For me part of coming to Thailand was the opportunity to get further tattoo’s. Ever since I started planning my trip to Thailand, high on the list of objectives was to get at least one Traditional Bamboo Tattoo. I am very interested in the culture, and the opportunity to get a tattoo that actually has some Asian technique dating back some 3000 years was really appealing.
A transitional Bamboo tattoo is not different to it’s modern day counterparts, but obviously without modern machines, the skills used to deliver a successful bamboo tattoo are far more time consuming. Many tourists will venture to Buddhist temples to go for the fully authentic experience of having a monk ink their skin, getting designs that symbolise protection, faith or inspiration.
One of the key things to bear in mind when making the choice to get a traditional bamboo tattoo is pain vs time. The traditional tiger design that I went with, done with a modern day tattoo machine would have taken approximately 1 hour to complete and the quality would be far superior. Having it done with a bamboo stick took nearly 4 hours, and for anyone who has a tattoo on the rib cage, it’s not the most pleasant place to endure hours of pain.
Granted it is less painful that a tattoo machine, but what it does lack in instant pain, it makes up for in length of pain.
Personal Experience: I am living in a small province 70km’s west of Bangkok. This is great when you look at the costs of anything from accommodation, food, entertainment and yes tattoo’s. Both Bamboo and their modern equivalent are both much more cheaper when you move away from the tourist hotspots.
I was intending on having the full monk experience, but after a couple of hit and misses trying to organise, I was fortunate enough to find a street food vendor that actually had spend many years mastering the ancient art of the bamboo tattoo.
The traditional tiger you see in the photo, cost me 1000THB, was done in my condo, where I got to lie on the floor in the air conditioning and listen to music on my phone to pass the time away.
I have showed the tattoo to many tattoo artists in places like Phuket and Khao San Road to get opinions on price, and generally they are all shocked at the quality for what I paid.
After it’s all said and done, I am stoked with my experience, and the quality of the tattoo, and would be happy to get more done by bamboo.
A few points to remember when you venture into having this done:
- A Bamboo tattoo will not look at clean as a tattoo machine
- Prices will vary greatly so shop around
- Personal recommendations are to be taken strongly
- Always check needles are new – they wont take offence to you asking to see them being opened
- Check samples of their previous work
- Don’t get one done after you have been on the piss the night before
- Anti Histamines
- Hustle Butter Deluxe Tattoo Butter for Before, During, and After
- Warm water and soap
- Avoid clorinated pools for 2 weeks
- Do not pick at scabs as this will pull colour out try a Tattoo Balm to help healing
- Get to a docotor for anti-biotics if you feel there is an infection
Why not grab a complete Tattoo Goo Aftercare Kit for ONLY $13.18