Difference between revisions of "Kaş"
Revision as of 13:09, 4 April 2010
Kaş (pronounced Kaash) is a "Turkish Delight" city in the very south (Mediterranean) of Turkey. Kaş has several rocky (not sand) beaches but they are quite small, most are less than 10 metres wide. However the rock shelves are wonderful for sun and sea bathing. These are populated by cafes and restaurants which provide free loungers. In return you are expected (but not obliged) to buy drinks, snacks or food from them.
The town has many decent hotels and restaurants and is a bustling centre for adventure activity holidays. The main season is from April through the end of October. October 29th (Ekim yirmi dokuz) is Turkish Independence Day and the official end of the tourist season in Kaş. There is a huge celebration in the town square (meydan).
Kaş is halfway between Dalaman Airport (180 km) and Antalya Airport (192 km) and a fair distance from both, so it avoids excessive package trade. There are various ways to get to Kaş from these airports. The easiest way, and the most expensive, is by taxi. You can hire a taxi in the airport (generally more expensive - around 200 YTL [New (Yeni) Turkish Lira]), or you can book a transfer from the hotel where you will be staying or from a local travel agency in Kaş (around 150 YTL). You can take a bus or dolmuş(a shared/bus taxi of usually 12 passengers) however they stop in every small village along the way which takes more time.
There are also direct overnight bus services between Istanbul and Kaş, a rather inexpensive way of getting to and from the capital. Bus services in Turkey are very modern and generally excellent and, if you want to get to Istanbul, you may prefer spending the night in the bus and waking up in Istanbul the next morning rather than wasting a whole day traveling to the airports for a local flight.
The bus station (otogar) is located right at the centre of town, on the side of main square.
The savvy traveler should remember that when traveling into Kaş, there are several national holidays to keep in mind as they can cause delays in travel, traffic congestion, booked up accommodations and crowded venues.
Kaş is a small town, and you can walk anywhere within 10 minutes. Scooters are available for rent around town (30-35 YTL per day, depending on season), if you just can't be bothered.
Minibuses run around the Peninsula of Çukurbağ, known in Turkish as Yarım Ada, which is a few kilometers away and where most hotels have their own terrace "beaches" open to the public (as long as beverages or food are consumed from their beach bars). Taxis to the peninsula can be costly, at least US $10 each way.
Transportation in Turkey is excellent. You can take a minibus (or dolmuş) up to the village of Çukurbağ, about 10 km directly above and behind Kaş and on to places such as Kekova or Kalkan on either side of Kaş.
Within reasonable driving distance are locations for scuba diving, hiking, truck safaris, snorkeling, canyoning, gorge walking, coasteering, sea kayaking, cycling, walking and paragliding, as well as wonderful beaches. Local tour companies are happy to arrange any of these activities. Kaş is considered the "diving capital of the Med."
The nearby "sunken city" of Kekova is a great daytrip that usually includes a stop in the lovely village of Simena. Bougainville Travel  also offers sea kayaking at Kekova (60 YTL/person, including transfer from Kaş).
Dragoman Travel  offers a longer version - their Kekova West sea kayaking trip allows you to explore more silent parts of Kekova Sound and islands, and combines paddling, hiking to Aperlai, and kayak sailing (75 YTL/person).
On Republic Day (October 29th), there is a huge celebration in the town square (meydan). Tourists, Kaş locals and outlying villagers all come together to celebrate. There is lots of Turkish music, dancing and drinking of alcohol, especially rakı (pronounced ra-kuh, also called "Lions milk"), the unofficial national drink.
You can buy tourist kitsch in Kaş but there are also excellent carpet shops and many quality jewelry shops. Some of the jewelry and fine ceramics are made by local artists in their own shops. Kaş has endless varieties of shopping experiences, often of higher quality than most tourist towns, but most importantly, strict regulations the local government has placed on its market mean the shop owners are simply not allowed to hassle you. Complaints about a shop owner can result in the loss of their operating license.
Uzun Çarşı (long market or "slippery sokak") is the most famous shopping street in Kaş and arguably one of the most famous on the "Turkish Riviera." Long on quality and short on kitsch, from late April until after the end of October, this is a bee hive of activity. There are a few restaurants and bars just off of Uzun Çarşı and at the bottom is the town square (meydan) and at the top, just beyond the Lycian Tomb are a fantastic group of restaurants.
Every Friday, year round, there is an open air market which has almost anything you can think of from fresh fruits and vegetables, to clothes, village hardware tools, pirate DVD's and CD's, gozleme (erroneously called a Turkish "pancake") vendors and textiles. Plan to spend at least half a day there whether you are just a curious onlooker or serious shopper. Bargaining for all but the fruits and vegetables is common but at the end of the day, you may get a discount (indirim) if you ask for it.
There are many, many places to eat in Kaş, restaurants are in abundance. Some restaurant prices are a bit steep in Kaş, but at most restaurants you'll get your money's worth as the food is usually excellent.
If you move away from the "most popular" restaurants, you will find good home cooking (ev yemekleri) using garden fresh produce and priced very economical. Hanemeli restaurant is of the home cooking variety but you have to ask around to find it. Soda pop prices can be expensive though, as most restaurants charge 3 YTL for a can, compared to a bottle of water for a mere 2 YTL. A beer is between 4 or 5 YTL. If you walk around and browse the menus and prices, you will probably find a place which is suitable for you at a price you can afford.
There are plenty of bars available in Kaş and many are open until 3 am every night during the April through October season. Beer is between 3.5 and 4 TL (Turkish Lira) and you may pay up to or maybe more than 5 TL for a drink. Mavi Bar is one of the more popular during the April to November season. There are many tables and chairs outside of the bar and it is not unusual to see a large crowd after 2:00 am still gathered there. Another old and established bar is Red Point Bar owned by Tevfik Serin who was born and raised in Kaş.
Just about any kind of music can be heard from commercial pop music to jazz and even foam parties are available. However do not expect too much since Kaş is a small town, things you can do are a bit limited if you are looking for a crazy night out. Still there is dancing to popular music and also quiet hideaways for simple gatherings of friends. Fights and rowdy behavior are seldom seen and not tolerated. The police and gendarme (jandarma) are present but unobtrusive.
Accommodation in Kaş is mostly found either in downtown, or in Çukurbağ Peninsula (yarımadası). Those on the peninsula often have excellent views of the sea, but those in downtown are obviously more convenient when going out to have a dinner. In Kaş, a short walk from the downtown Kaş area (meydan) is a westward facing row of hotels next to the sea. All of them have beach access and beautiful sea views. Room rates in almost all hotels vary depending on the time of the year; high season is usually June, July & August, April & May as well as September through the end of November are delightful times to enjoy the sun and water of Kaş and hotels may accommodate you with a good price if they are not full and if you ask them for a discount (indirim).