Ko Chang Travel Blog› entry 14 of 62 › view all entries
I've never had a tattoo but if I were to ever get one, this would be the place. Koh Chang probably has more tattoo parlors than dive shops. Many of the artists use traditional bamboo as opposed to a machine, including Blue and Tom at Siam Huts' Bamboo Tattoos. I always believed they used bamboo as in ancient times, but actually it is a needle attached to a bamboo shaft by rubber bands. The needles used are available in assorted sizes and are heated until glowing orange for sterilization. A needle is used only once.
During early evening beers on the deck, I met a group of Europeans having tattoos. I followed the progress of a rather large and complex design on one Austrian's left arm from shoulder to elbow. He explained that bamboo tattoos do not require healing since they don't tear the flesh like the machine process.
The temptation to get one myself was haunting. I scanned several booklets of designs and even picked one out; a palm tree, beach, and shoreline in sunset. The colorful, compact design included green, brown, yellow, red, orange, and blue. The scene included a wave which I would have replaced with calm seas. No waves. I could add a snappy phrase later, maybe one that I remembered from a Harley rider pig roast in Upper Michigan: It's never too late to have a happy childhood.
But my selection was too compact to make smaller without losing detail and just too big for my liking. Blue said he could install the scene in an hour for 1,500 Bhat. It's probably not a good idea to barter over the cost of a tattoo. I was told by the Europeans that it would be a good deal.
I haven't owned a Harley-Davidson yet either but my tattoo would be on the outside of my right forearm; a small tropical scene visible to those I pass while riding south. I'll ponder the idea until I come back through here in March, on my way north.