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2.23.2016

Travel Tuesday: Turkey by Plane, Bus, Boat, and Taxi

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed before our 12 hour flight from Houston to Istanbul

I wanted to title this post “Turkey by Plane, Train, and Automobile,” but we didn’t actually take any trains during our recent trip. Since we did use a few different types of transportation to get around, I thought I would share my thoughts on each.


Eyes less bright, and tails less bushy after our overnight flight

Taxi
Although I didn’t personally experience any shadiness with taxi drivers in Turkey, when planning for our trip I read that some cab drivers in Istanbul try and take advantage of tourists. See this article for some advice, but I heard that it is advisable to ask a taxi driver in advance about how much it will be to get from your point A to point B so you can hold them accountable. Making sure the meter is running is also generally a good tip with cab drivers abroad. I learned this lesson the hard way in Bangkok years ago, and now know to do my research in advance and be on guard for potential swindling when in taxis in other countries.  Once burned, twice shy.

Bus
Although there are flights between major cities in Turkey, we opted to try overnight buses during a few legs of our journey. This allowed for us to save the cost of a hotel night (not a bad deal since the overnight buses run between 70-100 TL each, much less than the cost of a hotel), and it allowed us to maximize our time in the cities without taking time out for airport travel. We did two overnight buses: one from Istanbul to Marmaris, and one from Fethiye to Goreme. We took Metro Turizm for both, and had a great experience both times. The buses were clean and comfortable, the staff friendly, AND there was Wi-Fi and TV. Not too shabby!  Since we did the journeys at night, we didn’t get to see much of the countryside, though we were amused that at one point our bus drove onto a ferry while we crossed a waterway. It was unexpected, but a fun piece of the overall adventure. A few things to note about the bus journeys: First, you can’t book them online in advance from outside of Turkey. You could if you were in Turkey, or you can buy at the station. Second, the staff on the buses didn’t speak English, which was fine, but it meant we had to remain aware to understand how long our pit stops would be, and where we needed to get off. Overall, I recommend the overnight bus option for those who are trying to save some money and also maximize time at their destinations.
 
After two fun days in Istanbul, we were pretty tired by the time we caught our bus
 
The hubs couldn't wait to get on the bus before passing out, and took a snooze right in the bus lobby
 
Overnight bus selfie!
 
We were surprised when our bus pulled onto a ferry boat to cross a waterway!
 
The ferry ride in the middle of the overnight bus ride was a fun diversion
 
Thankfully, restroom stops were frequent on the long bus ride
 
Gas station snacks are a fun way to see some of the local flavors of familiar brands.  Who would have thought we would have found Tex-Mex across the world?
 
The overnight bus ride not only got us from point A to point B, but it also saved us the cost of a night in a hotel!  We were able to sleep rather comfortably on the bus.

Ferry
The only time we took a ferry was to get back to Turkey from Rhodes on our return from Mediterranean Delights Fitness Voyage. Though this advice would be applicable to anyone trying to get between coastal Turkey and the Greek islands. We took our ferry from Rodos to Fethiye. Now, I had heard this in advance, but for some reason still figured it would work out OK for us: ferries in Greece are notoriously late and you are at their mercy. Despite taking off on time from Rodos, our ferry took 1.5 hours longer to get to Fethiye than it was supposed to, which caused us to miss our bus to Goreme (luckily Metro Turizm was helpful in getting us onto another bus). The lateness of the ferry was quite stressful. However, it doesn’t look like you have much of a choice when trying to get between Turkey and the Greek islands. Flights were incredibly expensive, and the itineraries would have been long (since many layover in Athens). My advice here is to be flexible, and don’t plan anything too close to your supposed ferry arrival time.

Plane
The only plane we took during our trip (not counting our flight to and from Turkey) was between the Cappadocia region (Kayseri) and Istanbul. The price on Onur Air was great, and we were able to land at IST (Ataturk airport) in Istanbul in plenty of time for our Turkish Air flight from Ataturk back to the US that same day. It appeared that the cost of flights between Istanbul and Dalaman were great too if you wanted to fly (as opposed to taking the overnight bus) between Istanbul and the coast, but the flight times weren’t conducive to our travel schedules during this trip.

Waiting at the airport
 
If you have any questions about the methods of transportation we used to get around Turkey, comment below, or hit up @fabeverydayblog on social media. For more information and reviews from our trip to Turkey, check out these other blog posts: MDFV, Istanbul Street Food, 2 Days in Istanbul, Cappadocia

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