Turkish Hammam Tips in 2021 | Turkish Bath Etiquette

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Turkish hammam

Let’s get clean yourself in a traditional way. I always try to do my best not to miss out on unique experiences during my visits. Without any doubt, I can say that, one of the best experiences I ever had. I am talking about the traditional Turkish bath or hammam. Before visiting the hammam, I hated this thing or not liked that; I mean, someone is giving you bathing, he or she scrubbing your front and back with soap, and you are naked in front of them. Lol, this is weird, but my co-traveler friend took me there. The Turkish bath was one of the very first things during the trip that we did in Istanbul. The question raised here?

 

What happened in Turkish Hammam anyway?

I know many of you would be sceptical about the idea of being bathed in an open area or public. I decided to write this article with everything related to hammam that you need to know. So, if you want to go to Turkish Hammam, then do not miss any expect that would be discussed in the blog.

Let’s walk into the Hammam…

 

1: Overview of Turkish Hammam

First thing first, we have to learn something about the bath. In general, these are vital features of Islamic culture. These baths were the social hubs in ancient times. The Turkish Hammams are spectacular in terms of architecture.

The two types of hammam categories were in the essence of the Ottoman Empire. Small and plain Hammams that are used for ordinary people. Other are glorious and large Hammams that are used by the sultans and other officials.

 

2: The Bath Procedure

Every hammam has a different type of service and design. It depends on you, what you will choose; if you are going the first time, select the service that includes bubble wash and scrubbing. Okay, let me explain it, you have to decide, you want to get the traditional hammam or Turkish Bath services in the hotel. After the selection of Hammam or Bath, you have to select the service.

Possible options will be:

  • Self–Service: It means you’ll bath yourself. You’ll use your soap, shampoo, and towel. This is the cheapest option that will cost you approximately 150 TL.
  • Traditional Style: This is essential for first-timers. The masseur will wash and massage your body for about 20 to 25 minutes, and you don’t have to use your equipment. This service will cost you around 260 TL.
  • Other Styles: Many hammams and Baths have many services such as reflexology, oil massage, facial clay mask, and Indian head massage.

When you confirm your service, someone will lead you to a private room to change and lock up your things.

The question raised here;

What happens in a hammam after getting in?

Get this;

 

  • Take Your Clothes Off

Not mean someone is going to force you to be naked. This is just included in the strict etiquette of the hammam. The wrap must be around you at all times; no gross exposure, don’t worry. If you are a man, you’ll completely naked apart from the wrap. On the other hand, women keep their underwear and remove their bra (in some cases, not bra even).

What will my attendant do?

Your masseur will give you a massage, scrub your body, and wash your body.

What will be the sex of my attendant?

Your masseur will be the same sex as you. So, don’t worry about anything.

 

  • Hot Room or Sauna

After the clothes-off procedure, your hammam journey begins. Your masseur will lead you to the hot room or hararet room. This is one of the iconic parts of the hammam. This is what you would have seen in many movies and many magazines that promoting the hammam. You’ll sit around 15 minutes in Sauna before the massage begins. Lying on the göbektaşı, that is, the platform raised in the middle where the heat comes from.

The sauna will be private or not?

Some hammams or baths allow sexes to mix in the hot room, while some do not. Again, it depends on you where you go.

 

  • Scrubbing and Bubble Massage

After 15 – 20 minutes in the Sauna room, your masseur will now soak and clean your body with kese; it’s a particular type of pouch used for scrubbing. Don’t worry; it is not painful as you are thinking, but if you feel overwhelmed, or there is any part of your body you don’t want to scrub, you can tell your masseur. After the scrubbing, you’ll get the dreamy bubble wash and massage. Your masseur will squeeze a smooth bubble all over your body. You’ll realize how politely and gently your masseur is giving you a massage.

After the fulfillment of this process, prepare yourself for cold water bowls that are poured over your head.

Is the Hammam mixed with men and women? or can I take my girlfriend or into the Hammam?

No, the Turkish hammam is not mixed with men and women; you’ll see the same sex in the bath as you have. On the other hand, you can’t take your girlfriend or boyfriend to the Hammam.

What kind of soap do they use?

Mainly a standard soap they used in the hammam. If you have some kind of sensitive skin, then bring your soap.

Will I get washed as well as massaged? And Will they wash my private areas?

Your masseur will massage your body with bubbles of soap for about 30 to 40 minutes. Your masseur will please you with different kinds of talking and stories.

They will not wash your private areas; you wash your private areas yourself.

 

  • Cooling Down and Relaxing Moment

Here, your incredible hammam journey will almost be done. Your masseur left the hot room, but if you want to stay more, then you can. After that, I headed to the cold room to get a shower; this room was the house of showers and toilets but very clean. My masseur gave me a clean bath – wrap and towel before taking a shower.

Now it’s time for relaxation. The unique and authentic way to end a Turkish Hammam is to sit in the lounge and read books and magazines or chit-chat with your friends. Take a cup of tea or some water and some snacks to refuel.

How long I can stay at Hammam?

It depends on you how long you want to be there after the massage. But stay at least one hour.

Is it mandatory to give a tip to the attendant?

Yes, you have to make sure to take some change with you. Your masseur will expect a 10 – 20% tip from you.

3: Selecting a Hammam in Istanbul

It is a vital thing to choose the hammam, and it was a challenge for us. That’s why I added this section on how to good hammam in Istanbul. If you are choosing a hammam, then ensure the comfort and cleanliness of the Hammam. In Istanbul, there are many high-rated hammams.

There are two types of baths, modern baths, and traditional hammam. Historical hammams are an exciting and significant attraction for newbies like me. Your tongue automatically praises and appreciates the marvelous architecture and authentic setting. You’ll get the relaxation in that place where folks have enjoyed for centuries.

Best historical hammam in Istanbul

  • Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı
  • Çukurcuma Hamamı 1831
  • Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamamı
  • Haseki Hürrem Sultan Hamami
  • Mihrimah Sultan Hamami
  • Cagaloglu Hamami
  • Cemberlitas Hamami

 

Turkish Baths, Saunas and Massage in the Hotels

  • Radisson Blu,
  • Swissotel The Bosphorus Istanbul,
  • Four Seasons,
  • Marriott International,
  • InterContinental Istanbul,
  • Hotels Les Ottomans
  • Raffles Spa
  • eforea Spa at Hilton
  • Iridium Spa at The St. Regis Istanbul
  • The Grand Tarabya

 

4: Top Tips for Turkish Bath

  • If you are planning to visit the hammam, then make an appointment in advance.
  • If you have any sickness, means you have a heart condition, high or low blood pressure, then I’ll highly recommend do not to visit Turkish Hammam.
  • Don’t eat anything heavy before getting in the Hammam; keep your stomach empty.
  • Hammams timing is from dawn 6 AM to desk somewhere around midnight.
  • Don’t worry; your masseur sex will be the same as you have.
  • As I told you before, keep some change with you for tipping the masseur. That would be a nice thing. So, don’t forget.
  • The last tip is if you are a woman and you are pregnant, and you want to visit Turkish Hammam, then consult your doctor before visit Turkish Hammam.

 

 

Final Thoughts…

I was in a horrible thinking situation, should I describe my experience with you people or not? Then I decided I have to, but I said to myself, don’t open the magic box, try to educate the people about the Turkish Hammam. So, I share the things that I learned during my visit. But I did not open the magic box, and I kept that lock. When you people visit the traditional Turkish Hammam, you people will know the secret. I can say that. It’s pure magic.

Thank you for Being with me!

Cheers!

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