Photos and recordings were not allowed in the hamam, for obvious reasons. Naked women everywhere.
I was volunteering in Kayseri, Turkey for 2 weeks and naturally, I had to visit the hamam before I leave!
This hamam was built 500 years ago, and most probably has never seen a tourist from a foreign country. This way, I was sure that I was getting the real hamam experience, like what any local would get. Boy oh boy, what an experience it was.
I got the hamam, kese (scrub) and the masaj. It all amounted to 33TL which is way cheaper than any hamams in Istanbul.
But, I wasn’t exactly wowed by my experience. The scrub was with a loofah and lasted for about 10 minutes. The massage was also for about 10 minutes. Too short in my opinion.
Let me give you a run down of what happens:
1. You choose the services that you want, and pay.
2. For a kese (scrub), I had to buy my own loofah so I suggest you confirm this. For the soap massage, you need to bring your own soap!
3. Keep all your stuff in the locker, and get the keys.
4. Here’s the fun part. Strip.
5. For the hamam (bath), you sit and pour hot/cold/warm (adjust accordingly) water on yourself.
6. After a while, the woman (or man) in charge will call you up for a scrub.
7. For the scrub, you take everything except your underwear off. And you will be scrubbed with a loofah everywhere. To be honest, I think getting a loofah and scrubbing myself would have been cheaper, less embarrassing and more convenient.
8. Next was the soap massage. This was good, this was really good. Again, everything off except for your underwear.
9. With that, I went into the sauna and poured myself with more water.
10. Rub yourself dry, get your things, have a cup of tea and enjoy the smooth skin!
Wooooah. My first hamam experience was definitely shocking. Talk about culture shock. I don’t think I’ve ever been naked in front of so many people before.
But give me another chance, and I’ll do it in a heart beat!