Have you ever wondered what it feels like to be eaten alive? Neither did I until I saw this sign.


I passed by the fish shop every day for at least 5 days thinking to myself that this is something so weird that of course I’d do it. Looking over, I’d notice people engaged in this bizarre trend and ask them about it. They would inevitably describe it as “different.” My last full day on the island of Koh Tao found me passing by this shop again on my way to see if the tattoo place across the street was open. To my dismay, the tattoo parlor was closed, and I would not be getting a permanent souvenir from Thailand. In order to alleviate my disappointment, I decided that I would spend the 200 baht and find out what this fish thing was all about.

I read the printed handout that was lying on an empty pillow of the bench across the tank. Apparently these are Garra rufa or kangal fish, also called Cleaner fish or Dr. Fish, found in the Middle East. They swim up and scrape the dead skin cells off one’s feet and legs for nourishment. The leaflet stated that these little snackers are the only form of income for the family that owns the business and therefore they take special care of their livelihood. The tanks are kept bacteria-free by means of a UV light in the filter that keeps microbes in the water to a minimum. Before I sat at the edge of the wriggling abyss, the nice lady washed my legs and feet, removing any lotions or oils that could potentially harm the population. Then I swung my legs over and into the large tank, my feet dangling in the container of hungry minnows, and I let them graze on the dead skin cells of my feet.


The fish immediately came over and began nibbling away at my epidermis. The first thing I noticed was how much it tickled. It took me a minute or two to acclimate to such a funny feeling against my legs. Fish were passing between my toes to get around my nails and the bottom of my feet. Eventually, I was able to relax and enjoy the expressions of the passersby who were curious at the idea of becoming fish food.


Call me crazy, but once I was done and walking away from the shop, I noticed an invigorating sensation in my legs. From mid-calf down, my skin was fresh and energized. My legs felt extra smooth all day. I don’t know if it was all in my head, but I think I might actually do this again. Would YOU let fish snack on you?

2 Responses to “This Snacker Has BECOME The Snack”

  1. Christina Turner
    8 October 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    This is awesome! I’ve always wanted to try this šŸ™‚ I’m glad to hear that the family is taking great care of the fishies. Yay!

  2. Lam
    6 October 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    I would do it! sounds awesome. I am ticklish though, so I’m not sure how much of it I could stand!