Tattooed in Thailand

Getting a tattoo in Thailand is a good idea and a bad idea at the same time. Guidebooks advise against it, yet it’s a popular trend among travelers. Today’s guest blogger is my good friend Jen, who is currently working and living in Thailand and decided to get herself a tattoo.

(Mis)adventures with Boy and a girl
While traveling in Koh Chang,  Thailand, I decided to take a rite of passage and get a tattoo.  Considering that I had just gotten stitches in my leg that day and crossed that rite off my list, it sounded like a good plan.  My friends and I wandered the White Sand Beach area looking for a suitable place, and stumbled upon a place with three employees and an eclectic mix of elevator music and K-pop.  I had found my place.
My friend Renee had been visiting from college.  She was the one that initially had the tattoo idea, which is why it is ironic that she left Thailand without a tattoo.  Unfortunately, the Thai alphabet does not spell “explore” in an attractive fashion and that was what her plan had been—we wanted similar concepts since we were going to do this together.  I opted for the earth drawn with the word explore in cursive through it.  It took a long time to get this concept drawn, and Renee was the one that finally got it right—seriously, it was almost an hour of the artist trying.  So finally, the girl sat me down, and started tracing it on my foot.  I made her start over several times because the placement was so difficult.
Ten minutes later, “finished, beautiful.”  I was confused.–very confused.  She had just drawn this on me in henna—and thought that’s what I wanted.  The other artist (Boy)/guy hanging around in the shop helped smooth over the miscommunication that I had in fact, been in the shop for two hours and indeed, wanted a real tattoo, not just a henna one.   My friends and I were just blown away at the miscommunication.  Apparently she said to me, “paint?” and I said yes.  It had been 10 years since my last tattoo, and my first (and last) tattoo in Thailand and I thought maybe this is how they did it.  Regardless, I left the shop with a great tattoo exactly how I had wanted it.

Thanks for the story Jen! If you are new to the blog, check out the Free Language Exchange Community –


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