Turkey is well known for its pristine beaches and turquoise Eagean and Mediterranean seas from holiday makers. Cultural and ancient sites are also part of famous attractions to be found in Turkey. Nevertheless, I there is a multitude of hidden paradises within the country away from hustling cities, just perfect for body and mind.
One of these paradises of hidden Turkey are the mountain chains not far from the Lycian coast area. In this wonderful world you can experience nature and semi-nomadic people to the fullest with stunning sceneries, incredible beautiful flora and fauna.
With this post I invite you to one of our mountain trekking trips that we enjoyed in summer 2016. The trekking took place near the village of Arsakoy located in the Western Taurus mountains. From Eden Villas the trip by car to Palamut Yayla, the high plateau situated North of Arsakoy village, takes less than 2 hours. It is recommended to rent a car for this trip as it might take much longer by dolmus from Fethiye.
After loading tent and basic camping equipment in our Pick-Up we started our trip to Palamut Yayla on nice a summer day from Eden Villas Kayakoy. We headed to Fethiye first to fuel up our car and buy som fresh food. We made our last checks and continued our trip by driving to the D-350 mountain road leading to Antalya. However, the part of the D-350 Antalya road we drove on is flat and easy. We just kept straight for half an hour or so until we reached the big roundabout in Zorlar. After passing the roundabout we kept on the same road for 1 km and turned right by entering the village road leading to Tlos. After roughly 8 to 10 km we turned left at the fork and headed to Arsakoy. There is a sign marked “Arsakoy” at the fork.
From here on we begun a drive up through magnificent sceneries. As we got higher the was getting smoother and fresher and the views of the landscape where just spectacular. For us it is always a great pleasure to make this trip.
After a while we reached the small village of Arsakoy where we stopped for a short tea break before continuing our way to Palamut Yayla.
After enjoying our tea we jumped back in our pick-up, left Arsa village and ended up driving on an earth road leading to Palamut Yayla. And here again we got gifted with changing sceneries all over the way. The road was partly adventurous but so rewarding with dramatic landscapes and mountain view; it is a journey in a different world.
We finally reached Palamut Yayla where our friend Yüksel welcomed us. We where very happy to meet each other again after a long time. After helping us to bring our bags to our camp, we joined him at his tent to chat and have some water. It was an occasion to great his mother and sisters living with him. A little later we returned to our camp in order to build up our tent and prepare all the necessary things, like sleeping bags, fireplace, cutlery etc, we needed for our stay in this area.
Finaly after having set up our camp we went for our first walk in the in the area during the late afternoon. It always feels like a new experience to be there in the middle of all the surrounding mountains. The cedar tree forests on the lower sides of the mountains are a typical characteristic of the region.
After walking and enjoying this beautiful area, we slowly returned to our camp and got ready have dinner in Yükel’s family tent. We are so grateful for the hospitality of Yüksel’s family who served us a very nice traditional dish that evening. We finally returned to our place and spent some time in front of an open fire while watching the stars at 1500m altitude.
The following day we woke up relatively early and had a small walk before breackfast. It was a beautiful and quiet morning. After taking a few pictures we had breakfast outside with a breathtaking view. Our goal that morning was to hike to “Rahat Yayla” (Comfortable Plateau) from our camp. This hike would take us roughly 2 hours. Basically the plan was to walk a part of the trail with a goat herd belonging to Yüksel’s family. Walking this trail with all these goats was a new experience for me. It made the hike even more interessting and “shortened” the time. Though we had to climb all the way to Rahat Yayla, I did not find it difficult because it is not steep.
Shortly before reaching Rahat Yayla we had to separat from Yüksel and his herd. He had to lead the herd to some grazing land further up.
Finally we reached the plateau and once again we were rewarded with the view of all these beautiful and dramatic sceneries. Rahat Yayla is a huge flat, slightly grassy plateau, surrounded by hills and mountains. On the East side of Rahat Yayla we could see 3 or 4 tents belonging to nomadic families. So we just started to walk through this huge piece of land and headed in direction of the nomadic tents.
Most of the people staying there where not around when we reached the tent-group. They’re shepards underway with their sheep and goat herds. However we where still lucky to meet Jemile, one of the nomads staying in Rahat Yayla for the summer. She introduced us to some members of her family who stayed home that day and invited us to have some tea in her tent. Actually we didn’t just have tea but had an entire lunch after chatting for a while. It is amazing to experience the hospitality of these people. Everybody is just so kind. In fact hospitality is of a huge importance in the nomadic culture.
A couple of hours later it was time to say goodbye and slowly head back to our camp. As I already told one of the previous paragraphs, the amazing landscape makes the relatively long walk so much easier. Also the fact that we had a descending way back was a big advantage.
Back at our camp we were delighted to be able to lie down and rest a little bit. We afterwords went to Yüksel’s tent and found his mother Fatma baking a traditional bred for dinner. Maybe an hour later Yüksel returned with his herd after a long day on the high plateau pasturage and joined us. An Uncle and a cousin of Yüksel joined us as well and we finally all had dinner together. This was a nice way to finish our trekking day.
The day after we hiked in the cedar forest on the lower part of the slope. The landscape we where waking through was obviously slightly different from the dramatic mountain sceneries. The huge cedar trees surrounding us just looked majestic. On our way back to the camp we relaxed for a while with coffee prepared with spring water before packing our stuff a building down the tent.
Fortunately we got one more occasion to share a tea with Yüksel, his mother Fatma and his little sister Güsüm at their place. It was finally time to load up our pick, say goodbye and drive back to Kayakoy.
That’s how we spent 3 wonderful days in this small piece of paradise of the taurus mountains. We can’t wait for the next trip.