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Sak Yant - Thai Tattoos

Sak Yant - at Wat Nhong Khaem

Sak Yant Buddhist Tatooing at Wat Nhong Khaem in San Patong, Chiang mai

Please note that there are no more Sak Yant done at Wat Nong Khaem

Buddhist Tatooing at Wat Nhong Khaem in San Patong, Chiang mai


The Sak Yat tattoo dates back to Angkor times. The practice of traditional tattooing is seldom done among main stream Thai youth anymore. However you still find most middle aged and older Thai men have them and a fringe group of Thai youth are still keeping the tradition alive. Different Buddhist masters have added to the collect of Buddhist tattoo designs all received through visions well in a meditative state. Some Yant have come by the way of Shamanism and the worship of animal spirits which were incorporated into the Thai tradition and culture. In the north you still find monks and former monks offering true Spiritual tattoos or if is just the look you desire there are several professional local tattoo artists offering them, the beauty may be greater but the purpose will not.

rreading the wax for the right insight

One younger monk that was well known for his skill is Phra Ajarn Gamtawn. He was renowned as a master of the Sak Yant. before his death last year (2010) He used no machine but a metal rod with the pins on the end. It is said to hurts less but takes longer with a simple traditional design taking about two hours. The tattoos do have mystical powers so be sure whoever does the design, knows exactly what they are doing and tell them what you want the design to achieve for you and they will prescribe the right tattoo for you. The designs will often incorporate Bali or Lanna script as part of the text, and also include symbols of religious designs.

sak yant - Monk appling Sak Yant by hand of course!

Monk appling Sak Yant by hand of course!


Be sure to take a Thai friend for translation purposes as the wrong tattoo could be very harmful. You can have Phra Gamtawn do a tattoo for you but best to ask for an appointmented time first. The fee is by Donations only. Nine is an auspicious number so be sure it has at least one 9 in it, it should be presented in an envelope that you can prepare a head of time.

Phra Ajarn Dton Tanawiiro  at Wat Nkong Khaem, Tambon Maeka, San Patong, Chiang Mai

-Phone no longer connected-



See  article about a special younger Sak Yant master  named  "Tu Eak".

The Etiquette  guide to Sak Yant See here

Women can get proper Sak Yant in Chiang Mai




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