about
"The one guy then walked me out
to take me to an ATM so I could give
him the rest. When he got outside,
I saw that there were hundreds and
hundreds of people out and about. So
I said screw it and just kept right
on walking. I heard him calling out
to me but I just ignored him and broke
out into a sprint down a side street.
"Obviously I'm now safely back in my
hotel room writing this. And fortunately,
I'm staying in a different part of
town than where the scam went down.
But it obviously colors my experience
of Istanbul and I'll be looking over
my shoulder for the next few days.
"The one good thing is that these guys
must have been amateurs. Otherwise
they would have frisked me and found
my camera and my kindle which they
could have kept as collateral.
"I thought about reporting the incident
to the tourist police but figured it
wouldn't do any good. After all, when
they brought me the bill, they also
showed me the menu with the outrageous
"Anyway, just thought that you should
remind your readers to always be on
the lookout and to ask questions. I'm
an experienced traveler with over 2
years travel experience in Latin America
and I never would have thought this
could happen to me. But now I know
it can happen to anyone."
[TB: A later report (unconfirmed) from a different source said that the bar was closed by police for a short time, then re-opened under a different name. Note that there are also legitimate, law-abiding bars on the same street. Please read these tips about
how to avoid—or escape from—this type