The safest and most convenient method of internal transport, especially for travel to southern Turkish resorts, is Turkey's vast system of intercity coaches. Buyuk Istanbul Otogari (International Istanbul Bus Terminal) in Esenler, about 10km (6 miles) west of Istanbul, serves all international and most domestic lines.
Most major intercity companies have free service buses from central Istanbul (usually Inonu Caddesi and Sirasilveler Caddesi in Taksim) to the bus station. You can also easily reach the Esenler bus terminal by the Hizli Tren (rapid train) service from Aksaray, or from Sultanahmet by using a combination of tram and metro. IETT city bus 83-O runs direct to the bus station from Taksim square. A few Anatolian services leave from Harem otogar on the Asian side.
Some of the best coach companies in Istanbul include: Kamil Koç (tel: 444 0562, in Turkey only; www.kamilkoc.com.tr), which serves a wide range of destinations throughout Turkey, including Bursa, Ankara, Izmir, Antalya, Bodrum, Fethiye and Çanakkale; Ulusoy (tel: 0850 811 1888, in Turkey only; www.ulusoy.com.tr), which serves international destinations, Ankara, the Black Sea, as well as Izmir and Antalya; and Varan (tel: 0850 811 1999, in Turkey only; www.varan.com.tr), which serves Greece and Austria as well as much of western and southern Turkey.
Long journeys are usually made at night, leaving Istanbul after 2200 and arriving at the destination in the morning.