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?
- 1 What happened in Turkish Hammam anyway?
- 2 1: Overview of Turkish Hammam
- 3 2: The Bath Procedure
- 3.1 Possible options will be:
- 3.2 What happens in a hammam after getting in?
- 3.2.1 Take Your Clothes Off
- 3.2.2 Hot Room or Sauna
- 3.2.3 Scrubbing and Bubble Massage
- 3.2.4 Cooling Down and Relaxing Moment
- 4 3: Selecting a Hammam in Istanbul
- 5 Turkish Baths, Saunas and Massage in the Hotels
- 6 4: Top Tips for Turkish Bath
- 7 Final Thoughts…
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 provide a variety of services, including reflexology, oil massage, face clay masks, 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?
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. Don’t worry; the wrap must be wrapped around you always. If you are a man, you’ll be completely naked apart from the wrap. On the other hand, women keep their underwear and remove their bras (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 masseuse will take you to the hot room, often known as the hararet chamber. This is one of the hammam’s most recognisable features. You would see this in numerous films and periodicals marketing the hammam. Before the massage, you’ll spend about 15 minutes in the Sauna. Lying on the göbektaş, or the raised platform in the center where the heat emanates.
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 use kese to soak and clean your body.; 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?
They mostly used regular soap in the hammam. If you have sensitive skin, bring some soap with you.
Will I be bathed in addition to massage? 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 clean your private parts; you must clean them 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 is entirely up to you how long you wish to stay after the massage. However, you must stay for at least one hour
Is it mandatory to give a tip to the attendant?
Yes, you must remember to bring some change with you. You should tip your masseur between 10% and 20%.
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
- Çukurcuma Hamamı 1831
- Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamamı
- Haseki Hürrem Sultan Hamami
- Mihrimah Sultan Hamami
- Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı
- Cagaloglu Hamami
- Cemberlitas Hamami
Turkish Baths, Saunas and Massage in the Hotels
- Radisson Blu,
- Inter Continental Istanbul,
- eforea Spa at Hilton
- Swissotel The Bosphorus Istanbul,
- Four Seasons,
- Marriott International,
- The Grand Tarabya
- Hotels Les Ottomans
- Raffles Spa
- Iridium Spa at The St. Regis Istanbul
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.
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!