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Hand Tap Tatu


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Has anybody travelled overseas to the South Pacific, Thailand, Indonesia, Bali, Polynesia and the like and received a traditional hand-tapped tattoo?

(Not specifically Japanese tebori, I think that warrants it's own thread).

The wife and I are floating some ideas of where to go on an overseas adventure. I'd really like to find somewhere to explore and experience the history of tattooing.

Where are some unique travel destinations where you can experience this form of tattoo?

Do I need to bring my own supplies to ensure cleanliness?

Is it too risky health-wise? What to watch out for?

- - - Updated - - -

Something like this:



tourist trap?

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I wouldn't bring your own supplies. I think it wouldn't be polite for a non-tattooer to bring tattoo supplies to a tattooer, since you'd be trusting them to put something on you forever, and should go to someone who has sterile tools. If you meant for healing, then yes, you should bring your own supplies.

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Very cool, maybe a little touristy, but you might expect that. Pretty cool seeing all those minks with tattoos. I would expect they would use a clean needle each time, so I don't believe cleanliness should be an issue.

I assume you mean monks. It's not cool to tattoo minks – at least without their consent. :)

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I'm gonna start telling clients to bring a roll of paper towels, a razor and some tape. BYOS

I've been asked to bring a towel before.

I also heard a story about a tattooer--now I can't remember who it was--who brought needles to a Thai tattooer for the artist to use on him. Sounded like a great idea to me.

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Very cool, maybe a little touristy, but you might expect that. Pretty cool seeing all those minks with tattoos. I would expect they would use a clean needle each time, so I don't believe cleanliness should be an issue.

I got the impression that the hygiene standards for these kinds of tattoos were really not up to Western standards. Like forget about getting a fresh needle, you'll be lucky to have it wiped down with alcohol between tattoos. That skeeves me the fuck out, and I personally wouldn't get tattooed like that.

The tragic death of Greg Irons tells us as much as we need to know about the supposed protective qualities of the tattoos.

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I have some pals that bring supplies to an artist friend in Cuba whenever they go.


They bring fresh ink, disposable tubes and needles that we get donated from local pals and our amigo goes to town. Really the only way to get access tattoo supplies in a place like Cuba, pretty raw from the stories.

Not something I would even consider doing in the NA, Europe, Japan...bad form...but some of the less industrialized or rural corners of the world, I don't see this as a slag off, but rather protecting yourself. And I imagine some of these 3rd world artists are very good but don't have access to the supplies (like we experienced in Cuba). But good point, if it looks sketchy and unclean, sterile needle or not, do you really want to get marked there? Not worth the risk.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 6 months later...

I went for my first sak yant tattoo in Chonburi Pattaya Thailand about 9 years ago, I had a small good luck tattoo done on my wrist similar to this:


this is from the "home temple" of the Ajarn or teacher



A couple of years later I went to a temple in Udonthani Thailand for a Gao Yord tattoo, cost me 99 baht or $3 and some required donations, I added 1000 baht or $33 donation to the temple, I had to "push the offerings on a plate towards the monk" as he could not accept money by hand.



I am currently getting a full back tattoo at a local shop here, thats why I joined this forum to get info about pain medication. I have a stash of vicodin and valium from Cambodia bought OTC. I did the first session natural and it was tough..............

Edited by jonnyw
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Thanks @SeeSea

The sak muh tattoo does not hurt as bad as a machine tattoo, it hurts, but not bad. I had a reprieve yesterday when I called in my appointment for session 2 of the back tattoo.

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  • 5 months later...

I have a bunch of Sak yank tattoo's from various ajarns and monks, I wouldnt say it hurts less them a machine tattoo. I had to really try to reach my happy place on a couple of them. In the next couple of weeks probably going to get my back finished. About 30% coverage left. it is a risk tho,some of the monks never change there ink and mix it with all kinder crazy ingredients.

The Cambodian black magic yantra is where it starts getting real sketchy, they mix cremated baby's in with the ink or the cremated ashes of there master,snake venom all kinds of weird and wonderful stuff.

I recently got a small yantra on my Adam's apple, the ajarn just laughed and said "no swallow" and proceded to stick a huge needle in it. Never wanted to swallow more in my life :) check my pictures.

if you go to well known/famous ajarns (tattoo masters) in Thailand your normally fairly safe, random monks it's a dice roll if your going to get something nasty.

When my back is fully finished I'll post the pix. Shame recently a very famous ajarn said if I taught him machine he would teach me how to do sak yant but much like an a western apprenticeship it would take a very very long time to learn. The meditation side alone is very complex..shame I'm moving back to London in a couple of months.

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  • 2 weeks later...

back_tatt_thumb.jpg ajarn_thoy_thumb.jpg

Got some more done a couple of says ago. The chicken looking things are actually swans, Buddha was a swan in a past life and had a firm of 90 thousand swan followers. Represents compassion and good energy. I just said to Ajarn Thoy to do what he wanted and to put what he thought i would need.

As to pain...it hurt real bad and i had an oxy as well and a bunch of valium and some tramadol haha i took it like a man ;) I didn't flinch or show any sign of pain over the 2 and half hours i think they see me as the guy who feels no pain but i was screaming inside in between mantras.

ps. i hate opiates and benzos...dont recommend any one to take them for tattoo's, after the tattoo you just end up feeling shitty and sick (at least i do) BUT they really help when some ones stick a rod of metal in your back :)

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