Tourist Guide For Getting a Tattoo in Bangkok

This is a guest post by my friend Seb who also brought you the This Is How You Start An Export Business in Thailand. Are you thinking about getting a tattoo in Bangkok? Then read this.

Getting a tattoo in Bangkok is one of those rites of passage that a lot of travellers and expats go through during their Thai adventures.

I mean, once you’ve taken care of all of the other biggies:Make sure that your tattoo artist is actually an artist

  • “Accidentally” kissing a ladyboy
  • Waking up with an empty wallet, no phone and the hangover from hell
  • Drinking buckets full of “vodka” and Red Bull until you puke

Then you might as well round off the experience with a permanent reminder of your adventures in the “Land of Smiles”, right?

Well, if you do it right then sure.

But before you jump in head first, here’s some tips to make sure you don’t get a tattoo you’ll regret later.

Tattoos are for life, not just for Christmas!

Whether you’re a tourist or living in Bangkok permanently, you should take the process of getting a tattoo seriously.

Just like that “lady” you brought home last night after one too many buckets, tattoos can be hard to get rid of.

Once the excitement of your new ink wears off, you’ll be living with your new tattoo forever – for better or for worse.

Rather than just randomly selecting the studio to get inked at, you should ask “where can I find the best tattoo in Bangkok?”

There’s no shortage of tattoo studios in Bangkok.

Along with massage shops, 7-11 stores and som tam stalls, they can be found on just about every corner.

But, as with most things, not all tattoo studios are born equal.

In the tattoo community there’s an old saying that “everyone gets the tattoo they deserve”.

If you think you deserve something like this:

tattoo bangkok

Read no further.

Get as drunk as you can, stagger into the first studio you see with a “Cheap Tattoos Here” sign in the window and tell the guy the design you’d like is “up to you!”.

If, however, you’re looking for something that’s high quality, beautiful and safe, then there are some things you should take into account.

Follow these top tips carefully to make sure you’re getting the best tattoo possible.

Find a studio that puts makes customer service a priority

Unfortunately it’s very common for tattoo studios in Bangkok to be poor at dealing with customers.

Most people understand that artists aren’t always the most communicative or organized people, what with them always cutting their ears off and everything.

But that’s no excuse for not having someone on the team who can keep things organized!

If you’re going to go to all of the effort of coming down to a studio at a certain time, you should know that the right person will be available to take care of you.

Try to find a studio that has several ways of getting in touch with them that they actually reply to.

That way you can make sure that they understand your requirements and can actually help you before you make the trip.

Make sure your tattoo takes hygiene and safety very seriously

As a largely unregulated industry, safety and hygiene standards in tattoo studios in Bangkok can vary widely.

Although your artist should care as much about your safety as they do their own, unfortunately in many cases the education just isn’t there.

clean

Things like disinfecting stations, regular cleaning, new needles, single use ink cups etc should all be standard.

More than that, you should be able to ask someone who works in the studio about their hygiene standards.

If they can’t answer simple questions about their safety and cleaning routines, you’re just asking for trouble.
Make sure that your tattoo artist is actually an artist (i.e. can draw and tattoo and you can see their work)

Make sure that your tattoo artist is actually an artist (i.e. can draw and tattoo and you can see their work)

You’d think that this goes without saying, but type “bad tattoo” into Google and you’ll see that it isn’t!

Being a great tattoo artists means you have to master several different things.

The two most important are that 1) you are a good artist and 2) you can tattoo your art well.

It’s extremely common for someone to be good at one and not the other, which is what results in the crappy tattoos you laugh at and secretly hope you’ll never end up with.

Make sure that your artist can show you both artwork that they have personally drawn (not just traced or downloaded from the internet!) and examples of their finished tattoos in the style that you want to get!

In Bangkok, it’s all too common for shops to have a single artist that can “do everything”.

The truth is that they can – badly.

But you’re looking for the best tattoo in Bangkok, not just another random “crap tat”.

If they can’t show you both and aren’t honest enough about their skills and protective enough of their reputation to turn away work they’re not good at or don’t think is in your best interests, do yourself a favor and run as fast as your beer filled legs will carry you.

Eight's artwork

Make sure you can communicate clearly with your artist.

It’s important that you can tell your artist what you want, and that they really understand.

Just pointing at pictures and hoping for the best is a recipe for disaster.

Top tip here – if you ever hear the artist make a noise that sounds like “oooooorrrRRRRRR” to indicate they understand, you’re in trouble.

This is Thailand, so hoping that every artist you will speak to can speak fluent and perfect English is a pipe dream.

But a studio should have someone that can communicate clearly with both you and the artist to make sure that you end up with the design you really wanted.

Make sure your design is custom made for you.

Getting the best tattoo in Bangkok means getting a truly bespoke piece of artwork on your body, not just a transfer from a book of tattoo designs.

If you just choose a picture out of a book or online and your tattoo artist is happy with putting that onto your skin – time to get running again!

Everyone is different, has different body shapes, skin shades, personalities, ideas…

Just because a tattoo design looks great on one person, doesn’t mean someone else will look great with the exact same design.

You should have enough respect for your individuality to decorate your body with something that nobody else in the world can have an exact copy of.

tattoo

Your artist should be able to listen to you, take into account your personality, your body type and preferred tattoo placement – and create a piece of art that you’re both excited about and that really suits you.

Give your artist space to work

If you manage to find a tattoo artist that is both a great artist and tattoo artist and they’ve:

  • Listened to and understood your design
  • Taken into account your individual body and circumstances
  • Understand your reasons for getting this tattoo
  • Proven that it is a style they’re familiar with and great at working in

Give them some space to work!

It takes peace, quiet, inspiration and most of the time, quite some time for them to create the design for you.

Most great artists will obsess about the design, changing and adapting it over time until they are 100% happy with it and proud to put it in their portfolio.

Remember, for a great artist, every single tattoo they do is putting their reputation on the line.

Just as it’s on your body forever, it’s in their portfolio forever, and they only want work that makes them proud, not that will come back and haunt them!

So let them work, come back another day if possible and if not, relax and enjoy the atmosphere while they create your design.

Enjoy the process

Ok, we all know that tattoos hurt.

It’s no secret.

As much as we’d love them to feel like baby unicorns gently licking you.

Well…

They don’t.

But pain is your brain’s response to stimulus.

Things only hurt as much as you allow them to.

If you’ve followed these tips to the letter, you’ll be feeling relaxed and confident that you’ve done everything you can to get the best tattoo in Bangkok.

So, go to your happy place and enjoy the process.

Failing that, at least find a tattoo studio with pain free tattoo spray, so you can get the best of both worlds!

ALL DAY Tattoo

We do everything possible to stand out as the best tattoo studio in Bangkok. Customers can communicate with us in English or Thai and get in touch through Facebook, telephone or even book an appointment with instant confirmation through our website.

all-day-tattoo-studio

Our hygiene standards are extremely strict, with most of our equipment being single use and the rest sterilized correctly following international safety standards.

All of our artwork is bespoke, our artists are Internationally travelled, our inks are imported from the USA and we have movies, music and Xbox to keep you comfortable. There’s even a craft beer bar right downstairs if you get thirsty!

We are the only studio in Bangkok to offer both UV (blacklight) tattoos and pain free tattoos.

Get in touch with us to discuss your next tattoo idea, we’re sure you won’t be disappointed.

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