There are several hundred bus companies in the whole of Turkey, serving both major cities and small villages throughout the country. Many foreign visitors who speak little or no Turkish, however, find it intimidating to venture around this beautiful country by bus due to language barriers, despite the presence of a highly comprehensive and efficient long-distance bus systems.
Unlike in Greece, where several private travel agencies compile comprehensive database that provide up-to-date sailing schedules and ticket price of most domestic ferry routes, there are no such thing yet for inter-city bus routes in Turkey. Which means: the only way independent travellers who speak no Turkish can obtain up-to-date bus time-tables and prices is to check with the bus ticket office in person upon arrival at the bus station (known as Otogar, Terminali, or Garaj in Turkish) in Turkey, and hope to find a bus connection that meets their schedule,
At the moment, only some of the bigger bus companies in Turkey have their own website with inter-active bus time-tables and ticket prices. However, most of the interface are in Turkish language only. Also, not all destinations or stops served by the bus company are included in the drop-down menu. For instance, some buses that serves the route Goreme – Izmir also stop en route at Denizli (for the popular tourist destination of Pamukkale about 15km away), but if you click on their drop-down menu for time and prices, you would not find the name 'Goreme' or 'Denizli'.
In addition, the time-table database does not offer any information on connecting buses. In other words, if there is no direct bus between two points, the system database will simply tell you 'No Such Service' even if all you need to do is to change bus once at a town en route to your final destination. It is important to note that you might need to break down your journey into several parts in order to find the right bus connections.
For example, if you intend to travel from Antakya near the Syrian border to Goreme, you need to conduct your search by taking a good look at the map, find out the bigger towns en route between your intended point of departure and your destination (in this case, Antakya – Adana – Kayseri - Goreme), then break down your journey into two parts:
Search the bus company's online time-table for the sector 'Antakya-Kayseri'.
Then carry out the second search for the rest of your journey from Kayseri to Goreme (or Avanos or Urgup or Nevsehir)
Depending on your itinerary, another alternative connection will be:
Search for 'Antakya – Adana'
Then look for 'Adana – Kayseri', 'Adana - Goreme' or 'Adana - Nevsehir'
Another example of breaking down the journey into two or more parts in order to find the bus schedule:
Suppose you want to travel to Cappadocia from Safranbolu, you need to find:
The bus time table from Safranbolu to Ankara
Connecting bus from Ankara to Cappadocia (Avanos, Goreme, Urgup, Nevsehir etc.)
This is because there are no direct bus between Safranbolu and Cappadocia. You need to change bus at Ankara.
Smaller companies that run regional routes often have no formal time-table at all, except for a piece of printed A4 paper pasted on the windows of their local sales office.
Some Turkish Bus Companies with Online Bus Time-table
Once you figure out the tricks regarding Turkey's bus time-tables and master some basic Turkish terms, it is fairly easy to find out the bus schedules and check up the prices.
Here are a list (updated every month) of some Turkish bus companies with their own website and online time-table:
Guney AKDENIZ Seyahat (Bus Company based in Antalya)
BATI ANTALYA (West Antalya Tur)
Routes include the scenic Antalya – Kemer – (Olympos) - Demre – Kas – Fethiye route
==>> Offers Marmaris - Denizli (for Pamukkale) route
BEYDAGI Turizm (Bus Company based in Malatya)
HATAY Gunsas Turizm
Probably my favourite bus company in Turkey. Good route coverage in western parts of Turkey (the Marmara region, the Aegean coast, and south-western Turkey)
OZLEM DIYARBAKIR (Yeni Diyarbakir)
OZ ISPARTA Turizm
SANLIURFA CESUR Turizm
SUHA Turizm (Bus Company based in Kayseri)
Their website works only with Internet Explorer browser. Based in Canakkale, Truva Turizm offers reliable service to towns and cities all over Turkey's Aegean coast, including Istanbul – Canakkale (via Gallipoli) service.
Balikesir ULUDAG Turizm
==>> offers Istanbul (Harem Otogar) – Safranbolu direct night-bus service
==>> Probably one of the most up-market bus companies in Turkey, offering freshly prepared hot breakfast service on their long-distance night-bus service
YENI ADANA Seyahat
Copyrights 2009. All Rights Reserved. All text and research by YC Cheng.