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 the quality of the yantra, in addition to having proper sterilization of the equipment both add to your experience of 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” with an ancient traditional 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 – see examples below), 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. We include up to an hour session with the ajarn (this includes both the time for consultation, translations, questions, answers) as well as the yantra (which are much faster than tattoo machines). Each additional 30 mins needed for larger or more detailed yantras is about $100 USD or 3200 THB (which can be paid locally to the ajarn in cash). It depends on how big, how much time, and how much detail is being added, though if you are planning on getting something bigger/more detailed than what we include, we need to let him know in advance, as he blocks time slots for each reservation, and may already have the time after your reservation filled up.
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.
Interested in hiring a private guide for more adventures around Chiang Mai? Book your licensed tour guide here on our Chiang Mai Local Experience.
|Your hotel or Airbnb in Chiang Mai city
– your hotel info can be emailed to us after your online reservation
– must be within 5 km (3 miles) of old-town Chiang Mai
– for hotels outside of the pickup zone, a central meeting point can be arranged
|Your Chiang Mai Hotel
|Between 3-5 hours (depending on the distance of your hotel, and duration of your consultation)
|Moderate (some pain is involved – varies depending on the location of the tattoo, and your tolerance)
|High – Deep cultural exchange
|18+ (must be 18 or older for getting tattoos – observers may be younger)
|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 is. Often there are several other locals there awaiting their blessing and protection from him.
You will be guided through the entire ceremony with the help of your travel guru. The duration of the ceremonies is only about 15 minutes total before and after, though the duration of the Sak Yant in Chiang Mai itself can range anywhere between 15 minutes 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 the incense burning.
Upon completing 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?
In Chiang Mai, we practice Sak Yant with master Ajarn Rung. He has lived an incredible life of servitude to both Buddhism and sak yant. Arjun Rung is a practicing Buddhist monk who’s been giving Sak Yant blessings to his followers since he was a teenager, in 2001. He comes from a long family of Sak Yant masters and is one of three primary masters currently living in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Arjun Rung was a nomadic monk who traveled across many countries in search of numerous Sak Yant masters to teach him and expand his knowledge. He became a solitary sage who lived alone in the forests, studied Sak Yant methods, and deepened his meditation practice. This was the norm centuries ago, as one of the main figures depicted and paid tribute to in every samnak (studio) is the Russi (hermit) who lived in the forest to practice and expand their knowledge and connection to the natural world. Ajarn Rung is a kind and empathetic soul, mindful of his guests’ needs, and has a great sense of humor as well. You could not be in better hands in Chiang Mai.
Though relatively unknown to the outside world before we collaborated 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 Lanna-style magic. His northern style is light-handed with very fine and concise line work. He takes hygiene very seriously and heavily sterilized needle tips and new ink pots are used for each guest, along with new latex rubber gloves.
Ajarn Rung is an ajarn known for listening well and often sharing Buddhist ideas of living more thoughtfully in his consultations. His knowledge and wisdom are met with a gentle demeanor, and if you get him laughing, it is contagious. We are honored to work alongside this wise and respected ajarn.
In the event Ajarn Rung becomes unavailable on the date you reserve (last-minute Buddhist ceremonies or funerals he must attend), we will try to coordinate with you either to reschedule your appointment with him or with another one of our trusted ajarns offering sak yant in Chiang Mai.
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, or 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
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. 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 before 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 to meet with their Ajarn (tattoo master) before 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, the challenges they face, and even their fears – anything based on their values. This enables Ajarn to select a yantra (there are over 1000 designs of the tattoos associated with various types of protection) which would be 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 due to some foreigners not having the ability to communicate with the ajarn, and so they would choose a yantra that 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 before 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 have 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 practise with is also comfortable to give a sak yant to women (though no photos of women are allowed during the tattooing process, though feel free to take photos 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 your experience.
Supporting Local Projects with our TRiP Foundation
For every TRiP that you go on with WSE Travel, we will donate 2% of the total sales price to an environmental or community-based project in the country you’re visiting. We want to ensure that every guest we help, in turn, supports and preserves 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.
Cancellations & Rebooking
All tours, services, and experiences booked through WSE Travel are bound to our Terms and Conditions, which were modeled after most other travel services such as flights, hotels, and other tour operators.
Should you need to cancel or change your reservation for any reason (including but not limited to missed flights, illness, or change of mind), you will still be bound to the terms and conditions agreed to at the time of booking.
Should you give us more than 14 days’ notice of a change in your reservation, we can store your payment in the ‘safety deposit box’, to be used for a future travel date, either by you or be transferred to a friend or family member. Refunds are not available unless your reservation is cancelled by WSE Travel for circumstances outside of our control.
Should you give us less than 14 days’ notice of a change in your reservation, a rebooking fee will be imposed. We do try to be flexible for our guests, but not at the sacrifice of the livelihoods of all locals hired for your private experiences. As these are private experiences, your guide and any other local service provider block their days off from other work to accommodate your reservation, and may not be able to fill that day again in the event of cancellation. To be fair and responsible to them and their reliance on your reservation’s promised work, your guide will still be paid for your reservation. As such, last-minute cancellations or changes will be subject to a rebooking fee of $100 USD (per booking, not per guest), to re-hire a guide for your future travel date.
This flexibility is a bend in our Terms and Conditions to try to be fair both to our guests, as well as the locals hired to facilitate your reservation. If you feel there is a high chance of cancellations or changes, please make sure you buy appropriate travel insurance which will be able to reimburse you for cancellations of things such as flights, hotels, and tours.