Turkish Baths in Istanbul: Top 5

Over the last 5 and half years, enjoying a scrub and massage in Turkish baths has been an integral part of The Other Tour experience. After years of trying many different ‘hamam’s in the city, we can now create a list of our favorites based on authenticity, cleanliness and of course, the price.

Here are our Top 5 recommended Turkish baths where you may like to let the dogs out:

1- GEDİKPAŞA HAMAMI

This bath is not included in any other blog post that has listed the best hamams in the city. But naturally, we differ because we only speak with experience. Gedikpaşa is real and it’s real old. It was built 1972. Even though it’s located near touristy attractions, a lot of locals still choose to go the this place.

turkish baths on the other tour istanbul

It’s big and it has the space to offer additional rooms like a pool, steam room and sauna where you can surely take your time and enjoy yourself for an extended session. Its price is also quite reasonable compared to most Turkish baths in Istanbul. If you stay in the Oldtown, Gedikpaşa may be the right one for you.

gedikpasahamami.com

2- AĞA HAMAMI

This cute little bath is located in Çukurcuma area of Beyoglu district, aka Taksim. This one was originally built in 1454, which is only a year after the conquest of the city. It’s said that this one was the very first Turkish baths that The Ottomans built in the city of Constantinople. And who do you build the first one for? Of course, the ruler!

aga-hamami-1

This may just be the bath where the Sultan and his ladies had lots of fun. And this is probably the reason why the bath does not have seperated sections for man and women. But no need to worry, women go to a different for the massage and of course, by a masseuse. So I recommend Aga Hamamı especially for couples or families who don’t want to seperate from each other.

agahamami.com

turkish baths - kılıç ali paşa

3- KILIÇ ALİ PAŞA HAMAMI

This one is new, fancy, great and a little expensive. But is it worth the money? Hell yeah!

The whole facility went through an excellent restoration and now it offers a superb service. Certainly one of the best Turkish baths ever in the history of Turkish baths! Seriously..

kilicalipasahamami.com

cinili-hamam3-1

4- ÇİNİLİ HAMAMI

If you are the kinda adventurous traveler that I respect so much, you might wanna try a bath on the asian side of Istanbul. And if that’s the case, Çinili is the one for you. It’s quite old and really cute but this is a great excuse for its high cost unfortunately. The staff is friendly and the owner lady who is always personally there, is very welcoming. It’s so calm and real authentic that I actually am very fond of this bath. It’s definitely the best one of all Turkish baths on the asian side of Istanbul.

cinilihamam.com

turkish baths

5- GALATASARAY HAMAMI

This one is the most beautiful. It’s a bit expensive but the place is worth it. Just the ceilings alone might be worth the price. It again is in Beyoglu area and staff are kinda weird but that’s probably because the building is so fantastic that they don’t really care how much business they get anyway. The original date of construction is 1458 which also makes it one of the very first Turkish baths.

galatasarayhamami.com


And here is my man Rick Steves’ take on Turkish baths.

Historic Istanbul in Snow

Después de 30 años, Istanbul se vuelve a teñir de blanco.

Film and edit: Arturo Sánchez Studio
Graphic Design: José Luis Valero
Song: Mad World – Gary Jules

MWE: Eclectic Turkish Folk Music

Based in San Francisco, CA, MWE puts a modern and eclectic twist on Turkish and Balkan folk music. As a five member acoustic wind ensemble, MWE plays traditional and original songs with the rarely paired clarinet and the double-reeded zurna. Add one more clarinet, a saxophone , and a davul (a shoulder slung marching drum), and you’re about the closest to heavy metal you can get without amplification. MWE’s shows are loud, wild, and raucous affairs known for drawing entire audiences to their feet in one song or less.

MWE has performed at many of the Bay Area’s world music venues such as Ashkenaz, Amnesia, the Red Poppy, and Yoshi’s Lounge to name a few.


More on their website mweband.com

Faces of Turkey

In travel or in our daily lives we pass by others, forgetting that all the people we interact with are just like us…

human: full of happiness and pain and hope.

In Turkey, we tried to take an extra moment to “see” some of the food producers that make up this wonderful country.

Created by: theperennialplate.com
In Partnership with: intrepidtravel.com/food/

Filmed & edited by: Daniel Klein ( twitter.com/perennialplate/ ) & Mirra Fine ( twitter.com/kaleandcola/)

Music: “Kicked down the Road” by James Wallace and the Naked Light: jwatnl.com/
vimeo.com/user2429372

Filmed on 5d Mark iii w Canon 24-70, 70-200 2.8 L

“An Iconoclastic Tour”

The Other Tour is very much a counter tour that avoids the standard tourist sites and the standard approach of herding tourists with the occasional pointing and a few humorous remarks.

The activities range from a Bosporus cruise (standard) to a lunch at the Fethi’s house in Esenler, cooked by the tour guide’s mother. Indeed the itinerary went well beyond the one stated itinerary of local markets, Armutlu. Balat and Fener, Okey lessons, and the hammam visit.

Our tour included tasting the famous Kanlica yoghurt and comfort drink sahlep while replacing the wine tasting with a night out at the Galata Restaurant & Bar where the raki and wine flowed (other tours will vary). The tour lasted 14 hours.

The tour is iconoclastic (a good Byzantine word) in two other ways.

 

The energetic but avuncular guide—accompanied by his more sedate brothers—used a mixture of humor and quips to break down the defenses of other participants to get them to bond, making all active participants part of the tour. That all this could occur in the course of a one day tour is no small accomplishment.

 

Yet the biggest departure is that there is a serious underpinning to what the tour is seeking to accomplish—Fethi’s very personal interpretation of Istanbul and modern Turkey.

His view that contrasts modern urban sprawl and mega-urbanization, inequality, and dislocation that comes from the mass migration of peoples from all over Anatolia to a city struggling to absorb them with the older Istanbul that has largely disappeared.

 

His remarks at various sites deliver a sharp critique of the forces of Turkization of the modern Turkish republic. He yearns for an era when Constantinople was a truly diverse collection of communities combining Turk, Armenian, Greek (he uses the word Rum), and Jews before nationalism and the policies of founders and leaders created a society that was less diverse and tolerant in terms of ethnicity and religion. For a tour to have a serious underlying message is impressive.

 

Most of all, The Other Tour is both memorable and fun. Unlike most tours, this one opens eyes and sticks in the mind. Highly recommended.

Visited May 2012 the other tour reviews

Introduction to The Other Tour

 The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.

Gilbert K. Chesterton


 Istanbul’s premier culture tour

experience this city,

the way she deserves:

THE OTHER TOUR


The Other Tour is not a tour. It is a detour. A detour from mainstream tourism. It is a great detour from the touristic sights of the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace etc., allowing you to immerse yourself for a short while into the Turkish way of life. Fethi gives a lot of himself by inviting you into his family home and life. He is not your guide. He is your friend for the day as you walk and talk and eat and experience Istanbul life. –A TripAdvisor Review

We set out to experience a special day in life with a simple goal in mind: experiencing the real Istanbul.

The Other Tour was established in early 2011 and since then, we have had thousands of participants from all across the planet who seek to catch a glimpse into the local culture and cuisine instead of just seeing the famous touristy attractions.

Lunch on the other tour

It is a unique tour like no other, offering a fresh look into Istanbul that has been often referred to as profound.

 

THE ITINERARY

We don’t believe in providing a step-by-step, hour-by-hour guide to what your day on The Other Tour will be like. An itinerary of that nature simply wouldn’t do the experience justice. However, you may read our itinerary to learn about the activities we engage in on The Other Tour.

 

TRAVEL FAR ENOUGH

YOU WILL MEET YOURSELF.

-David Mitchell


This is not a typical tour. The Other Tour is designed for curious travelers to explore such an amazing city together in a way that focuses more on human condition and culture rather than historical sights and museums.


Running this tour has been the best education and a fantasticly fun experience for our team and family. And we thank everyone who has taken the time to add to the wonderful collections of +500 reviews.


To book, you may email us at info@theothertour.com,

Or contact our team directly from here:

TURKISH PROVERBS: TOP 5 PIECES OF WISDOM

Turkish people grow up hearing a lot of proverbs that they use later in life to make better decisions in tough situations. I have observed that this way of understanding and evaluating life and everything in it quickly turns into a habit. So Turkish proverbs actually play a significant role in day-to-day living and thinking of Turkish speaking and identifying peoples.

Adults often use these proverbs while dealing with people and giving advise to others. Especially at work and in family environments people use old, wise sayings in order to make the best possible decisions to avoid sticky situations.

 

Turkish Proverbs and their affect on people’s day-to-day decisions are very strong in Turkey. This special post might give you a little bit more insight into how Turkish people think and operate…

Öfke ile kalkan zararla oturur: He who gets up (starts up) in anger, sits down with a loss. Or harm.

turkish proverbs

Turkish people are known for their easy temper and impatience. That’s what makes this proverb very commonly used and easily remembered. And to be honest, quiet effective! One of my favorite Turkish proverbs.

I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a Turkish guy all of a sudden suddenly get very angry at someone and be on the verge of doing something aggressive and stupid. But no, you have “Öfkeyle kalkan zararla oturur!“…

This proverb manages to remind people that if they act on their anger without any regard of the circumstences, it’s unlikely that it is going to be good for them. So, they just sit back down and usually avoid ‘the loss’. Isn’t that nice? keyword: Turkish Proverbs


Sürüden ayrılan koyunu kurt kapar: The sheep separated from the flock is eaten by the wolf.

turkish proverbs

I’ve met a lot of travelers in Istanbul who were surprised at the fact that we have almost no homeless people here. When they ask me why, I always think of the same answer because that’s the only one that makes any sense: the family structure is so strong here!

People have each other’s back. This proverb reminds me of that way of thinking. You know, not leaving the flock, not leaving the family behind or out. Supporting each other and having the back of one-another.

When you look at the rich people in Turkey, you see that most of them have worked their way up together with their families. keyword: Turkish Proverbs


Yenilen pehlivan güreşe doymaz: A defeated wrestler will always ask for more.

turkish proverbs

This one’s about being stubborn and how it can be your worst enemy at times. Especially when you’ve just lost.

Just to keep us aware of the fact that it’s people are more likely to make mistakes easier while trying to make up for recent losses.


Ateş düştüğü yeri yakar: An ember burns where it falls.

turkish proverbs

This one’s very realistic and can be a little bit depressing. It means that a pain can only be felt by its true owner.

No one can really understand what you’re going through except for yourself. And you shouldn’t expect anyone to truly understand your emotions or what you are going through. It’s just impossible.


İnsan yedisinde ne ise yetmişinde de odur: What a man is at seven is also what he is at seventy.

turkish proverbs

This one you don’t have to agree with! But it is what many people believe in Turkey. We believe that people don’t change that easily. Even if they think they can or have, it usually doesn’t mean it’s a permanent change. You are usually who you are…