Surviving the Overnight Turkish Bus & how to get lost
I’ve heard that taking a Turkish overnight bus feels luxurious and is a great experience. Just back from my Turkey trip, I’ll say– the gossip does not lie. The Turkish bus is a comfortable, convient and inexpensive way to travel Turkey and right up there with my other shocking VIP buses, Thailand and Myanmar.
Table of Contents: Taking a Turkish Overnight Bus from Istanbul to Cappadocia (and back)
Taking a Turkish overnight bus from Istanbul to Cappadocia
I took two overnight buses in Turkey. I took the bus from Istanbul to Cappadocia and back. The drive from Istanbul to Cappadocia and back is roughly 12 hours, so booking a Turkish overnight bus is smart for travelers looking to travel with time efficiency.
Getting to Istanbul Otogar
Istanbul Otogar (aka Büyük Otogar) is large so plan ahead! From the outside, Istanbul bus station looks like a stadium. It is said that you should plan at least an hour to get to the station and find your bus. Watch my video and you’ll see how many buses my bus company, Suha had at the otogar. That’s just one company. At the otogar, waiting for my bus to depart, the office had an upstair waiting lounge where we could watch Turkish TV and drink tea.
You can get to Istanbul bus station, by taking the metro or tram from Sultanhamnet and Sirkeci stops (incidentally, upon my return to Istanbul, I stayed in Sirkeci which was convenient).
Read my City Guide to Istanbul
How to book a Turkish bus
1- Book bus tickets through a Turkish travel agent
Traveling Istanbul, you can book directly through the bus companies, given you know which bus you want and you can find their Istanbul office. I found travel agents were easier to find than bus companies and to be frank, I didn’t have a clue which companies were good or what their routes were. It was definitely easier to go through an agent. In Istanbul, I price shopped on Sultanhamet strip which is lined with commercial business, souvenir shops and tourist agents. I had a rough idea of how much tickets to Cappadocia would cost and many agents quoted me tourist prices that made me gasp. I found a great agency – Turista Travel- located on the Sultanhamet strip (directly across the park). My cost was 75L or under $30USD one- way.
They told me I had two options for getting to Istanbul otogar (bus station)– either I could find my way to Istanbul otogar on my own through metro or tram or pay $1 more and meet at their offices for a van pickup/drop off at the bus. I took the $1 deal. Sometimes, I lose track of time and am running for my transportation– my hostel was in the older section of Istanbul and I was actually dreading walking my backs into the city and then through the otogar.
2- Visit the bus station or book directly with the bus company you want.
As I said- traveling Istanbul, I found travel agents were easier to find than bus companies and I didn’t have a bus preference at the time. what their routes were. But coming back from Cappadocia (and returning to Istanbul), the small Goreme open air station made decisions easier.
Goreme is a small town and the bus station companies sit lined up on one sidewalk strip, not even the length of a block. Prices were competitive, routes spread to all parts of Turkey and it was easy to do price comparisons. The ride going back from Cappadocia to Istanbul is roughly 12 hours so it’s best to do an overnight bus.
Turkish bus luxury
What you’re watching in my video is my second overnight Turkish bus and it’s pretty decked out. It had ample leg room and recline. I had an HD flat screen monitor with touch screen abilities, a USB charger that powers smart devices, a headphone jack,.. it’s styling! There’s even free wifi on this bus. There are no outlets to charge a laptop but that’s a small slight- it’s leagues better than an American Greyhound bus. Turkish buses will redefine your perspective of traveling via overnight long distance buses.
Caution: My bus said they were taking us to Sultanhamet, but really they dropped us at their company bus station to board another bus which dropped us off at a bus stop in Aksaray, where we needed to catch the tram to Sultanhamet. It felt a bit confusing and I wish that were better communicated. Obviously I didn’t know where Aksaray was.
Here I am finally, at the station. Now you can see how this was confusing to me. There were two types of transportation. The metro I went into was not the transportation I need to take. I actually need to take the tram. I didn’t know that!. Gonna go,.. I was direct to take the tram around the building. I think when I find it I’ll be on the right path. I’ll follow the bags. I’ll follow the rolling bags unless they stop in a different area.
I’m definitely taking the next one. Morning traffic. …And I think I’m taking the next one after that.
Until then travel safe, smart and fun. Hopefully not lost but definitely fun!”
Taking a Turkish overnight bus from Istanbul to Cappadocia?