Faralya and Kabak
Remote boutique retreats and pin-clean cabins in verdant paradise
Time was that braving the precipitous cliff–side track east out of Ölüdeniz to Faralya and Kabak was only for those with over-developed death wishes. And although the road has been substantially improved and asphalted in recent years, taking barely half an hour to complete its length, this is a drive that can still set the heart hammering. It’s at its most dramatic as it sweeps around the head of the sheer-sided Butterfly Valley, a famed hippy beach hang-out accessible only by boat, before it reaches the scattered hamlet of Faralya. These thickly wooded hillsides, home to idyllic small hotels like Villa Mandarin, are threaded with wonderful walking trails and magnificent sea views. Those on tighter budgets tend to keep on to road’s end at Kabak’s ‘Last Stop Café’.
From here it takes some twenty minutes on foot to reach Kabak Beach via steep paths, though arrivals with luggage invariably board the village’s shuttle, often a red 4WD Chrysler truck, which careens down a precipitous dirt track to the sea. The lush valley which backs the beach is home to some 20 new-age camps, complete with yoga platforms and yurts, and hand-painted signs offering pranic healing and polyenergetic therapy, which some may find alienating; in fact you don’t need to be a paid-up pothead or yogi to feel at home in inclusive Kabak. Many assorted independent types, families included, love the camps’ Crusoe-simple bungalows, cabins and al fresco juice bars, a happy consequence of a local ordinance strictly forbidding the raising of permanent structures.
Paths lead through the trees, past more pastel-toned driftwood signs advertising home-made incenses and freshly squeezed juices, to the lovely sand and shingle beach. Here thoughtful locals have raised makeshift wooden corrals around buried clutches of turtles’ eggs which are laid at night from May onwards and hatch from August. An active environmentalism operates in this extraordinary place which resident staff and visitors also cherish for its fireflies, beautiful Jersey Tiger moths and its magnificent wooded canyon. Just behind the valley, where the great massif of Babadağ (Father Mountain) rises almost sheer into the sky, there is excellent hiking, especially to/from Alınca.
Kabak is not quite the prelapsarian hippie haven it once was. The first signs of an industrial commercialism are beginning to intrude, as the crass Sea Garden Bungalows complex demonstrates. All the more reason to discover this enchanting place, with its delightful beach and woodland trails, its cushion-strewn platforms and eco-conscious crowd, before its original spirit is significantly eclipsed.