The historical Turkish
bath in Fethiye is located Paspatur known as the "Old City".
Another bath is near the Bus Terminal, operating throughout the
year. In addition, some touristic hotels in the center of the town
and at Ölüdeniz, Hisarönü, Ovacik and Çaliş have traditionally
built Turkish baths.
When in Turkey you
should visit a Turkish Bath, (or Hamam). Many people never try
them, because they think, (usually wrongly), that they will get
sexual harrassment, in fact, it is an oasis of tranquility. You
are in Turkey, so why not try the proper TURKISH WAY, IT IS AN
EXPERIENCE NOT TO BE MISSED. Believe me.
WHAT HAPPENS IN THE HAMAM?
Turkish towns have at least one Hamam and it is usually well
sign-posted, but if you can't find one just look for the
distinctive roof domes, usually visible from the street. Hamams
are either for men, women, or mixed. When you first go in you
will see the prices and the various things on offer, which should
be clearly written out by the front desk. You will be given a
thin wrap-around sarong type cloth, called a PEŞTEMAL,
(Peshtemal), and shown into the changing cubicle, or room, where
you take off your clothes! Keep on lower half underwear/trunks,
or if you are a woman a bikini/swimsuit. You normally leave
your valuables and clothes in a small locking box, the key of
which you put on your wrist, or round your ankle, which is with
you throughout your bath.
You are then shown
into the hot room, or as in some tourist towns a large communal
hot room, where you will sit for around 20 minutes to sweat.
What happens is, you NEED to sweat to make it easier to scrub off
the dead skin cells, so don't put any water on yourself to cool
yourself down. The reason you are in the hot room is to MAKE
YOU SWEAT, as it takes away all the toxins from your body.
All Hamams have an elevated block in the centre of the room,
which is made from marble, which is called a GÖBEK TAŞI, (Goobek
Tashi), or Naval Stone. After 20 minutes or so, it is very good
to lie on this block, to take away all the stresses of life. You
can LEARN to relax, which is excellent for the body and the mind.
the Masseur will call you, one by one, onto the Göbek Taşı, he,
usually a male, will put on an abrasive mitt, called a KESE which
is made of coarse sheeps wool and rub you all over with it,
whisking away layers of dead skin and grime. No, it does not
take your suntan off. If anything you should use the Turkish Bath
around the first to the third day of your stay, so your tan will
develop along a lot better and stay longer, because you have had
all the dead cells rubbed away. When you go into the sun you are
tanning new skin, which changes every 10 days. Also we recommend
that around the ninth day you should have another go at the Hamam,
then finish off your tan over the last few days, going home with a
longer-lasting tan. What females usually do if the want their
whole body done, is to roll their swimsuit down to where a
bikini bottom stops, so that they can get the benefit of having
the whole body done, but if you are shy and don't want to do
that, then don't. Usually the Masseur / Masseuse, (TELLAK), will
ask you if you want to do it, but in some places they do not speak
foreign languages, so he might signal this to you. What you want
to do, or not do, is up to you, but if you don't do the WHOLE then
you waste your time going there. Remember, to them, YOU
JUST ANOTHER BODY, just like
your doctor they are very professional, it is not worth it for
them to sexually harrass you, as, like most situations in this
world, there is a Tellak grapevine, word of mouth would get around
about a BAD Tellak and no-one would employ him, also he would lose
respect and too much money. After you have had the KESE, he will
then tell you to wash under a shower, or from the bowls around the
Hamam, he will then scour the Göbek Taşı with fresh water to rinse
away your dead skin cells from it. This is a must, as the next
person is not allowed to be done until this procedure has been
will tell you to come and lie on the Göbek Taşı again. This time
he will take a large pillow case, dip it in a bowl of water then
proceed to blow into it. In it there is usually olive oil soap.
He will then splosh you from chin to feet with the soapsuds,
then he'll massage you from your feet to the back of your neck,
then chin to feet. Be careful of soapsuds getting into your
eyes, it stings like mad. When he has finished the massage he
will indicate for you to shower, or sometimes he will take you to
the bowl and rinse you off. You can ask for shampoo and wash your
hair. When you have finished this procedure, you will be given a
fresh, dry PEŞTEMAL and sent outside to cool down, given two
towels, one to wrap round the top of your body and one wrapped
round your head, this is when most people get the camera out, you
look like an Egyptian! There they will offer you something to
drink, which is a good idea since the hamam dehydrates you.
After around 10 minutes you will be asked if you want an oil
massage. The oil massage is highly recommended, as it leaves
your skin baby soft, even you big hairy men! You will be taken
into the massage room and given a massage from your toes to your
head, back and front, it's REALLY WORTH HAVING IT DONE. After the
whole proceedure is over you go into the cubicle, or communial
room and dress, then pay.
About tipping, it is left to your discretion, if you think
you have had value for money, be generous, because the TELLAK
usually makes his money through tips.
IT'S AS EASY AS THAT. TRY IT, IT'S GUARANTEED THAT YOU'LL
LOVE IT AND EVEN GO BACK FOR ANOTHER ONE. REMEMBER WHEN IN
TURKEY DO AS THE TURKS DO !