How to get a Sak Yant Tattoo in Thailand

Where is the Best Place to Get a Sak Yant Tattoo in Thailand?

When it comes to tattooing, there are few cultures that can rival Thailand’s rich and vibrant history. For centuries, the people of Thailand have been getting inked with sacred tattoos, known as Sak Yant tattoos. These tattoos are more than just pieces of body art; they are a symbol of spirituality and devotion to one’s beliefs. In this article, we will take a closer look at the art of Sak Yant tattooing in Thailand, how to avoid getting a fake from the well established Tattoo Parlor scams and the 3 most popular parts of Thailand to get a Sak Yant Tattoo.


Where to Get a Sak Yant Tattoo in Thailand

Looking for the best place where to get a Sak Yant Tattoo in Thailand? Getting a real Sak Yant tattoo in Thailand is actually a pretty easy thing to do.  There are many Sak Yant Temples with Monks who will preform the Tattoo and Blessing.  Lots of independent Sak Yant Ajarn Masters listed throughout Google Maps and Facebook, and thousands of Tattoo Artists and studios providing fakes for the gullible tourist.  So you might be wondering where is the Best place to get a Sak Yant in Thailand?

The simple answer for those people with a limited tour itinerary is the Sak Yant Master closest to where you are staying. This article will cover the 3 most popular and established locations in Thailand to get a Sak Yant Tattoo

How to get a Sak Yant Tattoo in Bangkok
How to get a Sak Yant Tattoo in Phuket
How to get a Sak Yant Tattoo in Chiang Mai

It is not recommended to get a Sak Yant in Thailand from one of the many Islands, as they are rampant with the Fake Sak Yant Scam promoted and done by Tattoo Artists.

While this is the case for all cities in Thailand, the competition of Tattoos in Thailand is especially fierce in the tourist hotspots.  This makes the urge to put customers and profit over ethics and morals especially challenging for tattoo artists.

Avoid the Fake Sak Yant Scams by Tattoo Shops

Sak Yant tattoos are traditional tattoos that have been practiced in Thailand for centuries. They are usually done by Buddhist monks or Sak Yant masters who use a steel rod called a Kem.  Sak Yant tattoos are believed to have magical powers and are often used as protection against evil spirits or for good luck. The power of the Sak Yant comes from the spiritual practice and lifestyle of the Sak Yant Master.

Choosing a Sak Yant Master

Choosing the right Sak Yant master is crucial if you want to have a safe and meaningful experience. It’s important to do your research and choose a reputable and experienced Sak Yant master.  Sak Yant Masters spend years training in how to read the magical text and apply the correct blessings.  A real Sak Yant master only does Sak Yant Tattoos.

Many tattoo studios all over Thailand will advertise bamboo tattoos, in the hopes of attracting gullible tourists who have not done any research.  A Tattoo artist can not only read the incorrect magical text on the designs the downloaded online – they can not administer any magic or power to the meaningless designs they create

For more information you can read a detailed article “Why you don’t get a Sak Yant at a Tattoo shop”  Perhaps the most important thing to realize, is that the Traditional Thai Bamboo Tattoo is a Spiritual and Magic amulet worn on the skin.  Spiritual purity is not an important lifestyle trait of a Tattoo Artist – especially one who tries to convince the public that the tradition, translation and magical blessing are not important aspects of a Sak Yant Experience.

Sak Yant Tattoo in Thailand
Getting a Sak Yant Tattoo in Thailand should be a magical and Spiritual Experience - This is not something you will get with a Fake Sak Yant from a Tattoo Shop

How Much do Sak Yant Tattoos Cost in Thailand?

Thailand like any other countries costs more to live in the popular tourist areas than it does in the normal towns and cities around the rest of the country.  This is reflected when asking the question how much does a Sak Yant cost in Thailand?  Sak Yant price in Thailand will range from $30-1200 depending on what, where and who does the Sak Yant.  Sak Yants have never been done for a donation that you think is suitable.  This is never something Thai people do and a myth created by travel bloggers who went to Wat Bang Phra and could not speak Thai and never asked how much to donate.  You can read more about why Sak Yant Tattoos are not Free

There are two costs with getting a Sak Yant Tattoo.  The Offering (to show respect to the Sak Yant Master) at around 20-200 baht and the Donation for the Sak Yant itself.  The donation costs depend on the size and complexity of the design and how much of the Sak Yant Masters time will be involved.

A Fake Sak Yant at a Tattoo Shop in Thailand will cost anywhere from $140-$250 depending on the location. 

Cost of a Sak Yant Tattoo in Bangkok Thailand - Wat Bang Phra

The cost of a Sak Yant Tattoo in Bangkok at Wat Bang Phra starts with the offering costs of 200-250 baht.

The costs of the actual Sak Yant donation requested depends on the level and skill of the Sak Yant Master who will provide it, starting at around $10 and up.

You also need to facter in the cost of the Taxi to travel the 2.5-3 hours there and back and any inconvenience for spending a whole day waiting for your turn.

Cost of a Sak Yant Tattoo in Bangkok Thailand - Sak Yant Ajarn

The cost of a Sak Yant Tattoo in Bangkok with an Ajarn starts with the offering costs of 20-30 baht from the local markets

If you can speak Thai and go to a more rural Sak Yant Ajarn the costs start at about $40.

If you go to a Sak Yant Ajarn who speaks English or has English speaking staff the prices range from about $100-500 depending on the reputation of the Master

Cost of a Sak Yant Tattoo in Phuket Thailand

There are no Temple Sak Yant Temples in Phuket, so the only option is an Ajarn.  The donation which you get at any market is around 40 baht.

The cost of a Sak Yant Tattoo in Phuket start around $120 and can go up to $300 depending on the Ajarn and the size of the Sak Yant Tattoo

Cost of a Sak Yant Tattoo in Chiang Mai Thailand

The cost of a Sak Yant Tattoo in Chiang Mai if you speak Thai and can arrange with a Monk at a Temple a time starts around $30

If you are unable to speak Thai then Sak Yant Chiang Mai offers 1 hour time slots for the full Sak Yant Experience starting at $55 for an In-house and $110 for a 3 hour Temple Visit

Where to get a Sak Yant Tattoo in Thailand

1) Getting a Sak Yant in Thailand - Bangkok Wat Bang Phra

Wat Bang Phra crowding
Getting a Sak Yant in Thailand - Wat Bang Phra

The number one place to get a Sak Yant in Thailand while in Bangkok is Wat Bang Phra. Wat Bang Phra is a popular Sak Yant Temple located in Nakhon Chai Si, about 50 km outside of Bangkok city.

The temple is known for its traditional Sak Yant tattoos, which are believed to offer spiritual protection and blessings.Visitors to Wat Bang Phra can experience Buddhist culture and spiritual practices, as well as witness the unique art of Sak Yant tattoos being created by the monks.

Most of the blogpost articles you will find outline are from people who took the day to visit this Temple and obtain a Sak Yant Tattoo.

At Wat Bang Phra you will purchase your offering outside of the Temple for a few dollars.  Many people mistakenly think that this is the cost of the Sak Yant – it is not.  The Monks will have specific prices for each design and unless you ask – you might just get what the Monk decides they feel like doing.  If you do not pay enough in the Sak Yant donation – you might also suffer from them reusing the ink and needles of the previous person.

Many myths and misconceptions have come about from travelers who did not take the time to understand the significance of the Sak Yant traditions at Wat Bang Phra.  If you decide to go here, it is important that you prepare in advanced and you should take a Thai speaking person with you to ensure you get what you want (and understand the experience) rather than repeat the unhygienic tattoo that many travel bloggers write about.

2) Getting a Sak Yant in Thailand - Bangkok Real Sak Yant Ajarns

There are many real Sak Yant Masters located in Bangkok who have listings in Google Maps and Facebook pages.  This is because most will have trained at Wat Bang Phra and simply because Bangkok is so large.  There are also many tattoo studios who also promote getting a Sak Yant tattoo in Thailand.

When choosing which Sak Yant Master who wish to go to, it pays to research the links presented in their social media.  If the tattooist is also advertising a variety of other tattoo designs – there is a good chance they are merely unethical tattoo studios trying to capitalize on the popularity of Sak Yant designs.

To help spot the difference between a real Sak Yant Master in Bangkok from the tourist scam replica you have a look at the photos they present.  If it looks like a tattoo shop, move on to the next listing.

We have created a more detailed article here For a more detailed article on Getting a Sak Yant Tattoo in Bangkok


Sak Yant in Thailand - Bangkok Ajarns
Getting a Sak Yant Tattoo in Thailand Lots of Real Sak Yant Masters listed in Google Maps and Facebook

3) Getting a Sak Yant in Thailand - Phuket

Getting a Sak Yant Tattoo in Thailand while in Phuket is easy to do.  There are three real Sak Yant Masters (we know of) located on the Phuket Island.  Once again when you use Google Maps or Facebook to search, many tattoo shops will also come up.  You should ignore these and find a real Sak Yant Master.

We have added the links to each just click on the photo.

Ajarn Non

Ajarn AJ Mee

Ajarn Ton

4) Getting a Sak Yant in Thailand - Chiang Mai

In Northern Thailand, the best place to get a Sak Yant Tattoo is Sak Yant Chiang Mai.  A co-op of over 10 local masters, both Monks and Ajarns, providing authentic Sak Yant and blessings from Samnaks and Temples.

Sak Yant Chiang Mai was set up in 2017 when a few Temple Monks asked a guide they trusted to represent them in an official capacity.  The Monks then invited other Sak Yant Masters they knew and Sak Yant Chiang Mai became the leading Sak Yant provider outside of Wat Bang Phra in Bangkok.

As a co-op of many different Masters Sak Yant Chiang Mai is able to provide both Temple Monks at the Temple and Ajarns working from their own Samnaks in the city center.  And they can provide Sak Yant Tattoos in Thailand for less than both Bangkok and Phuket where the cost of living is much higher.

Best place for a Sak Yant in Thailand - Sak Yant Chiang Mai

4 Reasons the best place to get a Sak Yant in Thailand is in Chiang Mai

Getting a Sak Yant Tattoo in Chiang Mai is Cheaper

The cost of living (including holiday stays and tourist activities) is as much cheaper than the more common holiday destinations of Bangkok, Phuket and the Southern Islands like Kho Pi Pi.

If cost is a factor of deciding where to get a Sak Yant Tattoo in Chiang Mai, over other places you can expect to pay usually 50% less, and in sound cases up to 70% less than other locations in Thailand

Chiang Mai is Beautiful and Spiritual

Chiang Mai has the beauty of mountain forests and over 300 Temples in the local area – the culture is steep in Spirituality.

If you are getting a Spiritual Sak Yant, the experience of a rural temple surrounded by countryside is a much more appealing option that the noisy and dirty streets of Bangkok or the view of speedo wearing tourists wandering past the window in Beach resort Islands

Masters in Chiang Mai are More Knowledgeable

The Sak Yant Masters in Chiang Mai know almost every other Sak Yant Monk or Ajarn in the area and beyond.  You will often find that the Chiang Mai Master can identify any previous Sak Yants you have and who did it

In areas like Bangkok and Phuket, Sak Yant Masters don’t mingle, often never meeting after living 4kms apart for over a decade.  This lack of sharing results in limited knowledge and a dilution of magical wisdom and subsequent strength of the power of the Yant

Sak Yant tattoo in Chiang Mai is usually nicer looking

Getting a Sak Yant Tattoo in Chiang Mai usually means use of the local Lanna Script.  The Sak Yant Masters believe that the magic contained in Lanna is more powerful than the Pali script used elsewhere.

Not only More Powerful Sak Yant’s, the Lanna script is a much nicer looking script – something that is especially important when you want your lifetime Sak Yant Tattoo to look good as well.

Our job at Sak Yant Chiang Mai is to make your Sak Yant Choice Easy!

We know that making the choice of where to get a Sak Yant in Chiang Mai can be confusing. We will talk with you about your desires and intentions and choice of designs.  We will make sure you understand the process and how to act when in front of a Sak Yant Master and receiving a Tattoo. We will provide you with the Rules after obtaining a Traditional Thai Tattoo and provide medicated ointment. We go above and beyond anyone else making Sak Yant Chiang Mai the best place for finding out how to get a Sak Yant Tattoo in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Sarah Labensky
Sarah Labensky
Wonderful experience from start to finish. Very reasonable prices as service is excellent. Went to a Wat where an Arjan did two sak yant. Carefully placed and with the kata designed for my specific intentions. (I highly recommend the traditional method-not the modern tattoo machine method—as it is very fast and less painful.) SYCM staff were well informed and patient with questions and correct procedures.
Carmen Osuna
Carmen Osuna
Me encantó, el sitio, el trato y sobretodo Ploe, fue increíble, divertida, simpática, alegre e hizo que fuese todo muy fácil y bonito. Volveré! Gracias!!!
Anup Chia
Anup Chia
Ploy and Cody were amazing. Ploy taught me about the different meanings of the sak yant and gave me descriptions of each one. It was my first time and Chiang Mai and and first sak yant and she was so helpful. I ended up getting 4. I had a full sleeve already on one arm with a traditional gun tattoo and I have to say this hurts less and is even enjoyable if you really want it and go there for the experience. Cody talked to me throughout the process and brought me coffee and water and took videos and pics from my phone just to do it he was awesome. Ajarn Sam was incredible he worked so fast and he was so friendly and I got exactly what I wanted. I highly recommend this place and to book early if you’re serious they get pretty busy because the work they do is worth it!
Cpt Jmd
Cpt Jmd
I highly recommend this place for your Sak Yant. It was truly a wonderful experience and I fully intend on coming back here if I'm ever in Chiang Mai again. Ploy was the first person I met at their offices and immediately put me at ease. She's such a genuine, warm and kind soul - one of the English speaking 'guides' who will translate and can advise you on your design choice (& there's a huge amount of choice), it's meaning and communicate any personalisation you would like in the prayer or symbols. The Arjan/monk will also ask if you have any specific intentions you would like accommodations for. For example, I chose the Golden Swan, only one of the twins, and had some tweaks changed to take out the charisma/popularity elements. Your guide, in my case Ploy, will take pictures and video throughout on your device. They leave you alone with the Arjan but will check in every 5-10mins. The whole tattooing portion took around 30mins. Then you'll have a blessing on tattoo, activating it's power through mantras etc, and then another when a bracelet is placed on you. You can also choose to have a mala blessed and they have a lovely selection onsite to choose from. I did a lot of research and I appreciate their cooperative project to keep Sak Yants both authentic and fair to tourists. The whole thing really was a profound experience and I'm grateful for Ploy and the Arjan for their kindness. Thank you so much!
Shane McClure
Shane McClure
We had a great experience getting our Sak Yants. The employees do a great job explaining everything and translating for the monk.
Pendar Tehrani
Pendar Tehrani
This shop is full of helpful and honest staff, make sure you speak to Cody when you visit! In a world full of people looking to trick you or sell you something Cody stands out as an incredibly honest and kind person who will direct you down the right path and ensure you have a positive experience. Thank you for everything you have done to make my first tattoo and visit to Thailand an incredible and memorable experience that I will never forget!
Montana deKuyper
Montana deKuyper
Wonderful experience! Really knowledgeable, welcoming, and patient staff. I wanted to move the positioning of my tattoo several times and the Arjan and assistant were very understanding. I was able to film the entire experience. This photo is of my tattoo on day 7 healing very nicely. It wasn’t any more painful than a regular tattoo and actually maybe less painful because no shading! The blessing was beautiful and made me very emotional. 10/10 recommend
Amazing day with these guys they are so kind and helpful and so genuine like the sak yant tattoo's 100% recommend
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