Getting a Tattoo in Krabi
No holiday is truly complete without a few souvenirs. While some travelers may be satisfied with magnets, clothes or jewelry, others might prefer something more artistic. To take home a more permanent reminder of your time here, why not consider getting a tattoo in Krabi? With the rise in popularity of this wearable art, Krabi tattoo shops number over a hundred. Wherever you end up in this gorgeous province, you’ll find that Krabi tattoo shops compete with the best. Because artists here specialize in a whole range of styles, getting a tattoo in Krabi doesn’t have to be a decision you’ll regret.
Getting the Basics Covered
Artistic integrity aside, the first thing you’ll want to look for in a Krabi tattoo shop is cleanliness. However, it’s difficult to find a tattoo shop in Krabi that doesn’t adhere to strict safety standards.
Mr. Chang, from Reggae Ink Tattoo in Ao Nang, tells us that the days of re-using tools are long over. Decades ago, when supplies were harder to get in the region, it would have been more important to ask this question. However, don’t be afraid to inquire if you’re concerned.
While some Krabi tattoo shops have switched over to a portable, hand held tattoo machine, others still rely on bulky equipment. In shops with machines sporting reusable parts, look for an autoclave or other sterilization equipment. The hand held devices allow the artist to work untethered, without the famous drilling sound associated with tattoo machines. They’re also easier to clean, and pretty cool-looking.
Jump to Ao Nang tattoo shops
Disposable tools can be used in almost every part of the tattoo process. Look for individually wrapped and sealed packages. If you’re going for a traditional bamboo tattoo, make sure the bamboo stick is clean and new, with no traces of ink present.
Of course, if your chosen Krabi tattoo shop is displaying an array of trophies, you can rest assured that cleanliness and safety are second nature. Nonetheless, it never hurts to have your artist walk you through the process. Once any fears have been assuaged, you can turn your focus to the fun part – the art.
Tattoos are Like Music
Mr. Chang tells us that you won’t find many bad tattoo artists in Krabi. What you can look for instead, is an artist that excels in the style you’re looking for. Like music, no style is good or bad – it just depends what you’re into. Just as you might be more interested in folk music than heavy metal, you can be drawn to styles of tattooing that are inherently different from each other. Popular tattoo styles in Krabi include Polynesian, Japanese, dot, colorful, old school and mandala.
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Of course, one can hardly discuss tattooing in Thailand without a mention of the age-old practice of sak yan, or yantra tattoos. Popular five-line tattoos have been part of sacred rituals in this area for centuries. Over time, different symbols have become popular, all with a similar theme. The designs are meant to invoke fortune upon the wearer, and can be done in a variety of regional alphabets. Made famous in the Western world by Angelina Jolie, sak yan are nowadays regarded by many as merely a good-luck charm when done in a non-ceremonial fashion.
Once you’ve decided what style you’d like, you can start perusing tattoo artists in Krabi. Luckily, modern technology is on your side here. A quick search (as well as our guide) can have you familiar with all the artists in the area you’ll be visiting. Mr. Chang reminds us that although many artists excel in reproducing an image, the true test remains with their ability to bring a concept to life. If you’ve got something in mind but can’t quite picture it, Krabi tattoo artists can help turn your vision into art. In this regard, it’s important to remember that “good tattoos are not cheap tattoos”. If someone down the road is offering a much cheaper price, you might want to ask yourself why.
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Bamboo vs. Machine
Many tattoo enthusiasts come to Thailand with something a little more traditional in mind. You can get a hand-poked bamboo piece in almost every Krabi tattoo shop. In fact, we’d wager to say that they are actually more popular than machine tattoos in some studios.
There’s something magical about receiving your tattoo poke by poke, and the physical sensations can be very different, as well. Many people report that getting a bamboo tattoo hurts less, because not as many layers of skin are punctured. This also means that your tattoo will heal faster.
When it comes to the artistic possibilities, there’s no argument that machine is easier. With about 150 pokes coming into your skin per second and a range of needles used, different effects such as shading and solid lines are achieved more realistically.
However, don’t let that dissuade you from indulging in the age-old art form of bamboo tattooing. Tattoo shops in Krabi have evolved with the times. Many are winning competitions by bringing a modern flair to this traditional method. Again, seeing trophies displayed is always a good sign!
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Have a Beer – And Get a Tattoo!
With a healthy interest in tattoos amongst the backpacker scene, you’ll find many Krabi tattoo shops right inside the bar. Offerings like this are popular in places such as Railay Beach and in the nightlife districts of other Krabi destinations. It’s an interesting combination, and can make for a great story! Getting a tattoo while under the influence doesn’t have to be a bad idea, within reason. If you see a shop catering to clients who are sure not to remember the experience, we suggest steering clear. Additionally, alcohol can thin your blood, making you more likely to bleed during the process. This can affect the way the tattoo heals.
It’s also recommended not to head into a more serious piece if you’ve been drinking. Mr. Chang laughs when we ask him about this. He says that in addition to being like music, tattoos can also be like food. You can have a six-course meal, or you can just have a snack. You can also have potato chips or filet mignon – what you put in your body is, ultimately up to you. But unless you’re going in specifically for the art, it might be a good idea to plan any large-scale tattoos in advance.
Your Guide to Getting a Tattoo in Krabi
If you’ve got an inkling to get inked while you’re here, check out our guide to the best tattoo shops in Krabi. No matter what your destination is, Krabi tattoo shops can leave you sporting a brand new souvenir – one that will last a lifetime!
Tattoo shops in Ao Nang
1. Reggae Ink Tattoo Ao Nang
Mr. Chang and his carefully selected crew of artists are masters in all styles – Chang himself makes a point of bringing home at least one trophy every year. You can also find him and his artists at the sister shop in Nopparat Thara Beach – Smile Rat Tattoo. https://goo.gl/maps/UwMPPfWC14A2
2. Family Tattoo Ao Nang
The name says it all. Family Tattoo in Ao Nang is owned by a husband-and-wife team that go to great lengths to make sure their customers are happy. No detail is too much for Family Tattoo – and despite the professionalism, prices are reasonable. https://goo.gl/maps/oj83adi9ebB2
3. Mr. Tattoo Ao Nang
Being one of the longest-running tattoo shops in Ao Nang, Mr.Tattoo has a history of satisfied customers. Specializing in bamboo tattoos, Mr. Tattoo has a lot of repeat business from clients who can’t get enough of Krabi! https://goo.gl/maps/rD1ck7wimPD2
Tattoo shops in Railay Beach
1. Bamboo Bar & Tattoo Railay Beach
An inconspicuous bar at the far end of the Railay West walking street, Bamboo Tattoo in Railay Beach. The tattoo shop can be found as a small room behind the bar. Because of their open-air concept, this Railay Beach tattoo shop boasts an easy-going environment and loads of happy customers. https://goo.gl/maps/Gwh8y222tPR2
Tattoo shops in Koh Lanta
1. Lanta Ink Tattoo Studio Koh Lanta
Located in the heart of Saladan, the artists at Lanta Ink have been tattooing for almost 20 years. Specializing in black and gray, Mr. Sitt gave up a career in engineering to pursue his passion for tattoos. Get inked here in a beautiful studio overlooking the North shores of Koh Lanta. https://goo.gl/maps/usr3P2S7ELS2
2. Lady Luck Tattoo Studio Koh Lanta
This Lanta tattoo studio sits at the North end of Koh Lanta Yai. Specializing in freehand designs, the artists and owner are kind and accommodating. Customers who’ve been inked here say it’s worth a trip to Koh Lanta just to get your tattoo! https://goo.gl/maps/Ata5K1NjCzv
Tattoo shops in Koh Phi Phi
1. Tapear Tattoo Studio Phi Phi
Tapear is likely the most popular tattoo shop in Phi Phi. Their artists can reproduce images or design something totally new for you. All done in a clean and professional environment, you’ll see nothing but smiling faces walking out of here. https://goo.gl/maps/wYLfRHCZyop
2. Bus Bamboo Tattoo Phi Phi
Mr. Bus’s tattoo shop in Phi Phi is located near the police station. With over 12 years of experience, he has won international awards and specializes in cover-ups. Bamboo or machine tattoos are available here. Many customers praise his bamboo work as being the most delicate and painless around. https://goo.gl/maps/zqJdhHERuGq
3. Handsome Heart Tattoo Phi Phi
Handsome Heart Tattoo in Phi Phi is staffed by some of the island’s best artists. Mr. Poo excels in every style of tattooing, and his attention to detail is paramount. Because of this, customers often look to him to ink their larger, more detailed pieces. https://goo.gl/maps/NqfgnAvBMdq