Apart from an odd massage I had little understanding of Ayurveda. Visiting Kairali the Ayurvedic Healing Resort in Palakkad, Kerala was a good start for me to gain an initial understanding of Ayurveda. And I have come back impressed. They have a lovely 60 acre place full of trees, flowers and birds including peacocks.
The trip was done in association with Plush Escapes and my write up is live at their website now. Do check it out.
“It was at Kairali I realized that massage was a part of therapy and in isolation it had little meaning. I also realized that originally spas were meant to be in natural surroundings where you could see trees and hear birds naturally, and not through a speaker. Kairali has that setting. I would never view a city based spa experience with air-conditioning and piping music kindly again!
I went for four massages in three days. Abhyangam is the most common rejuvenating Ayurvedic massage and it was my first one too. Combined with the exercises and diet regime -they did wonders for me. Even my family who always fails to notice anything new about me, noticed the glow that I came back with!”
The center offers both wellness and treatment packages. For me it was a lot of fun to go bird watching! There were butterflies and flowers in abundance! I have a nice time trying to catch them in my camera.
I asked the resident doctor if he would suggest something for me, he replied, “Keep doing whatever you are doing as it is working for you!” And I was thinking that means endless cups of tea, sleeping late and getting up late and not holding an employment! What do you guys say to that?
It is raining spas on Travel Tales from India these days. I have been to three spas in last two months and by my standards that is lot. When I was in Thailand (on invitation from TAT New Delhi) I visited the Bhawa Spa, Bangkok. I wonder how they do it, but the ambiance itself does something to make you relaxed.
We were presented with a refreshing drink with soothed me down even further. We were going for an aromatherapy massage. The ladies explained the virtue of the various oils. Papaya and almond caught my attention as it was meant for dry skin! I have to say there were better smelling oils but I am beyond the days when I would pick them up just by smell!
The waiting area was beautifully decorated. There was an outdoor swimming pool which caught my attention. They had spa products for sale as well.
I have to admit I visited a spa for the first time, in connection with my blogging I think in 2008. I was extremely reluctant to begin with. But spas have grown on me gradually! There were two team members for whom it was a first time in a spa.
The massage started with a relaxing foot massage. The setting of the room automatically made me switch on the princess mode! The foot massage was followed by a full body massage. I had an wonderful one hour where gradually my various aches and pains, which I didn’t even know existed, started melting away.
The lady who gave me the massage was excellent. She would at appropriate times ask if I was comfortable or not. They also recommended that we take a bath at the beginning of the massage and keep the oil on after the massage.
When we came out, we started comparing notes. One of the first timers told us that he got so surprised by the depth to which his towel was pulled while massaging his lower back that he got up with a jerk and spilled the oil! We laughed and laughed at him and with him!
While we were emerging one by one from the various rooms, Bhawa served us with mango sticky rice for after massage! Now that truly made my day. Mango sticky rice is my favorite Thai dessert. It was an excellent ending to a very relaxing time at the Bhawa Spa, Bangkok.
I am not much of a spa or pedicure, manicure person. I have never had a facial in my life till date. Thailand and Cambodia are full of massage parlors but I was not really looking for a massage. I have been to a few spas in the course of my travels but I really do not seek them out.
We had one night in Cambodia and after the official dinner hosted by Ministry of Tourism Cambodia, many of us decided to give the Pub Street and the Night Market a try.
The Pub Street, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Sankara (of the Be On the Road) was our unofficial guide, he has extensively traveled through South East Asia. Once we got to the pub street in various tuktuks, it was time to regroup and explore the area. Some of us found a watering hole quickly. Lakshmi and I decided to take a stroll. And then I spotted them, the fish massage tanks. Almost every shop had one! It went for 1 dollar for 10 minutes. In Siem Reap every shop will accept US Dollars.
The price was right, the amount of time was right but I am slightly phobic to all kind of animals. However there was not much to lose so I decided to give the fish foot massage or pedicure if you like, a try.
The Fish Spa Tank
There were two tanks. One had slightly bigger fish than what you can see in the picture above. The young boy who was handling the tank wiped out the water from the ledge of the big fish tank and I was all set.
As soon as I put my foot in the big fish tank I let out a big yelp of surprise. The boy came running and asked me to try the small fish tank instead! I was out of the big fish tank pond in less than 30 seconds. It was just not for me! I lasted less than 10 minutes at the small fish pond too. I can’t remember when I last giggled so much and drew such attention to myself! I usually do not like attracting attention, I guess it is a part of my Indian upbringing. But I screamed and giggled to my heart’s content. I was not even aware that Lakshmi was clicking my pictures!
A Giggling Me, Siem Reap, Cambodia
The whole pedicure experience went like this. I would gingerly lower one foot in the water tank, keeping the other on the wooden ledge. I would then start either giggling or yelping! I would pull out my foot within a few seconds of lowering it! This was repeated I don’t know how many times. At one point someone else put their hand down in the tank (the second photo) to show it was safe and I immediately came to my senses and clicked a picture. But when it was my turn, I gleefully created all kind of fuss. I didn’t like the tickling sensation the fish created. I tried my best to brave it but it was an utter flop as far as the pedicure was concerned! I hardly ever kept my feet in water!
In less than 10 minutes I decided this was not for me. It was fun trying, I had a gala time creating a ruckus and a riot (which I normally don’t do) but the actual fish pedicure is just not for me! While doing an internet search I also saw some health warnings but I am only passing it on to you. It is not the health warning that will deter me from trying it out the next time, if there is ever going to be a next time! The whole experience was a laugh riot and so much fun. But I don’t like that ticklish fishy sensation one bit!
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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