Like the rest of the world, South East Asia has some incredible artists and I mean whats a better souvenir than some permanent art embedded in your skin! I have been tattooed twice in Thailand, first I had my elephants done with the bamboo method and the other Drew and I had enso’s done to represent our journey that is far from being over. We both love our skin art, but you need to keep in mind that just because your country has strict laws and regular inspections the rest of the world might not. Here are our three best tips on protecting yourself from having a different kind of holiday disaster!
Clean = Good!
You know the old saying “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” that is pretty much all that goes through my head when we inspect tattoo parlours. If the chairs are ratty looking, the place looks grimy and you can’t smell that “disinfectant clean” smell, then you may want to re-consider that establishment. Even if you think you have found the best artist for you, is it really worth running the risk of infection. Make sure your hepatitis vaccinations are up to date as this is a common infection to be passed on through tattoo parlours
Don’t Drink & Ink
Never ever, ever, ever even think of getting a tattoo done whilst intoxicated, all of what I mentioned above will totally go out the door if you’re wasted! I personally don’t have any drunk ink, but thanks to the internet I have seen my fair share of it. Not only will you not be able to sit still, you tend to bleed a bit more which will make your artists job much harder. You want to have your wits about you whilst getting tattooed so unless you are getting a temporary stick on stay away from tattoo parlours whilst drunk!
Ask Questions, many, many questions.
Ask about their sterilising equipment, their autoclaves or do they even have one?
What ink do they use? Go home and do some research, is it well known?, are there many cases of allergic reactions with this brand? Does it look like they refill their bottles? If so then perhaps you should ask them about this.
Don’t be afraid of popping into the shop a couple of times to see what’s happening and how they work.
Do they wear gloves? Can you see packaging that shows they are using new needles, if not just ask to see what they use. What type of guarantee do they have? Do they offer free touch ups? I personally thought this was a universal duty of care, especially for any good artist… apparently not. I was caught out the last tattoo I had done in Chiang Mai, I had a decent piece of ink fall out during healing and went back to be touched up, he wanted to charge me another 1500Baht (around $70aud) for the a touch up half the size of a 5cent piece. I learnt from my mistake and suggest you ask lots of questions, you will then be informed and prepared.
I hope these tips from my personal experience will help you make an informed choice so that the ink you return home with carries the essence of your travels!