My Traditional Turkish Bath Experience – Istanbul, Turkey

Beautiful turkish bath basin with coloured tiles and fancy taps
Turkish Bath Stock Photo

That awkward moment a large, saggy boob hits your friend on the back. Man, am I glad she picked Olivia and not me…

So, for those of you who have not experienced a Turkish Bath before, let me tell you, it’s not quite like what you get at home. In fact, sometimes you get a little more than you bargained for, like the old unintentional boob slap on your back trick.

However, like most, I had a remarkably relaxing experience and highly recommend everyone try it out when you’re in Istanbul. There are Turkish Spas dotted around everywhere, and I visited the one Contiki Holidays takes you to when I did their 45 day Ultimate European plus Egypt Extension Tour.

I was led to a large, dimly lit, wooden room with multiple floors, filled with dozens of dressing rooms. I was handed a small towel and a pair of rubber sandals to change into after a quick shower. From there I entered the steamy hararet (hot room). This amazing room was almost completely covered in marble, with a huge dome high above the circular central heating platform. It was magnificent.

Turkish Bath hot room covered in marble with the hexagonal heating platform in the centre
Turkish Bath Stock Photo (can’t take cameras inside!)

At first it was a little daunting to be walking around in nothing but bikini bottoms and sandals (more than some were wearing), however the tranquil atmosphere drifts away any worries. There must have been 20 or so ladies in the hot room at this time. One by one, a masseuse would walk over to each of the guests, after enjoying the heat for as long as you wanted, to begin the next phase.

This was when my friend Olivia was approached and walked to the central platform to be washed. Now sitting by myself, I couldn’t help but giggle as she lay there while the masseuse’s enormous boobs swayed back and forth, dangerously close to her back and legs, until that fateful moment *slap*. But now, it was my turn. I honestly don’t even remember what my masseuse looked like, I completely zoned out; I was so incredibly relaxed.

Stock photo of a Turkish cabinet filled with coloured cloths
Turkish Bath Stock Photo

Lying on the heated marble platform, I was then covered in a thick layer of soapy bubbles and washed and scrubbed until there was just about nothing left. After a brief massage here, and now perfectly exfoliated, I was led to a corner of the room to have my hair washed, head massaged, and rinsed clean. Next was to move through the cold room. By hopping into the cold spa, it is said to increase circulation and rid your body of toxins. Feeling quite revitalised now, I was walked to a private room for the final part of my Turkish Bath experience; a full body massage. It was so relaxing that I fell asleep after a while, and was left to rest for well over an hour.

All up, we were probably inside for over 3 hours, however you can stay as long as you want. Different Turkish Baths offer different services and therefore prices vary considerably. I paid around AU$50 and it was definitely well spent!


Have you had an awkward moment while trying a new experience overseas?
Have you ever been to a Turkish Bath before?

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