Living in Istanbul

Campus & Location

KU has several campuses in Istanbul and around Turkey. Academic faculty buildings, university administration, accommodation and student life are housed on the Main and West Campuses, located in Sariyer, Istanbul. This is almost the most northwestern spot in Istanbul overlooking both the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. The West Campus is mainly a residential facility comprising of undergraduate dorms, indoor swimming pool, cafeterias, health center, gymnasium and cue sports such as pool, foosball, Ping-Pong etc. Everything else, including all academic buildings, is on Main Campus, aka Rumelifeneri Campus (RFK on shuttle schedule etc.). Classes, cafés, eateries, academic and administrative departments, main campus dorms and all recreational facilities are on RFK.

Access to Campus

There are free and paid shuttle services to and from campus for various destinations. Except for West Campus shuttles, all other shuttles operate on a paid basis. No cash exchange is allowed, you must obtain a refill card which you load money into and use it for shuttles’ tap card readers. See below for instructions on how to do this.

Free West Campus Shuttles schedule (only KU community with a valid ID):
Departure Points: Main Campus bus stop, West Campus shuttle lot (street corner at the far left of west campus entrance)
Free Faculty Housing Shuttle schedule:
Departure Points: Outside of SGKM auditorium, all faculty housing

Public Transport to and from KU Main and West Campus:

There are two public bus options and one minibus that have service to and from campus.

  • The public bus that enters all the way into main campus is 154. However, 154 only works on weekdays. Public bus 150 can be used for West Campus but it does not enter the main campus; it leaves passengers outside of the university security gate. If you take 150, you can use 154, a dolmuş, shuttle or ride in someone’s car to enter the campus or just walk. It’s about a 10 minute walk depending on your speed. 154 runs between Haci Osman Metro station and Koc University Main Campus via downtown Sariyer and West Campus. For the most up-to-date time tables, you can visit the İETT website and enter the number of the bus in the search box, or check the KU transportation page here.

You need an Istanbul Card for any public transport method except for dolmus. Istanbul card is a machine readable tap card used on almost all modes of public transit in Istanbul.

  • What is Dolmus? Dolmus  (doll-moosh)  is a mini-bus service that accepts  cash and it picks-up and drops-off passengers not only at bus stops but simply anywhere. A Dolmus doesn’t have a STOP button like city buses. When you approach your destination, just yell up to the driver: Musait bir yerde lutfen – that is “Muusayeet beer yehrdeh lootphen” or you can also yell “Inacek var lufen!” as it is easier. The dolmus on Main Campus arrive about every 20 minutes, and they wait by the Main Campus bus stop.

If you are using an Istanbul Card remember to have money in the card. Refill machines are available at Subway stations and outside Yapi Kredi Bank on the -1st floor of the  Student Center on MainCampus.

Nearby Taxi Stations

Most taxi drivers do not speak English. Have your destination written on a paper or tell them the name of the location or a landmark close to your destination. Please ask a passer-by the Turkish name of your current location while calling them up, they will come pick you-up. You don’t have to bargain with taxi drivers. Just pay whatever the meter reads as this is the safest. Tipping is not expected unless you want to tip the driver.

Marti taxi: 0 212 341 11 84 – 85
Sariyer taxi: 0 212 242 37 48

Private express shuttle service for campus community

The university works with a private transport company and they have an office on campus where you can obtain the money card used for the shuttle.

How to obtain the money card?

Visit the shuttle office located on the box office next to Main Campus bus/shuttle stop and obtain your card by paying a refundable deposit of 4tl, then you can load as much money as you please. Credit card payment is available. If you lose your money card, you have to inform the shuttle office immediately to get your money card blocked and conserve the balance in it. They are able to do this since they register you on their system with your personal information.  The phone number of the shuttle office is x3724 and they work weekdays from 9am to 8pm.

The shuttle schedules and updates are announced on KU Daily and on // You can also find the latest schedules for shuttles and public bus 154 on the bulletin board at the bus stop.

Useful Mobile Apps for public transportation in Istanbul

TRAFI : By far the best public transit app for Istanbul and some other metropolitans in Turkey.
Moovit : Almost as good as TRAFI, Moovit also provides walking directions
Akilli Durak- MobiETTT : Buses only; all public buses in Istanbul. You can see the approaching buses from the map, their routes and schedules.
Bitaksi : If you will use taxi, Bitaksi application ensures a reliable ride for you. Since most of the taxi drivers do not speak English, you can request a taxi via Bitaksi and track your route from the application. Application also allows the passengers to pay by a credit card prior to the trip.
IBBCepTrafik : Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality provides instantaneous traffic density and the announcement related to the traffic to the residents of the city.


Phone Calls

Domestic Calls from a cell phone: Dial the area code or operator code that begins with 0 and followed by a three digit code and the seven digit phone number. (ie: 0535 555 5555)

Domestic Calls from a land line: If you’re calling a number in Istanbul, you must keep in mind that Asia (0216) and Europe (0212) uses different area codes. Whenever you’re calling across continents you must dial the respective area code. If you’re calling a number at the same continent, only dial the 7 digit phone number. While calling a cell phone from a land line, you must dial the whole number as is.

International Calls: To make an international call in Turkey, dial the international calling prefix (00), followed by the appropriate country code, area code, and local telephone number. If someone would like to reach you from overseas they must dial 0090 – area code – 7 digit phone number

Campus Calls: You can dial just the last 4 digits (xxxx) of any phone number throughout main and west campus from any campus telephone to reach internal offices. All telephone numbers on Main and West Campus are same except for the extension part. From any other phone you can dial (0212) 338 XXXX to call any office at KU.

University Contact Info

Registering Foreign Mobile Phones

Phones and other mobile devices with call features brought from other countries can be used for 120 days without any restriction. Visitors, foreign residents or students staying in Turkey for longer than 120 days must register their devices following the instructions below:

Registering Your Foreign Mobile Phone in Turkey in 3 Easy Steps

Remember: Temporary visitors, one semester exchange students, faculty or interns, summer school students and the like should ONLY register their mobile phones if they are staying in Turkey for more than 120 days.

1-Pay the phone registration fee (140TL approx.) at Ziraat Bank with your Residence Permit and your phone’s IMEI number. You can retrieve your IMEI number by dialing *#06# on your phone.

2-Visit PTT and purchase your e-devlet pin code. PTT on campus sells pincodes. You need to have your passport and residence permit card to obtain your pin code. Please note, the pin code must be registered with your Foreign ID number that appears on your residence/work permit card and begins with 99…

3-Watch our quick video guide at // and go onto to register your phone.

Useful Phone Numbers

Tourist Info Booths

Ataturk Airport: 0212 465 31 51
Sabiha Gokcen Airport: 0216 588 87 94
Sultanahmet: 0212 518 18 02
Sirkeci: 0212 511 58 88
Karakoy: 0212 249 57 76
Taksim: 0212 233 05 92

Police and Migrants’ Office

Istanbul Foreigners’ Department

Next to Istanbul Il Emniyet Mudurlugu,Istanbul Valiligi Ek Hizmet Binasi
Fatih Vatan Caddesi No:64
Phone: 0212 636 18 74

Istanbul Tourism Police

Yerebatan Cad. No: 4/6 Sultanahmet
Phone: 0212 527 45 03

Health Center

Health Centers on Main and West campus operate 24/7 with 6 physicians, 1 nurse and 8 health care specialists. It is easy to make an appointment and the doctors speak English. Non-Turkish speakers can e-mail for appointment. The Health Center services are free of charge for KU members. There are also a number of good hospitals around the city which provide high quality  healthcare in English. The Health Center can also arrange to have medicine delivered to campus for you.

Important: If you are insured by the university, remember to ask for the service provider directory from Human Resources. The directory helps you find doctors, hospitals, dentists and labs that participate in your in your coverage plan.

Driver’s License

Foreign driver’s license holders whose stay in Turkey does not exceed 6 months can use their foreign license without any further action. Those wishing to obtain a driver’s license in Turkey must complete certain procedures if they are eligible for a replacement. Please contact ICO at to find out more.


Students can ordinarily open a bank account in Turkey, once they have their residence permits. Should you need a bank account before receiving your residence permit, you can obtain a tax ID and apply for a local checking account at only Turkiye Is Bankasi along with your original passport. They have a branch conveniently located on main street Sariyer and the tellers speak English. Students receiving scholarship funds or stipends will be asked to open a bank account at Yapi Kredi bank since the university payroll works with this bank. Yapi Kredi has a full-service branch and ATM’s at Student Center on main campus. Each graduate school makes arrangements to release student stipends until students obtain their residence permits. Yapi Kredi bank won’t open a bank account without the original residence permit and your passport.


From // webpage, you can access up-to date informations of cost of living in Istanbul.


Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant 18TL
Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course 70TL
McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal) 15TL
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) 10TL


Milk (regular), (1 liter) 2.62 TL
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) 1.69 TL
Eggs (12) 6.08 TL
Local Cheese (1kg) 19.52 TL
Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless), (1kg) 12.81 TL
Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) 45.56 TL
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) 6.23 TL
Pack of Cigarettes (Marlboro) 11.00 TL

Museum Card

The Muzekart (as it is named) can save you a lot of money when visiting museums or sightseeing in all of Turkey. The card is valid for one year and provides free or reduced rates of admission to most museums in Turkey.  You are eligible for 50% discount on the card price when you hold an official university ID as a student. Cards are sold at participating museums, which include many of the most popular museums in the city. Please visit the Muzekart website for more information. Your university ID card is required for a discount Muzekart.

A useful tip: in such transactions your passport information might be asked, therefore it’s a good idea to carry a photocopy of your passport ID page at all times in Turkey. We advise students not to carry their original passports to prevent unwanted misplacement.


You can find the closest house of worships below:

  • Sariyer Yeni Merkez Mosque
  • Zekeriyakoy Mosque
  • Prayer Room, Koc University (Located underneath Sevgi Gonul Auditorium)
  • Yenikoy Synagogue
  • Sariyer Santa Maria Church