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first timer to Turkish Baths

I will be traveling with my husband then meeting a group, we will have time to experience a turkish bath or Haman. I understand men and women are separated.
Any hints on what to do... (I'll be alone, and not sure husband would go for it anyway)
Any Haman recommended?
What should I definitely take?
What should I expect to pay?
Thank you in advance...

Posted by
101 posts

Visiting the Haman is a treat and you should not skip it. I am guessing you might be in Istanbul which has several nice Hamans. I went to the old one by Aya Sofia. I went there to make sure I got a really good massage as my lower legs were really tight. You are welcome and given a key to a locker plus flip flops and a towel (pestamal). You wait in a “waiting room where they bring you juice and snacks. Someone comes and takes you to a heated room where you are left near marble sinks with a bowl and no towel. You get “softened up” in this hot room. Later, someone comes back, lays you down on a heated marble platform and scrubs you with a loofa like sponge.
Later you are massaged. I paid extra for an hour massage which was wonderful. When the masssage was over and I had had a shower and changed I sat in the waiting room and was served cold drinks and snacks.
Each Haman has a little different routine. Your could bring your own pestamal at Haman shops but one is also provided. Other than your favorite shampoo, there isn’t much you need. Your front desk staff can help you pick a Haman and the costs.
Pam from Bath

Posted by
14131 posts

Several men and women on my tour went, though not in Istanbul. Locals usually are naked, visitors usually wear bathing suits. Both are acceptable. There are massage choices. The women had their skin scrubbed and enjoyed the after-feel. The men also were glad they'd gone.

Posted by
1644 posts

I went to a Hamam in Antalya on the RS Best of Turkey Tour. Yes, men and women were separated. We were told to take off our clothing except for our undies. We were given towels to cover up and we left our clothes in small changing rooms that we locked. An invigorating experience, I’m really glad I did it. As our contingent of 5 women left, a big group of local women arrived at the end of the workday. I’m not sure how much it cost, it was an optional activity not included in the tour.

Posted by
272 posts

I visited a Hamam in our hotel in Antalya. It started out in a changing room, where I took off everything but my underwear and wrapped myself in a red checked towel. The masseuse then led me to a steam room first and then to a sauna. Next, she took me to a private room for the main event. I stretched out on a marble table. She did some serious scrubbing with a loofah sponge and washed my hair. There was a whole ritual of pouring warm water and then cool water --- I can't remember the order of things. Next, she soaked a thin, gauzy cloth in soapy water and spun the cloth cloth in big circles. As she spun the cloth, a thick layer of suds formed, and she released the suds on top of me. I must have been covered in about 8 inches of suds. It was magical. Next came a one hour massage. Afterwards, there was a recovery room where you could take your time drinking water and relaxing, much like one would do after any massage.

I can't think of anything to take except for an extra pair of dry underwear.

I paid $30 plus a big tip in 2015, which I thought was an incredible deal. The hotel claimed that they were running a special.

Enjoy! A visit to a Hamam is a must-do in Turkey. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Posted by
7 posts

Make sure to bring your own sponge. Or you may be scabbed with a communal one..... They may be providing personal, disposable one at high end Hamams, like the one near Sofia, but definitely not at public ones. They use 2 mitten sponges, I guess, from my experience with Korean scrcubs. I ve not been at Hamams yet. RS book says where to buy them at Grand Basar. But they may be selling them at Hamams, too. Anybody knows? Not very convinient to go to GB f mittens...

Posted by
6390 posts

They use special loofah sponges. If I knew which one worked as great as the ones the use, I would have bought one to take home (well, I did buy one but it just wasn't the same). I went to 2 baths and loved the experience but would not think of supplying my own sponge (it may be seen an an insult for all I know and certainly odd, as no local would do it). If it was communal, oh well! Live and let live.