How to get a Sak Yant Tattoo in Thailand

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

How to Find the Best Sak Yant Experience in Thailand

The simple answer is the best place to get a Sak Yant Tattoo in Thailand is from a Real Sak Yant Master who is close to your physical location with the ability to communicate with you.  While there are various factors that will differ (including the type of experience, the cost, and the quality of the tattoo itself) there is no single Sak Yant Master who is 'better' than any other.  There are Sak Yant Masters and locations that are more well known and popular - however no Sak Yant Master will ever use the words 'best', 'better' etc to describe other Sak Yant Masters. 

Difference in Thai and Western Attitudes:

Using the term or thinking that one needs “The Best” is a modern western concept that hasn’t really taken hold in the Thai population.  Thai people, tend to focus on the more realistic measure of ‘convenient’ to determine life choices.  Without getting too heavily into it, in the West there is a tendency for people to rate and compare their self worth by unrealistic standards promoted in advertising and social media.  Since this objective is impossible, attempts to make associations with superior items or popular people/sports teams are made hoping the association with ‘the best’ will rub off on a person’s self esteem.   

This concept of associations or needing to define something we have as ‘the best’ or ‘better than’ another, doesn’t exist at near the same level in Thailands mostly Buddhist population.   .

Now, having said that, there are certain aspects of the Sak Yant Experience that will contribute to the overall quality of the experience and the finished tattoo itself.  And we will discuss some of those aspects that will allow you to determine for yourself what is the Best Sak Yant in Thailand. The answer is going to be individual and unique to the person asking, so there is no single answer.

However, the number one consideration is finding a real and authentic Sak Yant Master in the area you are in, without becoming victim to the Tattoo Shop Bamboo Tattoo Tourist Scam

Where to Get a Sak Yant Tattoo in Thailand

Looking for the best place 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 Sak Yant Temples with Monks who will perform the Tattoo and Blessing dotted around the country.  There are also many independent Sak Yant Ajarn Masters listed throughout Google Maps and Facebook.

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 most important considerations to think about to help make your choice.   

For those who know already that they will be in either Chiang Mai, Phuket or Bangkok you can skip to the separate articles highlingting these areas below

Things to Consider finding the Best Place to get a Sak Yant in Thailand

No 1 - Avoid the Fake Sak Yant Bamboo Tattoo Scams by Tattoo Shops

Tattoo Parlors and Tattoo Artists CAN’T do a Sak Yant Tattoo
Sak Yant tattoos are traditional tattoos that have been practiced in Thailand for centuries. They are ALWAYS 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.

The Fake Sak Yant Bamboo Tattoo Tourist Scam
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. Providing a fake Spiritual and Cultural tradition (like a Sak Yant) is very disrespectful.

Bamboo Tattoo is not the same thing as a Sak Yant
Perhaps the most important thing to realize, is that the Traditional Thai Bamboo Tattoo is not a real thing.  It is a marketing gimmick made up around the year 2000 as Tattoo Artists started to capitalize on the growing popularity of the Real Sak Yant Tattoo.  You can find out more in the article The Fake History of Traditional Thai Bamboo Tattoo

 

Dont-get-a-Sak-Yant-in-Bangkok-Tattoo-Shops.jpg
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

No 2 - Where are You in Thailand?

map of thailand

Location, Location, Location
There is no point looking for a Sak Yant Master in Chiang Mai if you have booked your Thailand ticket to only be in Phuket or Bangkok.   Most of the major cities in Thailand will have legitimate Sak Yant Masters operating from them.  Although it is not recommended to get a Sak Yant in Thailand from one of the many small tourists Islands, as we do not know of any legitimate Sak Yant Masters living on small tourists’ islands.

In the Islands there are many Tattoo shops who will provide a replica of the Sak Yant design, but lack the magic, authenticity and Spirituality of the ritual and process.  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. You will find plenty of tattoo artist who will tell you they do the real thing because they used to be a Monk.  Don’t believe it for a second.

Location Vs Cost
While your location is a significant factor in the decision of where to get a Sak Yant in Thailand, the cost is also another important aspect, especially for the budget traveller.   Popular tourist centers of Bangkok and Phuket are going to be more expensive to get a Sak Yant because of the higher cost of living.  If you are just wanting one design, then adding travel costs makes it easier to get in the location you are in. Unless you are going to a Famous Ajarn who will be charging you more.

If you are wanting 2-3 designs or a full back – then it can be much cheaper to fly to Chiang Mai (generally the most cost-effective area of Thailand) and get your Sak Yants in Chiang Mai.  You can read this article for a basic idea of the Cost of a Sak Yant in Thailand

No 3 - The Quality of the Experience

Sak Yant’s are more than a Tattoo – they are a Spiritual Experience
Some of the highest rated and most popular places around Thailand to get a Sak Yant Tattoo the reviews talk about it being the best thing to do in Thailand – for many people a top life experience.  If you want to have the same type of experience, then you will have to ensure a few things.

The Sak Yant Ritual
The Sak Yant ritual involves 3 aspects which go into making the ultimate Sak Yant Experience.  Make sure which place you go to for a Sak Yant includes these aspects.  The easiest way to know is to ask, the second best way is to have a look at the social media photos. Avoid any place that does not include photos of the Spiritualistic ritual including:  
1) Making the offerring before the tattoo begins
2) The Tattoo Itself, both the hand-poked process and the results after it is finished
3) The Blessing and charging of power.

Sak Yant myths
A Sak Yant is going to have a much more profund Experience when you understand what is happening

Communication with the Ajarn
Communication is key, the Sak Yant is a personal talimen made especially for you.  In order for you to understand and enjoy the experience you will need to be able to Communicate to either the Master or their assistants in order to tell them what you want.  At the same time, you want to have someone explaining to you the ritual and protocols so that you understand what is happening and why.  Without understanding the reason things are happening will tend to leave you confused and un-satisfied.  With an explanation the experience being understood becomes meaningful and awesome.

Almost ALL the mis-information available online about Sak yants are done by bloggers who did not speak Thai and did not understand what was expected from them in order to choose their design.  To clear up the bad advice you may have seen online you can read Clearing up Sak Yant Misinformation

No 4 - The Cost of a Sak Yant in Thailand

Sak Yant Costs - Donation

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 2-4 times more than a Real Sak Yant from a Master.  

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

No 5 - Other Considerations for getting a Sak Yant Tattoo in Thailand

Sak Yant Lineage?
Often times the lineage of the Sak Yant Master is claimed by some to be an important factor – It isin’t.  The Lineage refers to the particular school and teachers history where a Sak Yant Master first studied and learned.  When they leave the Monkhood and become Ajarns, most Masters will expand their knowledge by studying the systems and designs from other schools.  

To suggest the Lineage is important is similar to saying that the high school your doctor went to is what should determine their knowledge, because this is where they first learned biology.  It is of course the latter and more advanced medical training that matters.  Same thing with the Lineage – it is not as important as what the Master learned after they left ‘high school’.

Avoid the Tourist Islands
From our current knowledge of Sak Yant Masters around Thailand, there are non located on Tourist Islands.  Almost certainly, on the smaller Islands in Thailand you are only going to find Tattoo Shops making Fake and Meaningless Sak Yants.

 

Sak Yant myths
A Sak Yant is going to have a much more profund Experience when you understand what is happening

Best Place to get a Sak Yant Tattoo in Thailand

1) Best Place to Get a Sak Yant Tattoo in Thailand? - Sak Yant Chiang Mai

The best place to get a Sak Yant Tattoo in Thailand is Sak Yant Chiang Mai, in Northern Thailand  A co-op of over 10 local masters, both Monks and Ajarns, providing authentic Sak Yant and blessings from Samnaks and Temples at half to a third the cost of Bangkok or Phuket

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

Sak Yant Chiang Mai has 100’s of Reviews saying “Best Experience in Thailand”

Absolutely delighted with our experience with getting our sak yant at this samnak. My daughter had her sights set on a sak yant while in Thailand. We researched and determined Chiang Mai was the best place and this samnak the best option. We had not made an appointment and they were all booked but she went to the studio early and they told her to come back after closing hours.We arrived and the friendly staff worked with her on choosing her design. When in the samnak, Arjan Sam was kind, open, friendly, and had a peaceful energy. She gave her offering (which included the fee) and he did her 5 lines really fast. So fast that I decided to get myself a small sak yant. After chatting with Arjan Sam about my mindset and locations, we settled on inner wrist and I let Arjan Sam have discretion to decide what he thought I should have. He gave me a tiger heart for strength and protection. I feel so blessed and grateful for this gift. (FYI, it does hurt in a stinging way (like bees) but was much faster than a trad tattoo.)Overall, the experience was perfect from start to finish and I would not hesitate to recommend them for anyone seeking to carry a blessing on their body.Khop Kun Ka. ????
John and Onika
John and Onika
10/12/2023
It is about destiny that I end up getting sak yant here. It is not about choosing where you should get sak yant because for me the whisper of God already lead me to this place. Absolutely amazing to meet Arjan and stuffs members at Sak Yant Chiang Mai they help me through all the process beginning till the end everything went smoothly. Can’t wait for near future for more sak yant.
Sai Shal Khay
Sai Shal Khay
10/12/2023
La miglior esperienza per la seconda volta . Staff gentilissimo , si prendono cura di te en entrambe le volte chi ha effettuato il Sak yant é stato bravissimo . Continuate con questa professionalità e spiritualità .
Francesca Quarto
Francesca Quarto
09/12/2023
If you are wanting to get a Sak Yant in Thailand, look no further! I set up my appointment about a month in advance online. The process was super easy, and the website has all the information you need laid out in an easily understood layout. Unfortunately the temple sessions were already booked when I looked to schedule, so I recommend booking those as early as you can. You will need to put down a 1,000 baht deposit (about $28 US). Upon arrival, Ging was so helpful and sweet! She walked me through the whole process before I even met the Ajarn. I watched the 10 minute video from the email confirmation the night before my tattoo, so that was really helpful too! Ajarn Sam did my Sak Yant, and he was absolutely amazing! The detail is stunning. I brought my niece who decided she wanted one as well, and they were able to accommodate her wish in under two hours after mine was complete. This was my 5th tattoo but first tattoo done with the traditional style. I got it in the middle of my back. In terms of pain, I think it hurt less than a gun. The most pain was on my spine and shoulder blades. Highly recommend this establishment and the wonderful staff !
Roshalle Kraus
Roshalle Kraus
08/12/2023
My husband and I booked our appointment a few months in advance and looked through the amazing Sak yants before our appointment to make sure the ones we liked were doable (some options say they’ll take two hours or they’re quite large and seem like they’d need more time). The people who work here are so kind and very helpful. My husband and I did the temple tour and tattooing at the temple… it was a lovely experience as we were there the day of a holiday. We met a few locals, the monks dog and got to know our driver/translator Mickey! The whole process was wonderful from start to finish. This was an amazing honeymoon experience for my husband and I. We’ll definitely be back and get another one at the temple!
Megan Paccione
Megan Paccione
05/12/2023
Had such an amazing magical experience from the moment you walk in the door the staff make u feel welcome the lovely ladies at the front desk offer u tea and snacks and explain the process for you. The ajarns are very professional and if you are in chiang mai this is an experience you wouldn't want to miss I enjoyed it so much I came back the next day. Thank you Sak Yant
Ken Lowen
Ken Lowen
02/12/2023
I came here to receive a special tattoo to celebrate my birthday and this wonderful Thailand experience. My service was booked in a timely manner. The provider was kind and did my tattoo quickly and effectively. The space was clean, peaceful and comfortable. I highly recommend this place for the tattoo and the experience. Thank you ???????? sawadee ka
AvaBsMommy
AvaBsMommy
01/12/2023
服務很親切 讓人覺得安心 環境整潔 阿贊手法很快速 刺完很好看
林庭語
林庭語
29/11/2023
Super expérience, un tatouage magnifique et tout le personnel est vraiment incroyable ???? je reviendrais pour un prochain tatouage c’est certains
Pascal antoci
Pascal antoci
29/11/2023

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

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Links to the Main Areas for getting a Sak Yant Tattoo in Thailand