About Sak Yant Chiang Mai
About Sak Yant Chiang Mai
Sak Yant Chiang Mai models itself after the famous Bangkok Wat Bang Phra, as a co-op of local Sak Yant Masters, rather than a single Arjan, or a Tattoo shop that does traditional Tattoos as a side service. We are 100% dedicated to only Sak Yants and the only place in Northern Thailand were both Monks and Ajarns have joined together to provide a consistent service without a double or sliding pricing structure for tourists.
Established in 2017
Sak Yant Chiang Mai was started early in 2016, from humble beginnings. Originally Nana Boonkoom was contacted by a well known travel blogger about helping her to get a Sak Yant Tattoo. Nana spent several days preparing for this, visiting different Monks and Temples and then took travel blogger Amy Truong to get her Sak Yant.
Soon after, Nana started to receive many other inquiries after Amy wrote about it in her travel blog “Getting a Sak Yant by a Monk in Chiang Mai“. Within 6 months, with a growing word of mouth referrals, Nana was conducting Sak Yant Tours on a full time basis, often having bookings several months in advance from serious guest.
At the time Nana was just one of the few people who offer tours to Sak Yant Monks and Ajarns. What really made the difference for her (and the beginnings of Sak Yant Chiang Mai), was her growing relationship with the local Sak Yant Masters. In the first few months of starting, the Monks and Ajarns commented that she was different.
The Monks and Sak Yant Ajarns complained that many ‘guides’ would drop the customer off, explain what they wanted, then sit outside playing on their phones until the Sak Yant was finished. The guide (more often than not a Taxi, Tuk Tuk or Red Truck driver), then come and ask for commission. Nana on the other hand was dedicated to helping her guests, never tried to negotiate higher donation prices and did not ask for commissions.
Several Monks and Ajarns suggested that since Nana’s heart was in a place they respected, she should make a business related solely to the tradition Thai Tattoo. The concept of a co-operative was discussed, and many of the Monks and Ajarns said that if she was to rent a shop, they would gladly come into town 1 or 2 days a week and perform Sak Yant Tattoo’s from that location.
Create a Co-op of local Sak Yant Masters, both Monks and Ajarns and provide guides to explain, educate, translate and fairly share the Sak Yant donations to all members
Provide the same genuine Sak Yant Experience Thai’s have enjoyed for centuries to interested tourists and Non-Thais.
History of Sak Yant Chiang Mai – The First Shop
The First Sak Yant Chiang Mai Shop
Nana had thought about opening a small street side information center. Initially the idea was to provide a venue where people could come in and make inquiries while she was out on tours. Her Sak Yant Tours were small and intimate and Nana wanted to give 100% attention to her guests.
This was becoming more and more difficult now that she had developed a solid reputation and was getting many emails and texts each day asking questions. She has since created the Sak Yant FAQ which answers almost every question a guest might have
Now the Monks and Ajarns wanted her to create a venue where they could all work together.
Nana had to think hard about this. She had come from a rural background, with little formal education, understanding of English or knowledge of running a business. She had just spent 9 months working during the day and studying English and Business at night to feel more comfortable with her customers and growing notoriety. And for the first time in her life, was out of debt and had managed to have some savings in the bank. But she took the plunge, and the first shop was created, and within a year Sak Yant Chiang Mai had grown bigger than the small shop could handle.
History of Sak Yant Chiang Mai – The Current Shop
The Current Sak Yant Chiang Mai Shop
The success of the first year of Sak Yant Chiang Mai, was bitter/sweet. If was fantastic that Nana’s risk had paid off. It was amazing that during that year many of the small rural temples Monks got enough revenue to renovate and expand their buildings from our guests donations. At the same time the growing popularity of Sak Yants meant that if customers did not book weeks ahead, their was no available time to make walk in bookings.
After weeks of Nana working at night and weekends to make a meditation garden, In December 2017 Sak Yant Chiang Mai moved into it’s new location. The new shop included two larger Samnaks for visiting Monks and Ajarns to manage the high tourist season with more available time slots. The shop was larger providing space for customers to relax, look at videos, Sak Yant design books, and purchase some Sak Yant T-Shirts or Buddhist Prayer Beads.
The new shop was constructed and designed with the assistance of the Monks and Ajarns who ensured that every detail complied with Sak Yant and Buddhist traditions. We are very proud of Sak Yant Chiang Mai.
From humble beginnings with one person taking guests out to Temples on the back of a motorcycle. The Sak Yant experience has become more comfortable and been shared with thousands of people.
We have managed to resist the temptation to expand and become a typical tourist attraction catering to everyone. Sak Yant Chiang Mai has remained faithful to the tradition of Sak Yant but providing tourists with sufficient information and guidance that they are well informed on protocols.
If you decide to get your Sak Yant with us, we can assure you of an amazing experience.