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Found 102 results

  1. Taxis are cheap and plentiful in Turkey. They are usually compact cars or mini-vans which carry three to four passengers (two or three in the back, one in the front passenger seat). The larger mini-vans have a cargo compartment in the back, which provides more luggage space than the regular cars do. Since taxis in some cities (like Istanbul) are fueled by liquefied natural gas (LNG) cylinders in the trunk (boot), this limits their cargo space, making the larger mini-vans a better choice if you have luggage. Practically all taxis in Turkey are air-conditioned. Turkish taxis are always yellow, with a lighted sign on the top which reads taksi. Their identification numbers are on the front and back license plates, on the sides, and on the roof. Before using a taxi, consider other forms of public transportation first, such as a dolmuş, city bus, ferry, metro, or tram. These are not only cheaper, but can get you there faster depending on traffic and the distance of your destination. Taking a Taxi Besides simply walking up to one or waiving one down, you can also call the local taxi stand and have a taxi come and pick you up. There may also be taxi "call buttons" strategically placed near popular locations, just press the button and wait. Take a photo of the taxi with your smart phone or camera, or write down the taxi number. If later the driver cheats you, takes off with luggage, or you forget something, you'll be able to find the exact taxi you were in. Turkish Taxi Drivers The vast majority of taxi drivers in Turkey are honest, hard-working people who will not cheat you. Some will actually go out of their way to make sure you get where you're going. Unfortunately, some taxi drivers are crooks, and will pull various scams on their passengers. This predominately happens in Istanbul, especially in the very touristy Sultanahmet district. While you are likely to have no problems with taxi drivers during your visit, you should familiarize yourself with how taxi scams work. Taxi Driving Taxi rides and Turkey sometimes border on the scary, with drivers racing to get you to your destination as quickly as possible. To ask the driver to slow down, say "yavaş!" (yah-vahsh). He will probably reply by saying what a good driver he is and not to worry. Don't be afraid to insist that he slow down, or tell him to let you off where you can get another taxi. He will likely slow down then! The Taxi Meter By law, when your trip starts, the taxi driver must start the taksimetre (tahk-see-meh-treh). Insist that he does. Numerous incidents of taxi scams have been reported (mostly in Istanbul) concerning the driver "forgetting" to turn on the meter, or offering a verbal price to take travelers to a routine destination that they would ordinarily use the taxi meter for. You will likely be over-charged, so insist that he use the taxi meter for trips inside the city. When the taxi meter starts, it should blink and display the fare like this: Starting fare: 2.95 TL Every Kilometer: 1.83 TL Waiting in Traffic: .30 TL per minute 1 This varies by city, but the above is a basic guide for what to expect. Keep an eye on the taxi meter Some taxi drivers have a switch that they flip which will make the fare jump higher. They usually do this near the end of the trip. The only time a taxi is not required to run the taxi meter is when the destination is far, or to a local tourist site outside of town. For these popular destinations, a set trip price will be posted on a sign or placard at the taxi stand and/or inside the taxi. For other long trips, the first price quote will probably be a high one, so you can bargain for a lower one. If the taxi driver won't budge, just say you will find another taxi and walk away. He will likely call you back, since he knows another taxi driver will probably accept that price. Paying Taxis in Turkey accept cash, although some have credit card machines as well. Pay at the end of the trip. Don't pay until you and all of your luggage is out of the taxi. Warning: Especially in Istanbul, a popular scam is money-switching. Typically it involves hiding the 50-lira note you gave him and replacing it a five-lira note, since they look similar. The driver will then insist that you gave him five lira instead of 50. In another scam, if you pay with several of the same denomination of note, the driver will hide one and insist you gave him less than you actually did. So when you pay, hold up the money you are using where both of you can see it. Say "I am paying you 50 lira." Make him say it too. Only hand him the money at the same time he is handing the change to you. Tipping It is not customary to tip a taxi driver unless he carries heavy baggage or does something for you besides driving. It is customary to round up the fare if it's within one lira. You will also find that taxi drivers also round down. For example, if the fare is 20.75 Lira, they will usually accept a 20 TL note. Or you can give him 21 TL. See Also Taxi Scams in Turkey: Learn about the common scams perpetrated by taxi drivers in Turkey. External Links Istanbul Taxi Fares Every Tourist Ought to Know Numbeo: This international cost-of-living website also has taxi rates in Turkey Taksile: Taxi Rate Calculator: For Istanbul and other major cities in Turkey.
  2. Somewhere between a bus and a taxi is the Dolmuş (dohl-moosh), a kind of "shared taxi" which has characteristics of both. It's a cheap and easy way to get around--from your hotel to a nearby beach--or from your home to work. By all means get over any reluctance to ride one for the first time. Once you take your first dolmuş ride you'll probably use them as a regular means of transportation, and probably wonder why they don't have them in your own country. Although cars are sometimes be used for this purpose, 12-passenger mini-bus dolmuşes are the norm. The word "dolmuş" means "stuffed." It recalls the days when dolmuşes were overcrowded with passengers, many of them packed in the aisle with little or no room to move. Laws now require dolmuşes to carry only the number of passengers they can properly seat. A dolmuş runs a fixed route from origin to destination, with regular stops along the way as indicated on a placard on the windshield. Regular dolmuş stops are marked with a sign, bearing a white "D" on a blue background. They usually don't work on a time schedule. If you miss one, another will probably be along in about 20 minutes. Boarding a Dolmuş Dolmuşes congregate at a garaj, which is usually an open parking lot. They wait until they have a few passengers, and then start their route. You can catch one at the garaj or waive one down anywhere along its route. Waive at the driver, and he will pull over and stop, traffic permitting. To make sure you're getting on the correct one, look for a placard in the windshield which displays its destination(s). Paying the Fare Dolmuş fares are set by the municipality. The fare is much less than a taxi, usually around 5TL. You can pay as soon as you board, or you can sit down and pass the fare to a passenger in front of you. The passengers will pass it to the driver. If you have change coming, they will pass it back to you the same way. Getting Off at Your Stop When the Dolmuş comes to a place where you want to get off, say inecek var (ee-neh-jek vahr), which means "there is one to get off." If you are new to the area and don't know which stop you need, you can tell the driver what hotel you're staying in or where your final destination is, and he'll let you know when your stop comes up. Operating Hours Dolmuşes usually operate during daylight hours. During the summer, in tourist areas, they may operate until midnight. Inter-city Buses Although not officially a "dolmuş," there are larger short-haul mini-buses which run routes between nearby towns, beaches or sights, either for a company or a cooperative between the two towns. They usually depart from the bus station, and have a set schedule and fare, but unlike long-haul inter-city buses, they may also pick up passengers who signal them along the way. See Also Travel, Tours, and Activities Forum
  3. If you know you're being scammed by a taxi driver, you can tell him to take you to the nearest police station to let them sort out the dispute. If he won't take you (and he probably won't), tell him that you have his taxi number and will go to the police and file a complaint. Besides becoming the focus of an investigation, this will also cost him time sitting in the police station and having his taxi meter inspected. Don't assume that the police won't be interested. One tourist reported that the police in Istanbul were rather grateful for the report, since the Istanbul municipal government was as fed up with taxi scams as the tourists were. Besides the police, you can also report taxi drivers at the places listed below. Istanbul Taxi Complaints Toplu Ulaşım Hizmetleri Müdürlüğü Beylerbeyi Caddesi No: 4 Edirnekapi Istanbul +90 (212) 453 7878 Turkey Taxi Complaints Association of Taxi Drivers: Each province in Turkey should have a local chapter of the association of taxi drivers. Get the contact information from one of the taxi stands. Transportation Department: Found in each Turkish province, this organization mostly deals with taxi stands. For taxi meter scams, file a "complaint check" request to the local Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology in your province. You will need to fill out a form, and the ministry will check the meter. If it is found to be faulty, they will start legal actions against the driver. Unfortunately, the check has to be paid for by the complainant, so ask if the ministry will do this as part of their regular inspection services. See Also Taxi Scams: A guide to the various scams employed by Turkish taxi drivers.
  4. For short trips to and from nearby cities and towns, or for excursions to local attractions, you can catch a smaller, no-frills bus which usually hold around 15 passengers. These buses either depart from the main bus station, and/or from a smaller satellite bus station on the side of town nearest the destination. These bus routes are run by local companies or cooperatives, and the buses usually depart from around 6:00 AM to midnight on an hourly basis or less. The smaller companies seldom, if ever, have a website where you can book online. To book a seat, you will need to call or go to the bus company office which will be at the local bus station, or at a booth at their main stop in the city or town.You can also just show up, pay the fare, and hop on. They don't usually fill to capacity except during peak hours or on Turkish holidays. But if the next bus is full, you'll be able to get on the one departing after that. If you're going to a place along the way to their destination, let them know, since you might be charged less. While the drivers of these buses don't seek out passengers along the way like a dolmuş, they will stop and pick you up if you flag them down. See Also Turkish for Bus Travel: A guide to Turkish terms you'll need to know while using Turkey's inter-city bus system. Long-distance Bus Travel: A guide for travel by inter-city motor coach. The Dolmuş: A guide to riding privately-owned mini-buses, or jitneys.
  5. Turkish long-distance buses are modern, comfortable, and air-conditioned. Some buses (called teknobus), even have wireless internet and entertainment systems so you can watch a small selection of Turkish television shows and movies on a screen mounted on the back of the seat in front of you (earphones provided). A steward will also serve you snacks, tea, coffee and soft drinks. There are no toilets, and smoking is not allowed. But the trips allow for a ten-minute break, called a mola, approximately every 40 minutes, with longer breaks for meals at designated rest stops along the way. The food at these rest stops is usually excellent. Trips lasting ten hours or more are usually done at night, or twice per day. These long trips can really wear you out. By flying, you can get the trip over with more quickly and not be as tired on arrival as you would after a long bus journey. Flights within Turkey are also reasonably priced, so unless you don't mind sleeping in a bus seat, at least check the airline ticket price and consider it as an option. Another option is to break up the bus trip into two parts, see another city on the way, and get a good night's sleep in between. If there is train service to your destination, you can also get a couchette, or sleeping compartment, on a train where you can get a night's sleep and arrive well-rested the next day. How to Use Buses and Car Rentals Renting a car and driving long distances is expensive, since petrol prices in Turkey are some of the highest in the world. A better option is to take a long-distance bus to your destination, then rent a car there. Once you've seen the local sights, you can take the bus back to your city of origin or to the next city you want to visit. How to Buy a Bus Ticket in Turkey At the Bus Station If you are going from one major city to another, you can usually just go to the bus station, buy a ticket, and wait for the next bus. When you enter the bus station, a tout will usually approach you to see where you're going and take you to his company's ticket desk. You can go with him, or walk along the rows of ticket desks looking for your preferred company or destination. Each company will have signs displaying the destinations they service. The ticket clerks will usually speak enough English to help you with any questions. At a Bus Company Office You can also visit a bus company office in city center and buy a ticket, then take a courtesy bus to the bus station. Ask the clerk when the courtesy bus will be departing, since the time on your ticket refers to the departure time of the bus from the bus station, not the departure of the courtesy bus from the bus company office. The departure time (saat or haraket saati), and the departure gate will be written on your ticket. The major companies will also have a courtesy bus at the bus station at your destination, that will take you to their office downtown. Ask about this when you book your ticket, then again when you arrive, since you will need to find out where to go to connect with the courtesy bus. At Your Hotel You can also have the hotel clerk book your bus ticket for you. Have them call and reserve a seat, then just go to the bus company office and get your ticket. Seating If you want a window seat, ask for a pencere koltuğu (pen-jeh-reh kol-too-oo). For an aisle seat, ask for a koridor koltuğu. (kor-ee-dor kol-too-oo). You can also ask to see the seating plan and point to the seat you want. The most comfortable seats are those in the middle of the bus. Bus Ticket Prices Bus ticket prices vary according to company and the type of bus used. There are discounts for round-trip tickets, and for children. You can check prices on the various bus company websites here. Bus Travel During Turkish Holidays During Turkish national and Muslim holidays, buses fill to capacity, and the roads are busy with travelers. This also causes higher accident rates than other days of the year. It is safest to avoid travel during these times, but if you must, make your reservation at least one day in advance, earlier if possible. Short-haul Inter-city Buses These short routes are usually run by smaller local companies or by cooperatives between nearby towns. They may also go to nearby popular sights, running at least hourly every day during daylight hours. They are certainly a more affordable alternative to renting a car. You can take one of these buses to, for example, a nearby ancient site or beach, stay as long as you want, then take the same bus back. Be sure to ask when the last bus returns. See Also Turkish for Bus Travel: Basic Turkish you should know when using the long-distance bus system in Turkey. Short-haul Inter-city Bus Travel City Buses in Turkey: A guide to traveling by municipal bus. The Dolmuş: A guide to using privately owned mini-buses, or jitneys.
  6. Garages and Bus Stops Turkish city buses usually start from a garaj (gah-rahjh) or central bus station. Although the word "garaj" implies a covered building, they are usually just big parking lots with ranks of buses. City buses operate on a time schedule, and will only stop at an otobus durağı (o-tow-boos doo-rah-ooh), or bus stop. These bus stops may or may not be marked, and may or may not have a shelter. If the stop you're looking for isn't obvious, ask a passer-by where it is. Transportation Cards In the big cities, bus drivers don't accept cash. You must have a transportation card with a certain amount of money pre-loaded on it. You can get one at various kiosks which advertise them by displaying a logo for the local card. There is a fee for the card itself, then a charge for whatever amount of money you want the card to hold. These cards only work in the city where they are issued, and good for all other kinds of public transportation, such as trams, ferries, and the metro. Paying the Fare With a transportation card, simply swipe it across a sensor next to the driver. It will beep, and automatically deduct the fare amount from the card. If you only have cash or your card has been depleted, nearby passengers will often offer to swipe their card on your behalf. Just pay the other passenger for the amount of the fare in return. Getting Off at Your Stop City buses won't stop at a bus stop unless there is someone waiting there, or unless the driver is signaled to stop by a passenger. You can do this by pressing one of the stop buttons at the exits and also in the railings along the aisle. If you're planning to take the same trip regularly, familiarize yourself with nearby landmarks which will let you know when your stop is coming up, or ask a friend which landmarks to look out for. You can also tell the driver where you need to get off and he will stop there and let you know that you have arrived at your destination. If you're unable to reach the stop button in time, say inecek var (ee-neh-jek var), which means "there is someone who is getting off." Someone near a button will press it for you. This phrase can also come in handy if, because of the crowd, you can't get to the door before the driver closes it. Shout the phrase, and he will open the door again and wait for you to get out. Operating Hours Operating hours for bus systems vary from city to city, but they generally run at regular times from around 6:00 AM to Midnight. More popular routes will have reduced service, for example, every two hours, after midnight. Özel Halk (Special Public) Buses Besides municipal buses, some cities have privately-run buses which may accept both the local transportation card and cash. You'll find them in the larger cities on the more busy bus routes. Pickpockets and Gropers Crowded municipal buses are perfect for pickpockets. As a bus goes around turns and curves (the pickpocket will know exactly when one is coming up) will cause people to lean in to each other and grab railings and straps for stability. Read our article about pickpockets in Turkey for more information. Regular complaints have come from female passengers taking the city bus, especially in Istanbul, about being groped by male passengers. If this happens, face the man who is doing it and make a scene. Not only will it stop, but other passengers may intervene on your behalf. For more information, see our article on sexual harassment in Turkey. See Also Long-distance Bus Travel in Turkey Short-haul Inter-city Bus Travel: A guide to smaller buses which travel to and from nearby towns. The Dolmuş: A guide to using privately owned mini-buses
  7. Toll Highways (Otoyol) Depending on where you are driving in Turkey, you may come across an otoyol, which is a modern highway where the speed limit is 120 KPH. Otoyols also have rest stops with petrol stations, restaurants, and other travel necessities strategically placed along their lengths. These are toll roads, and the only way you can pay the toll is by registering with the Hızlı Geçiş Sistemi (heez-lee geh-jees see-steh-mee) [HGS]), which means "Fast Pass System." This involves pre-paying into the system, and mounting an HGS transponder on the inside of your vehicle's windshield behind the rear view mirror. The transponder is really not much more than a sticker. It allows you to breeze through HGS toll booths without even slowing down. If you are renting a car, ask your car rental company if your itinerary will require an HGS transponder before you set off on your journey. If so, they should give you a car which already has a transponder on it. How to Get an HGS Transponder For Your Vehicle Go to any PTT, (Turkish Post Office), or to a Turkish bank with your visa or residence permit Pay 5TL for the transponder, and 30TL for tolls in advance Mount the sticker-transponder they give you as described above If you have an account at a Turkish bank, ask them about having the your HGS account automatically topped up from your bank account. Alternatives to Toll Highways Using the HGS System If you come upon an otoyol and don't have the HGS system, you can use secondary roads which run alongside it. You will have to enter the secondary road well before you come to the toll highway entrance, so keep an eye out for the exit as soon as you realize you are approaching a toll road. If you miss the turn, there may be no way to turn around. If you go through the automatic toll system without an HGS transponder, an alarm will sound, a camera will take a photo of the car and license plate, and a fine will be assessed which is ten times the toll amount. Most toll amounts are around two or three Turkish Lira, so expect a fine of 20 to 30 Turkish Lira. Toll Bridges and Tunnels The bridges going in and out of Istanbul use only the HGS system. Bridges (and tunnels) in other parts of the country are not part of the HGS system, and usually have toll collection systems run by private contractors or local municipalities, so they accept cash. The HGS Smartphone Application You can download an HGS application in the Google Play and Apple Store. Just search for "HGS." With the HGS app, you can check the balance on your HGS account and top it up using a credit card. See Also Cars, Car Insurance, and Driving in Turkey Forum: If you have questions about the HGS system or driving in Turkey, please post them in the forum. External Links HGS Customer Services: In Turkish. On the PTT website, this page provides a variety of customer service options regarding your HGS account. Road, Bridge, and Tunnel Tolls in Turkey: From the General Directorate of Highways, provides a linked list of all motorways, bridges and tunnels subject to tolls. Click on the links to find out how much the toll is for each kind of vehicle.
  8. Hey all, just found a great website that will help you get around Istanbul on public transportation: Buradan Oraya (From Here to There).
  9. Good afternoon I have just got a job in a nursery in Istanbul and will be moving in August, and wondered if people could give me some advice please? Is 4500TL a good wage? How do I go about finding accommodation? What are the start up costs like (e.g deposits etc) Is the commuting really as bad as everyone says it is? How do I go about getting a bank account? Is it easy to make new friends? What are the best supermarkets? I know I have asked a lot of questions but I'm sure that you lovely people can help Thanks in advance
  10. Ken Grubb

    Aphrodisias Entrance

    A people-carrying tractor will take you from a parking lot on the other side of the highway to the entrance of Aphrodisias.
  11. Hi All, I recently had to apply for a monthly pass (aylık mavi kart), because it turns out that you cannot simply purchase them over the counter at any kiosk anymore (apparently, this has been the case for a few months). A picture and ID number is now required on each monthly pass. If you use your current IstanbulKart or Akbil more than three times per day, you may want to consider the monthly version. The rate is 140TL. If you are enrolled at a school in Turkey, you can apply for a student card, which runs at 70TL. I won't explain how to do that because your school should help you. To apply, you must bring a photo (any wallet-sized photo, and they give it back to you), your kimlik number or passport, and 10TL (the price of the card). This office will not load the card, you have to go to an Akbil site to get the monthly credits loaded. The location where you can receive this valuable item is In Mecidiyekoy, near the Metrobus stop. Exit Metrobus, walk down the stairs and under the bridge, then take a right. Walk right until you see the small building, which will certainly have a line of people at it. The process is short -- give the man your stuff, and in 2 minutes you'll have your card -- but there are many people applying. You do not need any Turkish whatsoever to complete this process. I would set aside 20 minutes to be safe. The office opens at 8.30, so even if you work full time, you should be able to get one of these time-saving and money-saving items. Good luck! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask! Emily
  12. If you stay in Patara town, you can take this people-carrying tractor to the ruins or to the beach.
  13. Ken Grubb

    Meis Express Ferry, Kas

    The Greek Island of Meis is just a 20-minute ferry ride from Kas.
  14. The bus company offices are in Pamukkale town center. Touts from some hotels know when the buses arrive and will offer to take you to their hotel. If you go, you'll find out why they have to hang around the bus station for business. There are excellent pensions and hotels around town center, so just have a walk around and find one on your own instead.
  15. You can get to Karahayit by catching a shared taxi (Dolmus) from Pamukkale.
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