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As noted in the Planner, air travel isn't much more expensive than the bus, so flying to central Anatolia saves a lot of time. From the airport, a good option is the Havaş bus service, which generally leaves every half-hour and costs about $6. Board in front of the terminal near flight arrivals, and you will be delivered to the Havaş office in Ulus (19 Mayıs Stadium, B Gate) or the bus station. Havaş buses going to the airport leave from the Ulus office every half-hour between 3:30 am and 11:30 pm and less frequently at night.
At the time of this writing, traveling between Istanbul and Ankara by train takes between 6½ and 9½ hours, considerably longer than by car or bus. However, this is set to change dramatically with the building of a new high-speed rail line, set to being running sometime in 2009, which should knock several hours off the ride.
As of press time, the Ankara Express runs between Ankara and Istanbul; it leaves both places at 10:30 pm and arriving the next morning at 8. The price is about $38 per person for two people sharing a sleeper compartment or $55 for one person in a compartment, and it is by far the most comfortable train in the country. The Anadolu (Anatolia) Express also runs between Ankara and Istanbul, with simultaneous departures from both cities at 10 pm and arrivals at 7 am. There are no sleeper cars on this train, just regular seats that cost about $10. The final option between Istanbul and Ankara is the Başkent Express, which leaves Istanbul at 10 am and arrives in Ankara at 4:50 pm, and leaves Ankara at 10:20 am and arrives in Istanbul at 4:50 pm. The cost is about $18.
If you're traveling from the Mediterranean coast to Ankara by train, your choice is the 9 Eylül Express, which travels between İzmir and Ankara and leaves İzmir at 7:30 pm and Ankara at 8 pm and arrives in both cities around 9:30 the next morning; the cost is about $27 per person. Another option is the İzmir Mavi, or Blue Train, which departs İzmir at 5:30 pm and from Ankara at 6 pm and arrives in both cities around 8 am; the cost is the same.
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