As it doesn't have sufficient population to be designated as a "village", Kabak is officially a neighbourhood of Uzunyurt. As such, it's often omitted from maps, even quite detailed ones.
Kabak consists of two physically separate sections. The settlement proper is a small agglomeration of two-story buildings along the road, clinging to a mountainside way above the coastline with a dazzling view of the Mediterranean. Below, the second part consists of the cluster of guesthouses between the coast and the canyon known as Kabak Koyu. With pine groves, waterfalls, and coastline, Kabak Koyu is quite similar to the much more famous Butterfly Valley of Faralya; however physical access to it is a little easier.
The state of development in Kabak is in major flux. There are still places catering to backpackers and families that are truly interested in keeping Kabak beautiful (Full Moon, Reflections, Sultan, Kabak Valley Camping, and a few more), but they are being pushed out of the way by developers who just want to make a buck quickly and have no interest in the long-term future of Kabak. Someone who visited in, say, 2005 would find Kabak different today if they returned. If you want to stay at a place that is helping Kabak stay beautiful, choose wisely.
There are minibuses (dolmuş) running from Fethiye to Kabak via Ovacik, Ölüdeniz and Faralya. The trip from Fethiye takes a little more than an hour. Buses are relatively frequent, leaving from Fethiye every hour from 7:00 to 18:00 (except 8:00 and 12:00). Buses from Kabak return hourly from 8:30 to 19:30 (except 9:30 & 13:30) along the same route. The fare is 6.5 TL from Fethiye and 4 TL from Ölüdeniz. Note they might be less frequent offseason.
A winding road, about 25 km in length, connects Kabak with Ölüdeniz and passes through Faralya on the way. The condition of the road is good through the upper village of Kabak, but it becomes a rough dirt track as it descends into the valley.
The Lycian Way, a waymarked hiking trail, passes through the village, providing a strenuous but peaceful connection with Ovacik, a suburb of Ölüdeniz. Detouring through the mountains, you'll enjoy many impressive vistas and pass through off-the-beaten-path hamlets. Most hikers break this 22km section into two days, with an overnight stay in one of Faralya's guesthouses.
You can follow the Lycian Way, indicated by red and white painted stones, for about 20 minutes downhill all the way to the beach and beyond. Along the way, you'll pass by many places to stay and most have restaurants if you are feeling hungry. Another branch of the Lycian Way passes around the upper part of the valley.
In Faralya, about 2 km away from the village, there is a dirt road that branches off the main road and leads into the canyon and the coast. However, if you have the smallest bit of love for your car, avoid driving on that road — think of a rocky downslope where the soft topsoil has all been bulldozed. A better option is to park your car in the upper village and take a minibus the rest of the way. Keep in mind that they don't run on a fixed schedule — they're ready to go as soon as you pay; but you may have to wait for one returning from the coast first — and the flat rate of 35 TL is per trip, not per passenger: if you're lucky, you might split the fare with fellow travellers waiting along with you at the stop, but if you're alone you're on the hook for the entire tab. Ask at the grocery store at the upper village for more information.
See and do
You can swim in the Mediterranean, perhaps take a cheesy yoga course offered by many of the guesthouses on the coast, or else take a short hike out of the village to see the canyon itself as well as a number of waterfalls along its sides (see below). If you are fit and keen on some tough physical exercise, a longer hike along the Lycian Way to a neighbouring settlement is also a possibility. Other than that, you there's not much to see or do — but doing nothing is exactly what Kabak has to offer (and isn't that way you came in the first place?).
To hike to some great waterfalls, first follow the red and white stones all the way to the beach. From the left side of the beach (looking toward the sea), take a 20-35 minute walk, continuing to follow the stones. You will see a big directional sign (erected by Mustafa, owner of the Full Moon Camp) that shows the Lycian Way to the right and waterfalls to the left. You will be able to follow the pipeline and river as far as the the waterfall. Beware: this is not a real hiking path; it's quite rough and requires some climbing in a few places that may be dangerous. Be sure to wear a pair of good shoes and leave your hands empty for the climbing. There are six or seven pools successively higher. From the waterfall, you can either return the way you came, or you can follow the red painted stones until that path rejoins the Lycian Way with red and white stones. When it rejoins, going left will return you to Kabak around the back side of the valley, and going right will return you to the beach.
There are small grocery stores both in the upper village and near the beach. Since they mainly cater to tourists, don't expect to find much there except for cookies, soda & water — all at a slightly inflated price compared to the city. As you might expect, they don't accept credit cards.
There is no ATM in the village, either, so bring enough cash. The nearest ones are in Ölüdeniz, and a little further away in Fethiye.
Eat and drink
You'll have your meals in one of the guesthouses. In general, you can stop at just about any guesthouse/campground/bungalow area, have a look at their food menu, and decide if you want to eat there. Many only provide breakfast and dinner service, but all of them offer food to buy for lunch. If you are not staying overnight, you can easily negotiate a price for dinner.
- Lazy Fish Cafe (Not far up the valley from the beach. Facing away from the water up the valley, go up towards the left a minute or two and look for a hanging banner with Chinese characters.). Conveniently located near the beach, the food is delicious by all accounts. 15-25 TL.
- 1 Mama's House (Mama's Hostel & Bar) (in the upper village), ☎ . If you are on a day trip to Kabak, this is the most likely place where you will have your quick lunch, consisting of freshly baked Turkish cheese pancakes (gözleme), perhaps alongside a cup of tea. Run by a local old lady, the place has a patio at the backside with an outstanding view of the cove below. Also has a pension/guesthouse.
- 2 Olive Garden (in the upper village), ☎ . This little restaurant serves great meals. You can sit on chairs or lay on very comfortable mattresses. Views from there are outstanding, prices reasonable, waiters quiet but friendly and very helpful.
Both the upper village and the beach area have a number of guesthouses, some of which consist of wooden bungalows. Most also offer campgrounds in their yards, although you can camp in the wild for free on the beach or in the isolated parts of the canyon. Overall, Full Moon is the closest to the minibus stop, but far from the beach. The rest are closer to the beach, but it's a bit of a walk back up to the bus stop. Follow the trail of red and white painted rocks all the way to the beach, through which you will pass several locations with bungalows and camping spaces. There are plenty more to find, so contribute if you stay at any of them!
See the Understand section above for more info about the tourism development in the Kabak Valley. Full Moon, Reflections, Sultan, and Kabak Valley Camp are the businesses that seem most interested in preserving Kabak's pristine ambience.
Note: Prices given here are almost all for a minimum of two people sharing. If you are alone and don't have your own tent, you'll struggle to find accommodation for less than 50 TL (Jungle Campsite is one exception, see below).
- 1 Full Moon Camp (5 minutes down the Lycian Way from the minibus stop), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Rustic bungalows with great views, delicious home-grown food, and a swimming pool if you don't feel like going to the beach. Incredible common patio covered with grape vines overlooking the entire valley with plenty of cushions. Free WiFi. You can camp in your own tent on the roof. 20-25 minute walk downhill to Kabak beach. The owner, Mustafa, is from Kabak and truly interested in keeping Kabak beautiful, and fights against big tourism development (he's the one who put the sun shades on the beach and painted the rocks/made the sign to get to the waterfall). Great for backpackers and families. 35/50 TL per person low/high season, including breakfast and dinner. 35 TL per person (including food) if camping in your own tent during high season. Children 7-12 10 TL, children 6 and under free.
- 2 Gemile Camping (Follow the red and white painted trail down from the minibus stop, a 15-minute walk on foot), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Popular with Turkish tourists. Free WiFi. Nice lounge areas and bar, close to the beach. Website has a photo gallery if you want to look. 40 TL per person with own tent; 55 TL per person to rent a tent (price includes bed and blanket). Bungalows range from 55-125 TL per person; see site for more pricing details. All include breakfast and dinner.
- Jungle Campsite (As yet unsigned, and quite hard to find. From Reflections, take the path down to the stream, turn right before you get to the stream and follow the path to Jungle. Ask at Nirvana art camp (next to Relections), the man there will give you directions.). Still in its early stages. Very low-key, basic set up. "Hippie"/"alternative" vibe, with a campfire in the evenings and very relaxed easy going staff. Cheapest place to camp in the valley with facilities, but located an easy three-minute walk to the beach. Breakfast included in the price. The place is run by one of the family members from Full Moon. A lot of tortoises seem to reside here, which is quite fun. 30TL pp in your own tent or their tent.
- 3 Kabak Valley Camp (Follow the red and white rocks down to the beach and walk back up the road a little bit. You should see signs.), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Nice location, close to the beach. Free WiFi and plenty of lounge space. Dinner and breakfast included. Along with Full Moon, the owners here are really working to keep Kabak quiet and beautiful. 70 TL per person for bungalow with ensuite bathroom, 50 TL per person for bungalow with shared bathroom, 25 TL per person with your own tent.
- 4 Reflections (Follow the red and white painted rocks all the way to the beach, then follow the road up a few hundred meters; you will see signs.), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Part-American owned and listed in the guidebooks. Along with Full Moon, the owners here are really working to keep Kabak quiet and beautiful. Great location close to the beach. Free WiFi. Plenty of chillout zones and great food. Breakfast and dinner included. 50 TL per person for bungalow, 35 TL per person with your own tent. Children 7-12 get a 50% discount on the foregoing prices, children 6 and under free.
- 5 Sea Valley Bungalows (Follow the red and white painted rocks all the way until the beach. If you contact ahead of time, they can arrange a pick-up.), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The most upmarket place in Kabak, and the closest to the beach. Nice pool, Internet, manicured lawn, a wide selection of bungalows. Bar onsite. Depending on how busy it looks, you can probably negotiate the prices. All bungalows have own shower and toilet, and are of high quality. If you want to wash off after swimming, you could probably use their showers by the pool and no one would say anything. However, that well manicured lawn meant cutting down the beautiful pine forest that used to be on the beach. Small bungalow 80 TL per person; large bungalow 100 TL per person; tent 25 TL per person; 20 TL per person if you have your own tent. Only breakfast included.
- 6 Sultan Camp (Sultan Camp is a 20min walk down the red and white marked path. Shuttles are also available at a cost from the bus stop.), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 24 hr. Only a 5 minute walk to the beach, Sultan Camp has a variety of accommodation options including bungalows with or without ensuite toilet and shower, and tent areas (tent rental available). Delicious breakfast and dinner is included with each accommodation option. Bar, pool, Internet, hammocks. Cash or credit card accepted for balance upon arrival. Bungalows 50-120 TL per person; 2-bed tent: 30 TL per person.
The area code for landline phones in the village is (+90) 252.
Kabak is within the coverage area of Turkey's mobile phone operators.
You're out of luck if you are looking for internet cafes. The only internet available will be at the place you are staying or maybe a cafe if you're a paying customer.
As far as anything running on wheels is concerned, Kabak is the end of the line — the road coming from Ölüdeniz dead-ends here, giving way to the complete wilderness of Yediburunlar (literally "seven headlands"), the remotest section of the Lycian coast.
However, for hikers, the fun has just started — the remote mountain hamlets of this rugged and seemingly inaccessible area are connected to each other by the Lycian Way, which turns and twists along the the sides of the mountains, following the coastline from a distance. Within about three days' time, after enduring some sharp descents and ascents and enjoying stunning vistas unchanged for thousands of years, you will be back to "civilization" on the beach of Patara, just south of the modern town of Kınık (or Xanthos, as it was known to ancient Lycians) on the other side of Yediburunlar.