A Guide To The Most Popular Thai Tattoos to get on Holiday
Thailand – The Land of Smiles! Many visitors to the Kingdom quite rightly class a visit to the country as a holiday of a lifetime.
You do not have to dig too deep to understand why.
This huge, diverse country offers something for everyone; beautiful countryside, national parks that really do take you back to nature, glorious islands and beaches that range from busy and lively to completely remote and off the beaten track.
Accommodation options from beach huts to 5-star luxury hotels means there is something to suit every pocket and the culinary delights blow many away.
Whether you are looking for a totally chilled holiday or one where the party scene will surpass your expectations, Thailand has something for you.
Taking the above into account it is little wonder that many who visit want something to remind them of their unforgettable experience.
A perfect way to achieve this is by getting one of the many Thai holiday tattoos available. This will serve as a long-term reminder of a special or significant memory, either for you as an individual or as part of the group you have travelled with.
Travelling through history
From the days of the earliest explorers there has been a fascination to travel outside our boundaries.
It was during these early years of exploration that ship’s captains and crews came into contact with different countries and their people. In turn they gradually began to understand the significance of tattoos for these nations and their tribes.
Throughout the 20th century (1900’s) tattoos have had a chequered history in the West and it was not really until the 1970’s that tattoos really started to become mainstream, popular and have much less of a stigma attached to them.
Their popularity has gradually increased and to this day many see receiving a tattoo as a rite of passage. It is now also commonplace to receive a Tattoo relating to a person’s travel adventures; Thai holiday tattoos being a point in case.
Commercial travel snapshot
Up until the 1970’s commercial travel to foreign countries was no mean feat and was generally restricted to those with a fair bit of time and money on their hands.
The distance we have come in today’s world of travel is quite astonishing – Here’s just a few facts for you to consider while you wing your way fairly effortlessly around the world:
- 1914 – 1st ‘commercial passenger flight’ – Between St Petersburg and Tampa, Florida. The flight took around 20 minutes.
In order to emphasise the speed this mode of transport offered consider this:
The 2 cities are on opposite sides of Tampa Bay. It took 2 hours by Steamship, between 4 and 12 hours by rail and a journey around the bay via automobile took 20 hours!
The flight cost $5 one way per person (around $100 in today’s money) and took just over 20 minutes to complete.
While it was a limited enterprise (4 months) it was so popular during this period that tickets sold out in advance for those 16 weeks.
This must be seen as the forerunner to what we have today in terms of commercial passenger travel. Indeed, a brief, visionary statement was made before the flight by Percival Elliott Fansler, one of the main organisers of this historic service:
“What was impossible yesterday is an accomplishment today, while tomorrow heralds the unbelievable”
- 1950 – 1st ‘Mass Package Tour’ – 32 holidaymakers flew From UK to Corsica
- 1989 – The introduction of the Boeing 747-400 – The favorite in the 747 family. It holds up to 524 passengers with Northwest Airlines being the first to put this aircraft into commercial service
- 1995 – The 1st airline tickets are sold via the Internet
- 1998 – Boeing introduce their 777-300 Model – Currently the 2nd largest passenger aircraft in service and can hold 550 passengers. It was first delivered to Cathay Pacific
- 1998 – Smoking Ban – The USA banned smoking on all domestic flights (with a duration of less than 2 hours – While dates and individual airline regulations vary it took until the year 2000 before smoking was banned on the vast majority of domestic and international flights)
- 1999 – 1st web-based check-in facilities – Passengers were able to check-in and acquire online boarding passes
- 2002 – Virgin Atlantic – took delivery of the 1st Airbus A340-600 – with capacity to hold 475 passengers
- 2007 – The SuperJumbo introduced: Airbus delivered their A380-800 to Singapore Airlines. This huge commercial transporter can hold 853 passengers for a single journey!
Where to get tattooed in Thailand
It cannot be denied that there are an abundance of places to receive a tattoo while visiting Thailand.
Temples, markets, backpacker areas, red light districts and even while relaxing on the beach are all possibilities, but surely, when making such an important decision you should consider hygiene, health, safety and the professionalism of the studio and artists involved.
To this end there is little doubt that Bangkok is by far your best option, but only if you choose a reliable, reputable, licensed establishment such as the ALL DAY tattoo studio in central Sukhumvit.
Bangkok – The City of Angels
While foreigners refer to the capital city as “Bangkok”, Thai’s commonly call it by it’s abbreviated name: “Krung Thep” which translates to City of Angels.
Bangkok is arguably the most vibrant capital city in South-East Asia and has something for everyone.
Breathtaking sights, sounds, the array of food available and nightlife options to suit every taste mean a fun-packed time during a stay is yours.
The country is world-renowned for its tattooing skills, but it is widely agreed that Bangkok is the best place to receive Thai holiday tattoos that will serve as a permanent memento of an unforgettable travel experience.
Choose the studio for your Bangkok holiday tattoos carefully
As just mentioned, Bangkok is undoubtedly the best place to get your Thai holiday tattoos and the #1 studio in the capital is the renowned ALL DAY Tattoo studio which is located in the easily accessible, central Sukhumvit area.
Later in the piece we will explain why the ALL DAY Tattoo studio should be your ‘go to’ studio when considering Bangkok holiday tattoos, but first let’s take a look at the different types of Thai tattoos and some of the most popular designs visitors go for.
What are the different types of Thai tattoos?
One thing is for sure, those looking for Bangkok holiday tattoos will have no shortage of choice.
Thai culture is extremely vibrant and diverse. This means there are designs for everyone!
Due to the importance and cultural significance of Sak Yant tattoo designs we will start with explaining them in more detail.
Sak Yant (Thai Traditional) Tattoos
Many of the design suggestions mentioned later in the piece are referred to and completed in the style of Sak Yant tattooing.
Here’s a brief explanation of Sak Yant beyond just the inking.
Definition of a Sak Yant tattoo
While this type of design is usually called a “Sak Yant” tattoo, they are also known as “Thai Traditional” or “Bamboo” tattoos.
- Sak in Thai means Tattoo
- Yant is the Thai pronunciation of the Sanskrit “Yantra” – A mystical diagram which is used in meditation
The Sak Yant practice is over 2,000 years old with its origin coming from Tai tribes located in Southwestern China and Northwest Vietnam and to this day such designs are packed with symbolism and intention.
What Does a Sak Yant Tattoo Consist Of?
- Designs which are sacred geometrical, animal or deity inscriptions
- Accompanied with Pali Phrases which afford the bearer supposedly magical benefits. Examples being: Power, Protection, Fortune & Charisma
The Basic Elements of a Sak Yant Tattoo
No matter which Sak Yant design you go for, similar features are used for all. Two which stand out are:
- The Bones of the Yant: These are the lines used. They represent the Buddha’s umbilical cord
- The Unalome: This is a spiral, zig-zag symbol that ends in a straight line. It is a representation of “the winding path to enlightenment” or “Nirvana”
The Three Components That Make Up a Sak Yant Tattoo
When receiving a traditional Sak Yant design it will consist of:
- The Yantra
- The Pali Text
- The Associated Mantra
You do NOT have to visit a temple to receive a Sak Yant tattoo
There is a very real belief amongst those looking for Sak Yant Thai holiday tattoos that the only way to achieve this is by receiving one from a temple specialising in the art.
Please understand, this is not the case. Sak Yant designs are stunning, meaningful pieces of body art that are perfectly acceptable to people of all Nationalities, religions and creeds.
These designs can be received from a highly professional tattoo studio in far more conducive surroundings to that of a temple and still have a deep, personal meaning in relation to any Bangkok holiday tattoos you choose.
The reality of going through the true, traditional process to receive a Sak Yant tattoo at a temple is simply not possible for the vast majority of westerners.
This is because it would literally mean many years of deep, intensive training to learn and understand the complex mysteries and traditions behind these designs which are only then given to students based on achieved merit.
Additionally, having a Sak Yant tattoo “blessed” in a studio or even a temple is not an authentic procedure.
By their very nature a true “Ajarn” (teacher) is forbidden to receive money for tattooing. Such a “blessing” is merely pretending the receiver has earned their tattoo on the strength of dedication and merit. It is obvious that such practices are misleading.
Receiving a Sak Yant design at a tattoo studio in Bangkok is completely acceptable from a Thai cultural perspective. Once received it will often be the case that Thai people are pleased to see you wearing a symbol of their rich culture.
This should tell all who are looking for Sak Yant Thai holiday tattoos that there is absolutely no need to be duped by going through a false “magic” ceremony in order to enjoy your special Sak Yant design.
How to Choose Your Thai Tattoo Design
Special holiday memories, a certain location, or a memorable event that has particularly stayed with you during a visit are all excellent ways to decide on which of the many Thai holiday tattoos best suit your needs.
There is no right or wrong way to choose a design that will serve as a permanent reminder of your time spent in Thailand.
Having said that, seeking advice from the professional, highly experienced ALL DAY team will go a long way to ensuring your expectations are exceeded.
Our friendly, knowledgeable team of managers and artists are ready to add that extra “something special” to whatever Bangkok holiday tattoos ideas you may have.
We will offer artistic advice based on our long experience of providing clients with Bangkok holiday tattoos to be proud of.
This could be something as simple as an extra splash of color, a unique take on a common theme, or a completely different design from the norm. We will also give insight into where such Thai holiday tattoos will best fit on your body.
To give you a feel for some of the most popular Thai holiday tattoos the ALL DAY Tattoo studio team of artists regularly provide, we will give you some examples.
What are some of the most popular Thai inspired tattoo designs?
Thailand is synonymous with elephants, indeed, they are the country’s national animal and are highly respected and revered by Thai people throughout the country.
There are a variety of reasons why this impressive animal was chosen as the Kingdom’s national symbol, but a key factor is that Thai’s celebrate the elephant’s incredible strength, durability and its longevity.
This makes getting an elephant tattoo while in Bangkok a very popular option.
Different Styles of Elephant Tattoos
The range of elephant designs available to those looking at Thai holiday tattoos with a difference offers a huge choice for their elephant tattoo in Bangkok.
Below are just a small selection of the wide choice of options!
Small and Minimalist Elephant Tattoo
Geometric Elephant Tattoo
Watercolor Elephant Tattoo
Mandala Elephant Tattoo
Realistic Black and Grey Elephant Tattoo
In Buddhist culture the unalome symbol depicts the path to enlightenment. These tattoo designs can be large or small.
The spirals symbolise life’s twists and turns, while the straight lines are there to indicate when the wearer reaches either enlightenment or peace & harmony.
In terms of Bangkok holiday tattoos, this type of design can have a very significant meaning, particularly for those who embrace the spiritual feel of this majestic country.
A Mandala tattoo is seen as a sacred symbol. This type of tattoo design represents the Sun, the Stars and the Universe.
Those looking for Bangkok holiday tattoos to remind them of their time in the Kingdom will have a constant reminder of the sun-filled days spent here, the clarity of stars in the clear night sky and indeed, the beauty of the Universe.
The Lotus flower has a deep, significant place in Thai culture and the different colors each have different meanings.
You can opt for a highly stylized design with coloring in: Blue, White, Purple, Pink or Red.
With regard to which Lotus design to go for in terms of Bangkok holiday tattoos, and the one that best reflects your experience in the Kingdom, the choice is certainly yours, but the ALL DAY team of highly skilled artists will be happy to explain exactly what each color means in order for you to choose a design that is right for you.
Two to consider are:
- Pink Lotus: This is seen as the supreme lotus and in accordance is considered to be the true lotus of Buddha
- Red Lotus: The red lotus relates to the heart. It is associated with love and compassion.
Many visitors to Thailand find this particularly relevant when it comes to receiving Thai holiday tattoos. This is because it reminds them of their time in the Kingdom. It is easy to fall in love with this beautiful country and its caring, compassionate people.
Tuk Tuk Tattoos
Let’s face it, a visit to the country’s teeming metropolis makes a Tuk Tuk ride a must! One thing is for sure; it is an experience that will not easily be forgotten!
Many people looking for Bangkok holiday tattoos that will serve as a reminder of their time spent in this chaotic, surprising and mesmerising capital opt to have a Tuk Tuk tattoo.
This can be in the form of:
- Simple yet eye-catching outlines
- With a choice of your watercolor splash behind
- A design in Neo Traditional coloring
These fun, vibrant depictions will serve as an excellent memory. It will be a reminder of those hair-raising rides as well as the simple memory of seeing so many Tuk Tuks lining up at traffic lights and junctions while vying for the best escape route!
Thai Temple Guardians / Other Thai Temple Designs
For many visiting the Kingdom, visits to Thai temples are a truly memorable and significant part of their trip.
There are countless majestic, calm and inspiring temples throughout the country.
An ideal way to remember these experiences is by opting for Thai holiday tattoos depicting the intricate temple guardians, or an ornate depiction of the various temple designs offering real character.
While there are countless examples to choose from, one which is not recommended is a Garuda design.
This design has been seen as a symbol of Royalty for centuries in Thailand and out of respect for the Royal family as well as Thai Buddhists everywhere it can be considered as inappropriate to have such designs tattooed on your body.
In the end this is a personal choice but if you’re planning to spend a lot of time in Thailand or South East Asia you may wish to choose a different design and either way – if you do plan to get a Garuda tattoo make sure it’s above the waist as the lower body is seen as unclean in Buddhist belief and having such a sacred design below the waist would be considered disrespectful to many.
A word, phrase or name inked in Thai script
Having a word, phrase or name inked is an excellent way for Thai holiday tattoos to remind individuals or groups of time spent in the Kingdom.
For couples travelling together this could have a special, romantic meaning, groups can remember the highly enjoyable time spent visiting certain parts of the country together and individuals can have a phrase inked that will always remind them of one special spot or occassion.
The scope for receiving these Bangkok holiday tattoos is huge, but do remember to make sure the Thai writing relates accurately to your desired translation.
There have been many cases where people have had words written as body art in Thai that do not relate to what was intended.
On this point, receiving a word, phrase or name in Thai script from the experienced professional team of artists at the ALL DAY Tattoo studio is something you can be 100% confident in.
Of course, the script doesn’t have to be huge!
It can be as small and simple or as large and complex as you like.
Our friendly, knowledgeable team of managers and artists are multi-lingual and as such will ensure that the style and words you want are the what you will get.
Real or Mythical creatures
We have already mentioned that Elephant tattoos are an excellent memento when it comes to Thai holiday tattoos, but it should not be forgotten that there are many other creatures which will make for a perfect reminder of your time spent in Thailand.
Just 10 of the many that really do stand out from the crowd are:
- Hanuman (the mythical monkey god that can fly)
- The Singha – a lion-like figure, seen as a symbol of power, strength, courage and leadership. Read more below!
Singha Thai Lion
In Thai culture the Lion (Singha) is an important ancient symbol.
The lion around the world is known as the “king of the jungle” and in Thai folklore, this is also the case.
The lion is a symbol that signifies strength, dignity, loyalty, endurance, perseverance, power and courage.
It originates from ancient Thai/Indian tales where the lion was one of the 4 Gods of the Himmapan Forest, which is believed to be in the foothills of the Himalayas.
It is also very well known as the symbol of Singha beer, the best selling beer in Thailand and exported worldwide to Thai restaurants.
Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist country so the image of the Buddha is seen everywhere.
From temples, to shophouses, people’s homes, businesses and of course, as souvenirs in shops and markets.
We often get asked:
Is it ok to get a Buddha Tattoo in Bangkok?
This is a bit of a complex question to answer so we will try to give a good overview of the situation so that you can make an informed choice.
Is it illegal to get a Buddha Tattoo in Thailand?
There are laws in Thailand (specifically section 206) that prohibit insulting or defaming any religion.
Thailand has long been known as a Country with a wide acceptance of people of all religions and this is backed up by law.
While there have been cases of people being fined or arrested for blatantly disrespectful acts (such as exposing yourself towards or climbing on a Buddha statue), there are no known cases of people being arrested for getting a Buddha tattoo, however there are some things you will need to keep in mind.
If you’re getting a Buddha tattoo, you must be respectful to Thai culture
In Buddhist belief, and therefore in the general belief of many countries in South East Asia, the lower half of the body (from the waist down) is seen as unclean.
For this reason it is advisable to refrain from pointing your feet towards people or religious statues, or using your feet to gesture towards anything or anyone.
Doing so can offend the locals and if you’re visiting Thailand, I’m sure this is something you’d wish to avoid doing!
While most people will be calm and understanding if you acknowledge your mistake and apologize, it’s best to avoid making them in the first place.
When you land in Bangkok you’re likely to see huge billboards on the highway from the airport, as well as other signs scattered around Thailand of a similar nature that look something like this:
These signs may look very official but they are actually generally from a private fundamentalist Buddhist organization called the “5000s” , whose aims are to protect the Buddha image from misuse.
So in the end, just like Buddha’s teachings, it’s up to you to make your own decision about what works for you and whether getting a Buddha tattoo is something you’d like to do.
With that being said, our artists are Thai and we operate in accordance with Thai culture so we will refuse to do any religious or sacred tattoos (including Buddha tattoos) below the waist.
However if getting a sacred or religious tattoo above the waist is something you’d like to do, then we’re happy to help.
Thai Map Tattoos
For many people, the Thai map is a relatively simple but very meaningful way to celebrate their experience of Thailand and a memory of their trip.
Thai map tattoos can span from very small and simple to much larger and more intricate, so the options are really open to fit with your style.
Palm Tree Tattoo
For many people, especially those from colder countries, the palm tree is really a symbol of a beautiful, tropical paradise escape.
Thailand of course has long been well known for its flawless beaches and world class beach resorts.
However palm trees aren’t just found there!
From Central Bangkok all the way to the cities in the North like Chiang Mai, or South like Phuket, the palm tree can be found lining the urban streets as well as the more wild and undeveloped areas of the country.
Beach or Island Scene Tattoo
Much like the palm tree, getting a beach or island scene tattoo in Bangkok can be a fantastic way to commemorate those lazy, happy days spent on the beach.
For many, the beaches of Thailand are an experience they’ve always dreamed of.
Beautiful scenery, hot weather, tasty food and drinks and happy smiling staff taking care of you.
A beach or island scene tattoo can serve not only as a way of remembering these experiences but also a reminder of happy times in the past and hopefully, in the future.
The Naga is a mythical creature with a long and varied history both in Buddhist and Hindu beliefs.
The word “Naga” means “serpent” in Sanskrit, one of the foundational languages of the Buddhist tradition.
The naga is a mythical half man, half snake character.
In Buddhist belief, the Naga provided shelter and protection from the rain to the Buddha for seven days while he meditated.
It is often depicted at temples as the guardian to the doors or steps and can make a beautiful and meaningful subject for a tattoo.
Thai Boat Tattoo
The boat has traditionally been very important in Thai culture.
As a society, Thailand was built up around the long and bountiful rivers running through the country, as well as the seas around the coast and islands.
The boats provided not only a way to make a living through fishing but were also used to ferry people and goods from one place to another and even used in traditional floating markets.
The Thai Longtail boat is very distinctive and iconic of the Thai islands and are a great way to remember a trip to one of the many idyllic island retreats that Thailand offers visitors.
Thai Fruit Tattoo
One of the things that Thailand is well known for is its variety and quality of fruits.
Often found freshly picked and at bargain prices, these fruits often put the produce found in other countries to shame.
Many of the fruits found in Thailand aren’t found in the West and so can be a real experience to try and enjoy while on a trip!
Getting a Thai fruit tattoo can be a great way to remember the new experiences you’ve had as part of a trip to Thailand.
Muay Thai Tattoo
Muay Thai tattoos have grown in popularity over the past few years.
At one time, Muay Thai was a little known traditional martial art.
However with the growth in recent years of MMA sports, it has really propelled Muay Thai to the mainstream.
In equal measure beautiful and brutal and undeniably effective, Muay Thai is symbolic not only of fitness and strength but control of both body and mind.
Many people come to Thailand to train in Muay Thai at traditional camps, as well as to enjoy it as a spectator.
Getting a Muay Thai tattoo is a great reminder of the principles of fortitude and strength that a true “Nak Muay” (student of Muay Thai) must possess.
Noodle Bowl Tattoo
Fans of Thai food will quickly come to learn that there is a lot more to Thai noodle dishes than just Pad Thai!
While delicious, many people find it pales to traditional dishes like kuay deo reua (boat noodles) or pad see ew (fried noodles with kale and egg) and many others.
While these dishes are often available at top restaurants and hotels, the truly authentic experience is to get them sitting on a plastic stall at a roadside vendor at bargain prices – often after a few drinks.
A noodle bowl tattoo can be a simple way to sum up in a picture a Thai experience which would take thousands of words to explain fully.
Top Thai holiday tattoos – At a glance tips
By choosing the ALL DAY tattoo studio in central Sukhumvit, Bangkok for your thai holiday tattoo you can rest assured that we will answer each and every query you have.
Our mission is to provide you with Bangkok holiday tattoos that you will be proud to wear; designs that will bring a smile to your face each and every time you take an admiring view.
To help you realise your dream of receiving one of the countless Thai holiday tattoos available, here are just 3 important tips to help you along.
- Your design can and should be whatever you feel is most appropriate and one that relates best to your time in Thailand – Don’t hesitate to think outside the box – The ALL DAY Tattoo studio team of fluent English speaking staff can certainly assist on this one!
- Do not feel that you need to attend a temple ceremony in order to acquire and have the right of wearing a Sak Yant tattoo.
- Do make sure that you go to a professional, licensed and fully competent tattoo studio to receive your design.
Why is the ALL DAY tattoo studio the right choice for you?
There is no doubt that Thai holiday tattoos can be received in many places, but when making such an important decision you deserve the best.
The ALL DAY tattoo studio offers this from every aspect
When considering where to get Bangkok holiday tattoos please ask yourself:
- Does the tattoo studio hold a Thai government licence?
- Does the studio offer a clean, refreshing, cool environment?
- Do they conform to the highest of western hygiene standards?
- Are ALL inks and needles imported from the USA?
- Are ALL needles ‘one use’ only?
- Does the studio have native English speaking managers?
- Will you receive advice and guidance as to what design is best for you, not what is the most expensive?
- Are the artists highly experienced, professional and comprehensively innovative?
- Will you have that all-important peace of mind?
The managers and artists at ALL DAY Tattoo studio in Sukhumvit, central Bangkok can answer a very positive YES, to all of the above and more.
That is why we are consistently ranked as the biggest and best tattoo studio in Bangkok.
To find out what our highly knowledgeable, professional and friendly team can offer when it comes to deciding on those memorable Bangkok holiday tattoos please come along to the ALL DAY Tattoo studio in Sukhumvit for a chat.
Better still, why not contact our fluent English speaking team by using one of the methods below.