Kurdish Transportation

TAXI (TAKSI)

  • (Intra-City) Always decide on a price for a taxi before you get in. They’ll usually charge you 1000 (yek hezar) or 2000 (doo hezar) dinar too much, so haggle. And taxis are EVERYWHERE, so you can easily grab one.
  • (Inter-City) Shared taxis are often a necessary evil, since bus transportation is very limited. For men, they’re not so bad. For women, they can be a little uncomfortable, especially if you’re travelling alone. Men will often be respectful and try not to press against you, but it is a cramped taxi, and some men are not so respectful. Also, Kurdish body odor is quite pungent, so sit near a window. The standard price of a shared taxi, almost no matter the length of the ride, is 15,000 dinar (pianz-uh hezar dinar). In a long shared taxi ride (>2 hours), you’ll almost always stop midway through for a restroom and tea/food. I know this happens between Suli <-> Arbil, and between Arbil <-> Duhok.

BUS

Intra-City

  • The buses leave when they fill up. Sometimes they never fill up. Sometimes you’ll be waiting for hours for it to fill up. Be prepared to be flexible and patient.
  • The buses all look the same: white-and-blue buses, same seats, etc. There are little seats that flip out to use the aisle space when the normal seats are full.
  • Try to sit next to someone of the same gender. It’s polite.
  • When you can figure out the routes, buses are nice ways to travel. They usually cost 500 dinar. After you’ve sat down and the bus has started, pass your dinar forward to the person sitting ahead/next to you, and they’ll pass it forward to the driver. They’ll also pass your change to you.

Inter-City

  • There are some inter-city buses, but not always. To and from Arbil, the capital, you can usually find transport.
  • When there are no buses, use a shared taxi. The standard price, almost no matter the length of the ride, is 15,000 dinar (pianz-uh hezar dinar).

List of Buses (this list is by no means complete)

Suli <-> Arbil: 10,000 dinar (da hezar dinar). About 4 hours.

Suli <-> Halabja: 3,500 dinar (seh hezar oo nyoo dinar). About 1.5 hours.

Duhok <-> Arbil: No bus. If you take a shared taxi, the cost will be 15,000 dinar (pianz-uh hezar dinar). About 2-3 hours.

Within Suli: 500 dinar (piench sahd dinar).

Suli <-> Mergapan: No bus. Take a shared taxi, it’ll cost about 15,000 dinar per person (pianz-uh hezar dinar). 30 minute ride.

IMG_3494
All inter-city and intra-city buses look like this. The man on top is washing the buses at a rest stop.
IMG_3501
The bus from Suli (Sulaymaniyah) makes a pit stop here, just outside of Kirkuk, on the way to Arbil.

TERMINALS (bus & taxi)

In Suli

  • There are 2 bus terminals in Suli: Terminaly Sharazur (Sharazur Terminal), and Terminaly Arbil (Arbil Terminal). Both terminals have both taxis and buses.
  • Arbil Terminal is self-explanatory: all the buses and taxis go straight to Arbil. The set route actually goes slightly out of the Kurdish borders, but just about as slightly as you can go. The buses will pass the Kirkuk checkpoint, but right afterward you veer to the right and head along a “highway” that takes you straight back into Kurdish territory – you never actually go into Kirkuk.
  • Sharazur Terminal is the one I prefer – it goes to quite a few villages in Southeastern Kurdistan. This was my go-to station for weekend day trips.

    The places buses at Sharazur go to.
    The places buses at Sharazur go to.

In Arbil

  • The shared taxi depot is just a bunch of taxis lined up on a curb in the middle of town. I took a shared taxi to Duhok, it cost 15,000 dinar.
  • Terminaly Slemani (Sulaymaniyah Terminal) will take you to Suli, either by bus or by taxi, for 10,000 dinar.
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