There’s never a dull moment when it comes to travelling local style in Turkey.
From jumping into a dolmus to cruising in a caique, exploring the wonders of this intriguing land go hand-in-hand with doing as the locals do and Intrepid leader Christine Larsen is a big fan of bussing about Turkey…
“The bus system in Turkey is run like a well-oiled machine – even if how it all works is not immediately obvious to the first-time traveller. On arriving at the bus station (Otogar) you are confronted with a huge departure hall containing countless booths and workers offering destinations all over Turkey and beyond. The ‘touts’ are frenetic and offer the unsuspecting traveller a multitude of opportunities to secure a safe passage to their desired destination.
Finally, after an agonising decision but eventually with your ticket in hand, you struggle through the teeming masses to load your luggage onto the bus. Thoughtful Turkish passengers can see confusion written all over your face and kindly point you in the direction of your reserved seat.
Once on board and the journey begins you are usually offered cold water. Sometime later you are served coffee, tea, soft drink and cake, followed by the bus attendant arriving with a bottle of scented cologne which is liberally sprinkled over your hands. Depending on the predilection of the bus staff, either Turkish pop music or videos are used to entertain passengers. Throughout the journey Turkish nationals engage in conversation and generously pass around sweets and nuts, including you at every opportunity in their chats. The drivers take compulsory breaks, which is another opportunity to grab a bite to eat while the bus is scrubbed hamam style.
At the completion of your journey you can only marvel at the adherence of the Turkish bus system to run according to a strict timetable. As a frequent user of bus services, the punctuality, courtesy and efficiency of this very popular mode of transport are remarkable and make for a great way to travel Turkey!”