Natural Wellness and Spa Destination Review: Fish Massage at Kampung Luanti, Ranau

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Natural Wellness and Spa Destination Review:


Fish Massage at Kampung Luanti, Ranau


Fish Massage at Kampung Luanti, Ranau - main entrance

Fish Massage at Kampung Luanti, Ranau - a poster at the reception area

Fish Massage at Kampung Luanti, Ranau - signboard near the Moroli river

The main entrance to Kg. Luanti with the fish icon

visible from the roadside

A poster at the reception area showing

visitors how the massage is done

The unique signboard near the Moroli river



Description: For a unique natural wellness and spa experience, you have to pay Kampung Luanti in Ranau a visit for its fish massaging session. The location is currently the only one that provide a fish massage in Sabah, and perhaps in the whole of Borneo. This location is a must-stop for those who just conquered the nearby Mount Kinabalu. Soothe your aching joints or body with a natural massage.

Yes, you read right! A Fish Massage sounds odd but it's a unique experience you might not be curious enough to try.

Fancy something more unique than your average spa? Then head on to Kampung Luanti, Ranau for a fish massaging session at Moroli river in the village!

Located in Kampung Luanti, Ranau, 131 kilometers from Kota Kinabalu (2 hours and 40 minutes drive away); this fish massage ‘spa’ is managed by the Kampung Luanti JKK and lead by Mr. Jeffrin Majangki.

In the Local KadazanDusun dialect, ‘tagal’ means ‘no fishing’, and the main purpose of the ‘tagal’ is to preserve the environment as well as the ecosystem to benefit the future generation. ‘Ikan Pelian’ or Malaysian Masheer comes from the family of Cyprinidae. These fishes are specifically trained by the villagers to perform the healing massage activities.

The fish massage is deemed to have a curative effect on those who suffers from psoriasis. Come to Kampung Luanti for regular fish massages and you will enjoy smoother and suppler skin - just like a baby’s bottom.

If the idea of fishes nibbling off your dead skin doesn’t thrill you, try other activities such as jungle trekking and camping. Should you intend to stay longer, Kampung Luanti is also equipped with a homestay programme to make visitors feel at home every time.

Fish Massage at Kampung Luanti, Ranau - the picturesque river Fish Massage at Kampung Luanti, Ranau - pelian fish Fish Massage at Kampung Luanti, Ranau - full body massage

The picturesque river view where the

fish massage will be "performed"

The "Pelian" fish or more commonly known

in Sabah as "Kelah" fish

Mr. Jeffrin (foreground) showing how

a full body massage is done


SOURCE: Sabah Tourism

NOTE: Photos Copyright to


Kampung Luanti is by the main KK-Ranau-Kundasang road just after the junction to Sabah Tea Garden.

You can try out either a feet massage (up to your knee) or a full body massage (just submerge yourself in the river). The trick to the fishes coming to "massage" you lies in the "fishmeal" (or feed pallets) that you need to hold close to you body underneath the water. However sometimes, the fish will "massage" you regardless of whether you are holding any fishmeal or not.

You should not shout or make loud noise when a group of fish are massaging (or nibbling) you so as not to disturb and unsettle them. This may not be an easy task when the first tingling sensation of the fish nibbles are almost all over your body. But you just need to relax and enjoy the natural massage.

If you forgot to bring your own swim wear, you can always rent some shorts or clothing for the dip at the river.

The only minus at Kampung Luanti is a lack of good bathing facility (one has to shower in the open at present). But overall as at September 2011, most of its public facilities have improved compared to our first review in 2008, although some looks pretty worn out.

First Published on Travel Borneo Blog on 02 November 2008


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