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You should be real lucky to find a direct lift to this little town from Istanbul. However, it’s not impossible at all if you’re ready to change cars inbetween.
From Taksim Square in European side of Istanbul, catch bus #129T (Taksim-Üst Bostancı). This is, like all other city busses crossing the Bosphorus Bridge, is a double-ticket line and will cost you 3 TL (~EUR 1.50/~US$ 2). Get off at the leaf-clover interchange named Bostancı Köprüsü, close to its last stop, recognizable by big Bostancı and İçerenköy signs there. You are now on D100 highway. Walk past the interchange until you see a safe shoulder down the road a couple hundred metres away. Start hitching there ready with a sign saying at least ‘Gebze’, it’ll make you more visible and look like a total hitchhiker. Drivers around here seem to have some concerns about sharing their car with a stranger and looking like a total hitchhiker seems to somewhat ease their anxiety. However, there are also many minibuses heading for Gebze on this road, so hiding your sign when they are passing by and shaking your head both sides when its headlights flash (to ask whether you’d like a ride … for a fee) may prevent some of the unwanted attention. Expect to wait at least 30 minutes until you are offered a lift. Morning hours (approx. between 6:30-8:30) are best since the road is congested at that time and vehicles move slowly, which lets the drivers to think more about taking you in. Beware of the motorcycles by the way, which sometimes illegally drive inside the shoulder and literally skim you over.
From the Asian side, you can take the Kadıköy-Kartal metro to its last stop, the Kartal interchange. The exit of the metro stop is right on the D100 highway, and there's a good place for cars on the direction of Gebze to stop. This spot is much closer to Gebze than Bostancı, so you'll have better chances of getting drivers who are going in that direction.
Once you are near Gebze, you are more likely to be dropped off on the highway, out of the city centre. Ask your driver to drop you off as near to Eskihisar as possible. At some part of the road, you’ll notice signs for Eskihisar, complete with a diagram for the ferry. Once on that corner of the road, you are about 30 minutes away from the ferry quay on foot.
This option is currently not working, the suburbian train is out of use COMPLEATLY now.((Another cheap way (involving payment) to reach Eskihisar from Istanbul may be to take a suburban train (banliyö treni) from Haydarpaşa Station near Kadıköy, the main district of Istanbul on Asian side (To get to Kadıköy from European side, you can take ferries from Eminönü near Sultanahmet; Karaköy near Beyoğlu/Galata; or Beşiktaş near Taksim. They all cost 1.40 TL/person). Suburban train costs around 1.50 TL/pessenger. Ride it until Gebze, the last station on its route. However Gebze the station is not exactly located in Gebze the city centre (about 3-4 km inbetween), so don’t confuse each other. Then, once you are in Gebze station, you are again about 30 min of walk away from Eskihisar jetty. Ask around for the way there.))
Useful Turkish words on this route are Feribot (pronounced fay-ree-baut) and İskele (pronounced ees-kay-lay), which mean “ferry” and “quay/jetty” respectively.
Rodzy: We hitchhiked from Istanbul to Bursa in May 2012, the suburban train from Haydarpasa goes only to Pendik (I don't know if they have some works or they closed the railways to Gebze), the ferry from Pendik to Yalova costs 13 TL! So we decided to hitchhike from Pendik (not far from the ferries) to Gebze. After 10 minutes we got a car until the Eskihisar jetty, there we tried to hitch a car just in the front of the gate. For the guard was more then clear that we would not pay for the jeton so he said that if we wanted he could let us to pass the gate. He opened the gate for us, we just walked through and towards to the ferry. (In case: the jeton costs 3,5 TL)
Rovingsnails: In October 2013 we tried to get the tain from but there wasn't any. Instead we took the underground to Kartal and hitchhiked from there to Eskihisar. There is not really a good place to pull over at Kartal, but with a sign we waited less than 5 minutes. We hitchhiked the ferry to Yalova, but Istanbul metro cards can also be used.
The ferry has a flat fare for cars, so it doesn’t really matter whether there is only one person (i.e. driver) in it, or it is occupied by ten people when it comes to payment. Thus, the easiest method to avoid paying for the ferry is to ask drivers whether you can cross the toll booth in their car. You can do this in the very front of the booth, just before the drivers pay the fee (there usually is a helpful car queue in front of the booths). Security guards there seem to be relaxed about this, not concerned if you dodge the payment in this way (However, they may make a real fuss if you simply try to walk through the booth without buying a token). Once on the other side of the booth, the car will likely to be taken into a seperate queue if the ferry has started to fill up. There you can wish your driver bon voyage (Turkish: iyi yolculuklar, pronounced ee-yee yohl-joo-look-laar) and walk yourself to the ferry itself: Once you are clear off the booth, no one asks for a receipt of a payment, neither when boarding the ferry nor when getting off.
If you happen to be on your unlucky day, ferry costs 2.80 TL/person (~EUR 1.30/~US$ 2.10). And if you have one spare fare in your Istanbul metro card it can also be used.
Across the Gulf of Izmit is the Topçular jetty, not much more than a harbour and related buildings really. The highway is very near, has a wide shoulder and enough traffic, so you can hitch your way forward quickly. The nearest town to the west is Çiftlikköy, about 15-20 km away. A distance sign on the road to Çiftlikköy says Yalova is only 2 km further away, but in fact, Yalova city centre is at least 7 km away from Çiftlikköy. The ‘2 km’ sign is just some sort of bureaucratical curiosity, it seems.
Other ferry lines plying a similar route depart from Yenikapı (near Sultanahmet in European side of Istanbul), Bostancı (in Asian side), and Pendik (in Asian side, too); all arriving at downtown Yalova. Though they cut down the road to be taken at both ends (no need to go through Gebze/Eskihisar/Topçular), they all require payments for each pessenger, whether in a car or not, and the ridiculous fares of around 12 TL per person (~EUR 5.50/~US$ 8.60; and this is for pessengers riding in a car, it’s substantially more for pessengers without a vehicle!) go against the very idea of hitchhiking. At Pendik the fare is 6 lira for a passenger, the ferry takes around 50 minutes.
A way to avoid ferries altogether is to hitch east from Istanbul all the way to Izmit first, along the northern shore of the Gulf, then once in Izmit, hitch back to west to Yalova along the southern shore. This will add at least an hour more to your trip when compared with Eskihisar route.
Note: Hitchhiker Theo recieved a used ticket from a driver AFTER the driver has passed the control and managed to pass through the passenger entrance with this ticket. Even though the ticket was in the name of Mustafa Kemel and Theo is quite un-Mustafaish the guard just laughed and let him through (git git).