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 traveling to Cambodia with kids.
We had been traveling through Vietnam for over a week and were feeling pretty tired. A 16 day trip with kids this young is no joke! Nevertheless, we were excited to arrive in Cambodia – a place I had been wanting to go for a long time. 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”.
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! Our feet were weary and dry from the traveling we had been doing.
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. 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? A lot of them weren’t even tourists. They looked like businessmen, taking a break and getting a little foot cleaning.
Fish massage in Cambodia is a very popular tourist attraction – but that’s all it it…..a true tourist attraction. I’m not really sure how safe it is to stick your feet in a bath that numerous people have been sticking their feet in!
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. Traveling to Cambodia wasn’t turning out too bad 🙂 The beer was cold and cheap and Max was thoroughly entertained. Win win for the Downhams.
A family trip to Cambodia is definitely worth the trek! We still talk about it often. It definitely ranks up there as one of our favorite countries. If you’re thinking about taking it on, contact me here and I can help you plan your trip.
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!
It was definitely an experience! I think I’ll take the regular back massage though! 🙂
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.