Not Your Average Pedicure With Gangnam’s Dr. Fish
What started in the Middle East to help treat psoriasis, has turned into an alternative spa treatment in South Korea. Let me introduce you to the phenomenon known as Dr. Fish.
Before entering my first Dr. Fish café, I expected a typical spa establishment. However, the Dr. Fish café, is in fact, a café. You walk in and see your typical café layout: table and chairs filled with patrons eating an assortment of pastries, sipping on coffee and steadily typing on their laptops. However, there is one very distinct feature that separates this café from your ordinary Starbucks. That would be the area set aside for the pools of water filled with fish looking to feast on your dead skin. For 2,000 won (approximately $2) and the price of a drink (about $4-$6) you are allowed 20 minutes of flesh-devouring fun time. There are two different pools to choose from. One has smaller fish called Garra rufa that produce more of a tickling sensation. The other contains larger fish, chin chin, which create more of a pinching feeling. I opted for the smaller fish and had good results. As someone who is a bit sensitive when it comes to tickling, my feet were definitely not in the water for the entire 20 minutes. However, I did eventually get used to the very strange sensation and left with some smooth hoofers. I also helped myself to the “All you can eat” bread and jam buffet which is complimentary with any café purchase. A nice surprise that I was sure to take full advantage of. Overall, one of the stranger things I’ve experienced, but definitely amusing.
Sidenote: I went to the Dr. Fish café, located in Gangnam. There are Dr. Fish cafes located throughout South Korea. I am not sure if they all follow the same format, or if each café has different prices, etc. Happy travels!
Dr. Fish Location: Gangnam (Namu Gunul) Closest subway stop: Gangnam station, Exit 6 Hours: 10 a.m. – 12 a.m. Phone number: 02-599-1210 Directions: Come out through Gangnam station exit #6. Walk down 150m. You’ll see Paris Croissant and right next to it there is an apparel store called Basic House (베이직 하우스). The cafe is on the 2nd floor.
Price of Fish treatment: 2000 won
Average cost of drinks: W4,000 – W10,000
Other benefits: herbal tea, juice, coffee, ice cream, waffles, beer, snacks.
Need to know: Lockers are free for your shoes. Wash your feet along the wall to the right first! You can bring food , your drinks near the water if you’re careful. There is nail service as well for an additional cost (W15,000). The café also has games, (Korean) books and magazines, massage toys and moisturizer.