Turkish Airlines (Türk Hava Yollan, THY) flies to over 30 cities in Turkey, including Adana, Ankara, Antalya, Bodrum, Dalaman, Erzincan, Erzurum, İstanbul, İzmir, Kars, Kayseri, Malatya, Nevşehir, Samsun, Sivas, Trabzon, and Van. İstanbul and Ankara are the hubs for domestic flights. See individual city listings for schedules and prices. Domestic flights average about US$90 one-way, but passengers ages 12 to 24 may receive a discount. It is often cheaper to purchase tickets for domestic flights in Turkey. In some cities, an airport shuttle bus leaves from the downtown ticket office 30 to 90 minutes before flights (for an extra fee). There are reduced fares for passengers who book international flights with THY.
Frequent, modem, and cheap buses run between all sizeable cities. In large cities, the otogar (bus station) is often located quite a distance from the city center, but many bus companies have branch offices downtown. Free shuttles called servis take ticketed passengers to the otogar. Buy tickets in advance from local offices, or purchase them directly at the station. Tickets are sometimes available on the bus, though you should ask ahead of time—some drivers allow only ticketed passengers aboard. You will need to go from booth to booth to piece together a complate schedule; one company may not, divulge competitors’ schedules. Many lines provide a 10% discount to ISIC-carrying students. Fares may increase during summer and religious holidays. Passengers are expected to remain in their assigned seats for the duration of the trip.
Because road safety is a serious concern in Turkey , Let’s Go strongly recommends that you only travel on reputable bus lines, particularly for long trips. Although these are the most expensive tickets, they are still cheap. The extra money you pay allows the companies to take safety precautions such as giving the drivers rest breaks. Reputable companies include: Varan, Ulusoy, and Kamil Koç. Whenever possible, Let’s Go quotes prices from these companies.
Long routes are often served by overnight buses. For greatest, comfort, request a window seat in the middle of the bus, away from the driver’s radio and behind the overhead window. Every so often, a steward will come around spraying cologne; stretch out your palms to receive a squirt, then rub it over your face and neck. Once or twice during the trip, the bus will stop at a rest area where you can stretch your legs, use the toilets (10$; paper extra), pray, and purchase overpriced cafeteria grub. The driver will announce the duration of the stop in Turkish, but it might vary by as much as 15 minutes either way, so keep an eye on your bus. If you are .stranded, another bus going your way will probably visit the rest complex within a few hours; find the steward to buy a ticket. Nighttime travel is more risky than daytime bus travel. Beware of tourist bureau advice to travel at night in order to maximize touring time. Take care not to travel through poor weather conditions.
In rural parts of Turkey, it is customary to flag buses down from the roadside without reserving a seat in advance. Try’ to spot the bus’s destination sign in the front window. Drivers, who keep an eye out for passengers, stop only if they have an empty seat. A steward hops off to stow your baggage and collect your fare.
Fez Travel, Turkey’s flexible “backpacker bus” service, runs around a long loop encompassing İstanbul, Çanakkale, Gallipoli, the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts (including Ephesus, Troy, Kuşadası, Bodrum, Marmaris, Pamukkale, Antalya, and Side), Koriya, Cappadocia, Ankara, and Bursa. A season pass (Jun-Oct. US$175, under 26 US$168) allows you to get on and off along the route at your own whim. There are also various scheduling alternatives, including cheaper passes that cover smaller portions of the route.
Extensive dolmuş (shared taxi) service follows fixed routes within larger cities and between small towns. These are usually vans or minibuses, though occasionally cars are in service as well. They leave as soon as they fill up (dolmuş means stuffed), and are almost as cheap as municipal buses (which do not exist in some towns). Best of all, you can get on and off anywhere you like.