Lanna Ink Experience – Getting a Sak Yant in Chiang Mai

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Lanna Ink Experience – Getting a Sak Yant in Chiang Mai

Rated 4.89 out of 5 based on 18 customer ratings
(18 customer reviews)

Getting a Sak Yant in Chiang Mai

We believe that the ancient art of the Sak Yant (bamboo tattoo) is one of the most personal and spiritual experiences one can have in this part of South East Asia. We feel that this experience is best enjoyed with someone who understands the process, in addition to having an Ajarn (tattoo master) who faithfully takes his work seriously. We think quality of the yantra, in addition to having proper sterilization of the equipment both add to your experience being able to enter the process with the assurance that everything will be ok afterwards.

By sourcing one of the most revered Ajarns for getting a sak yant in Chiang Mai, and adequately training our Travel Gurus (local guide experts), we have carefully crafted one of the most culturally immersive, mindful experiences one could hope for while getting “inked” in an ancient form.

If you are looking for a specific protection/aid in life, a spiritual connection to the east, or a travel memory that will last a lifetime, this may be what you've been seeking.

Please Note: Price is all inclusive of a consultation and a medium sized sak yant (about the size of your hand), though it is possible the Ajarn may ask for an additional sum if you would prefer to choose your own design or a larger yant, rather than one he has chosen based on your expressed needs.

Want more info on getting a Sak Yant in Chiang Mai? Please visit our FAQ – Sak Yant resource guide!

Thinking of getting multiple Sak Yant in Chiang Mai on the same day? Travelling as a couple or with a friend and want to share the experience? Since you do not need to hire a guide twice, a discount* will automagically be applied as you increase the number of sak yant.

*No bulk discounts are available for single yant purchases or for multi-day bookings.

Is the date you're looking for not available? Consider trying our other Ink Experience locations.

Interested in hiring a private guide for more adventures around Chiang Mai? Book your licensed tour guide here on our Chiang Mai Local Experience.

From: $250USD


Total:

Detailed Description

Getting a Sak Yant in Chiang Mai


Item Details
Pick-up Point Your Chiang Mai Hotel (specified to us ‘after’ your online reservation via email)
Drop-off Point Your Chiang Mai Hotel
Duration Between 3-5 hours (depending on distance of your hotel, and duration of your consultation)
Physical Level Moderate (some pain is involved – varies depending on location of the tattoo, and your own tolerance)
Cultural Rating High – Deep cultural exchange
Ages 18+ (must be 18 or older for getting tattoos – observers may be younger)
Group Size Private – Max 4 sak yant/people per booking (larger groups may be possible on request)

Itinerary for getting a sak yant in Chiang Mai

On the day of your Sak Yant ceremony, we will have a Travel Guru (local guide) meet you at your hotel or an agreed upon location. You will travel together to a rural area of the city of Chiang Mai, in which a revered Ajarn’s samnak (traditional sak yant studio) is located. Upon arrival, you will begin to feel the authenticity and seclusion of this ajarn’s practice, and see how serious and involved he really is. Often there are several other locals there awaiting their own blessing and protections from him.

You will be guided through the entire ceremony with the help of your travel guru. The duration of the ceremonies are only about 15 mins total before and after, though the duration of the Sak Yant in Chiang Mai itself can range anywhere between 15 mins to 4 hours depending on the size and intricacy of the design chosen. It all happens in an incredible setting, and one that not many would ever forget. The smells, the sounds, the statues and masks and incense burning.

Upon completion of your sacred blessing, our travel guru will escort you to a local food market for a well deserved meal, where you can reflect on your experience while further being exposed to the local culture through the sights, sounds, and tastes of this part of Chiang Mai.

With your new protection and a full belly, our guide will help arrange transit for your journey back to your hotel, happy and blessed.

Who gives you a sak yant in Chiang Mai?

Ajarn Rung - Sak Yant in Chiang Mai

Ajarn Rung – Sak Yant in Chiang Mai

The ajarn we practice with in Chiang Mai is known as Ajarn Rung. He has been a master of sak yant, and well respected in the Thai community for his practice since 2001. Ajarn Rung is the former student of Ajarn Tong, Ajarn Pat, Ajarn Luan Peedt, & Ajarn Nhat Tha Dhed. He studied under all these grand masters learning and perfecting his skills before becoming a sak yant ajarn himself.

Though relatively unknown to the outside world prior to our collaboration with him, he has since served hundreds of foreigners coming to learn about his trade and experience the ancient rituals of sak yant. Much of his popularity has come from bloggers who have joined us in this sacred practice and written about their experiences while here.

Ajarn Rung is known as a mindful sak yant master, with a Lanna style magic. His northern style is light-handed with very fine and concise line work. He takes hygiene very seriously and new needle tips and ink pots are used for each guest, along with new latex rubber gloves.

Ajarn Rung is an ajarn known for listening well and often shares Buddhist ideas of living a more thoughtful life in his consultations. His knowledge and wisdom is met with an gentle demeanour, and if you get him laughing, it is definitely contagious. We are honoured to work alongside this wise and respected ajarn.

What is included in your Ink Experience in Chiang Mai?

Your sak yant experience includes:
– information provided before your experience to educate you and properly prepare you
– pick-up and drop-off transfers to your hotel (must be centrally located within Chiang Mai).
Note: We will use a private vehicle to get to the ajarn, as he is located outside the city. We will use either a small SUV or a bigger Songtaew (red truck) depending on your group size.
– a specially trained and licensed guide who will facilitate your experience
– a fully translated consultation with the ajarn to discuss what yant would best suit you based on your life’s values (your passions, fears, goals and challenges you face).
– all offerings for the ritual (flowers, incense, etc)
– a high quality, traditional and clean sak yant (included medium size – larger require more to be paid locally).
– food (simple lunch and snacks) to keep your energy levels up
– one complimentary guest to come observe and provide support for you during your experience

What is not included in your Ink Experience in Chiang Mai?

Travel Insurance (Compulsory)
– International flights or transportation to/from the itinerary’s start point
– Accommodation in Chiang Mai (we suggest Agoda for the best hotel rates)
– Activities not listed in the itinerary
– Meals not listed in the itinerary
– Gratuities and tips
– All drinks
– Spending Money

More information about getting a sak yant?

Getting a Sak Yant in Chiang Mai – The process of getting a sak yant (Bamboo Tattoo) is a sacred experience – one that has ancient roots dating back many centuries in South East Asia, and has grown and evolved over time. We feel very fortunate to be able to offer this experience to our guests.

As with any permanent design you are planning to put on your body, it’s probably a good idea to know a bit about the process prior to getting a Sak Yant (Please see our FAQs – Everything you NEED to know about getting a Sak Yant in Chiang Mai resource). Based on old traditions, it is common for locals to come meet with their Ajarn (tattoo master) prior to getting a Sak Yant, to be able to consult them on things troubling their lives. Here, they would discuss their passions, their goals in life, challenges they face, and even their fears – anything based on their values. This enables to Ajarn to select a yantra (there are over 1000 designs of the tattoos associated with various types of protections) which would fully personalized, to help the guest and to give them an enchantment.

There is a common misconception that ajarns just choose based on reading your aura or energy. This idea is likely is due to some foreigners not having the ability to communicate with the ajarn, and so they would choose a yantra which holds a general protection spell for them, as they could not communicate on any deeper level. It would appear that they read their mind or energy, though it is much more likely they were just unsure of what else to give, and gave something powerful, though more generalized.

We try to bridge that gap with a full consultation prior to your experience. When you visit Chiang Mai to get a sak yant on our ink experience, you will be able to converse with the ajarn with the aid of your Travel Guru (licensed local guide), to hear the ajarn’s teachings and suggestions for what might help you in your onward journey. It is a beautiful process, and we encourage everyone to go through it, even if you already had a design in mind – he may give you a better suggestion more suited to you.

We take hygiene and quality very seriously, and have many interviewed ajarns to ensure that we could find the best suited for you to get a sak yant in Chiang Mai. The ajarn we practice with is also comfortable to give a sak yant to women (though no photos of women are allowed during the tattooing process, but feel free before and after). You will be assured good quality, and hygiene, while being very traditional in the ceremonies, with a respected ajarn – so you can come worry free and be able to be more ‘present’ both mentally, physically, and spiritually for you experience.

Supporting Local Projects with our TRiP Foundation

Every TRiP that you go on with WSE Travel, we will donate 2% (or $1/day per day, per person – whichever is greater) to an environmental or community-based project in the country you’re visiting. We want to ensure that every guest we help, in turn helps support and preserve the destination we’re experiencing together as a direct result. We live by an ethos to Travel Responsibly & Impact Positively (TRiP).

For more information on the projects supported by this experience, please visit our Thailand TRIP projects.


18 reviews for Lanna Ink Experience – Getting a Sak Yant in Chiang Mai

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    V Da Silva

    This was one of the most memorable and meaningful experiences ever. Any anxiety or doubts I had melted away as Dao, my guide and new friend, helped me through the whole thing.
    She picked me up at my hotel and we chatted all the way to the ajarn’s, where she showed me how to show thanks and pay respect to the Buddha. We lit incense and said our prayers in silence, then sat and flicked through the different designs while waiting for my turn. A couple of locals were getting their sak yan so we chatted away with them too!

    When my turn came, Dao helped me communicate with the ajarn – we talked for a good long while I think, but I was so engrossed in the experience I didn’t see the time go! He asked me about my worries and gave me several chunks of wisdom I will carry with me forever. The design and blessings he picked for my tattoo instantly resonated with me and I knew and felt it was just perfect!

    Given how personal and rich this experience is, I highly recommend going with someone like WSE as they’ll have local knowledge and understanding, in addition to the kindness and professionalism required to guide someone through their sak yan – it makes the greatest difference!

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    Tinna and Una (verified owner)

    Dear Alex
    Thank you so much for the most amazing day. We could not have been happier with the service and the authentic experiance you gave us. We were picked up in the morning. Chatted with Alex on our way to the ajarn’s place.

    Una talked to the ajarn first and let him choose her sak yants. She got 2 on her back. Then it was my turn and i let him choose for me. It was very cool that he makes his own ink.

    For anyone who seeks an authentic experiance getting a Sak Yant we recomend WSE travel. The next time we come we are gonna get more Sak Yant’s with WSE travel.

    Best regards Tinna and Una.

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    Blythe Cronyn (verified owner)

    I had my Sak Yant experience in Chiang Mai yesterday organized through WSE and cannot begin to express how pleased I am with the entire process. Ian corresponded with me leading up to the tour and was extremely courteous, answering all my questions in detail. He also allowed my sister to come along free of charge. Our guide (Lowey) and driver were excellent, picking us up on time at our guest house and stopping so we could grab some food on the way. Ajarn Rung was lovely and took the time to discuss with myself (translated by Lowey) the design he felt was best for me and why. We also discussed placement and size before he began. The whole tattoo only took about 20 minutes and in my opinion wasn’t as painful as a tattoo gun. It is still healing but I am very pleased with how crisp and detailed Ajarn Rung’s work is. Afterwards Lowey took us to an amulet market and helped me choose one that would be suitable to hang on the wall of my business. Lunch was delicious and they also went out of their way to take us to a jewellery factory when I expressed interest. All in all this was a perfect day and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to get a Sak Yant in Chiang Mai.

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    Ty (verified owner)

    Had an awesome experience today getting an authentic Sak Yant done through Where Sidewalks End. The experience was great from start to finish! The hotel pick-up was right on time and the English speaking guide was beyond friendly and very knowledgeable on the process. He showed me the do’s and don’ts for when I arrived to meet the monk and walked me through the whole process. The monk was very friendly and welcoming. The guide translated our conversation as the monk decided which Yant would suit me the best. The monk’s intuition about certain aspects of my life and what I would like were bang on. I had heard these types of tattoos could be very painful and not having any previous tattoos I wasn’t sure what to expect. The pain was negligible and far less than I had expected based on discussions with those who had had them done already. We ended the day by going to the amulet market where the guide continued to explain other types of protections that are used by Buddhists.

    Overall – its been one of the greatest experiences of my travels to date. Thanks Ian and everyone who was involved in this fulfilling life experience. I highly recommend anyone interested in getting an authentic Sak Yant done to let Where Sidewalks End take care of you. Top Notch Service!!

  5. Rated 5 out of 5

    Ørjan Thune (verified owner)

    Everything just as planned and both my girls are very happy with their Sak Yant’s. 🙂 Thanks for arranging this in a very easy convenient way!

  6. Rated 4 out of 5

    JP Ardelle (verified owner)

    C’était vraiment pas mal, et enrichissant !

    D’abord, je choisis de faire cette review en français pour aider un peu les francophones qui ne parleraient pas anglais : vous pouvez y aller, mais pas les yeux fermés ! En effet, avoir un Sak Yant n’est pas une mince affaire et il faut bien y réfléchir. c’est une expérience sacrée et que j’ai trouvée assez puissante. Il n’est en effet pas nécessaire de débourser autant d’argent pour en avoir un, mais, et le mais est de taille, il n’aura sûrement aucune valeur. Un vrai Sak Yant est fait par un moine, sinon ce n’est qu’un vulgaire tatouage au bambou. Ensuite, passer par ce site permet d’avoir avec soi un traducteur (enfin bien plus qu’un traducteur en fait, un ami!) lors du tatouage. Avoir quelqu’un près de soi pour traduire au moine ses attentes (pas vis-à-vis du motif, c’est le moine qui choisit), ses raisons est essentiel. Sans la communication avec le moine, encore une fois, le tatouage ne vaudra rien. L’expérience est puissante (et douloureuse) et je le referai sans hésiter. Le moine sait ce qu’il fait et je dois dire qu’il respire l’intelligence, la bonté et la confiance.

    Pourquoi seulement 4 étoiles alors ? Si j’ai voulu un Sak Yant, l’obstacle majeur à ma décision était évidemment l’hygiène. Si vous cherchez, vous verrez que certains moines, la plupart même utilisent la même aiguille pour les 50 personnes qu’ils voient dans la journée, et en bon européen que je suis, je suis trop bien informé des risques de contraction du Sida au pire des cas, ou d’une hépatite dans le “meilleur”.

    On m’a assuré que ce moine-ci utilisait une encre qu’il faisait lui-même (donc aucune idée de ce qu’elle contient, je sais que certains moines ajoutent de la peau de maîtres ou du venin de serpent, âmes sensibles s’abstenir) et qu’il changerait l’aiguille à chaque personne. J’ai eu la chance d’être passé en premier ce jour là, donc je ne m’inquiète pas trop, mais les standards d’hygiène ne sont toujours pas acquis. J’ai été tatoué à l’extérieur parmi les gens, mais c’est aussi peut être ce qui fait le charme et la puissance de l’expérience. Concernant l’hygiène, je ne pense pas que le risque de contraction d’une maladie soit élevé. mais je ne pense pas non plus qu’il soit de zéro. et j’ajoute que ça reste plus propre qu’ailleurs au vu de mes recherches.

    Bref, c’est une expérience extraordinaire qui me marquera et qui m’a marqué à jamais. C’est à vous, en votre âme et conscience de décider si oui ou non vous voulez prendre un petit risque.

    Une dernière chose, obtenir un Sak Yant va avec des règles qui sont propres à ces tatouages. Certaines sont communes (5) et d’autres sont spécifiques à chaque Yant; Vous devrez les respecter. On nous fait cadeau d’une partie importante de la culture Thaï et même asiatique; c’est notre devoir que d’en être dignes.

    merci encore à Lewis, (Thanks Lewis ! thank you so much we had a wonderful time).

  7. Rated 5 out of 5

    Bruno

    Guys, this Sak Yant tatoo experience was the best of my trip, thank you so much about all this wonderful experience.

  8. Rated 4 out of 5

    Nick (verified owner)

    I was more than pleased with the entire experience, end to end. My sak yant is beautifully crafted. Truly one of a kind. If you’re worried about getting a low quality design, fear not. Mine is amazing and was very carefully and thoughtfully placed. The attention to detail is awesome. It was a great time, and the amulet market afterwards was pretty neat. My guide and driver were very accommodating and very nice.

    I would do it all again without hesitation.

  9. Rated 5 out of 5

    Pax (verified owner)

    One of the highlights of my time in Chiang Mai was getting a sak yant tattoo through the Lanna ink experience! My travel guru picked me up and we journeyed to the amulet market where he explained some of the meanings and what the amulets represented to the Thai people. It was informative and nice to have a local who knew what was up. I even got to pick out some amulets for myself from one of the booths. Then we had lunch and made our way to meet with Ajarn Rung a bit outside of Chiang Mai. Ajarn Rung was funny and wise. We talked for a good 30 mins while he asked me questions and dropped the Buddhist knowledge. We had some good laughs and I received some great reminders about life and the spiritual path. From our talk he was able to create a unique and one of a kind sak yant design just for me. He let me choose where it was placed on my back. Center, left, or right side. I choose center to represent the middle way as the Buddha taught. The tattoo it self only took about 15 mins. It was a bit painful, cringe worthy at times. My sak yant is called Phra Bhuto. It was my first tattoo ever and I am very happy I choose to get it through the Lanna ink experience and that it has so much personal meaning for me. A great way to start my 6 month journey around SE Asia. Also, I’d like to mention Ian Ord (founder of WSE) was very helpful through the whole process of setting this up and he really went above and beyond. Thanks for everything!

  10. Rated 5 out of 5

    Tiffany Bass (verified owner)

    If you want a sak yant, this is where you’ll have the best experience. Ian, the owner of the company, is extremely professional and is great thru email. The day before he will confirm your appointment via email so you have no worries. I booked other activities in Thailand with other companies and his company stands out as the most professional and organized.
    My guide walked me thru the whole process. He helped me communicate with the monk so my sak yant would be exactly what I needed. I felt like the monk and guide wanted me to have the right sak yant as much as I did.
    It also didn’t hurt. It was nothing compared to the other tattoos I have. And he was so fast! It took maybe 10-15 mins of actual tattooing. I thought they were joking when he said he was done. But I turned around to see a very detailed design. I love my sak yant!
    After the sak yant, we went to a amulet market. I had such a great time there too. It was a very spiritual sacred experience. I feel very protected with my sak yant and amulets. This is a life changing experience. Don’t pass it up.

  11. Rated 5 out of 5

    Matt (verified owner)

    Chiang Mai ~~ Long story short, this experience was above and beyond what I had hoped for when I began researching Sak Yant!! Before ever embarking overseas, Ian was communicative, thorough, and rapid in responding to my emails. He happily explained why WSE is generally more expensive than some of its competitors and I have to say, he was right: it was worth every penny and more. We were picked up at our Airbnb by a driver and our guide/translator, Lowey. On the approximately thirty minute drive, Lowey answered all our questions and told us stories as we quickly got to know each other; Lowey happens to have a fantastic sense of humor.

    Once at Ajarn Rung’s residence, we made sure to follow all of Lowey’s advice and instructions before sitting down for our consultations. Lowey translated as we discussed our personal information with Ajarn Rung. He created original Yants particular to our needs and desires. Ajarn Rung is not only very experienced, but practices hygienically. He as well has a great sense of humor and depths of wisdom. I could not be happier with my tattoo. Side note: be as open and honest as you can with your Ajarn as it will truly influence what he prescribes/designs. Remember, these are magical tattoos that will protect you and provide for you, not decorative pieces for show (despite how badass they look).

    After our beautiful time with Ajarn Rung, we went to an amulet market and lunch (included in price). This truly immersive experience gave so much extra meaning and depth to my first Sak Yant.

    Icing on the cake: while at lunch, we discussed our desire to go to the Sticky Waterfalls (Bua Tong or Bua Thong). Our driver had the afternoon free so we negotiated a rate for him to drive us there and back and he even made a couple amazing temple pit-stops on the way back. All in all, this was probably the best day of a two-week adventure.

    TLDR: Ian is honest, passionate, and a solid communicator. Price is more than some competitors but SO incredibly worth it (see above). WSE is the best!!

  12. Rated 5 out of 5

    Katherine Yatko (verified owner)

    We loved the Lanna Ink Experience and it met every expectation we had. Everything promised was delivered to include a very personalized experience with the monk. The guide was super nice and super helpful. We accidentally booked the wrong city for our experience and would have had to cancel last minute, Ian was so nice in letting us rebook last minute for $100 as opposed to losing out on the experience and $400. Overall a great experience and would definitely do again. Thanks Ian!

  13. Rated 5 out of 5

    Nadia (verified owner)

    I am so overdue on this review and my apologies for being so late! My cousin and I had the most amazing experience. Our guide Noi was the sweetest, as was the ajarn. He walked us through the whole process and explained the meaning of each tattoo. Afterwards Noi took us to the amulet market and treated us to lunch. One of my favorite and most memorable moments in Thailand. When I return, I would definitely work through this company again. Ian was awesome with keeping in contact with me and helping me through this booking. WSE is an amazing company and I only see the best happening for them. Thank you so much!

  14. Rated 5 out of 5

    Brynn (verified owner)

    There are no words to describe how truly amazing this experience was. Our guide Lowey was hilarious and was such a pleasure to be around. We are truly thankful to have been able to share this experience with someone like him. Regarding the tattoo itself, our conversation with our monk could not have been more accurate. I’ve been stuck in a bit of a rut lately and being able to have someone look me in the eyes and articulate my strengths, weaknesses, and define the exact problems I’ve been having left me speechless. The entire experience surrounding the tattoo itself was absolutely magical, and I would have done it a million times over. I cannot thank Ian, Lowey, and WSE enough for allowing us to have this life-changing experience.

  15. Rated 5 out of 5

    Meagan Bogdanovs (verified owner)

    I was a littlw worried at first but soon after I booked I got a response email. I emailed them a couple times before my Sak Yant asking random questions about some concerns I had or what to bring to keep it clean and they got back to me ever time. Even after I had gotten the Sak Yant I emailed them and again they get back to me within a day.
    The guide was fantastic and made me feel comfortable on the journey there and even through the process, when I was making faces because I was pain he would tell me a funny story to make me laugh and try to forget about the pain.
    It was such a memorable and special experenice. I loved it. When we left my husband said he should’ve gotten one to. I will be getting another one if I ever come back to Chiang Mai.

  16. Rated 5 out of 5

    Sydney Weldon (verified owner)

    I got my Sak Yant back in February 2018 and could not have been happier with both the experience and the outcome!

    I had hesitated about spending so much for the experience, but it was 100% worth it! It’s really not that much for a tattoo when you consider whats included and the piece of mind it gives you knowing you’re going to have a safe and hygienic experience.

    Communication was great right off the bat–I received a very detailed email almost immediately. Any questions I had were answer quickly.

    My guide during the experience was khun Noi. He was knowledgeable, very helpful throughout the whole process, and super friendly. He was great at calming any nerves and keeping my mind occupied during the tattooing process. Overall, a great guy!

    The tattooing process itself was great as well. The arjun was friendly, funny, and gave some great insight about the tattoo he chose for me and why he chose it.

    I’m not a particularly spiritual person but something drew me to these tattoos and I believe that mine has already helped me in more way than one. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience! It’s something that I will never forget.

  17. Rated 5 out of 5

    Rochelle Ryden

    I was told about Ajarn Rung before I came and thought I knew what i was asking for. The first 2 sak yant’s being great experience as well . We were picked up promptly from our hotel ….Louie was very knowledgeable. when we arrived we were first ….. it had a relaxed at home feel. There was a drawing of a sak yant on his mirror …. not in the book i saw I asked what it was for. transformation is not what I thought I wanted. I is how ever exactly what I need! Ajarn Rung has a gentle hand and does beautiful work. The healing herbs in his Ink’s was a great help to heal my sak yant quickly. I was also given an amulet and given a tour of a amulet market in Chiang Mai. I cant wait to see every one at W.s.e. travel and Ajarn Rung again.

  18. Rated 5 out of 5

    Woody Wu (verified owner)

    The Llana ink experience was everything I had hoped it would be. The guide, Khun Khai, was super awesome and helpful along the way with answering any questions we had. Ajarn Rung customized special Sak Yants just for us using his ancient astrological teachings and it turned out perfect. We even had an elephant tour booked at 12:45 on the same day and the guides made sure we would be back in time. Worth every penny.

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