Paradise in the Mediterranean

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September 4th 2008
Published: October 1st 2008
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Along a twisting road dug into a lush, pine forest mountain, I took a bus from Fetiye to this supposed remote beach village that has remained relatively undeveloped. There was a definite change in the air as we passed the over touristy, package holiday destination of Oludeniz, with its countless shops and restaurants geared to tourists who want to eat traditional English breakfast and Yorkshire pudding.

I could smell the subtle scent of pine as the breeze breathed its way through the bus, and I took in the breathtaking views of the Mediterranean and its translucent turquoise waters from above. I had read about a few places to stay that all sounded great with their spring fed pools and cute treehouses overlooking the sea. But after having met two friendly women on the bus (Ida from NZ and Pinar from Turkey), who were staying and working at a new camp, with supposedly the best spot on the mountain, I was sold.

I don't know where to start or how I can even begin to describe this place that is absolute paradise. Let me just say that the photos do not do it justice. There have been numerous places and
poolside poolside poolside

the double crescent shaped seats are swinging chairs. i spent a lot of time in them staring out to sea!
experiences that I have had that have left me speechless, or utterly in awe of the surroundings I've been in, but when I arrived to Kabak , I was left jaw dropped, standing there for 5 minutes and needing to pinch myself to double check it was real.

My initial plans were to just stay for the night and then head to Butterfly Valley which we had passed on the way to Kabak from Fetiye, but I instantly knew I wanted to stay forever. Shambala , the name of the camp does indeed hold a perfect spot, at a point on the mountain where every which way I looked had incredible views.

Everything about this place is paradise. The treehouses have been creatively built, making you feel like you're really amongst nature yet with enough privacy. The pool and bar area has been decked out to accommodate for people that want to chill out or dance to the sunsoaked tunes, whilst still being able to enjoy views. There are the most comfortable day lounges and hammocks spread out all over the place, that it's so hard to walk past and not stop to lie down in one just to relax. At this time of year, the weather is perfect, and there aren't even mosquitoes or other insects buzzing around or annoying you, even in bed at night! So I took advantage of this and have spent the evenings lying on the lounges, watching the sunset, listening to the waves lap up on the beach, and gazing at the millions of stars in the sky. I'm not sure if I could be any more relaxed right now!

I have even found a backgammon buddy in Ida and she is a seasoned player, so I've been picking up tips on how to play. There are also a few like minded transient travellers that I have met and connected with, which has been great. The food here is organic and mostly vegetarian, which is probably a good thing for my body right now considering the copious amounts of meat and processed food I've been inhaling.

I am only able to stay here for 3 nights as I have already organised to volunteer at a farm near Fetiye for 10 days. Then I'm supposed to head straight to Istanbul after that to meet Pippa who is flying in from London to spend my last week in Turkey with me. But I have spent the whole time since I've been here trying to devise a plan to allow me to stay, with it not affecting my moral conscience by not turning up at the farm. Alas, I know I need to just go but I am going to try and make it back here somehow, even if it means convincing Pippa that there is nothing to see in Istanbul and she would be much better off coming here, particularly as she probably hasn't had much sunshine in London! haha.

Sept 16th - After the farm

Well after a wonderful 10 days on the farm, I have managed to wangle my way back to Kabak. I wasn't aware that I would have a day off from working on the farm, so I used that day to leave one day earlier, and I'm also minimising my travel time back to Istanbul, by opting to fly back for an extra $40, instead of taking a 12hr bus! Which has meant that I've been able to spend another 2 nights here and then will arrive in Istanbul
moonlight moonlight moonlight

i should have taken shot about half hr earlier, as the moon appeared above the horizon and glowed a lovely pink from the colour of the sky
within 20min of Pippa landing, so it's all good!

I forgot to mention that when you arrive into Kabak, the bus stops at the top of the hill, and the walk down to the camps and the beach are about 25min along a steep, dirt path. Not particularly easy when you have 10kg on your back and thongs with no grip! If you're lucky a pick up will be waiting there and if there are enough people you can get a ride down for about $5, which occurred the first time.

But second time around, there was no pick up or anyone to be seen. So I started my descent, until I heard the sound of a motorbike coming from behind me shortly after I began. Hooray, today is my lucky day, I thought. Not only do I get to take a ride down in style, but with any chance there would be a cute boy on the bike! haha. The bike came to a halt beside me and he definitely ticked the box, but once I saw how much gear the guy was carrying (fishing equipment - rod and all) and the lack of space left for me and my backpack, I was deflated. All the Turkish guy could say was "problem", and after a couple of pleads and smiles there was no chance of getting on the back. He left me standing there in the blazing sun, sweating profusely, then proceeded to ride off and left a cloud of dirt for me to breathe in! So much for Turkish friendliness...

That was until I saw him further down, as he stopped again, and started adjusting the gear on the bike. He looked up and waved me down so I slid my way down the dirt path to where he was and in broken English, he had tried to explain that the part he had just passed was too dangerous to have me on the back, but the road was fine now and I could jump on. I didn't hesitate and happily hopped on the back, but there was so little room that I had to carry my backpack under my arm. The ride down was so much fun, albeit a little scary at times! A few of the bumps along the way, and the weight of my backpack on one side of me almost led to me falling off the bike, but we eventually made it and I was greeted by all the people that I had made friends with the week before so it was a fantastic arrival back to Shambala.

I didn't waste any time and we all headed straight down to the beach where the water was clearer, bluer and calmer than before. I was happy lying on the beach until I looked up to see Pinar quite far out diving into the water like a graceful mermaid, and it made me want to dive straight in, and I swam all the way out to her. I normally prefer quick dips in the sea but Pinar convinced me to swim out to a cave even further out. We slowly made our way over and once we got there I couldn't believe my eyes. One of the big rocks had a hole carved into it making the sunlight beam through and illuminate the water. The colour of the water was the most beautiful aqua blue I've ever seen in real life, and I had one of those pinch myself moments again. At the back of the cave there was even a little spot to sit to admire the beauty of it all.

The cave had a magical, mystical feel, but at the same time you could feel its tranquility. As we cast our eyes out onto the water, the sun started to set and it really was picture perfect. It was such a shame that I couldn't take photos of the cave or the views we were taking in, but I will definitely never forget that moment. I would even go as far as to say that it has gone down as one of my top moments in life. Just to be at one with nature, enjoying the sheer beauty of the surroundings I was in was simply amazing. By the time we swum back to the beach, the sun had disappeared beyond the horizon, but not before we got to enjoy the striking shades of orange it glowed across the sky and over the water.

As for the cute Turkish boy, well he turned out to be a fisherman, who invited a group of us out on his boat the following day. Unfortunately we couldn't locate each other on the beach even though it's not that big and there
a creative invention a creative invention a creative invention

outdoor bathroom tap!
weren't many people around, so I guess it wasn't meant to be.

Part of the reason I came back to Kabak was to be there for the full moon, and when it appeared from behind the mountain it lit up the whole area and it was so cool being able to see the beach, the sea and the mountains. The light made the water glisten a silvery blue, and again, it was so surreal to be experience beauty of this magnitude. The moon was so bright it even cast shadows all over the place, and the force was in full effect as all the dogs in the village went crazy!

When the time came to say my goodbyes again, it was a little bit harder knowing that there wasn't going to be the possibility of coming back, at least for this trip. But I have savoured every minute of my time here, I still have another week of adventures in Turkey to go, and it will be great to see a familiar face again!

Additional photos below
Photos: 15, Displayed: 15


the temple the temple
the temple

the perfect spot to watch the sunset or just enjoy the views
R & R R & R
R & R

this is as stressful as it gets here! (from top to bottom Sevinche, Pinar and Yurik)

29th July 2009

Shambala in Kabak
Wow. What a gorgeous place? Do you happen to remember the approximate price? Thanks!
2nd August 2009

Yes - it was about 65 turkish lira for a twin hut inc breakfast/dinner. prices may have increased for this year. but they also have cheaper tipi style tents or if you have your own tent, you can camp there!

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