February 24, 2015

A Day of Pampering in Phuket, Thailand

A Day of Pampering in Phuket, Thailand. Anna Johnston - www.shenannagans.com

Armed with 1627 Thai Baht ($50.00US) spending money for the day, we hoped a water taxi to the sandy white shores of Phuket, Thailand for a day of pampering while on a fun cruise with my Momma over the holidays. I had always been told that you got real bang for your buck when travelling in Thailand, so I was intrigued to see just how far our money would go. We were having a bit of a girls indulgent holiday anyway, so it seemed like a fun idea to hit up the shops & get our pampering on!

A Day of Pampering in Phuket, Thailand. Anna Johnston  - www.shenannagans.com

We decided to fully immerse ourselves in the holiday experience and try the dead skin eating fish (Garra Rufa) pedicure experience, yes… we were feeling adventurous! We stopped off at one of the many salons (I swear, every 3rd shop was a beauty salon) up the road from the beach, & there it was, a tank filled with slimy flesh eating fish that sat proudly out front of the shop beckoning at us, and we looked at each other thinking, does this look fun or just totally weird?

The cost of this experience was roughly $6 for about 20 minutes, obviously the money suited our budget, but it was well….. weird right!. The salon was clean looking and the therapist spoke excellent English, so we thought we’d ask some questions.

A Day of Pampering in Phuket, Thailand. Anna Johnston  - www.shenannagans.comA Day of Pampering in Phuket, Thailand. Anna Johnston  - www.shenannagans.com

Does it hurt? I asked. No, No, NOooo she says, it feels like tiny little kisses, which to me didn’t sound so bad. I nodded to signify I was ready to let her parasite flesh eating fish begin & I gingerly slipped off my thongs (that’s flip flops to my Yanky friends OK!!!). The therapist washed my feet in fresh water telling me her fish didn’t like any chemicals & encouraged me to put my feet in the tank, so I carefully dipped my toes in and waited for the little suckers to come at me.

Once they started feasting, I could barely hold still, it was nothing like kisses, more like someone full on tickling and pinching me over and over. In my humble opinion, I think I should have been paid the $6 for feeding her fish, a tick for the bucket list sure, but hot dang it was torturous.

A Day of Pampering in Phuket, Thailand. Anna Johnston  - www.shenannagans.com

With that little extra something in our step, we cruised back down to the beach in search of lunch. There really wasn’t a shortage of amazing foodie hotspots, but the lure of dining amongst tropical plants under ceiling fans, with free WIFI & somewhere out of the high humidity won us over.

A Day of Pampering in Phuket, Thailand. Anna Johnston  - www.shenannagans.com

We ordered a couple of cold Tiger brews for $1 each, and a Fantasie Krevettensalat in Ananas (Prawn, scallop, tomato, onion salad with a creamy mayonnaise in a Pineapple) for $5 each. A couple of hours of delicious contact with the world again later (we were internet starved on the ship) and a number of brews downed, we moved along for some more beauty therapy.

A Day of Pampering in Phuket, Thailand. Anna Johnston  - www.shenannagans.com

We had hours still yet to burn before we got back on the ship, we flopped our overly relaxed bodies on the beachA Day of Pampering in Phuket, Thailand. Anna Johnston  - www.shenannagans.com before elderly Thai woman for an hour long open air salas massage for $4 each & gossiped away the time. A gentle breeze cooled my skin, the beach sounds and the crash of the waves lulled me off to sleep, probably aided by a few $1 beers. Seriously, is there a better way to spend to spend an afternoon?

In a state of pure relaxation we padded back along the boardwalk towards the water taxi to our decadent floating home. The locals hounded us trying to sell their wares, much of which was junky, but perfect as gifts for friends back home. We purchased a couple of fridge magnets, genuine copy sunnies, sarongs and shirts and finished our magical day in the tropical paradise Phuket, Thailand with a Virgin Pina Coladas for $2 each.

A Day of Pampering in Phuket, Thailand. Anna Johnston  - www.shenannagans.com

So it turns out ‘they’ were right. We had an amazing day and came home with some change.

I’d love to know, have you been to Thailand? If yes, did you find it inexpensive like me?


Enter your email address and you will receive freshly published blog posts from shenANNAgans



shenANNAgans is Anna Johnston, a 30 - something Aussie gal with an unwavering passion for the Hospitality industry. I love the quirky and unusual, designing events, travelling far and wide and eating food from all around the world. I am coffee blooded, a craft beer enthusiast, wine drinking yogi who enjoys writing about her adventures.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Kep, The Crab Capital of Cambodia - April 5, 2016 Reply

[…] a few days to explore Thailand or beyond and being just a hop, skip and jump from Cambodia, we booked a quick flight to Phnom Penh […]

Rusty - June 22, 2015 Reply

This is an Amazing Blog! Love the pictures and the great stories. Really fun adventures and surprised how inexpensive this can be. Really enjoy food pics! Hope you have many more!

    Anna - June 22, 2015 Reply

    Wow Rusty! Thanks heaps for taking the time to pop in and comment, I really appreciate it. 🙂
    Thailand was wonderful, we had an absolute ball and like you say, were rather surprised at how inexpensive our day was.
    Fingers crossed to more fun filled foodie adventures.

marta@platedujour.com - April 7, 2015 Reply

My Goodness! 50 AUD for the whole day?? Next time when I’m in Australia we go together!

    Anna - June 4, 2015 Reply

    I know right, Marta. 🙂
    It was a magical day, and totes…. I’d love to hit the road and adventure in Phuket with you. Such a brilliant idea.

Sue - March 31, 2015 Reply

Thailand is one of the longest standing things on my bucket list. No fish foot eating for me but some Tiger and massage and it sounds like paradise!

    Anna - March 31, 2015 Reply

    Yep, I can attest to the awfulness of said foot fish feeding. Good plan skipping that. But beers and massage on the beach. All day, every day. 🙂

My Inner Chick - March 15, 2015 Reply

the life of “YOU.”
fabulous. xxxxxxxxxx

    Anna - June 4, 2015 Reply

    Teehee! I do love your positive and vibrant comments. You make me smile! Thanks Kim. Squishy hugs and loves across the oceans. Mwah! 🙂

Eileen @ The Food Avenue - March 7, 2015 Reply

Sounds like an amazing trip! I want to try the fish pedicure!! 😛

    Anna - March 10, 2015 Reply

    It really was a wonderful day, one of the best I had on the entire trip. If I could click my heels together and be anywhere in the world right now, I’d go there. 🙂
    Ha! Hope you enjoy the fish-icure. 🙂

Mabel Kwong - March 6, 2015 Reply

$50 US spending dollars for a whole day? :O That is some budget and so cheap. I could work two hours in Australia and yeah, that could cover me a whole day in Phuket. A good day in Australia going to tourist places like that and with fine dining will probably cost you at least three or four times as much. And I love how they serve fruit in a pineapple. I’ve seen that in Malaysia too. Doing away with plates, lol.

The fish were torturous? 🙁

Sorry to hear you got mobbed by the locals selling knick-knacks and souvenirs. Sadly that’s how they make a living and when I was holidaying in Jakarta, Indonesia, it happened to me all the time too. But they are always very good natured when approaching you, never rude. Very nice to hear you bought some things to take back to Australia, you must have made them very happy 🙂

    Anna - March 10, 2015 Reply

    I know right Miss Mabel. It was one of the most magical days, so cheap, and yet we managed to fit in a heck of a lot. I hear you on the working for 2 hours here in Australia, and that covering a whole day of food, drink and pampering in Thailand. Really makes me want to go back. You in? 🙂

    I loved the way food was presented in most of Southeast Asia, it all looked so fresh and tasty and healthy. But this feed in particular, I really felt like I got bang for my buck. Who needs a plate when you have a pineapple right?! Boom! 🙂

    I kind of enjoyed the locals trying to sell their wares, it enhanced the experience for me, and I knew that the few dollars I spent with them was actually really helping. Plus, my friends loved their gifts too.

    As always my friend, I love your thoughtful comments. Hope you are well. xo

      Mabel Kwong - March 14, 2015 Reply

      Aww, yes! If I’m free, I’m all up for a trip with Miss Anna 😀 What fun we’ll have sharing each other’s foods!

      It’s true. The money goes directly to the seller who sell tourists knick-knacks on the streets. Not like setting up a shop where you have to pay rent and taxes.

      Hope you have a good weekend!

        Anna - March 16, 2015 Reply

        Now that would be amazingly fun! Miss Mabel & Miss Anna hit up Asia town for some serious foodie adventuring. 🙂
        Great weekend had, hope yours was super fun too.

Jean | Holy Smithereens - March 5, 2015 Reply

Wow, such an ideal way to spend an afternoon with your mum!!! I still can’t get over the goosebumps of the fish pedicure and with your description too — I probably would have leapt out of there haha! There were lots of that in Bali too and I was badly sunburnt — my entire back was flaking and Zombie joked that I should submerge my entire body in a pool full of those fishes…errr…No thanks!!! hahaha!
I have only been to Bangkok and haven’t been to any islands in Thailand but it does sound like a place where your dollar really will go a long way 🙂

    Anna - March 5, 2015 Reply

    It took everything I had to clock up the 15-20 minutes. Bleh. 🙂
    OMG… Zombie is cray even suggesting that, I shudder thinking about having those fish near my face, reckon it’d make me pass out. Lol. And… It’d hurt a bit with your skin being a little tender from the burn. I say you dare Zombie to have a crack at it next time you come across the fish-icure. Yeass 🙂

The Guy @flightsandfrustration.com - March 4, 2015 Reply

Hi Anna,

It looks like you had a great value for money trip here. It is nearly 10 years since I was last in Thailand and I certainly found it good value for money. It really does cater for all budgets.

I’ve yet to experience fish cleaning my feet. It does remind though of a scuba dive I took when I had a small scab on my elbow. All these fish suddenly appeared and started picking at the scab which caused it to bleed. It wasn’t very nice and I had to hold my hand over the elbow for the rest of the dive.

    Anna - March 5, 2015 Reply

    Such a wicked cool country, I wish I could have spent more time there, especially considering just how far my money went. Reckon you are right, its a country that has something for all travel budgets.

    Ewwwh. Didn’t that frighten you a little? I would have freaked out having a bunch of fish come at me unexpectedly, especially if they were chewing on my flesh. They made you bleed?! #nodeal #voms #shudder

      The Guy @flightsandfrustration.com - March 6, 2015 Reply

      Yes, it made me bleed. It was my first ever intro dive and just off Langkawi, Malaysia. I remember hearing that sharks can sense blood from a ridiculous distance away (like 20 miles or something) so I was a slight bit hesitant about the consequences haha.

        Anna - March 6, 2015 Reply

        Oh wow, that’s so scary. Not only were you attacked by flesh eating fish, you were thinking you were gonna die by a blood thirsty shark too. Amazing place to dive tho, hopefully you went back and experienced it without the fear of death. 🙂

          The Guy - March 6, 2015 Reply

          Not made it back yet but definitely on my want to list.

Choc Chip Uru - March 4, 2015 Reply

OMG now I have an itch to go shopping. In Thailand.
With you.
Mind if I crash? 😛
Great write up!

Choc Chip Uru

    Anna - March 5, 2015 Reply

    YES!!! Crash away, CCU. Lets do that stat. 🙂 🙂 🙂

The Squishy Monster - March 4, 2015 Reply

I found your post both hilarious and informative. Thanks for sharing as we’re planning on honeymooning in Thailand. Great to know you get such bang for your buck. I think I’ll still have to try the fish-icure though–haha.

    Anna - March 5, 2015 Reply

    Thats awesome Squishy! I love that you got something out of my post. 🙂 And yay to honeymooning in Thailand. Cant wait to see your posts on that. Enjoy the fish-icure my friend, its def worth experiencing.

Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl - March 4, 2015 Reply

It looks like you had yet another fun and amazing trip! I have never been to Thailand but would love to go someday!

    Anna - March 5, 2015 Reply

    It was indeed another super fun travel experience. Thailand was amazing, I only wish I could have spent a bunch more time there. Hope you are surviving the snow and cold, stay warm lovely. xo

Agness - March 3, 2015 Reply

Oh girl! I wish I was there right now. That must have been so much fun, huh? 🙂

    Anna - March 5, 2015 Reply

    It was one of my favourite days on the whole month I was in Southeast Asia. Wishing I could be back there now too. Such an amazingly fun day. 🙂

Raymund - March 2, 2015 Reply

I love Thailand, such an inexpensive place, food is good and the Thai massages are cheap and great. When we went there before a full one hour cost us 300 Baht for a room service at the hotel we stayed.

    Anna - March 5, 2015 Reply

    Oh yes, Thai food is amazingly delicious huh Raymund?! So tasty and fresh, one of my fave cuisines to eat and prepare too. 300 Baht is only like $10, thats still a bargain I think, the equivalent in Australia would be upwards of $70. Absolutely more if you used hotel spas. Amazing really! Def heading back to the land of Thai soon. 🙂

Tim | UrbanDuniya - March 1, 2015 Reply

I didn’t mind the fish pedicure actually! It’s worse if you look at it – if you look away and think happy thoughts, then it’s strangely relaxing 🙂

    Anna - March 1, 2015 Reply

    Haha… Yes, I guess you are right Tim, it was less ticklish and excruciating and painful when I focused on the beach and the fun times happening around me. But dang, if when I looked at those little suckers, all I could think was – Make it stop! LOL 🙂

Gourmet Getaways - February 28, 2015 Reply

Oh, that was a great-looking salad in the pineapple!! Tickling and pinching! Bad fish, LOLs! You did seem to have an enjoyable time. You always look like having fun in your travels! Keep ’em comin’!!!

Julie & Alesah
Gourmet Getaways xx

    Anna - March 1, 2015 Reply

    The pineapple salad was amazing, so good we have made it a few times since coming home. Really very simple and tasty too. 🙂
    Yep, lots of fun had while travelling, and thanks, I am glad you enjoy my posts. 🙂

Hotly Spiced - February 28, 2015 Reply

Great photos of you relaxing Anna and you sure do look like your mum! What a fantastic day out for the two of you and all on $50.00. What a bargain! I don’t think I’d be up for the fish-feeding experience as I can’t even stand having a normal pedicure – when they start scrubbing the soles of my feet I jump around all over the place – can’t stand it! The beers are a bargain – my husband paid a huge price for beers the other night at some local brewery thingy he was invited to. And the massage after the beers sounds like a great way to finish off the day xx

    Anna - March 1, 2015 Reply

    Yes, everywhere we travelled in Southeast Asia, we were asked if we were sisters, we do look rather a lot alike. 🙂
    Yes, such an inexpensive day we had in Phuket, it was brilliant, crazy to think the equivalent here in the Berra would have been near $500.00.
    Oh, that is cool Charlie, which brewery did your hubster hit up? Fingers crossed the expensive brews were tasty.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella - February 28, 2015 Reply

I’ve had one of those fish pedicures! It was in Singapore and they have three different sized fish. The biggest ones really do hurt!

    Anna - February 28, 2015 Reply

    Eeeek….. So you had a Piranha pedicure then huh?! Lorraine, you are my idol. Happy weekend. 🙂

Tandy | Lavender and Lime - February 27, 2015 Reply

I so want to try that pedicure. We’ve not been to Thailand but even with our currency, that’s cheap 🙂

    Anna - February 28, 2015 Reply

    Yes, it was unbelievably cheap, but I guess the maintenance of the fish is not too high either. Hopefully you get to Thailand sometime soon to try it. 🙂

Norma Chang - February 27, 2015 Reply

Sounds like a hilariously fun day and inexpensive too, not sure I could handle the fish pedicure. Perhaps some day I will make it to Thailand.

    Anna - February 27, 2015 Reply

    Haha… Yes Norma, it was rather an interesting experience, not sure Ill be heading back for a fish pedicure again anytime soon. But Thailand, that Ill be visiting again for sure. Hope you get there too. 🙂

Denise Browning@From Brazil To You - February 27, 2015 Reply

Good for you! I wish I can visit the gorgeous Thailand and a few other Asian countries one day. Pamper yourself and enjoy a lot your life as a single woman. The only regret that I have is not have traveled more than I did.

    Anna - February 27, 2015 Reply

    Oh yes Denise, I do hope you get to Asia some day too. 🙂 It really is an amazing part of the world. And alllllllll the yes to experiencing everything I can, not just as single, but because you only live once right?!

Bam's Kitchen - February 26, 2015 Reply

Have you every had that fish experience before? I remember the fist time was in Japan and it really is an odd sensation. Scary, fun and delightful all at the same time.. I bet everyone standing is 4 feet of snow is pretty envious of you right now… Have a super trip and safe travels

    Anna - February 27, 2015 Reply

    Never had the fish pedicure before Bam, if I had, dont reckon I would have lined up to do it again. I am just waaaaaay to ticklish to enjoy it, although the post pedicure was amazing, so maybe…..
    Ha, yes, those poor souls dealing with epic amounts of snow. Couldnt imagine living in that environment.

Rachel (Rachel's Kitchen NZ) - February 26, 2015 Reply

Oh, I bet this was a fun day Anna – especially if your Momma is anything like and looking at here I suspect she is:)!!!

    Anna - February 27, 2015 Reply

    Such a fun filled day. And yes, my Momma is amazing, we find ourselves in often interesting situations when we travel. 🙂

Kris Johnston - February 26, 2015 Reply

Love, love love that place. All up I have spent 2 weeks in Phuket on Patong beach. Some truly wonderful memories.
Cant say id be hot on the fish eating my feet tho.

    Anna - February 26, 2015 Reply

    Heck yes, it is one pretty part of the world huh?! One of your Thailand sunset photos is part of my computer screen saver, your visit seemed totally amaze. I cant wait to get back and spend some quality time there. 🙂
    And….. you be SOFT re the flesh eating fish pedicure.

Lou - February 26, 2015 Reply

Nothing beats a good Khao Soi when you are in Chiang Mai next. Two Aussie dollars for a soup that is “very close, but so much better than a Laksa”. My absolute fave was $1 for a bag of sticky rice and a serve of Khor Moo Yung (marinated bbq pork) with the greatest chilli dipping sauce – Aroy Maak Maaaaaaak! The Chiang is the place to Hang!!! xx

    Anna - February 26, 2015 Reply

    Lou ya legend! 🙂 Will totes add your foodie recommendations to the list. Ta!
    I did see many of those food bags in my travels across Southeast Asia, although I only saw the drink/soup version, not the rice and protein version. Kicking myself I didn’t try now, sounds fricken amaze.

Kathy @ Olives & Garlic - February 26, 2015 Reply

I just love reading about your travels. Thailand is definitely on my list

    Anna - February 26, 2015 Reply

    Thanks heaps Kathy, that makes me smile. 🙂
    Yep, I hear that, my day in Thailand has meant a big shuffle to the travel bucket list. Def want to get back there again soon.

Krista - February 26, 2015 Reply

How fun!!! What a great and hilariously weird time. 🙂 I’ve never been to Thailand, but the prices you paid sound amazing. Cheap is right!

    Anna - February 26, 2015 Reply

    It was such a great day Krista, and with that price tag, hot dang…. Amazing. 🙂

Susan - February 26, 2015 Reply

Oh thank goodness you didn’t post the pic of me having those gruesome little fish eating my feet, what an experience that was huh!!! Although… I have to admit my feet were very happy afterwards – but think that was a once in a lifetime experience for me.
Good memories ShenANNAgans 🙂

    Anna - February 26, 2015 Reply

    Hahaha…. Yes, ‘those’ images really are most unflattering (double chins much) But good for a giggle…. Might make that the face for my 2015 Christmas cards. LOL!
    My feet have never felt that smooth or happy post pedicure either, but prob wont go back.
    Thank you for being a part of those amazing memories. xox

hassan - February 25, 2015 Reply

woww! very beauty. read it very enjoyable. I salute your kind mother.

    Anna - February 26, 2015 Reply

    You are too kind Hassan. Thank you so much for your very thoughtful comment. And yes, my Momma is good people, I am very lucky. 🙂

Elizabeth - February 25, 2015 Reply

Hello Anna, I’ve never been to Thailand, but I’m sure I will get there one day 🙂 I would also like the try the fish thing, but my feet are so ticklish that I don’t think I could stand it! $50 for the day is pretty good as you managed to fit a lot in! massage and a cocktail would be my idea of a good time 🙂 Liz xx

    Anna - February 26, 2015 Reply

    Hey Liz, oh I hope you get to Thailand, the very brief encounter I had with the country, was wonderful. 🙂
    Ha, the fish pedicure would be horrendous if you are super ticklish, but… in saying that, it is one of those things you do when you travel purely to tick off the bucket list, so maybe 20 minutes laughing your butt off is worth it. 🙂

Capt Suresh Sharma - February 25, 2015 Reply

Love your Blog … thanks for wonderful updates. You shall do a lot of fav to the women and destinations.

    Anna - February 26, 2015 Reply

    Wow, thank you so much for your very thoughtful comment Suresh. I like that very much. 🙂 Glad you enjoy my posts too, I appreciate you stopping by.

Lizzy (Good Things) - February 25, 2015 Reply

Lordy! What an experience!

    Anna - February 26, 2015 Reply

    Yep, it was one of my favourite days on the entire holiday. Tough going with all that pampering. LOL! 🙂

Leave a Reply: