Navigating The City
Istanbul, the vibrant city straddling Europe and Asia, is known for being rich in history and culture. It is also a thriving hub for crypto and Web3 communities. From Nov. 13-17, the city will be the center of the Web3 universe when LabWeek23 convenes alongside Devconnect, bringing together thousands of builders. Here's everything you need to know about the exciting week.
Venue: LabWeek23 will take place at the Swissôtel The Bosphorus Istanbul. The conference will run alongside Devconnect at the Istanbul Congress Centre, which is approximately 10 minutes by taxi from the LabWeek23 venue (directions here).
Transportation: In addition to taxis, Istanbul has a variety of public transportation to get around, including the Metro, tram and ferry. There are also ride-sharing apps, such as Uber and the local app BiTaksi. Overall, traffic can be very heavy, and public transportation inconsistent. So give yourself extra time to get to your destination.
Weather: In November, Istanbul has mild temperatures, but you can expect rainy days. The average daytime temperature ranges from 12°C (54°F) to 17°C (63°F), while the evenings can get a bit cooler. It's advisable to bring a sweater for the evenings, along with an umbrella and rain gear.
Market Hours: Traditional markets and bazaars, such as the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar, have their own unique schedules. They generally open early in the morning, around 8:00 AM, and close between 6:00 PM and 7:00 PM. Some smaller shops close briefly during the call to prayer, which takes place five times per day, but larger shopping malls are generally open from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM for visitors.
Currency: The Turkish lira. As of July 27, USD $1 is equivalent to roughly 26 lira, but the lira is known to fluctuate quite a bit, so be sure to check this site for the latest conversion rates.
Public transportation in Istanbul is well-developed and offers convenient options for getting around the city:
The Istanbul Metro connects various neighborhoods and is a quick and efficient way to travel. A full fare costs around $2.40 for a single ride and can easily be purchased online or at a station.
The nostalgic tram line is perfect for exploring the historic Sultanahmet area and its iconic landmarks.
Take a scenic ferry ride across the Bosphorus Strait, connecting Europe and Asia, and enjoy breathtaking views of Istanbul's skyline.
Taxis & Ride sharing
Taxis are widely available, and ride-sharing apps like Uber and BiTaksi are popular and reliable. BiTaksi is a useful app to download that makes it easy to book local taxis. Traffic can be very heavy in the busy town, so always keep an eye out for public transportation options if you're tight on time.
Cabs from Istanbul Airport (IST) take about 40 minutes and range from 200-250 TL. Please make sure that the taximeter in a taxi is always turned ON. If it is turned off, please ask to turn it on. Otherwise, the driver can ask the price of whatever he wants. Taximeters always show in the price of TL but some drivers might insist that it is in USD or EUR.
There are 2 major international airports:
Istanbul airport (IST) on the European side
Sabiha Gokcen airport (SAW) on the Asian side
The actual travel time between the airport and the city center can vary depending on traffic conditions and the mode of transportation. On average, it takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour to reach the city center from Istanbul Airport by car or taxi under normal traffic conditions. However, during peak traffic hours, the travel time can be much longer.
Places To Stay
If you would like to explore other options, here's a list of alternative hotels within a 15 minute radius by car (depending on traffic) from the LabWeek23 venue:
2.3 Kms from
2.3 Kms from
450 m from
2.2 Kms from
2.3 Kms from
2.2 Kms from
Places To Work
LabWeek23 will have some co-working space at the Swissôtel The Bosphorus Istanbul and Devconnect also has a dedicated co-working space at the Istanbul Congress Center, a ten minute drive from the LabWeek23 venue at Swissôtel The Bosphorus Istanbul. You can find details here.
As we prepare for LabWeek23 in Istanbul, we are taking several precautions to ensure the safety and accessibility of the event, in light of ongoing global and Middle East developments. We note that in-person attendance is entirely optional - we will facilitate remote participation via video and livestream to give attendees maximum flexibility in whether to attend in-person or virtually.
We’re taking steps to increase safety for our in-person attendees, and continuing to follow global developments closely. We are working with the Swissôtel and have enlisted external security to enhance safety at the venue. Attendees can expect to receive regular safety updates in our dedicated LabWeek23 newsletters.
We hope that the event modifications will allow you to participate to the extent you feel comfortable. It is our understanding that Devconnect will continue as planned as well. The PL safety team will continue to monitor the situation closely and share updates with the network. Please join our LabWeek23 Telegram group and let us know if you have any questions.
- The U.S. State Department: Travel advisory for Istanbul is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
- Countries including the U.S., Canada, Australia and U.K. advise increased caution when traveling to Istanbul (Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution)
- The Israeli National Security Council travel warning to Türkiye has been raised to the highest level – level 4 (high threat) – for all areas of the country. All Israelis in Türkiye are called upon to leave.
- Ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance that covers any unexpected events, including trip cancellations and disruptions. One potential option is GeoBlue.
- In Türkiye, it is required by law to carry ID at all times. Consider carrying a color copy of your passport wherever you go, and leaving another color copy with a trusted person at home in the event your passport is lost. Only show your passport to trusted individuals or authorities.
- Pack extra required medications in case of any travel delays.
- Consider carrying a physical copy of your emergency contact information, your lodging info, and transportation provider contact info in case you need to access it offline.
- Provide your emergency contact information to your embassy or consulate upon arrival in Türkiye.
- Have a list of local emergency numbers (ambulance, fire, and police are 112), your country's embassy or consulate contact information (e.g., U.S. Consulate in Istanbul is (90) 212-335 90 00), and the conference organizers' contact details readily available.
- Consider a service like Roamless to avoid high roaming charges, the hassle of sourcing local SIM cards or unsecure Wi-Fi connections. Roamless offers a global eSIM with local pricing, pay-as-you-go options and no expiry. Download the app here and use the code: LABWEEK23 to get the first 2GB free.
Stay Away from Higher-Risk Areas:
- As with any travel, remember to stay aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Avoid tourist areas and stick to the event venue.
- Follow local authorities' guidance and stay in groups.
- There have been protests in Istanbul, though these have primarily been peaceful. Protests have occurred around Beyazit Square, the US consulate, the Israeli consulate and some US businesses such as Mcdonalds locations.
- Keep a low profile and avoid flashy displays of conspicuous wealth or leaving devices unattended (especially in crowded or touristy areas).
- Consider a buddy system or a regular evening check in with team members each day.
- Be cautious on social media regarding political and personal views. Note that Türkiye has a ban on LGBTQ organizations and speech.
What to Do in Case of Escalation
- Be prepared for disrupted travel plans.
- Stay at your hotel and contact your consulate.
- Watch for security instructions on the LabWeek23 Telegram group.
We recommend avoiding crowded, touristy areas in Istanbul, as multiple countries have issued travel advisories warning about heightened risk wherever tourists and foreigners are present (e.g., U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory; Canadian Government Travel Warning). Always remain alert and aware of your surroundings when traveling.