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Havabus: The #1 Best Transportation Method from Istanbul Airport to Istanbul

Istanbul boasts two large airports that serve international arrivals and departures, including domestic flights. They’re named Istanbul Airport and Sabiha Gokcen, on Istanbul’s European and Asian side, respectively. You’re landing in Istanbul Airport, the major one of the two, and you’re arriving in the evening (6PM local time). The sun made its way below the horizon, leaving only darkness behind.

You take your first step outside the Turkish Airlines airplane, with one more transportation system to reach your hotel: Havabus. The only thing that’s running through your mind is leaving the airport and reaching the hotel. Get past immigration, pick up my luggage, get on a Havabus to Beyazit Meydan, walk to the hotel. Fatigue is seeping through your body, and you can feel it in your eyes. 

Passing through security and baggage claim

Following your fellow travelers, you reach the immigration section. The lines are made of into two sections. One section serves travelers with a Turkish passport and the other line serves non-Turkish passport holders. You enter that line, and zigzag through it until you reach the front. An officer waves toward you, then you proceed forward, with your passport and visa in hand. 

With a short line, the officer who asked brief questions allows you to pass through with a new stamp on your passport. Your visa lasts for ninety days. You follow the signs that lead you to the luggage claim. Istanbul Airport is quiet and there are only a few people in the area — a few janitors and the little travelers. Earth is still recovering from Covid-19, so it’s no surprise to you. 

At the luggage claim, you head for the fifth carrousel — it’s the designated carrousel for your flight. There’s more commotion near the luggage carousel. A family is running around, searching for their bags. A couple is purchasing a luggage cart from a nearby machine. After a few minutes, your bag takes a turn, and you spot it. Grabbing it, you leave the area and head for the large sign that says, “çıkış.” In English, it translates as “exit.” You let out a sigh of relief. 

Searching for Havabus transfers

Now you’ve left the heart of the airport. You’re still inside, but you’re only a few steps to the main door. Before leaving, you search for the sign with “Havabus Transfers.” You raise your head and search the signs. There are many transportation methods heading to the city centre, but none of them give the best value for your money other than Havabus. 

“Need transfer to city center?” A man calls out from a counter. You turn your head and notice it’s a private taxi company. 

“No, thank you. I’m fine.” You replied, waving him off. 

With some difficulty, you spot the sign on the far right end. “Havabus Transfers.” An arrow points at the escalators below the sign. You smile, knowing that once you’re on the bus, it’ll only be a matter of time until you reach Istanbul city centre, and your hotel. 

Taking the escalator, you find that there are little people heading for the Havabus. Confusion creeps to your mind. It’s the best option. Why aren’t many people coming along? You find your answer the moment you reach the bottom. It’s not that there aren’t many people, it’s that you’re late to the Havabus area. 

Boarding the Havabus to Istanbul’s Beyazit Meydan

There are many people, creating enormous crowds in different areas of the stop. Almost two dozen buses line up along the curb. The Turkish fresh air welcomes you to the moment you step outside. The type of fresh air that’s accompanied by rain. But since you’re covered from the top, there’s no way of telling the weather until you’re boarded on the bus, and on your way to Istanbul city centre. 

The next step you take is finding the bus that takes travelers from Istanbul Airport to Beyazit Meydan via Aksaray. It’s made easy for you and other travelers. There are large signs that display the destination with the stop number. On that specific day, the Beyazit Meydan Havabus departs from stop number 14. You walk toward the stop and there are two Turkish men standing near the bus with many travelers waiting to enter. The large amount of travelers formed a line—a line waiting to hand their luggage to the Havabus luggage personal. 

Walking away from the line, you approach the bus entrance, where a man is holding a handheld machine, wearing a Havabus jacket. You’re confused about where to purchase a ticket, so you ask, “Do I purchase a ticket here or on board?” 

He raises his head. “Tickets there.” He points toward a ticket booth behind you, a few meters away. “Buy a ticket and come here.” 

You thank him, then rush to the ticket booth. With the crowd growing near the bus and the people who are waiting at the ticket booth, you worry the bus will leave, forcing you to wait for the next one. After a few minutes, you purchase a ticket for 52 Turkish lira (3.5 USD). 

You’ve made it. The luggage personal takes your bag — straps a plastic tag to it and hands you its corresponding tag. You get on board the packed bus. It’s one of those large buses that have food trays, footrests, and comfortable reclining chairs. You’re eyes search for an empty seat, your body gravitates toward the first one your eyes spot. The Havabus takes an hour from Istanbul Airport to Beyazit Meydan, so you place your earphones on and shut your eyes for a bit. 

It’s dark outside, light rain is falling, and the air is cold. After a few stops, you’ve arrived at Beyzit Meydan Havabus stop. You leave the Havabus, thank the driver, and now it’s time for Google Maps to do its work. You’ve downloaded the offline map of Istanbul, and you use it to find your way to your hotel from the Beyzit Meydan Havabus stop. 

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