Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

Winter is fast approaching again, and before everything else in the Aegean region - where I plan to hit some beautiful places - shut their doors down for the cold season, I have to pack my bag and go on a road trip.

First stop -  Dalyan.

I have figured this out before, the nearest airport to Dalyan is the Dalaman airport.  I’m not planning on hitting Antalya this trip.  I don’t know really, but I’m not in the mood for a big touristy place this season and I know Antalya is a popular place where tourists go.  And quite honestly, I’m not a beach person, or perhaps I have put a semi-embargo with beaches or something like that.
Dalyan river.

So I chose flying to Dalaman airport by AtlasJet from Istanbul, arriving in the evening.  Dalaman airport is on the small side, easy to get out of the terminal, besides I only have my carry-on luggage.  I’ve booked a pick-up service online (A2B Transfers), I know Dalaman airport isn’t public-transport friendly and taxis are way too expensive, not my cup of tea.  The driver arrived after half an hour from the time I made a call to the driver's yelling my name in front of the open-air cafe outside the terminal.

The guy who picked me up is friendly and I was the only passenger of the 14-seater van.  Dalyan is a small river-side town on the south-west coast of Turkey frequented by the Brits.  So I can't say it is not consumed by mass tourism yet but it's already November so I expect the last few batch of holiday-makers.
Iztuzu Beach.

Dalyan is a lovely place, the rock-cut Lycian tombs on the face of the cliff on the other side of the river created a picturesque vista along the length of the river.  The beautiful Iztuzu Beach is about half an hour  boat ride away.  The ancient trading Carian city of Kaunos is couple of kilometers leisure hike from the other side of the river.

Second stop – Faralya Village and the Butterfly Valley

Sitting at the Buterfly Valley.

From Dalyan, I headed to the more secluded Faralya.  I took the dolmush to Fethiye bus terminal where I took a minibus that goes to Oludeniz, and from Oludeniz the petrifying dolmush ride to Faralya.  Now, that sounds quite complicated but in reality, it isn’t.  I was in Fethiye town last year and I missed the boat tour to Butterfly Valley, I woke up late.  But I was pleased I’ve missed it because it gave me the opportunity to - not only see it - but experience it this time around - I stayed five full days in the village of Faralya (Uzunyurt). 

Butterfly Valley is something that has to be experienced and not only to look at from a boat. I stayed at George House, one of the few accommodations in the village.  The houses are situated directly at the edge of the cliff which means that if you accidentally slipped on the rocks, you’ll fall off the ridge down below, not unconscious, but lifeless.  Some daring adventure-seekers were reported to have fallen off a cliff around the area.

Few meters from the house is the beautiful Butterfly Valley, breath-taking panorama  of the valleys, the cove where some yachts and tour boats occasionally moor - for a dip on the secluded cove or a climb up the valley and the endless ocean on the horizon.  Fantastic village life, small community, very few houses and probably less than a dozen accommodations which are mostly guesthouses or campgrounds.

It has an equally small mosque whose call for prayers can be heard all around the valley five times a day.  A very small minimart along the main road. It’s a very serene place, it gave me the chance to experience real local village life.  I could have stayed longer but I have got to move on to my –

Third Stop  -  Fethiye or Kabak Koyu?

Located couple of miles from Faralya Village is the quiet laid-back vacation retreat of Kabak Koyu or Kabak Valley.  I wasn’t planning on staying at Kabak but on my second day at Faralya, I took the dolmush to this valley and I was awed by the beautiful vista while I was gobbling on my vegetable salad on the second level deck of the restaurant at the waiting shed where the jeep that goes down to the valley was parked. 

When I left George House and walk up the main road waiting for the dolmush (public transport van) going to Oludeniz and I stood motionless, pondering on some thoughts along the road side for quite some time.   Then an idea suddenly occurred to me, I said, the first transport that passes by will be my next destination.  If it’s to Oludeniz, then I’ll have to head to the town of Fethiye and spend a couple of nights there.  But if it’s the opposite direction, then I have to proceed to Kabak.

Subconsciously, I was hoping for Fethiye as I was exhausted from the long hikes I did at Butterfly Valley during the previous days and I was craving for some hotel comforts which Fethiye has a lot.

Sometimes it’s good not to plan and leave fate draw its own course, well, was I not surprised, the van arrived and –  Kabak Valley it is!

A campground with small pool overlooking the ocean in Kabak.

My wooden hut at Helin Kamp, Kabak Koyu.

The cunning jeep driver at the village took me (no passengers around, except me) to one of the camp site down the valley  called Helin Kamp.  Dropped me some 50 meters or so off rugged road and the camp is still down below, then he demanded TL40.  I was in no position to complain, after all I was the only passenger on board, it could have been TL10.  After alighting off the jeep and started hiking down, four howling dogs attacked me with their fangs all out, ready to pounce on me, one almost bit my leg.  I ran down to the edge of the mountain, I almost tripped and rolled down - goodbye.  A guy at the camp below gawked up and started yelling at the dogs, he walked up to where I was standing and trembling in horror, fetched me and took me down the camp.

I ended up staying a night at one of the small detached wooden hut at this beautiful campground overlooking the cove and the turquoise beach. The sounds of the ocean during the evening was a soothing harmony that cradled me to a delicious slumber. 

Kabak Valley is one for the book, it’s not yet exploited by mass tourism, no tourists around, in fact, I was the only guest at the camp.  There are other accommodations scattered around the valley, some have their own swimming pool but no big structures, mostly campgrounds with beautiful huts.

I found my own secluded beach here further down the cove below where I got lost.  I’ll give some details on that later.

I ended my adventures at Kabak Valley.  It was a long and exciting weeks of adventures and misadventures.  I headed to Fethiye central bus terminal on my way back – again - to Istanbul.

Sunset at Kabak Koyu.


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