The Fez night bus of discomfort

Written by on September 10, 2010 in Blog, Reviews, Turkey - 9 Comments

“All aboard,” Scotty said, standing outside the Fez bus as a group of 16 of us loaded ourselves in.

It was 8 p.m. and we were leaving Olympos, headed to Goreme in the Cappidocia region of Turkey. The ride was going to be a long one — 10 hours — and get us in to our next city at 7 a.m.

No one was looking forward to the ride.

About an hour in to the trip Scotty nudged me.

“Look,” he said, gesturing to the driver’s console. “We have no gas.”


I looked. The needle clung to empty.

“Well, that’s no good,” I said. “Maybe we should tell the driver to stop at the next station.”

“Yeah,” Scotty said.

We drove for an hour before we passed civilization again. The air-con was off.

Not a good sign.

Then, a few kilometers up, I saw the twinkling lights of a gas station.

“Oh, good,” we both said, sighing with relief.

We drove past it.

“Seriously?” I said, looking from Scotty to the driver.

There is no way in hell I am pushing this bus up the mountain.

“Oh my god,” Scotty breathed. “We have to stop.”

“Say something,” I urged, every second was precious since we were likely running only on fumes.

“I don’t speak Turkish!”

Instead, Scotty gestured to the driver, telling him we needed a bathroom break.

Anything to get him to stop.

Twenty minutes later, we were at the gas station.

“If he doesn’t fill up now …” I began.

Luckily, he did.

Before we got back on the bus, I popped a Tylenol PM. I needed to get some sleep. I still ached from falling.

But, for some reason, Fez doesn’t use nice buses. They are the most uncomfortable buses I have ever been in. Barely any cushion. Barely any leg room. No bathroom. Clearly, the money spent on the tour doesn’t go to taking care of the customer’s comfort.

For the remainder of the night drive I teetered between awake and asleep, adjusting and re-adjusting.

A few hours later, when the sun was rising over the desert, I was awake for good.

The scenes before me were beautiful. Orange sky touching sand, giving way to early-morning blue.

As we drove into Goreme, Scotty woke up the bus.

“That is the hot-air balloon ride you can go on,” he said, pointing out the window.

It was magnificent.

Hundreds of balloons, all different colors, floating at different heights, lingered in the sunrise over a valley of cave homes and fair chimneys jutting up from the ground.


At 7 a.m., we pulled into Shoestring, a cave hostel with a pool on the highest terrace.

After a quick breakfast, I dropped my bags in my room and crawled into bed, thankful the cave I was staying in had no windows.

About the Author

Diana Edelman is a travel writer and expat currently residing in Spain. Previously, she lived in Chiang Mai, Thailand where she worked for Save Elephant Foundation and Elephant Nature Park, an organization dedicated to rescuing elephants and raising awareness about responsible elephant tourism. A former career breaker and long-term solo traveler,  today, Diana is a responsible elephant tourism expert and the co-founder of #RTTC, the Responsible Travel & Tourism Collective, which includes a weekly chat on Twitter focusing on responsible tourism. She has spoken about responsible tourism at TBEX Europe and Asia and has appeared as an elephant tourism expert in numerous documentaries. Recently, Diana was featured in an episode of House Hunters International. She is a regular contributor to Top 10 Vegas, and her writing has appeared in, Thought Catalog, The Huffington Post, Matador Network, Travel + Escape, Luna Luna, Vegas Seven, World Nomads, Viator, CheapOair, OneTravel and more.

9 Comments on " The Fez night bus of discomfort "

  1. Allie September 10, 2010 at 1:47 pm · Reply

    Ah yes, the overnight Fez bus! Ours was relatively uncrowded with only eight people or so…


    Our driver almost fell asleep at the wheel. Mark noticed that he kept sticking his head out the window to wake himself up, and then the bus would veer into the other lane. Luckily we weren’t in the mountains by then, but on a flat and straight section of road. Mark nudged Lyndsey to have the driver take a break, which he did.

    I think by law they were supposed to have two drivers for the overnight drive – suspect Fez HQ was cutting corners :^(

    Glad we all survived!

    • The Adventures of D September 12, 2010 at 10:54 am · Reply

      Ah, Fez. Wait until I write my review … that’s coming in a few months, once I am back stateside. I hope you and Mark are well and enjoying your travels!! xx

  2. Miss Footloose September 11, 2010 at 9:28 pm · Reply

    Reading your story I was reminded of an overnight trip I took on a bus from Kenya to Tanzania, a long time ago now. I was on my honeymoon 😉

    I’m glad you survived. As much as we might enjoy our exotic travels, there are some experiences we’d rather do without.

    • The Adventures of D September 12, 2010 at 10:53 am · Reply

      I agree. :) I have had a few yucky travel experiences, but fortunately the good far outweigh the bad.

  3. Andi September 12, 2010 at 9:07 am · Reply

    Thank goodness you made it!!!

  4. ayngelina September 12, 2010 at 9:23 am · Reply

    Oh wow, I find it sometimes hard to sleep on night buses because I’m afraid of things just like this.

    • The Adventures of D September 12, 2010 at 10:50 am · Reply

      It was pretty miserable. Fortunately, the ride was worth it because our next stop was magical!

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