October 7, 2016 by Mike Southeast Asia 0

Temples & Tattoos in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Temples & Tattoos in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Of the cities I visited throughout Thailand, Chiang Mai is the one where I wish I spent more time.  It’s name means New City as it was created in 1296 to become the new capital, taking the title away from the sister city, Chiang Rai that was founded just over 30 years earlier.  Located in the northwest section of the country, surrounded by fields and mountains, it’s a favorite of both ex-pats and locals.

My friends and I rented scooters to get out of the downtown area and explore some of the local temples.  Sadly, I forgot to make a note of which ones we stopped at on this particular day, but can’t emphasize how important scooters are in this city.  Do not take the red covered cars or tuk-tuks!  Scooter rental will average about $6usd for 24 hours and is not only the most efficient way to get around, it’s the most fun.

On this particular day the sky was changing quickly, and the last 4 photos were all taken within a few minutes; Endlessly fascinated with how the light played off the gold domes and white facades of the temples.

Traditional Bamboo Tattoos

In the planning stages of this trip I knew the idea of getting a traditional bamboo tattoo in Thailand was something I wanted to explore.  After less than five minutes of research, I quickly ruled this out.

These Sak Yant, or magic tattoos are done by buddhist monks involve sitting down at a temple, having the monk choose the placement and design and then being tattooed with the same needle all day, for everyone.  No thank you.

Doing some research in I found Black Candy Tattoo and stopped by in early afternoon.  Was greeted by Peak, one of the owners, who spoke fairly fluent English, and saw several bottles of professional tattoo ink, immediately making me feel comfortable.  A quick chat and we setup some appointments for later that evening with his brother, Owen, who does the traditional bamboo style tattooing.

The process is a hand-poke style, utilizing a steel bar (used to be bamboo but this can easily be sterilized ) that is about twelve inches long, but still considerably shorter than a Japanese tebori style tattoo. They are done extremely quick when a trained professional does them; Owen took 10-20 minutes to do each of our tattoos.

Kimberly chose an unalome, Matthew a Jeh symbol and I have Thai script, the meaning I’ll keep to myself for now.

If you’re looking for a wonderful tattoo experience in Chiang Mai, I strongly suggest Black Candy Tattoo.