Feeding Fish…with Your Feet: Fish Pedicures in Thailand
Fish pedicures have been sweeping the world and their popularity isn’t getting any less across Thailand. They’re something of an experience and certainly one you won’t forget! Read our guide on the best way to get yourself some fish pedicures in Thailand.
Traditionally, humans perform massages on other humans. Nowadays, it seems that pedicures are becoming too much like hard work and massage houses have turned to fish to help out. It all started in Japan as a novelty but quickly spread like wildfire across Asia.
Quite simply you lower your feet into a pleasantly warm tank of water (usually made of clear glass so onlookers can enjoy the show) which is full of Garra Rufa fish. This specific type of fish feed on only the dead skin on your feet leaving them smooth, soft and just like new.
Those coming from the USA will likely note that back home these are illegal in around 15 states. The reason behind the ban is the inability for companies in proving how sanitary these pedicures are. Seeing as fish can’t be sterilised or cleaned (at least not if you want to keep them alive…) they can’t be deemed as sanitary. Furthermore, there have been reports of these fish being able to pass bloodborne diseases from human to human, acting as carriers.
That all said, in Thailand, Asia and specifically Japan (where they were invented) these pedicures are completely legal. In Thailand you’ll typically come across a variety of styles. Some are set within expensive spas and will be private with just you and a practitioner, others are set right on the street with onlookers able to stop by and take photos of you.
Feet are always seen as somewhat dirty in Thailand, therefore almost immediately you’ll have your feet cleaned before stepping into the water. This keeps the water clean, plus the tanks run with cleaning pumps and filters.
What to Expect of Fish Pedicures
Before you get started you’ll pick the amount of time. The street side stalls tend to be available for shorter periods of time as they aim to get through as many people passing by as possible. The dedicated spas tend to offer 15-30 minutes. Generally, 15 minutes is enough, if you really like it you can always go back for another one.
In terms of pricing you can expect to pay around 125-150 baht for a 15-minute pedicure, 200-250 baht for 30 minutes. As spa treatments go, this is a really reasonable price and certainly isn’t going to break the bank.
Once you get started you’ll feel a series of sensations. If you have seriously ticklish feet, you might not like it. It feels like small, tiny nicks all over your feet. If your feet are somewhat well-worn shall we say, the fish will swarm quickly. As time passes you’ll find that the shoal begins to decrease. Thankfully the fish are only interested in dead skin and once that is gone they’ll lose interest.
#BodegaHostels Insider Tip
If you’re looking to try this experience you won’t have to search for long. These spas are absolutely everywhere. Whether you’re in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya or Phuket, you won’t have to try very hard to find one. Before you know it you’ll be rocking feet as smooth and soft as the day you were born.