Friday, 17 April 2009

Coach Travel in Turkey

Inter-city bus services in Turkey are frequent and reliable, but would I recommend them? The answer is yes ………. and no! I would wholeheartedly endorse taking the bus during the day, but, for me, the night services should be avoided at all costs. This opinion is based on several pleasant journeys made during daylight hours and two never-to-be-repeated nightmare overnight trips!

There are countless bus companies in Turkey, and, on the whole, the vehicles are modern and very comfortable. They are always clean and well-maintained with large, spotless windows (they are washed at every refreshment stop) giving great panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Invariably there is a ‘host’ service (it was a man every time we travelled) bringing tea, coffee, soft drinks, water, cakes, and freshen-up towels at regular intervals. In addition, the coaches stop regularly, giving passengers the opportunity to stretch their legs.

The only negative to day-time bus travel in Turkey is the really strong perfume which is pumped into the bus at regular intervals, supposedly to freshen the air, but which has the opposite effect and leaves passengers coughing and spluttering! This situation is worsened if you are seated towards the front of the bus as, although all services are totally non-smoking for passengers, as far as the driver is concerned, he is allowed to smoke and usually does – like a chimney!!

Travelling by bus at night in Turkey is, for me, all negative! The seats which are so comfortable during the day suddenly become terribly uncomfortable, offering no opportunity to sleep. The buses are too warm and too noisy, not only because of the passengers, but also because the radio is invariably left on. Frequent stops to allow people to get on and off, as well as regulation rest breaks, mean that the lights are on more often than not. All of this makes for very long and tiresome nights! Having said all of this, I’m sure that some younger travellers would highly recommend overnight bus travel as a way to save on accommodation costs – we’re probably just too old!

TOP TIP – use the daylight services – leave the overnight trips well alone!!

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