There are few ways to reach Uludag.
- By using any travel agent. There are many agents around Istanbul or online with packages to Uludag. However, this option may be costly.
- By taking public transport like ferry, bus and cable car or teleferic.
- By taking public transport like ferry and bus or taxi all the way up to Uludag.
For this post, I will share how I use public transport but with unexpected twist.
At first, I would want to follow a plan shared by on youtube. This option will be quite easy as the ferry will bring you all the way to Mudanya. After that you will take bus to teleferic.
However, we were not able to follow the plan due to bad weather. The ferry was closed for a day due to strong wind. On the spot, we had to make and find other ways to Uludag. It was quite tough because we were not prepared. So, if this happens, you should go to information center near ferry terminal at Eminonu. A stranger or a taxi driver will immediately come to confuse tourists and offer a ride to the Asian side of Istanbul. Though it may be safe but the cost will surprise you. The information center was quite helpful. So, do not worry about language barrier. They are quite fluent in English and will tell you what you need to do.
Since no other way, we had to take bus to Bursa bus station or in Turkish is Bursa Otogar from Asian side of Istanbul. So, we took ferry to Harrem where an otogar was located. The ferry ride took us about 20 minutes. At the otogar, was when the challenge occur. You have to be aware with surrounding. A lot of strangers will come to you and bring you to the many bus operators. It was quite hard to talk with them because of language barrier but they understand the location that you want to go. We found a bus operator which would depart in 1 hour.
The bus made many stops to pick up passengers. Maybe there is a non stop express bus but at the time we were not quite sure which one would it be. Anyway, the journey to Bursa Otogar would be roughly 1 and half hour to 2 hours.
At Bursa Otogar, if you are not sure where to go, you should find an information counter. They will direct you to the right place. In order to go to the Teleferic, take yellow bus station next to the Otogar building. Before you ride the bus, you need to buy Bursakart and you need to have exact change to purchase the card which is 10 TL. The machine did not accept any other notes. And then, reload the card accordingly.
After that, take bus number 94 which will bring you to the teleferic. Please be aware and mindful, as you ride the bus they will not inform the stop. So, you should be ready when the bus reaches hilly area.
At the teleferic station (cable car), we paid 90 TL per person for one way trip. There are in total three teleferik stations. You will need to change cable car at Sarialan to Kurbaga station. Kurbaga is where the ski resorts are located. If you stay quite away from the station, there will be shuttles waited outside which charged you 3 TL. I think we were quite lucky and did not expect the shuttles there. Our hotel was about 2km and it was not pleasant to walk due to cold weather and hilly terrain.
Normally, you will take the teleferic back to the station and wait for bus number 94 that will bring you back to Bursa Otogar. However, in our case there was a blizzard which shut down the teleferic operations for a day.
Luckily, there was a group of tourist from Indonesia with a bus. They dropped us at Tophane area. Near this old fortress wall, you will find an escalator to main bus stops. We took bus number 38 which brought us all the way to Bursa Otogar.