Take me to the beach! Time for a holiday from my holiday. I chose Fethiye as a base for exploring the area because it has about the best transport connections. It is right by the sea but there unfortunately there’s no beach, just a marina! It seemed quite touristy when I arrived but compared to some of the towns in the region it’s an unspoilt paradise You pass through some ridiculous towns on the minibus from Feithye to Olundeniz, basically the Costa del Turkey: complete with English pubs, English Breakfasts, Fish & Chips and even prices in sterling (reminded me of holidays as a kid!). Oludeniz is pretty touristy as well but the fantastic beach and blue lagoon more than make up for it.
There were dozens of boat turns running from Fethiye, most visiting 12 islands in the bay as well as Butterfly Valley. I considered it but with the prevalence of middle-aged British package holiday tourists around I figured it wasn’t worth the risk. Instead I decided to get a bus to the town at the top of Butterfly Valley then hike to the base. Well at least that was the plan...
I could pretend I did
a huge amount of planning and found Kabak, an amazing unspoilt valley further up the coast. In truth I missed the stop for Butterfly valley, Kabak was the last stop so figured I’d check it out! Luckily it was absolutely fantastic, a million miles away from the rest of the region. Almost completely unspoilt, there are just a couple of backpacker camps. Personally nothing stresses me out more than chilling out at the beach, but if you want somewhere completely cut off this is the place for you!
From Kabak I got a minibus back to Butterfly Valley (actually managing to get off this time). Most people arrive by boat to the beach at the bottom of the valley, but if you arrive by bus you have to hike down. Lonely Planet warned it was a quite dangerous hike (if you went off the trail), that it takes at least an hour and that several backpackers had died there in the past decade. From past experience with Lonely Planet I assumed this translated to: 30 minutes down a slight slope. But they weren’t exaggerating (this time anyway). If you don’t follow the trail there are several vertical drops down
to the base of the valley. Even on the trail there are several parts where you have to scale down the rocks using a rope. The trail is very well marked though with red dots the whole way. As long as you’re sensible it’s an awesome hike, and the view on the way down is far more impressive than the one you get if you arrive by boat.
Butterfly valley has been a backpacker haunt since the 90s but it’s still pretty chilled out. There are no major developments just campsites and a few bungalows. The only downside is the constant stream of day trippers arriving by boat.
I was pretty wrecked by the time I reached the beach at the base and not looking forward to the prospect of a return trip. There was a tour boat just off the beach so I swam out to the captain and asked him in Turkish how much to get back to Olundeniz. I managed to haggle him down to 7 TL (€4). Not bad considering I’d have to pay 5 TL to get back into the valley, hike uphill for an hour then get a minibus for 3.5 TL
to Olundeniz! The boat even stopped at a cave where you could swim on the way back.
One final warning: keep an eye out for the pelicans in Fethiye. I saw two of them on promenade waddling up to a restaurant. It looked pretty hilarious so I tried to take a photo but apparently they're camera shy. The bastards chased after me for about 20 metres! (much to the delight of everyone in the restaurant).
Pelicans. More dangerous than you thought.
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