An October 2009 trip
to Fethiye by Owen Lipsett
Quote: Kabak barely features in guidebooks, if it does at all, it's simply as a good base for starting a trek along the Lycian Way, Turkey's best-known long-distance trail. Critics say "it's just a pretty beach with mountains" but that's the point!
Activities in Kabak: When I asked Omer, my otherwise courteous landlord in Fethiye, to reserve a cabin for me for 3 nights at Kabak's Olive Garden he responded that "It's just a beach and some mountains, what could you possibly want to spend more than a day doing there?" This is a slight exaggeration: the mountains include several enjoyable hiking trails of varying degrees of difficulty, you can take boat trips from the beach to the two nearest bays, and there are also yoga and holistic healing classes by the beach at the Shanti Garden Camp. Their website also contains a useful list of activities, although Oludeniz is much further away than the 20 minutes they advertise!
Getting to Kabak: By far the easiest way to get to Kabak is by dolmus from Fethiye – the dolmuses leave from the minibus station and pass the main otogar (main bus station). At the moment, these buses run at 7 am, 11 am, and 5 pm from Fethiye, with additional departures at 1 pm and 3 pm in the summer, although these timetables tend to be subject to variation. You can also drive to Kabak along the coastal road, which winds around mountainsides and sometimes only has one working lane (total, not in each direction!) If you’re driving, keep in mind that there’s no parking at most of the camps in the bottom of the valley. You could also walk the Lycian Way from Fethiye or Faralya, although it’s a more enjoyable walk coming from Kabak (or Alinca).
Practicalities: As small as Kabak is, bear in mind that it has two parts. Deniz Market, The End of the Road Café, The Olive Garden (which has both a restaurant and cabins) and Mama’s Restaurant (which also has rooms) are at the top of the Kabak Valley. The other camps are at the bottom of the Kabak Valley. To get between them you can either take the shortcut that goes from behind Mama’s Restaurant and the Olive Garden (about 10 minutes down and 20 minutes up) or the one-way private road (foot only) which takes two to three times as long (and has very little shade). While the beach is obviously at the bottom of the Valley, Deniz Market is at the top of the Valley. All the camps offer inexpensive half-board and most offer rather more expensive lunches. As you might expect, prices at Deniz Market for non-locally produced items, such as bottled water, are much higher than in Fethiye. Locally produced bread, cheese, butter, jam, honey, fruit, and olive oil are quite inexpensive, however, which is handy if you'd like to take a picnic. Read Less
Restaurant | "The Olive Garden - Kabak's Best Restaurant and Cabins"
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 2, 2009
+90 252 6421083
1. The CaveWalk to the far side of Kabak’s Beach (if you are staying at the top of the valley follow Walk 2 (below) to get there) then walk along the edge of the forest for a nice view of the beach a a sea cave. This takes about half an hour each way.
2. Path from Kabak’s Road to Kabak’s Beach: To take this path (approximately 20 minutes going down, 40 minutes coming up) after leaving the dolmus walk back to Mama’s House (which the dolmus passes on its way in), then turn left and follow an overgrown road to The Olive Garden. Turn right past the toilets and kitchen house and follow the pathway down – from this point it is well marked. This path is nominally part of a branch of the Lycian Way and is of primary interest as a short-cut to Kabak’s beach. However it’s quite enjoyable in its own right in that it lets you see the beach and valley from a variety of angles. Disappointingly, you’ll also see a lot of trash left by the camps in the valley.
3. From Kabak to Faralya on the Lycian WayTo reach this path you’ll need to be at the top of the valley. The entry point (well marked) is on the far side of the road, but to follow the path (a relatively straightforward hour and a half) you should get directions from a proper guidebook. At George House in Faralya (no website), buy a water and ask for the waymarkings on a much more interesting version of the same hike that runs by the water (this may be available at Olive Garden soon). The hike from Kabak to Faralya on the Lycian Way takes no more than a couple of hours, the alternative hike takes two and a half to four and is more challenging.
4. The Waterfall From the beach, follow the rocks past Shanti Camp and then a path through woodland (this is also the path to Alinca (see #5 below), there is a turn off into an old riverbed that leads to a waterfall. This path can be done without guidance, although camp proprietors recommend following someone who knows the way. In addition, the waterfall is no particularly impressive and may be completely dried up (as it was on my visit in October 2009, for which reason I didn’t do this trip.)5. Kabak to Alinca This hike is best done from the beach, as that is both quicker and avoids some brutal climbing over the end of the Valley that has no shade (although the views are magnificent) which you encounter if you go from the top of the Valley. Again, proper directions are essential. This walk is extremely challenging and involves climbing in places, and is more often done in reverse (people get transport to Alinca and then hike to Kabak). It’s possible to hike there an back in a single day, although that requires a high level of fitness and flexibility.
Kaya Koyu and Oludeniz:The abandoned village of Kaya Koyu is either long walk (along the Lycian Way) or a short dolmus ride from Fethiye (the dolmuses run approximately on the half hour in summer). During the Ottoman Empire, Kaya Koyu was the Ottoman Greek village of Levissi. After the Turkish War of Independence, Turkey expelled its "Greek" inhabitants while Greece expelled its "Turkish" inhabitants in the so-called population exchange, in which the only criterion was religion, with the result that many people found themselves in countries whose language they did not speak, not to mention significant economic hardship. Since there were far more Greeks in Turkey than vice versa, villages like this one were abandoned.
Officially, it costs 8 TL to enter, but if you follow the Lycian Way as you enter the village you won't have to pay - this is the best way to enter anyway as it leads to a lovely (and for the most part clearly marked) path over a mountain that takes you to the white sound lagoon of Oludeniz in an hour and a half with numerous beautiful views on the way. Oludeniz is one of Turkey's prettiest beaches and unfortunately also one of the most crowded and as a result the water can be disconcertingly murky. It's also one of the best places in Turkey to go paragliding, although as I didn't do so personally I can't vouch for this. Dolmuses run back to Fethiye from the beach, through the concrete resort dormitories of Hisaronu and Ovacik, whenever they're full.
XanthosThe most interesting ruins in the general vicinity of Fethiye are the Lycian, Greek, and Roman ruins at Xanthos, near the village of Kinik. To get there, you can take a dolmus to Kinik or sign up for one of the tours that visits them and the cool waters of the Saklikent Gorge (itself a pleasant experience, particularly on a hot summer day). The Xanthians were one of the members of the Lycian Confederation and are perhaps best known for committing suicide and setting their city on fire twice rather than surrender to enemies. Given this tragic history, it's perhaps appropriate that Xanthos has a marvelous collection of Lycian Rock tombs. It also offers a nice viewpoint over the appropriately windy Meander River (from which the English word comes), known as the Menderes in Turkish. Admission is 3 TL.
New York, New York