Bangkok and tattoo art have a long history that spans centuries. In fact, the Sak Yant tradition of tattooing which began in the Khmer Empire (now Cambodia) has remained an important tradition in Thailand to this day. A Sak Yant tattoo, depicting geometric shapes and sacred animal designs, is a piece of spiritual art intrinsically tied to traditions of Buddhism, and which offers good luck and protection to the tattoo’s owner. Today, even beyond Sak Yant, Bangkok is home to some of the very best tattoo artists in Asia. Here are seven of the best Bangkok tattoo studios and artists for you to discover – from Sak Yant to neotrad, to hyper-realistic tattoos – and maybe book an appointment with next time you’re in the exciting and historic city that is Bangkok.
Important note: When you visit Bangkok, please think carefully before you get a tattoo of the Buddha. It can be read as a deeply offensive act to do so. Please respect Buddhism; respect the culture and its people. Thank you.
Getting Your First Tattoo
In this book, you’ll be provided with everything you need to know in order to prepare for getting your first tattoo. You will learn how to do your own research in order to find the perfect tattoo idea and the right artist to make it a reality. You’ll also learn the language of tattooing and tattoo art, as well as what to consider before booking your first tattoo, and the aftercare of your tattoo. We will also answer niggling questions like:
- How much does it cost?
- Are tattoos safe and clean?
- How do I look after my tattoo?
- How do I know if I’ve found the right artist?
If you’re really going to highlight the important Bangkok tattoo artists, it’s important to recognise the importance of Sak Yant and the Sak Yant tattoo artists that exists. The most prominent and celebrated Sak Yant tattoo artist in Bangkok is Arjanneng. He offers authentic, traditional Sak Yant tattoos in Bangkok as practiced by Buddhist monks for centuries. These Sak Yant tattoos use Buddhist animal imagery and lines to text to provide luck and protection to those who wear them. Our big ask when you decide to get a Sak Yant tattoo from Arjanneng is that you respect the craft, the deep and incredible history of Sak Yant, and the artist himself.
All Day Tattoo
This Bangkok tattoo studio is home to a huge range of fantastic resident artists. Every single tattoo artist at All Day Tattoo is dedicated to the craft and each has a very distinct style. This means that there’s something on offer at All Day Tattoo for every single kind of tattoo collector. If you like your neotrad tattoos, your nerdy tattoos, hyper-realism, black-and-grey tattoos, intricate linework, watercolour tattoos, whatever it may be. You can find it all here, and of an incredibly high quality. Seriously, the amount of range on offer from this fantastic Bangkok tattoo studio is insane! And every single artist is fantastic. If pressed for a favourite, I’d be torn between Birdman and Sloth. Birdman’s sheer depth of colour and detail brings cartoonish and vibrant tattoos to life with intensity. And Sloth produces some of the best neotrad tattoo designs in Bangkok.
BKK Ink Tattoo Studio
Ah, Khaosan Road. The road in Bangkok Old Town that every backpacker ends up at. It’s a street of bars, clubs, restaurants, and noise. It’s also the kind of place you’d expect a shoddy tattoo studio to be – one that takes advantage of drunk backpackers to deliver below-par tattoo art for too much money. And that is so far from the truth! BKK Ink Tattoo Studio delivers some of the highest quality tattoo art in Bangkok. This studio’s expert artists excel at delivering both hyper-realistic tattoos of colour or black-and-grey art, and delightfully cartoonish neotrad designs that will melt your mind. There is a truly staggering standard on show here from this Bangkok tattoo studio that is worth so much praise and respect. If you find yourself staying near Khaosan Road in Bangkok, you owe it to yourself to check out this fantastic studio that provides some of the best tattoos in Bangkok.
Celebrity Ink Tattoo Bangkok
The artists at Celebrity Ink in Bangkok excel at both hyper-realistic colour tattoos and vibrant Japanese and American-inspired neotrad designs. There’s a really exciting and diverse range of styles on display here at Celebrity Ink. If you have an idea in mind, you’ll find an artist at this Bangkok tattoo studio who can deliver your idea flawlessly. Whether you prefer your tattoos with a Western or a Japanese flavour, colour or black-and-white, human or animal portraits, there’s certainly a style here that will please you. Some of the best tattoos in Bangkok come out of this studio, and one quick look at their portfolio will prove exactly why that’s the case.
Bump Easy Tattoo
Bump Easy’s resident artists share an eye and a love for rich colours, neotrad designs, Japanese influence, and Asian art. This Bangkok tattoo studio has been open since 1999 and its artwork on display demonstrates its very evident experience and dedication to the craft. With the art of the artists at Bump Easy Tattoo, you’ll find art inspired by Thai Buddhism, Japanese art, yokai, Chinese dragons and tigers, and more fantastic Asian art besides. This is a really great studio if you like your tattoos big, bold, colourful, and full of life. Lots of animal depictions, primary colours, Buddhist imagery and atmosphere, and everything that makes East Asian art so undeniably fascinating and captivating.
There really isn’t a tattoo artist quite like Bear Submongkol. He singlehandedly provides some of the most original and, frankly, best tattoos in Bangkok. What makes his tattoo art of such a consistently high standard? It’s the ways in which he is able to deliver so much depth and intricacy, so much exciting and fluid beauty with nothing but a few black lines. That might be oversimplifying his strengths and his raw skills a little – Bear is an absolute force to be reckoned with in the world of Bangkok tattoo art. If you’ve ever considered a tattoo of a dragon, a rose, a wolf, a snake, an owl, or something entirely neotrad: eyes, knives, crows. Or perhaps something more abstract? Bear can take any design, any idea, and transfer it into a gorgeous and original piece of art that’s all black linework. It is utterly captivating, and this is why Bear provides the best tattoos in Bangkok, time and again.
Traditional tattooing – and I do mean real, raw, old school tattooing – is not for everyone. There’s a real vintage style to it that makes it look aged and boring to some and undeniably addictive to others. Where you fall on this scale is on you, but for me I am addicted to real, raw American traditional tattoos. And Siam Mais is the best in Bangkok for traditional tattoos. His art is evidently inspired by legendary American artists like Sailor Jerry and it proudly shows. Siam’s tattoos would have made him king of the tattoo world fifty years ago. Today, they allow him to carve out a very special niche that is all his own and we love it. Roses, razors, daggers, snakes, skulls, ships – all the true traditional designs are here and done with real flair. Siam Mais is special, and awesome.
Will predominantly writes about the books of Books and Bao, examining the literature of a place and how the authors have used the art of storytelling to reflect the world and the culture around them.