Which Dogu Express: Classic or touristic?

As touristic version restarts today, Dogu Express train service is doubled. Then which to choose?

Touristic Dogu Express restarts service today after a long suspension due to Covid-19. Touristic version was started as the classical one became so popular. Two trains may be a bit confusing for many travellers, so let’s see the differences between them:

Classic calls at every station

Classic Dogu Express is one of the main transport modal for many cities and towns on Ankara-Kayseri-Sivas-Erzincan-Erzurum-Kars route, calling at 52 stations. Train is frequently being used for transports between two neighbour towns. This means there’s a lot of alternative to get on or off the train. Some little stations may provide extra ordinary opportunities for photographers. On the other hand, this many calls and getting on/off traffic means interruption especially while sleeping, especially if you are travelling on a seat, not in a compartment.

Touristic Dogu Express is calling less, at 25 stations. Since there’s no standart coach in train with seats, and full length fare is charged, there’s almost no traveller traffic on way.

Couchettes on classic, sleepers on touristic

Classic Dogu Express has standart coaches with seats and couchettes. Though train seats are pretty comfortable especially compared to buses, since lights are always on and travellers get on/off in almost every station, a overnight travel on seat may be a bit uncomfortable. On the other hand, couchettes are quite good choice especially for big groups travelling together, even better than sleepers in some cases. Since touristic version started, sleepers do not exist in Classic Dogu Express.

If you want to have a romantic trip with a partner in a private cabin with two beds, the only choice is now Touristic Dogu Express. Sleepers have a small table, a sink, some space for luggages and coats.

City excursions with touristic

Though Dogu Express is passing by several attraction points, classic train is calling at stations only for a short time only for taking new passengers or technical reasons. No time to see around.

Touristic Dogu Express differs mainly on this subject. Train gives 3-hours-long breaks at Ilic and Erzurum in east bound and  at Erzincan, Divrigi and Sivas in west bound. This enables to see city, have something to eat or attend the tours. In each stop, the tour company organizes excursions according to train timetable.

Touristic one departs 2 per week

Classic Dogu Express departs every day from Ankara and Kars. Travel time is 26 hours.

Touristic Dogu Express departs two time a week, on Wednesday and Friday from Ankara, on Friday and Sunday from Kars. Travel time of this train is around 32 hours.

Classic is much cheaper

One of the main difference between two trains is the train fare. You can buy a Ankara-Kars seat ticket for 68 TL (€4) or a place in couchette for 68 TL (€6).

The price for a sleeper cabin at Touristic Dogu Express is 1300 TL, no matter if you travel alone or two. This great difference is because of several reasons. Sleepers carry half of couchettes in one wagon. A longer travel with long stops increase the cost a bit. But the main reason is that, touristic train is not subsidized but classic is.

Cover photo: Onur Uysal ©

40 replies »

  1. Hi,
    Please advice if the passangers traveling in Touristic Dogu Express for 1300 TL per cabin include sightseeing tours during 3-hours-long breaks at Ilic and Erzurum. If not, please send us rates and terms for booking cabin and city tours . We want to travel in April 2022.
    Kind Regards

    • Hi Adriana. First of all we are not a service provider nor an agency. So you should send your request to TCDDT. For your information, tours are not included, being organized by other companies, where you can buy in train.

  2. Hola, por favor aclare si dan comida, de lo contrario, le doy 2 horas para que lo averigue.

  3. Hello, is there a possibility to buy seats for the Dogu Express (Tourist) with a guarantee? Since they sell out in minutes, planning a long trip in advance is very uncertain. Greetings, Dominik

    • Hi Dominik. Unfortunately, there’s not a good solution. You either buy via internet in first minutes of sale, or in last 24 hrs (since most of the cancellations are by then) or via tourism agencies any time.

  4. Can you please offer the website address to purchase tickets? I have tried searching but have come up with no results.

    Thank you

  5. Hi there, do you know whether the touristic Dogu express is available all year around? I don’t see any options for April and may. Thank you!

  6. hi there – we have been advised that 1) there is no “touristic” Dogu Express running in April (ie with the sleeper cabins) and the best we can get is a couchette, and that. 2) all the tickets are being bought up by groups who are then selling them on. We even have a Turkish travel agent who specialises in rail travel looking for us. Please can you confirm when the “sleeper” train will resume. Thanks.

    • Info is correct. No Touristic train, so no sleeper. TCDDT has not announced anything, neither about suspension nor tesume.

  7. Please can you advise – am unable to find the sleeper cabin – only a couchette. Thank you.

  8. Hi, looking ahead to early July will there be sleeper cabins available, as in the touristic express? thanks

  9. HI
    I’m trying to book a Dogu express ticket on the app but it says ” there is no trip in accordance witb your request” no matter what date I put.

  10. When will Train Links to Europe(Paris) re open after Pandemic ?
    It is possible to send a vehicle on the train Istanbul to Paris ?
    ANy information useful

  11. Hello, is the Touristic Dogu going in June 2022. I look for hours but can not find anything.

    The normal one only has seats left, nothing to sleep :-((

    Is it possible to book 2 seats and sleep in this way?

    Thanks and many greetings! Annetta

    • Touristic is suspended. I see some free berhs at couchettes of Classic Dogu Express, where you can sleep. Note that rooms are gender specific if you don’t buy all berths of a compartment.

    • Thanks! I cannot book a sleeping place, where you see it? Or how is it call?

    • It’s called “Ortulu Kusetli”. You can understand from the reservation style, in four-seats groups.

    • No, I can not book this. Or where you find free place

      Von meinem iPhone gesendet


    • Goodmorning! sorry, but maybe you can help me to find it! I only see 4 wagon on the website of TCDD. I can only book Pulman seat.
      i want to travel 4 or 5 June. Thanks.

  12. Hello! I have two question please

    1) what time of day are the tickets released?
    2) how do I book a bicycle onto the Dogu classic?

    thank you! and excited to visit Turkey 🙂

    • For Dogu, it is 30 days. No need to book for bicycle. If there’s enough space at luggage section/wagon, you can put it there.

  13. On the touristic train, are the city excursions able to be booked while on the train (and if so where?? In the food car?) or should I book in advance of the train ride? Where can I find information on the cost and what activities/sights are included in city excursion tours? Which tour companies should zi contact for more info??

    • Hi. Unfortunately, no official information is published on internet. Organizers seem to rely on face-to-face ad during travel. In other words, you can book on train. Staff will visit your room. There may be also independent tours, which you can discover on arrival at long-stops.

  14. I just saw an announcement that the tourist version won’t restart until 12 December 2022, so for my dates I only have the regular option. The android TCDD app is failing to launch. Thankfully the website has an English option, but I have still several questions about booking (apologies in advance for so many questions but I hope this will help others).

    Standard vs. Flexible ticket: by the name I would think that flexible ticket would be the one to allow a refund, but when I hover over flexible for the explanation – it has a check mark for refund under standard and an x for refund under flexible, which implies the opposite. Please clarify which is refundable. It appears that both are changeable (3 times), correct? Also, the site highlights “standard” in blue and gives the comparison when I hover over “Flexible” but it won’t allow me to click and select Flexible (I tried in different browsers). How do I select flexible?

    I would like to book a sleeper car, but when I look up the route/date I see 2+1 Pulman (Seat) and Ortulu Kusetli (Couchette), but no Yatakli (sleeping car). Does this mean it’s sold out? It appears that I can say 4 people are travelling and book 4 couchettes selected to all be in the same car – is that how one books a sleeper or is that equivalent to booking a sleeper car? None or the cars are labelled Yatakli – do they only have those on certain days?
    When selecting which 4 couchettes, at the bottom it says basic fee 157,00 turkish lira, but then it also says at the bottom in green “Ortulu kuset = 130,00 . When I input passenger info and select adult (TAM) it says 287,00 for each. Which is the actual couchette price?

    I was told I could use a foreign credit card on this site, but after entering passenger info it asks me for a masterpass code and I can’t get past this to enter my credit card information. How do I bypass the masterpass code pop up. Do I HAVE to have masterpass?

    I have heard that some tour operators pre-book and resell the sleeper cars (hence why they may be unavailable). In case I can’t get past my issues with the website, can you recommend a reputable reseller that I can purchase from?

  15. Thanks so much for this great information! Looking for April 2023, the service seems to be unavailable to book again, is it suspended again? Çok teşekkürler

  16. Hi

    Thanks for all these informations.
    I am planning a trip by train with Dogu Espresi on july 2023. The classic one.
    If I well understood :
    – tickets will be on sale only one month before the date of departure (monday 24 for me)
    – the classic one leaves every day from Ankara around 6 pm
    – getting a couchette in the classic train is possible

    Is there e way to get to Ani from Kars ?

    Could you please confirme these points and answer my question ?
    Thanks very much for help

  17. Hello. We would like to take a train from Sivas or Divrigi to Kars in June 2023. Is it likely we do NOT need to book ahead, since we travel daytime and only need a seat? So we can just turn up at the station and buy ticket. Or are the seats also likely to sell out? Thanks in advance 🙂

    • There are also some tours useing seats during daytime, so I would suggest you to buy the tickets in advance 3 or 4 days before if possible. Otherwise, you can still find seats, but might be not so good.


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