Saturday, January 7, 2017

Banya and Sauna of Astana, Kazakhstan/Баня и сауна Астаны, Казахстан

It's good to be back in my blog so regularly and so frequently. I have already wished you a Happy New Year in case you do not know yet. :) Today, I will be wishing you "Happy Orthodox Christmas Day" on 7th January if you celebrate it.

Today, what am I talking about? Nothing in particular to be honest but some of my ramblings and rants for sure. The end of December, 16 and the first week of January, 17 were great for me. Holiday season is always good. We went to Banya/Sauna in Astana, Kazakhstan, and went around the city and finally, to Baravoe/Shuchinsk. I would like to talk about our Banya/Sauna experiences in Astana.

What is Banya and Sauna? (что такое баня/сауны?)

Banya/Sauna are same in principle. There will be a small room to heat your body and once you get heated sufficiently, you come out from the room and take bath in hot/warm/cold water as you wish. This process is repeated for 3-4 times or more depending on how much time and money you have. When you are in a heating room, you start sweating profusely and you have to come out from that room to pour cold water on you. Again, you enter with your wet body back to the heating room. The wet body helps you to sit there longer and sweat more. I think in average, a person sits inside the heating room for 10-15 minutes before he comes out to pour water. This is only in case you do not know what Banya/Sauna is.

For me, it is one of the best ways to relax in Astana, Kazakhstan when outside temperature is always around -10 degree Celsius in the winter.

We did internet search and took recommendations from few friends. and we decided that we would try a new place.

We generally found following problems in Banya and Sauna of Astana, Kazakhstan/Баня и сауна Астаны, Казахстан:

1. Most of the Баня и сауна in Astana, Kazakhstan cater to the groups. They expect minimum 4-6 people at a time. The pricing is done in such a way that if you have a group of 4-6 people and can take bath together without feeling any shy in semi-naked condition, then, the price is okay, reasonable and in fact cheap.

2. We were two people (husband and wife) and we were looking for private place where only two of us can use the place without entry of any third party, without any disturbance from outsiders. It was difficult to find a decent and good place meeting this criterion. Most of the Баня-сауна в Астане (Banya and Sauna in Astana) were not only for two people or were costly. We love to hear any recommendations from any of you if you know such a private Баня-сауна в Астане.

3. I realise that the problem in us as well. We both grew up in little conservative families and we are not very comfortable with unknown people especially they are dressed minimum. Actually, I was shocked to see boys/males taking bath naked (completely naked) in a shower room/changing room in Fitness Center. We had membership of Duman Hotel, Apriori Fitness Center, Astana (фитнес Клуб АПРИОРИ) and we faced this unpleasant situation in changing room. It may sound funny but this was so unpleasing that we stopped going to the Fitness Center (фитнес Клуб АПРИОРИ). My wife reported the same scene in Ladies Changing room and we have heard complaints about it from many of our colleagues who go to other Fitness Center such as "Fitnation" in Central Park of Astana (Астана Центральный парк). Of course, it seems there are many who don't mind flashing their assets - big or small- in changing rooms of fitness center. Funny it may sound but it was too hot for us to handle and we left that Fitness Center, Duman Hotel, Apriori Fitness Center, Astana (фитнес Клуб АПРИОРИ). We did not use their Sauna and now, in search of new Fitness Club/center.

4. So, now back to the Баня-сауна в Астане where went in Astana and our experience.

We went to Баня-сауна «Кит» which advertises as "Русско-финская баня, печка на березовых дровах, хамам". It is located at little bit outside city on the right bank but not far. From Radisson Hotel on the Right Bank of Astana, it would be about 6-7 Kms. drive. It is located at  Адрес:
ул. Бейсекова, 9/4, Астана and was not difficult at all to find it.

We were four: my wife, her parents and I as our attempt to find exclusive place only for two of us failed. In phone, we understood that there would be two seperate rooms for parents and for us but when we reached that was not the case. We all four had to use one сауна for two hours and the cost was 10,000 KZT in total. There must be some misunderstanding on the phone but we did not make any issue.

What we decided was parents will go first and we went upstairs to watch TV for an hour. Parents finished washing in 45-50 minutes and dressed and came up. They sat in TV room, watched TV and drank tea while we were taking bath downstairs for another 1 hour and 10 minutes. To be very honest, 1 hour 10 minutes was more than enough and we were satisfied with the services. In the meantime, they charged another 500 KZT for hot water. That was strange for us! The overall experience was good for us.

So, do we go to that place - Баня-сауна «Кит» "Русско-финская баня, печка на березовых дровах, хамам" Адрес: ул. Бейсекова, 9/4, Астана again? The answer is: NO. Why?

Let's talk good things about the place:

1. It was a private one. Once you close the door, you have your own space. No one knocked the door, disturbed us for another two hours. We had cupboards for our clothes, two or three showering places and sufficient space, good and clean heating room. From the stairs, you could go up, sit around the table, watch TV and if you want lie on the bed. Now, I realise that the TV did not have remote but it was not a big deal. The most important thing was that it was clean, no one disturbed us once an old man came out after putting fire inside the oven/chamber. There were extra woods and we could add more when we wanted.

And, what we did not like?

1. Since we were looking for two private "сауна" for parents and us and we wanted to take bath at the same time at two different places, we were denied that opportunity. Instead of two hours, we could wash ourselves only for an hour.

2. And, the biggest problem was their customer service. The place is managed by two old people. Two old husband and wife (два старых дедушка и бабушка) and I think they have hearing problem or rather their manners. They were shouting all the time at the top of their voice. We were met by loud and noisy answers for our every questions. They were polite but there was a cacophony. I can easily handle such noises, perk of being from India :), however, it is not so pleasant when you go for relaxation and leisure. We chased them quickly from our room by literally shouting them back to leave the place so that we can start and slammed the door. Thereafter, things proceeded fine though we could hear still some noises from outside Sauna room. The wooden walls were too thin to stop their loud voices.

So, that's all. It is unlikely that we will go there again but when we were in Sauna, we forgot all the problems, the noisy cacophony before we started. It was a hot room and we were too busy cleaning, washing and relaxing.

Suggest us the place you have been!

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