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Easy going on Köyceğiz lake

More Adventure travel tales in Turkey:
Sultanahmet in Istanbul
Gulet Cruise
Selçuk and Ephesus
Other Eastern European Tales:
Vilnius, Lithuania
Prague, Czech Republic
Cesky Krumlov, Bohemia
Budapest, Hungary
Brasov, Romania
Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Koycegiz lake

Köyceğiz lake is located land inward between Fethiye and Marmaris. The lake is connected to the sea by a natural channel. It is a nice environment for nature dwellers, in a landscape non-typical for Turkey. Most of the tourists head for Dalyan to explore the natural environments and ruins of the Lycian city of Kaunos. We choose the village Köyceğiz, which is more geared towards backpackers.

A Dolmus (Turkish shared taxi) brings us to the bus station of Fethiye, just out of town. There, we find the right bus, and a little later we are well underway. Within a few hours we reach Köycegiz bus station, unfortunately just out of town. But a taxi brings us directly to one of the backpacker hostels, Tango pension.

Quiet Lake

The pension is located on a quiet street, not far from Köyceğiz lake. After checking in, and a bit of relaxing in the cosy garden, we decide to have a look. It is remarkably quiet, there is nobody fishing here (except for some cormorants), and the tourist boats are lying at the quay. There is no wind either, so the lake almost looks like a big mirror.

We walk from the lake into town. All is quiet here as well. We are obviously in the off season, but it looks as if things are relatively quiet in summer here as well. We grab a döner kebap at the central square and walk along some shopping streets and mosques before we walk back.

Reed beds along the canal between Koycegiz and DalyanAt the pension we entertain ourselves with a few fellow backpackers, a movie, and the cats in the garden. A camp fire is lit and after a while a belly dances makes his appearance. We watch it for a while, but then decide this occupation should be performed by women instead of a Turk with a moustache.

Boat trip on Köyceğiz lake

With three fellow backpackers we book a boat trip on Köyceğiz lake. While we enjoy the views the boat brings us to the other side of the lake, where the natural channel to the sea starts. There, we are surrounded by reed beds, as if we were in the Dutch polders, although there we wouldn’t have the mountains in the backdrop. As we continue along the winding channel, more and more boats appear at the banks, which turns into a climax as we reach Dalyan. Hundreds of tourist boats are lying at the quay here. We also see numerous hotels, but because of the season it’s quiet here as well.

When we have passed Dalyan, suddenly the rock graves of the Lycian city Kaunos appear. They are similar to those in Myra (typical Lycian we suppose), Kaunos rock gravesbut are a bit more spread over the rock façade. We do not visit Kaunos itself, but there is supposed to be not much else to see.

The channel is splitting up into a labyrinth of smaller canals through the reed beds. The captain finds its way and an hour later we reach the sea gets in sight. It is separated from the canals by a sandbank, with a single fast flowing passage to the side. The seaside of the sandbank is Turtle beach, one of the places along Turkey’s southern coast where sea turtles lay their eggs.

Turtle Beach

The boat anchors at the sandbank, and we walk along turtle beach. We see many small trails in the sand, and wonder if they are from baby turtles crawling to the sea. It is not the right season for the turtles, so they are probably crab trails, but we like to believe they come from the turtles. On the beach, a line marks the point from where turtle nests may be located, where it is not allowed to walk or sun bathe. But the few tourists here do not bother, and just lay there. We choose a spot near the fast flowing passage to the channel instead.

After being warmed up by the sun, we decide to have a swim. We walk into the sea, but cannot reach deeper water than knee high. At the passage it gets deeper, but there is a very strong current there, so it’s a bit too dangerous there. As we decide to go back, all of a sudden we see a big rock floating by. As we look closer, it’s a turtle flying through the water. A magnificent sight, but unfortunately he goes too fast to follow. We search for more turtles, but with not more luck.

Mud Bath

Mud baths near KoycegizBack on board we have a tasty meal before we head back to Köycegiz. But not before we visit the mud baths near Dalyan. Here, we follow the instructions and cover ourselves with the green sulphurous mud. After drying a bit in the sun, we take a cold shower to wash it off, and then hurry to the pool from the hot springs. Nice, despite the sulphur smell.

The boat reaches Köyceğiz before it gets dark. We hit the shower to get rid of the last sulphur smell, before we head to town. Here we find a cosy restaurant, where we have a good meal, and the owner takes all the time to talk with us. It is another sign that tourism hasn’t spoiled the friendly Turkish spirit in this town.

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