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To Kabak: What Goes Up Must Come Down – And Back Up Again

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So there we were, enjoying a birthday break with friends by way of a peaceful, chilled out overnight stay at the Olive Garden in Kabak.

We’d pencilled in a hike down to the beach this time so that we could visit the brand new camp of someone we know – we’re nosey, like that.

And, even though we’d hiked down to the beach previously and knew it was very steep and rough underfoot, sturdy footwear was not taken with us.

Maybe we didn’t really think we’d go…but we did go.

The Kabak Beach Reality Check

Because this is something to bear in mind when it comes to Kabak.

To get those high up, breathtaking views over the Mediterranean, well, you need to be high up. We’re all things positive on this blog, as you know, and, don’t get us wrong, we’re not trying to put people off going.

We’re just saying, just be aware – it’s a love hate thing.

Butterfly Valley, Faralya
View of Butterfly Valley from the Ölüdeniz to Kabak road

We love the scenes on the road from Ölüdeniz to Kabak and, for us, it’s an amazing drive.

But those 8 years ago when we last hiked down to the beach, we’d gone up that road in a car driven by our Turkish friend. As we got higher, he pulled over. “You’ll have to drive Julia, I can’t go any further.”

“Oh, okay. No problem. We didn’t realise you didn’t like heights. You should have said.”

“I would have…except I didn’t know I didn’t like heights until just now.”

This is a guy who loves to go trekking in the mountains, who’s taken us fishing from the most precarious of cliff faces, so we figure it was a driving and motion thing.

And just a couple of weeks back, two friends set off along this very road in the hope of getting to the Olive Garden.

They turned back half way up.

But such was their determination, they tried again a few days later, and this time they took the dolmuş and closed their eyes.

They then did an overnight stay at the Olive Garden and loved it. No regrets!

Looking down on Kabak Bay from the Olive Garden. The bay is surrounded by pine clad mountains
It’s a stunning view of Kabak Bay from the Olive Garden

Well, with views like this from the Olive Garden, what’s not to love? And there’s the beach, down there on the bottom left. That’s where we wanted to get to.

How do you get there?

Well, there’s a service bus or there’s a couple of paths you can take down the hillside, through the forest.

With surroundings like this, it would be criminal not to hike down, we thought, so a member of staff pointed out the path to us (there’s one that leads directly from the Olive Garden) and off we went…in our flip flops.

Scree, rock and steep, pine-needle-covered forest paths are NOT what flip flops are designed for. Please don’t follow our lead on this one.

Sturdy footwear with decent treads all the way! If you’ve done the trek from Kayaköy to Ölüdeniz, the terrain is very similar.

We’re all trekking fans and have decent footwear for the job but we didn’t take said footwear with us – we all came through our little trek unscathed but we know it is far from ideal.

Kabak Beach Walk
The walk down the hill to the beach

The path down the mountainside is cool and shaded – and then occasionally, you come to a clearing where you get a clue as to how much progress you’ve made and how much further you’ve got to go.

It takes around 30 minutes to reach the beach but it’s one of those paths where you keep spotting the beach and thinking, “I’m sure we were closer than that last time we looked.”

Not a bad view to keep spotting (and photographing) though, is it?

Beach Walk, Kabak
Nearly there

And, all of a sudden, the tiny white dots bobbing in the sea in the distance reveal themselves to be boats as you catch glimpses via the vistas created by the pine trees.

We’re nearly at Kabak beach. It’s a while since we’ve been on such a steep climb downhill.

We’re all sweating from the heat of the day and knees are dithering.

The two ladies in this little group of four have exercised some different leg muscles that have obviously sat idle for a while because, the day after, both of us have that rewarding feel of aches and pains that say you’ve achieved something.

Kabak Beach
Up close and personal with Kabak Beach

On this occasion, our achievement is reaching sea level at Kabak bay.

We’ve already got swimming gear on – so dusty, damp clothes are being peeled off en route to the bamboo shaded area. We dump our things and run straight into the sea – it’s cool! But it’s a welcome cool.

After drying off in the sun, we go to hunt out the camp we’ve come to visit. That takes us all of two minutes.

We’re given a much-appreciated drink and then we’re shown around – and you can read our blog post, here, about why we fell for Chakra Beach, Kabak. We need to stay here soon…

Now, of course, what comes down to the beach must get back up from the beach. We ask Can – the guy we’ve gone to visit – about the quickest route back to the top. It’s hot and I’m not much fancying another flip flop trek, especially one of the uphill variety.

Straight up the path past Sultan Camp or take the service bus,” says Can.

I make (lots of) noises in support of the service bus. A few lira each and we’re on our way up the winding, narrow, dusty track to the top of the hill.

We remember the trek back to the top of the hill from 8 years ago. We remember stopping off at Sultan Camp en route for a pit stop and refreshment.

It was tiring but rewarding. We took our time, we enjoyed our surroundings…and we’ll be trekking back to the top again next time.

While three of our group didn’t mind the trip back up, it seems I’m a better driver than I am a passenger…

Getting to Kabak Beach – Useful Information

  • In the summer season the dolmuş to Kabak runs hourly (via Ölüdeniz) to Kabak.
  • Times and regularity change throughout the year, with only a few dolmuşes per day in winter, so always make sure you check with the driver if you need to get back to Fethiye for a particular time.
  • The dolmuş takes you to the end of the road from where you’ll see the signposts pointing down the track to the camps and beach.
  • If you are driving up there and want to go down to the beach, you’ll need to leave your car at the top and either hike down or take the shuttle service.
  • Although there is no charge as such to enter the beach, there is a ‘tip box’ pinned to the bamboo shelter. Your donations go towards keeping the beach clean and maintained.
  • The road from Ölüdeniz to Kabak is tarmacked and in decent condition (2014).
  • The track to the beach used by the shuttle service is a dust track. Amazing views but we preferred the walk. Well, being on the Lycian Way, Kabak is perfect, natural trekking country, after all.

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Monday 17th of October 2016

Wow, those pics are amazing! I love Ölüdeniz and the surrounding region, just wish I could get back there next year. Magical place ;-)

Turkey's For Life

Tuesday 18th of October 2016

Thanks a lot, Robert. Kabak is a special place - even if it is a bit hairy getting there. :)

sue mckeown

Tuesday 12th of May 2015

The bus.....sends shudders up my experience I will never forget.....NOT for the faint hearted!!!!! But Olive Garden and Kabak Beach......stunning.

Turkey's For Life

Wednesday 13th of May 2015

Ha ha, the dolmuş to Kabak worries a few people. A definite not-for-the-faint-hearted road, Sue McKeown. :) But yeah, once you get there, the views and the beach are worth the effort. :) Thanks a lot for your comment.

Ozlem's Turkish Table

Friday 25th of July 2014

Such stunning views, thanks so much for sharing - looks like it's been a lovely b-day break :) Ozlem

Turkey's For Life

Sunday 27th of July 2014

Kabak's always going to be a perfect birthday break for anyone, Özlem - well, most people. :)

Anne Mackle

Thursday 24th of July 2014

I had a hard enough time walking back to the car from the Olive Garden so I wouldn't attempt the beach although I didn't know there was a service bus down, that sounds much better.

Turkey's For Life

Sunday 27th of July 2014

I loved the idea of the service bus to and from the beach at Kabak Anne- but it's a tad hairy. If you're not bothered about the heights, perfect for you. :)

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