I love tattoos.  Love love love tattoos.  I have three small ones myself, but being in Thailand is making me itch for more.

There is no shortage of tattoo shops in Thailand.  Pai is a pretty small town, and I estimate that there is one tattoo shop for every 300 people.  And those shops not devoid of patrons.  Many people who live here here are tattooed.  And a large percentage of visitors get tattoos while they’re here.

About a month ago in Chiang Mai, my brother got a tattoo while we watched.  (Sorry Parental Unit – did you know that?)  He and a few of his friends call themselves Cloudhoppers because of the travelling they do.  So, with his Cloudhopper buddy Nick in town, the two of them got Cloudhopper tattoos.

Nick and Alam got their tattoos done with the usual North American style tattoo gun.  But all the people I’ve met in Thailand who have got tattoos while here got bamboo tattoos.  And I’ve seen for myself the scab-free, fast-healing and long-lasting vibrant colours of these tattoos.  I think I’ve been convinced that bamboo is the way to go.

I have many ideas for tattoos I’d like to get – a few short sayings, a butterfly, a frangipani, stars, music notes,  or something bigger and bolder.  We have a friend in Pai named Matsaya who is an amazing artist.  She showed us her sketch book a couple of weeks ago and I fell in love with this picture:

If I were to get it as a tattoo, I’d probably make a few modifications to personalize it, but the idea of it really appeals to me.  Something with this much detail would need to be large enough to show it off, and the best place for it would probably be on my back.  But Stu isn’t into tattoos the way I am, and getting him on board with me getting another one (let alone a large, though admittedly beautiful one, on my back) may not happen.

It is unlikely that I’ll leave Thailand without some new ink.  I’ll keep you all posted on what and when and where and if I can get Stu on board. 😉


7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mum on February 13, 2011 at 2:40 am

    You know I’m ok with ink on bodies and thank god Alam’s are mostly hidden by his clothes, at least here in Canada, and yes Fa, your 3 small tatoos are fine where they are, but I’m inclined to take Stu’s side this time cause that art, though pretty, is a bit much. Get something small if you must, something to remember Thailand by, but yes, pls think long and hard before getting that one. And no we didn’t know about Alam’s cloud but I’m not surprised :). Nuf said.


  2. Posted by Mum on February 13, 2011 at 2:47 am

    Sorry, I think I may have spelt tattoo wrong. Can you blame me? I keep picturing that large one on your back!!!


  3. Posted by NoWhereMom on February 14, 2011 at 12:11 am

    I think the picture is beautiful – perhaps there’s some way to enjoy it without having it on your back…think of it this way, if it’s on your back you’re not even going to be able to see it. I think you should totally get a new tattoo to commemorate your trip – but maybe something a little easier to live with? ;o) Easy for me to say, not having one myself. Every time I think about getting one I wonder what I’ll think of it when I’m 70 and then I manage to talk myself out of it! ;o)


  4. Posted by Anil Kurian on February 14, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    I tend to agree with the above. That image is beautiful but maybe too rooted to Thailand? I’d go for something a bit more symbolic to themes in your life/something that inspires you. Butterfly/emerging from cocoon on a floral branch might be something to explore. Bigger is not always better and if it’s a personal expression, why do you ‘need’ to have it in a place to show it off? Might sound a bit landmarky, but wouldn’t that also be a chrysalis you’re emerging from before you soar higher? A friend of mine has a tattoo on the sole of his foot. Not easily seen, but always noticed when he wants to.

    If you do get one..make it colourful and detailed. Your brother’s tattoo looks like someone drew poop on his legs. If it was wispier, it’d look more obvioulsy like a cloud and he’d be free from the fear of sarcastic comments;)

    Here are some butterfly ones are elegantly done and placed. Instead of your back, why not curved around your side and have it (or swirls around it) mendhi-design inspired (bit multi coloured) like your hands at your wedding?

    This is an interesting idea but might be a bit to cluttered in execution. The empty space through a tattoo is as important as they ink.

    Another idea would be a fairy/pixie with butterfly wings? I’ve seen some that look like they’re sitting in a crescent moon. That said, if I’m noticing them, then they might be getting trendy..just like the tribal/barbwire tatto’s from the 90’s.


  5. I say don’t live for what you’ll think when you’re 70. Do it now while you’re young and your back is wrinkle free!

    “It’s only forever.”


  6. Posted by Angi on February 17, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Do it.
    I think tattoos capture moments in your life. Moments where you have broken open to all that is there for you to see! Pinnacles. A personal achievement, a goal reached. Every time you see it or touch it you are transported to that moment in time. It’s a beautiful thing. Never get one for the sake of getting one. It really has to mean something. That’s my belief.


  7. I like the frangipani flower…it’s so beautiful and you can add some pretty swirly stuff from above art so it’s not so big and also a good compromise…utimately it’s your choice!


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