SAK YANT TATTOO FAQ
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Guide to Sak Yant Tattoo FAQ
Getting a Sak Yant Tattoo in Chiang Mai is something that most people have thought about and researched for months (even years) as a highly sort after Spiritual experience. For some tourists it is something that is done spur of the moment and try to arrange within the few days they have allocated to staying in Chiang Mai.
The following article is provided by to help those who want to research if getting a Sak Yant Tattoo is the right choice for them. Following is an in depth FAQ guide to the Sak Yant experience, clearing up some myths from other blogs and what you can expect if you book a Sak Yant Tour with us.
Your Guide to Sak Yant Tattoo FAQ
Sak Yan or Sak Yant (Thai: สักยันต์), is a form of tattooing that originated in ancient Tai peoples. It consists of magical geometrical, animal and deity designs accompanied by Pali phrases that offer power, protection, fortune, charisma and other benefits for the bearer. Today it is practiced in Thailand and Myanmar, and to a much lesser extent in Laos and Cambodia. Sak means “to [tattoo]” in Thai, and yant is the Thai pronunciation for the Sanskrit word yantra, meaning “magical design” or “mystical insignia”. Hence the Sak Yant Tattoo is a "Magical Tattoo.
Sak yan designs are normally tattooed by ruesi, wicha (magic) practitioners, and Buddhist monks, traditionally with a long metal rod sharpened to a point called a khem sak. Although today with many health concerns of the westerners obtaining their tattoos, many practitioners (including all the ones used by us) have modernized the hygiene methods to be completely safe.
Sak Yant Questions and Answer (FAQ)
1) Why use Sak Yant Chiang Mai? - Aren't you just a Tourist Trap that cost more?
One of the biggest concerns many people have is about getting a real the Sak Yant, otherwise they could go to any Tattoo shop and get replica of the Tattoo.
The short answer is Authenticity!
We have had many customers who have Sak Yant designs they have received from a Tattoo Artist previously and the Monk will make the comment that it is a pretty tattoo, but holds no significance or power. The Traditional Sak Yant Tattoo is a Magical and Spiritual symbol that is done in an ancient language that takes Monks years to learn. A Tattoo Artist might be able to copy a pattern and give you a great Tattoo - but the Monks and Ajarns will change the text of the language to empower the Sak Yant and provide a Magical Blessing based on the purpose you desire your Sak Yant.
But you are a business! Why use you when I can find an Ajarn who is probably cheaper? :
Despite what many people would like to believe, being a Sak Yant Ajarn is a business as well as it is a calling. Most Ajarns have their own place of business (Samnak) and almost all have set prices for a Sak Yant depending on size and time. Very very rarely will an Ajarn work on a 'you decide how much' donation only, often they do when they are new and inexperienced as they grow their reputations and skill level.
Sak Yant Chiang Mai is a business co-op, that is made up of a of local Monks and Ajarns who come into the city for our In-house service one or two days a week. The rest of the time they are at their own business working independently of Sak Yant Chiang Mai. What Sak Yant Chiang Mai has done as a business, is find Monks and Ajarns who have great tattoo skills and ask them to uphold strict hygiene standards. As an added bonus for our guests, we have provided a venue where the Sak Yant Masters can do 1-2 weeks worth of Sak Yants in a single day for a discounted and standardized price we have set - not the one they use in their own business. The average cost saving of getting a Sak Yant with our In-house service rather than visiting the Ajarn yourself is between 1000-4000 baht depending on the size of the Sak Yant.
For the Monks and Ajarns, we provide them several advantages, on both a personal and business level. We provide them with a 'break from the office' from their normal Samnak, and and opportunity to get more work. One of their most common concerns which we assist with, is having someone turn up who does not understand the protocols, etiquette or meanings of the Sak Yant and then does not speak Thai.
Only the Sak Yant Staff work for Sak Yant Chiang Mai - the Monks and Ajarns choose to visit us and lower their donation prices in exchange for a less confused and assisted western student (name given to a person getting a Sak Yant). It is a win win for the Ajarns, and the guests and this is why Sak Yant Chiang Mai has become a sought after service despite us not promoting ourselves on TripAdvisor and other Tourist websites. We want to provide this service for people who are dedicated enough to find us - without promoting to the mass tourist population.
2) Temple Monk Visit or In-House Sak Yant?
At Sak Yant Chiang Mai we offer a variety of options for getting a Sak Yant Tattoo and Blessing. Both the Temple Monk Visit and the In-house options are 100% real and include the Magical Blessing. The only real difference is the romantic notion of visiting a Temple (and this is a powerful and worth while notion), The time it takes and the cost.
Temple Monk Visit
The Temple Tours are conducted twice a day at 9am and 1.30pm and we take a maximum of 2 people in the morning and 3 people in the afternoon each time. The tours take 3-4 hours where you visit the home location of the Monk or Ajarn and go to the Sumnak (Sak Yant room) usually in a building at the side of the Temple (not in the Temple itself).
1) This is a visit to a Temple Monk to receive a Sak Yant Tattoo, we do not do tours of Temples. There are plenty of Temples in Chiang Mai's old city that can be walked to from almost any location.
2) Females can not get a Sak Yant in Temple grounds. If you have a female getting a Sak Yant from a Monk Tour, it will be done at the Monks Samnak not at a Temple
In-house Sak Yant
At our old city location we have created our own Samnak and have visiting Monks and Ajarns come to us. Our room has been blessed and has the additional benefit of air conditioning and soft seating (something Temples have no need for). Each Sak Yant and Blessing takes about 30-45 minutes.
3) Can a Woman get a Sak Yant Tattoo from a Monk?
Short Answer Yes But it can not be done at a Temple. If a female is getting a Sak Yant via the tour option you are taken to the Temple Monks Samank. This is his holy Sak Yant area he has created at a residential property outside of Chiang Mai.
Females can get an In-House Sak Yant when the Monks are at our Shop, usually Monday, Thursday and Saturday. This is usually a cheaper and more comfortable option.
This is a question that 99% of blog posts about Sak Yants or Thai Monks get wrong, by confusing tradition and culture with the actual Vinaya (Monk code of conduct).
Thai Buddhist Monks are permitted to touch a women, so long that it does not create lust. For this reason many Monks decide that it is better to be safer than sorry in this regards, and if they do touch a female they use prayer clothe (or gloves for Sak Yant) as an added layer.
Many Monks nowadays just outright refuse to give a Sak Yant to a woman to save themselves the inconvenience of having to explain themselves (especially if tourists take and publish photographs). This is further complicated (only in Thailand) when the cultural tradition of women not touching Monks is added to the mix.
We have heard from a few people that someone who knows someone has told them that if a Monk touches a women he is not a real Monk. The reality is this is a personal choice of the individual Monk and has become more of a tradition (not a rule) over the last few decades, This is more of a misunderstanding among lay people and not the Monks themselves.
Currently we have a Temple Monk who will do Sak Yants for females, but they are not permitted to do it from their Temple and you are taken to his holy room off Temple grounds
4) What are the Costs of Getting a Sak Yant?
All of our options you pay 1000 baht towards the total cost with the Booking fee. Our In-House options starts at 2000 baht per hour when you book in advance and 2500 when you walk in with no pre-planning. If you want two people or to get a large Sak Yant you will need to make 2 separate bookings. The 2000 Baht includes 1000 baht donation which covers the smaller Sak Yants.
For the Tour, the first person is 3000 Baht, and additional people just 1500 baht each - plus the donation to the Monk or Ajarn. We are small private tour, and do our best to make this service affordable, so if you can bring another person the shared costs goes down.
Why the Suggested Minimum Monk Donation?
Sak Yant Tattoos have grown very popular now among the Chinese, who strongly believe in the magical powers and are prepared to pay for it. Organizations regularly fly several Ajarns to China or Taiwan for a week, with each Ajarn doing hundreds of Tattoos. Chinese tour companies also bring in busloads of people to Temples in several parts of Thailand. These tourist are prepared to pay much higher donations on top of their tour cost, (starting at 7000 but going as high as 20,000 baht). We have had to make the minimum donation 1000 just to be able to see the Monks, however Ajarns will charge more when taken to their location.
This suggested donation is a minimum: Many of our Sak Yant Guests pay more
It is unfortunate, but understandable that Temples who survive on donations will, prioritize their Sak Yant Monks time, and the plain truth is gone are the days when a couple hundred baht was enough of a donation. In order for us to continue to provide the Sak Yant experience, we have to ensure that our guests at least pay US$5-10 more than a Thai person would, but still US$100-400 less than a Chinese tourist is paying.
Our Tour Prices
Like any tour, you are paying a fee for the knowledge, organization and explanation of an experience that you would be unable to get on your own. But unlike any other tour you might undertake in Thailand the Sak Yant Experience requires adherence to strict protocols and displays of respect. Not only an understanding of Thai Culture, it requires an interpreter of your desires into the Thai language (for the Monk) and someone to guide you through the rituals in the Thai Culture surrounding the Sak Yant Traditions.
Our In-house Monk and Ajarn Prices
We charge a minimum of 2000 baht for a Sak Yant from both the Monk or the Ajarn in our Shop location. This consist of your 1000 baht booking fee and then a 1000 baht donation as part of the offering. Larger Designs requiring more time will require a higher donation. This is still almost HALF the price of going to a Tattoo Shop, and considerable less than the busloads of Asian package tours are giving for the same service.
Donation amounts are for basic Sak Yant Design. Larger designs will require higher donation
Can I use a Credit Card?
For the booking fee you can use a credit card via the PayPal system. For the Tour balance and donations we accept cash only. Thailand is still mostly a cash society due to the heavy credit card fees mandated by the Thai Government.
5) How Can I Book my Sak Yant Tattoo?
We are a small company that provides a totally unique experience. The reality is that our limited Tour services are booked by customers several weeks and months in advance. If can be difficult to book a Sak Yant if you are only allowing a few days notice.
Booking your Sak Yant Online
This is by far the best option. We use an Online Booking system that lists each type of Sak Yant Service (Go here for details) on the days that they are available. Each Booking absolutely requires a reservation deposit to confirm complete the booking.
Booking at the Sak Yant Chiang Mai Office
We use the exact same Online system at our Office. However sometimes when the Booking Calendar does not allow you to make a booking because the time slot has been taken, we are able to manually do a double booking. If you are in Chiang Mai come on in and see us at our Old City Store Location
6) Why do I need to pay a 1000 Baht Booking Deposit?
There are several reasons but the bottom line, is that we are unable to provide every request with an appointment. Most of our guests are booked weeks and sometimes months in advance. Because of this we started the In-house service which has quickly also become full as well (although it is possible to sometimes get a booking by walking into our store or online a day or 2 ahead).
The honest truth is, we have enough people who are very dedicated and serious about receiving a Sak Yant Tattoo that we do not have the need, time or resources to accommodate people who book their Sak Yant on a whim and do not show up.
In addition, we take the Sak Yant Tattoo Experience seriously! As Thai people, Sak Yant Chiang Mai staff, respect the Monks more than it is possible for a westerner to comprehend. As such we attempt to ensure that anyone we take to visit the Monks is also coming for genuine and sincere reasons. Any cancellations or failure to turn up by a guest, we ensure the Monk or Ajarn receive the deposit for the time they committed to preforming the Sak Yant.
Is the Booking Fee Refundable?
If you advise us of a cancellation within 3 days of the event we will refund in full your booking fee. If less than 3 days we will refund your deposit if another guest books the time slot.
7) I am a Travel Blogger, can I get an Affiliate Commission if I write a Blog Post?
We appreciate that Digital Nomads need to earn an income from their websites (as indeed we use our website to earn a living) and that generally bloggers take tours from companies that offer affiliate marketing commissions and incentives if you write a Blog Post and have an affiliate link.
Sadly the short answer is No, we do not offer affiliate links for our service. While we understand the benefits of being able to offer incentives for marketing support in the way of blog post promotion - unlike other Sak Yant tour services who generally only use Ajarns (and charge 3 times as much) ... we also have real Monks as part of our service.
The reality is when dealing with real Monks, we have to do our best to preserve their dignity and position in Thai society and offering affiliate marketing is going to far into commercialization of the experience we offer.
8) What's the Difference of a Sak Yant from an Ajarn or a Monk?
The major difference between an Sak Yant Ajarn (almost always an Ex Monk of many years) and a Monk (someone still engage in Temple duties) for the purposes of getting a Sak Yant Tattoo is that the Ajarn will generally do their Yantra Tattoo for a set fee and will do Tattoo's on Women. There are many subtle differences as well, far too many to explain in a section of a FAQ, but we will cover some of the basics.
Sak Yant Ajarn
The term 'Ajarn' is used to describe a learned person... similar to the term Professor or Master. When we refer to the term 'Ajarn' we are referring to a Sak Yant Master. Generally an Ajarn (or Sak Yant Master), is a former Monk that has taken their training in the Magical Art of Sak Yant and continued to provide the service to people after they no longer work within the Temple environment.
Getting Sak Yant Tattoo from an Ajarn means, they are free from the 'touching female' restrictions. Often Ajarns are open to additional training in the Sak Yant Tattoo and general tattoo arts. The Ajar opens his Sak Yant temple to Thais and Foreigners alike and operates it like any other business and charges a fee for his expertise. The Ajarn is a highly respected and sought after adviser to both the normal Thai person and the Monk community
Sak Yant Ajarn's, (like Monks) gain their magical power from meditation and following may spiritual rules for living a good and harmonious life. Ajarn's will spend a considerable amount of their time in meditation, retreats, serving charities and living life to exceptionally high moral codes and ethics. They will take the responsibility of performing Sak Yant Tattoo's at the same level as Monks do.
The Ajarn usually has more of a worldly interest outside of Temple life, more familiar with westerners seeking a Sak Yant, can speak better English and can be much more relaxed in accepting our lack of knowledge of protocols.
Sak Yant Monk
Generally a Monk (for the purpose of a Sak Yant Tattoo) is a Temple associated Monk that has duties engaging in the local community. The Monks role in Sak Yant Tattoos is only one of their duties and seeking a Sak Yant from a Monk can mean waiting along with other Thais, seeking advice, magic and blessings from the Monk.
A Sak Yant Tattoo from a Monk is done by donation (like all their duties) and a higher level of respect must be shown because you are at a Temple. However many Westerners have written blogposts proudly claiming they only donated a few hundred Baht for their Sak Yant. This is a ridiculously cruel thing to do, coming to another country, and cheating Monks by paying less than the locals.
Many Monks now will just tell westerners that they are busy, or can not preform a Sak Yant because of their previous experience with cheap travelers.
9) Can I get a Bamboo Needle Sak Yant Tattoo?
In past Thailand the Monks traditionally used Bamboo Needles to apply the Sak Yant Tattoo. This is no longer the situation, almost all Monks have switched, first to a Steel tip at the end of a Bamboo shaft (since about 1950's) and now to a Stainless Steel Needle with a replaceable needle tip, or in some cases a Tattoo Gun. In today's Thailand your options for a Sak Yant Tattoo is now almost always the Steel Needle. Some Tattoo shops will use disposable wooden needles to give the customer as a take home gift
If you have read current blogs about the Bamboo Needle experience used for a Sak Yant, you will tend to find the term Bamboo Needle is used in titles, but the photos of the experience are of a Steel Needle. Bamboo needles are deemed not only unhygienic for use today; they are too light and require much more force to penetrate the skin making them EXTREMELY painful.
So while the concept of the Bamboo Sak Yant is a romantic one to some, it is a term and procedure that is outdated. A Bamboo Needle Sak Yant Tattoo is no longer a option in Chiang Mai. Instead the more hygienic Steel Needles are used.
10) The Sak Yant Rules of Conduct
The Sak Yant Rules of Conduct refer to the rules you must follow once you have become a student of a Monk or Ajarn (a title inferred after receiving a Sak Yant). Every Monk or Ajarn has different Sak Yant Rules which they sometimes suggest and sometimes do not. There is great confusion as to the Rules which you can read about in detail at Sak Yant Rules of Conduct.
The general rules are .....
Do not kill
Do not steal
Do not desire another persons lover or spouse or be unfaithful to your own
Do not lie
Do not get Intoxicated
Do Not speak ill of your Mother (or any Mother)
11 ) Is a Sak Yant Tattoo Safe and Hygienic?
Many Tourists and Westerners like the idea of getting a Sak Yant Tattoo but then begin to question the standards of hygiene with this tattoo. This is especially true it seems if you have found and read blogs about Bangkok's famous Wat Bang Phra who do tend to hold on to tradition over hygiene. At Sak Yant Chiang Mai have already visited many Temples and Sak Yant providers before selecting the ones we use. We have ensured your health is a primary concern, and taken care to provide a safe and hygienic experience.
Sak Yant Tattoo Bamboo Needle Hygiene
As mentioned previously there is no longer any such thing as a Bamboo Needle, the Sak Yant's today are done using a long Stainless Steel Needle. Sak Yant Needles tend to come in two forms
1) Screw in Steel Tip: These are the most common needles used in Sak Yant tattooing. Cleaned using a combination of flame, steam and stored in alcohol, providing 100% sterile needles. When using this form of Sak Yant Needle, the Sak Yant Master will have many so that each person is given a new needle tip.
2) Completely New one use replaceable Needle. This new needle is taken from a sterilized sealed bag and put into the needle holder at the end of the Sak Yant Steel Needle.
There is no health concerns needed getting a tattoo using the Steel Needle using Sak Yant Chiang Mai.
Sak Yant Tattoo using a Tattoo Gun Hygiene
The same hygiene standards used in a Tattoo artist in the West (or indeed within Thailand) are used by the Ajarn's giving a Sak Yant Tattoo using a Tattoo Gun. The Monks will use new needles.
Bring your own ink for a Sak Yant Tattoo?
Bringing your own ink was a suggestion that was made in a popular blog post about getting a Sak Yant, who comments about the ink used might contain Henna. The blog post recommended bringing your own ink from your home country as an offering.
This suggestion has been copied and pasted or modified slightly in other bloggers articles, as they search online for information about getting a Sak Yant for their articles. If you are getting your Sak Yant from Wat Bang Phra in Bangkok, or a small rural Temple you found on your own; it would be a good idea to bring your own Ink and needles.
HOWEVER: You do NOT need to worry about the ink used in Sak Yant Tattoos, provided by Sak Yant Chiang Mai. The Ink used is regular Tattoo ink, just like any other Tattoo shop, that sometimes contains a drop or two of 'drafting' ink from the Monk or Ajarn's teacher.
12 ) Sak Yant Tattoo Healing and Aftercare?
Generally a Sak Yant does not bleed during the process because the Steel needles do not penetrate the skin as deeply as a Tattoo machine. Your Sak Yant will heal much faster (usually a day or two) but it is a tattoo and to ensure long term quality the first week it is essential to provide an aftercare program.
After you receive your Sak Yant, you need to do the same things as you would a normal tattoo to avoid tattoo bleed (fuzzy lines if ink spreads) and to keep the ink dark after the healing scabs come off. Like any Tattoo after a week the skin around the tattoo will start to flake off revealing the final and permanent Sak Yant. They Aftercare suggestions are..
1) Avoid direct sunlight for the first 3 days (sunlight can breakdown the ink pigment)
2) Avoid water exposure for first 3 days (avoid salt water and swimming)
3) Use a healing ointment 2-3 times a day for the first week (helps maintain darkness of ink and avoids infections)
4) Avoid stretching the skin and muscle round the Sak Yant, Do not use the muscles under the Sak Yant for a week or it may cause ink bleed. (no Lat pulldowns or exercise workouts.
SAK YANT TATTOO FOR A WOMAN
While is is difficult to find a Monk who will give a female a Sak Yant Tattoo in a Temple setting - Your Chiang Mai Sak Yant Tour guide "Nana" has established a level of trust and respect with many Monks and together provided an In-House solution where the Monks feel more comfortable providing Sak Yant for Females.
If you are prepared to follow the rules and guidelines - a Woman can get a genuine Sak Yant Tattoo.
You can Book your own Sak Yant Tattoo Experience here
YOUR SAK YANT TATTOO GUIDE "NANA"
Nana's first ever Sak Yant Tour was at the request of Amy, who wrote about her Sak Yant Tattoo Experience in Getting a Sak Yant by a Monk in Chiang Mai
Since then Nana (pronounced as in Banana) has gone on to spend countless hours traveling and interviewing Monks and Ajarns to find the best Sak Yant Tattoos that Chiang Mai has to offer.
Each Sak Yant Tour is personally guided by Nana, or Johny (sometimes we use other tour guides) for your amazing Sak Yant Tour Experience in Chiang Mai.
13) What is the Quality of Artwork with a Sak Yant Tattoo?
A genuine Sak Yant Tattoo (Yantra Tattoo) is done with a long steel needle in about 20-25 minutes for a basic design. It pays to bear in mind the purpose ... Sak Yant Tattoos have Spiritual and Magical properties (if you believe in magic). So the finish tattoo will not always be a perfect balanced and symmetrical piece of art. Monks and Ajarns are spiritual leaders not artists.
At Sak Yant Chiang Mai, we have seen some shockingly ugly Sak Yant Tattoos people have received from around the country. We have personally examined the detail talents of many Monks and Ajarn's and selected the ones who we think are fantastic artists. While the purpose of the Sak Yant is not as a display piece of Art, it is possible to get something which looks amazing and also comes with the benefits of the magical properties.
You can see for yourself the types and quality of the Sak Yant Tattoo that our customers have received in Chiang Mai at our FaceBook Page
14) Can I chose the Design and Location of a Sak Yant Tattoo?
Short Answer Yes and No
Sak Yant Design
The Sak Yant represents to the wearer magical and spiritual reminders that are much more profound than a normal tattoo. While it is mostly the Text used within the Tattoo and the blessing and ritual of the Yantra tattoo that determines the purpose - certain designs hold magical and spiritual representations in themselves.
Often you will read on other websites that the Monk chooses the design for you, this is not strictly true. While the vast majority of people get one of the 3 master yants because they cover most blessing requests. If you have some knowledge of the designs and meanings you can choose your own design. When you use Sak Yant Chiang Mai, we help you pick a design that has personal meaning and that you like.
At Wat Bang Phra in Bangkok (where the vast majority of people get their Sak Yant) they do 70-100 Sak Yants a day, in groups of 20 people at a time. In this situation the Temple just does not have time for each person to ask about the designs available (we know from experience this can take hours from some of our guests) - so the Monk decides for you. It is not a rule of thumb around the country in smaller Temples, that the Monk decide - but since this is the experience of most people who write blog posts, it has become a kind of urban myth.
All of the Monks and Ajarns used by us have sample books that you can look through and choose a design you like. Or you can talk with the Monk (at least explain to your guide what you desire) and allow the Monk to suggest a design for you. You can bring with you a picture of a particular design that you like and request that the Monk create this pattern for you. Just remember that you are getting a 100% genuine Sak Yank experience, so the design has to be of a Sak Yant Tattoo - not something you have found online from a Tattoo design website that does not represent Thai or Buddhist culture.
Sak Yant Location:
Sak Yants are a spiritual and magical Tattoo and for both Males and females they can be placed on the back, the arms and side torso. Females can not get the Sak Yant placed around the breasts (or have the area exposed) or below the waist. Men can have some designs placed on the thigh.
The lower legs and feet are off limits for everyone unless it is a design specifically for this location (usually sexual).
15) Can I get the Monk to read my Aura and choose the Sak Yant for me?
Yes and No
Having the Monk Choose for me?
The Sak Yant holds special magical meaning and if you have a specific request for the magical intention you can consult with the Monk and Ajarns. However you may not like what is chosen so it makes more sense for you to find a design you like (or a few) and see if this fits with your magical intention.
Can the Monk read my Aura to select what is right for me?
Monks will pick up of personality and spiritual vibes and consult with you regarding your intentions. But Monks reading your aura is a myth that does not exist in real life. What has probably happened is someone went to Wat Bang Phra, where they do 70-100 Sak Yants a day. We have found from experience that it can take anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours for a guest to chose a Sak Yant design. When you have 100 people a day, the Monks does not have time to ask you what you want. You get what they decide your getting if you do not have any personal request.
We suspect someone has had this experience, and not understood that the Monk or Ajarns did not have the time to consult with them, and chose for them. In an attempt to understand what just happened (not being prepared) the person concluded the Monk must have read their Aura and thus the myth was created. It is a wonderful story - but it is not true. The purpose of getting a Sak Yant Tattoo is to create a magical talisman.
It really is your responsibility to have your intention decided before you get a Sak Yant. If you are not prepared - then you get what is chosen for you. But don't let someone's mistake and attempt to understand what happened to them be your guide. Talk with the staff at Sak Yant Chiang Mai and tell them your magical blessing you desire and they can point out some designs.
16) I don't like "Tourist Traps", Can I get a Sak Yant on my own - without Sak Yant Chiang Mai?
Like any tour or experience it is possible to get one without the help and assistance of Sak Yant Chiang Mai. Some travelers prefer going off the beaten track and not using tour services, and we understand this uncertainity is appealing for some. Many Monks and Ajarns do not speak English, so if you speak Thai or can take a Thai person with you your chances get higher of obtaining a Sak Yant on your own. Sometimes the staff at your hotel might know someone who knows someone and it can be arranged. Although this is not a common experience. But it is important to realize that gone are the days where Monks and Ajarns will do Sak Yants for what you wish to donate. They have set fees which are comparable to a tattoo shop for their service. At Sak Yant Chiang Mai, we have negotiated with the Monks and Ajarns to almost half the donations they usually request, because we bring them more customers than they would receive on their own.
If you have done your research and read Blogs about getting a Sak Yant Tattoo in Chiang Mai, one name consistently is referenced - Nana. Even when the blogger makes it sound like they did this amazing adventure by themselves, more likely than not; Nana was the one who there translating into English what the person wanted, teaching the person about the correct protocols, explaining the process and making sure proper respect is shown. We have even seen some of our previous guest write wonderful blogposts about their Sak Yant Experience, but then suggest and link to a competing service that charges 3 times our price and pays affiliate commissions. (Sorry we can not pay an affiliate commission to a Spiritual Experience)
The bottom Line If you speak Thai, understand the protocols of paying respect to a Monk, a Temple and are Male - you can get a Sak Yant by yourself. Or if you have access to a Thai person who can do this for you on your behalf you can also do this yourself. But it will more likely than not cost you more than using our service.
It pays to bear in mind that many people have tried to do this themselves and been told once they get to a Temple they have read about, the Monk is busy, moved on, or dead. Once they decide to use our services without any notice they are unable to find a free appointment slot.
Additionally there are no Sak Yant Temples within a 25 square kilometer radius of Chiang Mai City. In order to obtain a Sak Yant you will have to cover a wide distance, in the hopes that you arrive on a day the monk is at the Temple and not performing their other duties.
17) Can my Friend/Boyfriend/Girlfriend come to watch?
Understand that just like any other tour, you do not get to bring a friend along for free just because they want to look and not participate. At Sak Yant Chiang Mai, we charge a much reduced rate for additional people (and less for observers) but the bottom line is that this is a tour and while your friends are welcome to come and share the experience with you - just like the Elephant Camps, or Tiger visits - you do not get in for free just because you do not want to feed or bathe the Elephants, or touch the Tigers.
With our In-house service, your friends can watch for free
18) I don't have a Credit Card or PayPal, Can I still get a Sak Yant?
We require guests to book their Sak Yant experience, and currently we use PayPal to do this. You can use a credit Card to make a payment with PayPal without having an account. This is done by selecting "Use PayPal as a guest".
Occasionally some people write in to us and say they do not have a Credit Card, and can they still make a booking. The short Answer is No, If you have decided to travel and choose to not have a credit card then we are one of the many services that you will be unable to book online.
However you can come into the shop and see if there is a free appointment on the day or the next few days. We suggest you do not wait until the day before or the day you are leaving Chiang Mai to do this. Usually and especially during high tourist season we are booked at least a week in advanced.
Special Temple Tour Discount!
Bring your Friends!
Book Additional People on your Sak Yant Tattoo Experience
1500 Baht Extra per Person getting a Sak Yant
500 Baht for friends just wanting to watch
Our In-house service, it is free for your friends to watch