Kuala Lumpur and The Fish Spa

Trip Start May 23, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Friday, May 29, 2009

We left Siem Reap at 8am, and arrived in Kuala Lumpur 2 hours later.  And yes, Kuala Lumpur is just as hot as Cambodia and Singapore.  We just can't seem to shake the heat.

After clearing customs we needed to get to the city centre where our hotel was.  We had read that KL taxi drivers are notorious for overcharging and going off meter to cheat many travelers.  Often charging $40US or more to get to the city centre. Luckily we found a "Star Shuttle" bus that cost only $5US and dropped us off right on our hotel's doorstep.

Soon on the bus ride into the city, we smelled smoke in the bus.  We started looking around to see who could be so rude as to be smoking in a confined area and forcing other passengers to inhale their second hand smoke.  We looked and looked and didn't see the culprit, until we turned to the front and realized it was the bus driver!  Apparently smoking is pretty widely accepted everywhere in KL, even in public vehicles.  Wow.

We arrived at our hotel and checked in, luckily when we did our online booking, the hotel had offered a free executive upgrade for no extra charge.  So we got an upgraded room up on the 22nd floor that had a nice view and free wi-fi for our stay.  The room was nicely decorated except for one quirky design feature, The bathroom had a huge glass bay window beside the bathtub that looked in on the bedroom!  From the bed, it looked like the window was a private red light district booth you would find in Amsterdam to watch someone take a shower. Weird.

We dropped off our stuff and went out into the city.  We went for lunch at this gourmet food court near our hotel called the Pavillion.  There were so many different types of foods, but we eventually settled on some Indian-Malaysian  food.  Felicia's sizzling Tandoori chicken was to die for... sooooo good.  I had the chicken vindaloo with garlic naan.... Yumm, almost as good as in London, but not quite. 

After lunch we further pigged out on some of the many exotic sweets and desserts, like Durian shakes and Japanese puff pastries.  So fattening, but so good.

We had read that there was a very good fish spa in this building so we decided to try and hunt it down.  We found it on the 5th level, Kenko Reflexology and Fish Spa.  They had a current promotion where you get a 15 minute aroma footbath,  15 minute shoulder massage, 30 minute foot reflexology and 30 minutes Fish Spa for only about $28CDN.  How do you say no to that? So we tried it.  Boy, did we not know what we were getting ourselves into.

The aroma footbath started off really well, although it was quite ticklish when the spa technician was rubbing our feet with an exfoliating scrub. But once the foot reflexology started, it was a whole different story.  I had thought it was going to be a foot massage... it wasn't.  The minute he started the reflexology,  it hurt, it hurt bad.  It was such an extreme pain, when he was kneading and squishing and yanking our toes, that I was on the verge of tears.  I had to hold my breath for much of the session, but it took all I had not to scream out in pain, but boy did I want to.  It hurt like a motherff#$%!!  We were paying for this?

Then when the reflexology finally ended, we could breathe a sigh of relief right? Nope, the shoulder massage started, and it's not what you think.  The masseuse formed a sharp spear with his elbow, aimed it at our shoulders, and pressed with all his body weight to try and separate our shoulder blades from our bodies.  My chest was pressed in so hard against the chair, I couldn't inhale until he released some of the pressure... it was sooooooo painful! Ouch. We were paying for this? We must be masochists. 

Finally, the "massage" was over, and we were served some tea, before we were supposed to wash our legs to prep them for the fish spa treatment.  

Once we were prepped and rinsed our legs using a special enzyme solution, we were ready to take on the fish!  The fish spa area had 2 distinct pool areas setup.  One area contained only small fish, about 15cm and smaller.  The other area held many larger fish that seemed full grown.   We tried the small fish spa first.  As soon as we dropped our feet into the water, they all just swarmed on us!! Like piranha but without the teeth.  It was THE WEIRDEST SENSATION of my life up to now.  It's hard to describe, it's part ticklish, part suction, and totally different.  It's hard to describe what 100 fishes attached to your legs and feet sucking on your dead skin cells feel s like.  It was creepy and exhilarating and the same time.  Definitely an experience

After a few minutes we were able to get a handle on our ticklishness and decided to give the big fish spa a try.  Holy heck, these fish can really suck.  The little ones felt like little suction cups wriggling all over your leg, these big ones felt like hoover vacs nipping all over your skin.  When they swam up to you, you can really feel the force.  After a couple of minutes we decided to go back to the little fishies. 

Soon our time was up and we had rinse our legs with the enzyme again before leaving.  It was a lot of fun, but I don't know if I would do it again for awhile. After the spa, we decided to go shopping... there may not be a lot of "Must-see" attractions in Kuala Lumpur, but this city is amazing for walking, eating, and SHOPPING.  There are mega malls and markets everywhere in KL.  Floor after floor after floor of stores and vendors selling anything and everything.  It was quite tiring just trying to navigate one shopping floor of one mall.  It took us almost an hour to clear one level, and this single mall had 10 levels, and it was attached to 2 other malls, and across the street there were several more malls.  It was insane... so much shopping.  Definitely a shoppers/bargain hunters paradise.

One thing different we noticed about shopping here, is that salespeople tend to follow you wherever you in the store, and they have no problem just standing next to you as you browse around.  As we moved one step to the right, they moved one step to the right.  As we moved 5 steps forward, they moved 5 steps forward, always hovering over you, staring at what you are doing.  It happened at every single store we went in.

Back home, we may be offended by this behavior, but here I think it's common.  The customers here are used to it, and I think they would be offended if salespeople ignored them and didn't follow them around the store.   Felicia and I would try to lose them, by diving quickly in one direction and then cutting quickly around a corner of another section, but sure enough when we turned around there they were again, hovering over us, staring.  It was hilarious; we couldn't shake them, no matter what we did.

We stayed out shopping and eating till almost 1am, then it was time to go back to the hotel to write this blog.  Tomorrow we're waking up early to go see the Petronas Twin Towers, and some more shopping, then we're off to Singapore to catch a flight to take us to Sydney to go meet up with Jeff and Julie!
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