November 2012 by Ultimate guide to Thailand

Sporting a tattoo may mean different things for different people. It could be to commemorate an event, to declare a love prospect, to embellish the body with fantastic artworks or even for religious purposes. There is no better place to get a tattoo than in Thailand. Walking on the streets in Thailand, you will find one out of probably 30 people sporting a tattoo of sorts somewhere on their body. It is a popular art form as well as of religious significance.

Tattoos in Thailand can be divided into two disciplines. The normal decorative body art tattoo and the religious tattoo known as the “Sak Yant”. Religious tattoos are normally imprinted on monks, devotees and those who have certain religious practices. The tattoos done at the temples are performed the traditional way with a sharp bamboo “pen” that is laden with a special dark blue ink and slowly punctured onto the surface of the skin. These tattoos can be in the form of religious scripts, icons, or amulet designs. They are supposedly to reinforce and strengthen to beliefs of the person who carries the tattoo. If you were interested to obtain such a tattoo, the best place would be in a temple such as Wat Pho in Bangkok. The monks in the temple do these tattoos and there is a strict adherence to the gender when imprinting these tattoos. Women, who are interested in having a tattoo from the temple, would first have to ask the monks if they are willing to do it for them.

Other tattoos are easily obtained from various outlets throughout Bangkok and in popular tourist areas such as Khaosan Road, Pat Phong, Pattaya, Phuket, Koh Samui and Chiang Mai. The cost of each tattoo depends on the complexity of your design. You can always ask for a quote beforehand just to check the price. Getting a tattoo done in Thailand is safe but there is no harm in checking that they change the needles for you to prevent any unwanted problems. Most of the tattoo artists do speak English as they deal with many foreign clients in their line of work.

Occasionally there are Tattoo Art Festivals in Thailand where you can participate, observe, or even have a tattoo done by the many artists who participate at the event. Tattoos are not just limited to men but also women in Thailand and some of the artwork for these tattoos are very fine and intricate. So if you are thinking of having a tattoo made while in Thailand, do check out the many available tattoo parlors scattered around the city and country but if you want a religious tattoo, do check with the temples beforehand!

Please note that all photos are by courtesy of the respective copyright owners.


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Writer: Pen Drageon

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