Three Tips for Getting a Tattoo in Thailand

Three Tips for Getting a Tattoo in Thailand

When I arrived in Thailand with my husband the summer of 2008, I had no intentions of adding to my pair of modestly sized tattoos. Even if the thought had momentarily crossed my mind, I certainly didn’t dream of adding a third piece that would cover half of my back. Then one lazy afternoon, as we wandered the streets of Bangkok near Khao San Road, we stumbled across a lovely little tattoo shop. Through a picture window, we could see the artists at work, as well as a plethora of pictures of clients from around the world. Looking at the picture above, you can see that the rest is history. Following is my advice to anyone considering getting a tattoo in Thailand. 1. Remember: Safety First!

The first issue I addressed with the artist was the cleanliness of the tools and facility itself. Looking around, I was satisfied with the shop in general but needed some extra reassurance as to the condition of the actual needles. Without hesitation, the artist showed me where the individually packaged, sterile needles were kept. Anyone considering getting tattooed anywhere needs to realize that many diseases can be spread through dirty needles and take proper precautions to make sure they will be safe.

It is bad enough to see someone wearing the same piece of clothing as you, but (if you’re anything like me) it is especially important to feel like your tattoo is unique and special. A tattoo artist is foremost an artist, not just someone who has learned to tattoo by number. When I decided I wanted a merlion design, I brought my artist a picture and asked him to make it his own. That way, I knew it would be one of a kind.

3. Get the biggest bang for your baht.

I suggest discussing price early on, as it is a major deciding factor. Since every tattoo is different, there is never a set price. You should be aware, though, that the cost of a piece will likely increase along with the amount of color and detail. Luckily, I preferred an all black tattoo, which really kept the price down. However, I wanted lots of details like shading and intricate patterns. Everything is so affordable in Thailand that I ultimately paid a mere fourth of what I could have spent back home in the states. Even so, I set a limit that the artist was able to work with.

If you follow these three tips, you will be well on your way to owning your own enviable piece of body art. Taking the time to find the right artist and design will make your experience well worth the effort. For more information on making the most of your trip, check out my article: “Vacationing in Thailand: Beyond the Basics of Traveling Abroad.”

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