During our most recent visit to Bangkok, tanks full of flesh-eating fish hungry for dead skin were all the rage.
Sound like fun? We thought so.
Watch the video below to find out.
Fish Spa Video: A Dip in a Pool of Flesh-Eating Doctor Fish
So what kind of fish are these? When we asked the woman at the spa, she said “Hungry.”
Further research tells us they are Garra Rufa Fish, also referred to as Doctor Fish. (When I was a kid, my pediatrician was named Dr. Fish, but that's a whole ‘nother story.)
If you think that having the surface of your feet feasted on by schools of flesh eating fish sounds like fun, here's some practical advice to maximize your fish spa experience:
1) Go solo: This may sound selfish, but try to keep the tank to yourself. More feet and limbs in there at once means less fish attention on you.
2) Go early: As the day wears on, the fish lose their appetites as they fill up on the flesh of other clients' feet. Try to get your limbs into the tank in the morning when the fish and their appetites are at their peak. (If anyone knows of a spa where the fish remain unfed for days, please send details.)
3) Spread your toes: OK, this may be more information than you really wanted. Spread your toes apart and the fish will love it…as will you.
Cost: A cheap thrill for the bucket list. The spa where we took a dip is located across from Phra Sumen Fort on Phra Athit Road near the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok. 15 minutes in the tank costs 150 BHT ($5) with $1.75 for each additional 5 minutes.
In case you are ever considering opening a fish spa of your own, think about the business model: you don't really need to feed the fish. You can rely on your clients' flesh to do that for you.