TRYING A TURKISH BATH, (OR HAMAM)  

     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?
    All 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 ARE 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 carried out.
   
He 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 fresh, thick 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 !