Tattoo studios are popular in Phuket, with 10 to 15 shops operating in Patong Beach alone. Practiced since Neolithic times, the art of tattooing has had a varied history of objectives and perceptions: from its original use as a medical treatment (dots tattooed on acupuncture points) to a sign of rebellion against the system (in prisons for instance). Nowadays, tattoos are regarded in a more mainstream light given that many celebrities – David Beckham, Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp to name a few – display obvious tattoos.
In Thailand, ‘Sak Yant’ religious tattoos are extremely popular, due to the powers they are purported to bestow. Originally only performed by practitioners of magic and Buddhist monks using long, sharpened bamboo sticks (mai sak), they are still believed to protect the wearer from bullets, knives or any serious threats. Nowadays, and despite a warning from Thai government in 2012 to forbid non-ecclesiastic people to create Sak Yant tattoos, they are still created in most (if not all) tattoo studios in Thailand.
Tattooing is a serious business which requires lots of skill, and above all, strict hygiene. In Phuket, most tattoo shops strictly adhere to the rules, using brand new needles for each client and sterilized tools as well as giving out handy tips on how to facilitate the post-tattoo healing process. If you wish to take back a permanent souvenir from your Phuket holiday, here are five recommended tattoo studios run by talented and professional artists. They do superb work using electric tattoo machines and/or genuine bamboo sticks.
- Phuket FantaSea Cultural Theme Park
- Phi Phi Islands Tour with Express Boat
- James Bond Island Full-Day Tour via Big Boat
- Coral & Racha Islands Full-Day Tour
- Whitewater Rafting & 4-Wheel-Drive Adventure
- Sea Kayaking at Ang Thong Marine Park
- Flying Hanuman Ziplining Experience
- Canoeing Excursion in Phang Nga Bay with Thai Buffet Lunch
- Introduction to City Tour
- John Gray's Cave Canoeing Tour in Phang Nga Bay
Golden Needle tattoo studio is located in Phuket Town, near Rama IX Park. The owner of this multi-award-winning tattoo shop, Chart Khemtong, has a predestined name in Thai as ‘khem’ means needle and ‘tong’ means gold, which explains the name of the shop. With 20 years’ experience in tattooing, Chart is one of the most talented tattoo artists in Phuket. Golden Needle studio is a nicely decorated, compact wooden house (check out the lampshade entirely made of used tattoo needles). Working with two employees, Mee and Kai, Chart specialises in oriental designs. Famous UFC and MMA fighters have been tattooed at Golden Needle which uses only electric tattoo machines. Hygiene is priority number one here, and the prices – which start at 1,000 baht - are according to the complexity of the design.
- Opening Hours: Daily 12:30 – 21:30
- Location: At the southern entrance of Phuket Town, on Chaofa East Road, near Rama IX Park
- Tel: 081-2717152 or 076-246461
Located opposite Surin Tesco Lotus Park on Bangtao Soi 2, @Ink opened in 2013. Mit (the owner of Patong Tattoo) opened this studio in association with Kai, an experienced tattooist born in Bangtao itself. Set in a contemporary style shopping plaza featuring restaurants and bars, @Ink is a neat and clean air-conditioned tattoo studio. Here, you also can get temporary tattoos (body paint and airbrush), and all permanent tattoos are done with an electric machine. Free-hand, cover ups, Sak Yant, all styles are available and prices start at 1,000 baht.
- Opening Hours: Daily 11:00 – 22:00
- Location: Opposite Surin Tesco Lotus Park on Bangtao Soi 2
- Tel: Mit – 081-7471146, Kai – 084-8407964
Celebrity Ink Tattoo is the home of Phuket’s most famous “hand-picked” tattoo artists. They deliver custom high quality tattoos at affordable prices. Their team go above and beyond your expectations to ensure every client returns time and time again. Celebrity Ink Tattoo currently holds the most awards throughout Thailand. The highly skilled and fully licensed tattoo artists are happy to give you expert advice when it comes to creating your new work of art.
- Location: In Soi Sea Dragon on Bangla Road, Patong Beach
- Tel: +61 41 357 0476
Aussine Tattoo may be small in size but it’s large in talent. This studio is a nine square-metre room located opposite the entrance of Holiday Inn Phuket on Rat-U-Thit Road in Patong. Five tattooists work here (not all at the same time though): Adam, Eddie, Jui, Can and Mint, and all tattoos here are created with tattoo machines, with custom-made designs or images brought by their customers. Curiously enough, Australians are the folks who are most likely to get a tattoo in Phuket, hence the name of the shop which has been open since 2008. Here again, all-style of tattoos are available – tribal, Japanese, Celtic, Sak Yant, and so on – and their prices start at 1,000 baht for small black tattoo to go up to 60,000 baht for a detailed and coloured full sleeve.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 – 22:00
- Location: In Patong Beach, on Rat-U-Thit Road, opposite Holiday Inn Busakorn Wing’s entrance
- Tel: 086 690 2909
One of the most experienced tattooers in the Phuket region, John began his tattooing career in 1993 using traditional Thai bamboo techniques to make beautiful Thai inspired tattoo’s. Four years later John opened his first shop then located in Kata. Old Man Tattoo’s was established in Phuket Town in 1999 and remains the longest running tattoo shop in Phuket Town, well known for quality tattooing work and attention to hygiene. Inspired by artists such as Filip Leu, Paul Booth and Sid Siamese – John specialises in oriental/japanese, black and grey, Thai designs and cover-up’s created in his own unique style.
- Opening Hours: 10:30 - 22:30
- Address: 134 Phang-Nga Road, Phuket Town
- Tel: +66 (0)81 535 9498
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/OldManTattoosPhuket
Located at the entrance of the Paradise Hotel Complex in Patong Beach, Siam Ink tattoo studio has been open since 2008. Employing four tattooists (including international award-winning artists), this parlour uses both bamboo sticks and tattoo machines and performs all styles of tattooing, including custom-made layouts following their customers’ tastes and requirements, free-hand, repairs and cover ups. The studio is large and spotlessly clean with a modern design. They are accredited by the Thai Health Department and charge 3,000 baht per hour for tattoos.
- Opening Hours: Mon to Sat 12:00 – 24:00, Sun 18:00 – 24:00
- Location: On the left at the entrance of Paradise Hotel Complex in Patong Beach. You can’t miss the green big bike in front of the shop.
- Tel: Dana – 081-6769411, Ong – 089-4710963
Mit and Wat are brothers who have been working in the tattoo business since the end of the 90s. Their studio at Loma Park in Patong has been open since 2002 and they’re quite famous on Phuket’s tattoo scene for their polite professionalism. Working with bamboo sticks and a tattoo machine, they can create any design, whether it be Japanese, Thai, Sak Yant, or simply according to their customers’ wishes. Prices start at 1,000 baht (for a simple small black design) and increase according to the difficulty. They also do piercing. Mr Mit opened a second shop, @Ink at Bangtao Beach.
Remark: Member of Association of Professional Tattoo Artists (APTA)
- Opening Hours: 10:30 – 20:00 closed on Sundays
- Location: Soi Loma in Patong Beach
- Tel: 081-7471146 or 089-9092357
With over 15 years of experience behind him, Rucky of Seed Tattoo has a great selection of designs to choose from, including Thai, American and Japanese styles. The shop meets international standards of hygiene, with fully sterilised equipment, high quality inks and many satisfied customers. His shop is situated right by the Patong Boxing Stadium, on Sansabai Road.
- Opening Hours: 12:00 - 24:00
- Location: 179/10 Sansabai Road, Patong
- Tel: +66 (0)86 860 7807
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/Seedtattoo-patong-481950695267288
Bloodline Tattoo on Soi Patong Resort is an Australian-managed studio with a tight-knit team of award-winning Thai artists. Offering both machine and traditional bamboo tattoos in a wide range of remarkable designs, they pride themselves on their highly sterile environment, using only disposable tattoo equipment and high-quality imported inks. Many satisfied customers have walked away with exceptional Japanese, realistic, dot-work and cover-up tattoos, among other styles.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 - 23:30
- Location: 54/2 Soi Patong Resort, Bangla Road, Patong
- Tel: +66 (0)64 030 0100
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/bloodlinetattoophuket
Thailand’s first custom-built tattoo studio is located above the popular Aussie Bar on Bangla Road, and is practically an extension of the bar, with two lounges and live-streamed sports on the TVs. Australian owned and operated, they promise no language barriers, high-quality work and a safe and sterile environment.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 - 22:00
- Location: Above Aussie Bar, Soi Gonzo, Bangla Road, Patong
- Tel: +66 (0)93 763 8542
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/mayheminkpatong
Pitbull Tattoo Thailand is a professional tattoo and piercing artistic studio on Bangla Road. Skilled Thai artists, overseen by highly qualified western management make use of imported inks, tattoo machines and traditional bamboo techniques. The health and wellbeing of customers is of paramount importance, leading to the exclusive use of new sterilized tools. They offer a broad range of designs, from photo-realistic to colourful cartoons and everything in between.
- Opening Hours: 11:00 - 23:00
- Location: 31 Bangla Road, Patong
- Tel: +66 (0)84 351 5881
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/pitbulltattoothailand