Fish spas…the good, the bad, and the, “I don’t think I like this!” in 60 seconds!

I probably went to one of the worst fish spas you could go to. Oh, you know, planted right in the middle of a tourist trap in Bangkok on Khao San Road. It’s a street filled with pubs, elephant pants, and “Same Same” graphic tees. It’s a party spot that it’s no wonder it attracts hundreds of drunken tourists looking for debauchery. Thank God I’m not in my twenties anymore or I’d probably be one of the hung over despicables parked and drinking a bad excuse for a Bloody Mary and then washing it down with a Chang beer because I don’t want to waste the money I just spent on it.

I’m not even sure why I’m here…oh, wait, my mother did some research and wanted to take me here because she thought I’d enjoy it. Yes, mum is in town for two weeks to see me off at the beginning of my round-the-world travel adventures. We begin window-shopping looking at all the same graphic tees before I overhear my mother (God bless her) pull over a backpacker and ask him, “Excuse me? Do you know where the backpacker’s ghetto is? I want to get to the backpacker’s ghetto.” Not surprisingly he didn’t know, and she got a very questionable stare. We get to another shop, and she proceeds to ask the vendor the same question. Where on earth is she getting her info from?! Why is she so curious to check out a “ghetto”? I’m beyond feeling embarrassed and bury my head into the rack of clothes until we’re in the clear.

To derail her from further embarrassing me, I see a fish spa. I read about these on Trip Advisor and on the internet. It seemed novelty, and I’m drawn to novelty, so I figured, “When in Thailand…”

My mother seemed apprehensive about doing it but decided to join me since I was able to knock off an extra 50 baht ($1.50 each) off the 200 baht original price for 15 minutes. It seemed a bit pricey considering I saw that equivalent to a one-hour massage, but, “What the hell. YOLO!” I’ll never be able to try this in the states.

I was wearing skinny jeans, but the lady at the shop had some pants for me to change into. Sweet! I walk upstairs into a little changing room area so that I could put on these adorably attractive yellow and lime green capris (notice sarcasm). As I’m getting my last leg in, I hear screaming from below. Who is that?? Then I recognize it’s my mother’s voice. We’re the only ones in the shop, so it has to be my mum. “Oh, quit being a baby!” I’m thinking.

I make my way back down, and she has this squeamish look on her face with her feet propped up over the fish spa. It can’t be that bad.

She looks at me, and I’m laughing at her for being such a sissy and sit down so the lady can wash off my feet in a bucket of water before going for it. Mum gets ready to video me, and I get my camera ready too. I put one foot in followed by the second one seconds after.

I see them each of them starting to make their way slowly to my two feet…but mostly my left foot. I’m not sure why they like my left foot better.

A few of these feet-sucking feeders are now on my feet. This feels kind of weird. Then dozens more slowly follow suit. Okay, now it’s starting to feel really weird. And then the dozens begin to triple all mostly attracting on my left foot. What gives?! Eeeeeek! Okay, I don’t think I like this. Wait, I definitely don’t like this!

I’m trying so hard not to overreact, holding my breath, my face getting flushed, and my eyes closing tighter and tighter. “Eeeeee-heeee-heee-heee!!” I can’t tell if I want to scream, laugh…I’m scraughing. That’s what I’ll call it! Scraughing! I’m totally scraughing squeamishly.

I’m practicing my breathing as if I were preggers with frequent shallow inhales and exhales, “Whoo! Whoo! Whoo!” Okay, I can’t take this anymore! No more! My feet are out. The fish win and I’m TKO’ed this first round.

But, wait, that was like only 60 seconds. I still have another 14 minutes of this ish. My mom has this, “See? I told you so.”, look on her face with her feet still on the surface of the water.

I’ll show you, Mom!

I get my feet back into the water after the blood proceeds to rush off my face, and these fish-sucking guzzlers are back at it in the same routine, all back at my left foot. What the hell?

I’m panting like a dog without water with cold sweats coming from my forehead hyperventilating again.


“Whoo! Whoo! Whoo!”

All right! Vampire fishies, you win! You TKO’ed my ass. I’m out!

Clearly I did not make it the full 15 minutes and weeks later I can say I didn’t suffer from any weird foot fungi from unsanitary conditions sharing the dirty waters with a million other feet, but it is a twisted story I get to share with my friends. Would I give it another try? While I did have a dream (aka nightmare) that same night about fish sucking on my body and suffering from a slight PTSD from the experience, I would consider giving this another try in the future, preferably at a spa where I’m warmed up with a glass of champagne first.

You Suck Fish Spa!

Discovering Bangkok’s food scene can be overwhelming. Here I’ve created a half-day foodie itinerary where you’ll be able to find some of the oldest recipes in Phra Nakorn, one of fifty Bangkok districts. 


FLOW: Begin with breakfast having an original and traditional crispy pancake for breakfast and then a 70-year-old ice cream recipe for lunch snack at Tha Chang Pier. If that doesn’t already curb your appetite, you can take a bus or tuk-tuk to another area of Phra Nokorn District for a traditional Thai lunch and dessert.

1. Khanom Bueang: Crispy Pancakes
Address: 91 Prang Nara Road, Choa Por Sua Shrine Sub-district
Opening Hours: 11:00 am – 05:00 pm (every day except Sundays)
Bus Lines: 2 or 60

Crispy pancakes aren’t commonly found on the streets of Bangkok due to the amount of labor involved it take to prepare it. This original and traditional 100-year old recipe still exists from the King Rama V reign. It was once presented to the royal family and has been in the royal family ever since. You can order it sweet or savory and buy one pancake for about 30 baht (approximately $1 USD). Some find this expensive for Thai local standards, but you get what you pay for and here that means deliciousness and arguably the best you’ll find. The business is now being run by Mrs. Somsri Hirunwatit, the granddaughter-in-law of the royal family.

There’s no wrong time ever to have ice cream so make your way over to Natthaporn at your leisure. It’s in the same sub-district.

2. Natthaporn: Coconut Milk Ice Cream
Address: 94 Building next to the Ministry of Interior, Prang Prootorn Rd.
Opening Hours: 09:00 am – 05:00 pm (every day except Sundays)
Bus Lines: 2 or 60

This Thai homemade ice cream recipe is more than 70 years old. They strive for only the best ingredients, and there are no preservatives. We love that! Some of their toppings include red bean, peanut, lotus seeds, crispy roasted mung bean, sticky rice, corn, taro, and toddy palm.

Now that you’ve had your appetizer move into a late lunch over to Sao Chingcha sub-district.

3. Pochsapakarn Restaurant: Thai Food
Address: 443 Buildings opposite to the Chao Por Sua Shrine, Tanow Rd.
Opening Hours: 10:30 am – 2:30 pm (M-F) / 11:00 am – 9:30 pm (S, S)
Bus Lines: 33, 64, 508

One of Bangkok’s oldest restaurants having been opened for more than 90 years! Here you’ll find distinguished Thai spicy style. This is the same style used to serve the Royal family and passed through generations.

I hope you saved just a little more room for dessert! You might be thinking, wasn’t that the ice cream? But, no, you can’t leave Thailand without having some of their mango sticky rice!

4. Khao Nio Kor Panit: Sticky Rice with Fruit
Address: 431-433 Buildings behind the Ministry of Interior, Tanow Rd.
Bus Lines: 33, 64, 508

Now that you’ve made it this far, you’ll want to head over to Khao Nio Kor Panit for some sticky rice mixed with coconut cream. This establishment has been recognized by TV programs, magazines, and different forms of media. While I did mention to try the mango with sticky rice, this is a place you can actually explore other fruit when mangos aren’t in season; something not found at a lot of other places.

I hope you enjoyed my one-day traditional Thai foodie tour. Please let me know what you think in the comments below.

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