A Fish Massage in Siem Reap

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A Fish Massage in Siem Reap


Mmmm, dead skin is good

Yes, that’s Keith pictured above and yes, that dark pile of stuff around his feet are fish, feasting on his dead skin.  Also known as a fish massage.  Welcome to family travel in Cambodia.

On our first day in Seim Reap, we decided to take a little stroll into town to get some necessities for the kiddos (to our surprise, the grocery store was cleaner and more organized than every grocery store in Qatar, one of the richest countries in the world–go figure), and we discovered a delightful town.  Little alleyways, adorable shops, cafes and coffee shops and….”Fish Massage”.

The doctor is in

The doctor is in

Thanks for the clarification, Dr. Fish.  Obviously, we were quite intrigued.  These fish massage parlors seemed to be on every corner.  What was it all about??  Well for $2, you are allowed to stick your feet in a filthy dirty tank full of teeny tiny fish!  Said fish all rush over and start to feast on all that pesky dry skin and you emerge with baby soft heels!  How fun!

So I tried it.  And proceeded to laugh so hard I almost peed myself.  The tickling.  Oh my gosh, the tickling.  I seriously couldn’t stand it.  Max tried it as well, and couldn’t do it either.  Keith was the only one that was able to do it for any length of time and he laughed like a hyena the whole time.  It was absolutely hysterical.  And there had to be ten of these parlors on every street.  Some of the people were leisurely reading newspapers while they had their feet nibbled on.  How could they stand it?

Were Keith’s feet baby butt smooth after?  That’s up for debate.  But it was entertaining all the same.  In fact it was so entertaining, that Max was occupied for almost two hours while Keith and I sat at an outdoor bar across the alleyway and had some beer while Max charmed the ladies a few feet away.


Mr. Charm


Angkor beer–$1.50. Score!


Zoe really enjoyed everything




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  • Sarah Fazendin

    There’s no way I would have been able to stand the tickling!! I’ve always been intrigued by these “fish massages” though, and for 2 bucks why not? What a fun experience!

    March 27, 2015 at 1:52 am
    • Melissa

      It was definitely an experience! I think I’ll take the regular back massage though! 🙂

      March 29, 2015 at 2:45 pm
  • Willy

    Brilliant idea for a travel blog! I love your stories of your travels.
    I saw these fish massage stands in China but there was no translation and I was sure they were filled with piranha. I was too chicken to try. I wouldn’t have survived the tickling, though. I can barely let the ladies scrub my feet here at the pedicure shop.

    March 27, 2015 at 2:03 pm