We don’t know the rules: We don’t know how, when or if they’ll be nude, and we don’t know the proper procedure. So, what can you learn from my initial visit to a Turkish hamam?

Turkish baths (Hamams) are a wonderful and exciting part of Turkish culture. They provide a great opportunity to relax, socialize, and to try a very different approach to the spa and sauna experience. However, they’re also pretty daunting for foreigners. This video shares my (less than ideal, but no less hilariously awkward) introduction to the Turkish Bath experience in the Turkish city of Antalya in a hamam building that dates back more than 600 years. To spice things up a bit – I’ve also heard various rumors (after the fact) that this hamam in particular is extremely gay-friendly (i’m straight). Probably for the best I didn’t know that before hand, given how uncomfortable I was to begin with but a great added nugget of context for the story.

It is worth noting that I’ve since learned that many tourist-centered baths will actually provide you with your own underwear-like swimsuit if you request it.

This video is part of my travel adventure story series where I recount some of my most memorable, exciting, and at times awkward travel experiences. Join me as I take a stroll down memory lane and re-visit Turkey in today’s episode.

Special thanks to Tim Genford ( for handling the camera work.

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31 COMMENTS

  1. Shock! Horror! Someone MAY see your genitals!?
    I’m currently staying in Tbilisi, Georgia where it’s FORBIDDEN to wear ANY clothes in the bath houses there. If you found yourself showering and bathing alongside a group of naked men here you’d certainly have a more interesting video to make.

  2. That's a pretty tame "first time in a hamam" story. If you had stayed in Turkey longer, your attitude about nudity would probably have changed. Turkish men's views on public nudity are somewhat complicated. Walking around totally nude in a hamam would- generally speaking- be frowned upon so your experience was not too normal.

    One of my first times, I was in a local hamam in a small town. Must have been about 8 at night, on a Friday and I was literally the only customer. In walk two guys, an old man and a young muscle guy. Father and son, I guessed. By that time I was wrapping things up and I noticed they had begun using my shampoo as body gel and they finished the whole thing. I wasn't too worried about it. No big deal.
    I just picked up the empty bottles and prepared to leave. When they noticed, they were totally apologetic and offered to give me a scrubbing. I was like "Um, no problem, Really, no problem." But they both insisted so I relented. It felt good but it was a bit strange. Anyway, as I was leaving, they were getting ready to leave too. They asked me if I had a ride back to the town center and I said no. They told me they would gladly take me back. Now, all this is something I would never do in the US.
    Get into the car and the muscle guy pulls out a pistol from under the seat and puts it in his coat pocket. I was thinking, Ok, this is where I get murdered and dumped. But in the end, they dropped me off, and apologized again and said good night. I guess they were either the mafia or undercover cops.
    I didn't ask any questions.

  3. Yeah, those american idiots watch the blood, gore, murders, brutality, etc. all day long in television but as they cannot see a naked butt or tit in that television, they think the nudity is bad. Like those ridiculous and disgusting half-leg bermudas they all wear on the beach when Europeans and other normal people wear speedos or shorts.

  4. You have an obvious COMPLEX of not being American! Enjoy your Turkish or whatever ancestry, it's probably much more worthy than being an American nowadays – :).

  5. I'm laughing and laughing and still laughing after being listening to this so-called "shocking" story. I'm a European, and for us this isn't special or weird at all. This is how having a massage works, probably everywhere in the world, except in the US.

  6. @ 2:43 sec. Didn't you play sports and undress in the high school locker rooms and college? Idid this when I was 14. You have a gym membership in the USA? There are tons of naked guys in there. Grow the fuck up. Jeeez. Their objective is not to mess with your junk. If the idea is that uncomfortable to you, Why did you go?

    You would think This guy would be more comfortable being naked, considering how attractive he is. I am so sick of how immature Americans are about sex and nudity.

  7. OMG, just a bla-bla-bla for nothing, just to show how shocked he was. Come on, don't you know what happens in Hammans ? It dependes on you, if you want/like this or that or like nothing. What you describe is shown in Hammans propaganda all over the world. Please don't be so puritain ou shocked.

  8. you are really afraid of another person seeing you naked? wow you should probably stay in the US. Oh and never go to a nude beach, a complete stranger may see you naked….

  9. This seems to be typical of Americans. Many of us were raised with puritanical ideas of nudity. Nudity has very little to do with sex. I was fortunate not to be shamed about my body from a very young age. My family would go to Hot Springs Ar. As a child I would play in the baths naked. As I got older I would take the mineral Baths and have a massage. This happened twice a year until I moved away and I missed them very much. All Americans let go and have a rub down or massage and go to an old world spa. Love your self. PEACE

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