I saw a tattoo shop near where I was staying and decided to step in to just scope out the pricing and check out the facility. I had photo of what I wanted, I knew I wanted one in Bali and I knew where on my body I wanted to get my tattoo. I just had to decide on who would be the lucky artist. I was going to gift myself only two things while in Asia: a pretty dress and a tattoo- a souvenir that would last a lifetime or haunt me forever.
I received my previous tattoo in in Hawaii. I needed a positive message after some trauma in my life and felt very connected to the islands after 4 years of living there so I decided on a Hawaiian phrase: I Ho‘okahi Kahi Ke Aloha, translation: To be One in Love. Before I received my tattoo I had my tattoo blessed by a Hawaiian Priestess over prayer and researched by a Hawaiian teacher U’i’Lani (beauty of the heavens) to ensure there were no family names associated with the writings. The Hawaiian people are very superticious and I didn’t want to tempt it. Choosing and caring for a tattoo is a big deal for me.
I did a good amount of research before getting my tattoo but needless to say it’s still a pretty big leap into your intuition on the final decision. As I searched online there were mixed reviews on weather it was safe or not to get a tattoo here, weather or not you should negotiate a price and of course if the quality was worth it. Here is Ubud everyone seems to be born an artist if you were not born a laborer. Generations of wood carvers, beaders or painters, which is why I chose here for my 3rd tattoo.
After hours of research there still was no clear answer YES or NO on weather or not getting a tattoo in Bali is the right choice, but after having done so for me it was a clear YES.
Tino, my artist was really great. Although he didn’t speak a lot English he was crystal clear on speaking through Art. I encouraged him to include his own signature on the piece and not fully mimic the design I had provided. He did the tat free-hand and in one sitting of a total of 4 hours. The space was clean (I’m slightly OCD so it could have been a lot cleaner) and they allowed me to stop in a few days in a row to check him out, inspect the needless and chat with them a bit.
Needless to say, I love it! The work is amazing and I am really happy with it.
Here are my two cents on getting a tattoo in Bali:
- Do not get a tattoo in Bali if this is your first tattoo
- Do not get a tattoo in Bali if you are going alone with a non-tatted friend and do not have experience with tattoos (IE you’ve only had a small one previously)
- Make sure you have come to terms with the fact that if the tattoo didn’t turn out like you wanted, you can live with that
- Inspect the place beforehand: see your artist at work, check all equipment, ask questions. The artist should be happy to assist you in your decision and make you feel comfortable
- Bring a distraction. I was lucky enough to have my headphones and put a song on repeat. This allowed me to get into a ‘zone’ since I went alone and had no other distractions
- Check out their Social Media profiles, websites, yelp etc beforehand to see how others speak of their work
- Pre-set a price and have it in writing. (email or text). Most everything in Bali is negotiable, there were mixed reviews that you should negotiate an Artists work. But here they are expert negotiators so I didn’t think it would hurt to ask. I was such a good negotiator that Tino made me promise not to tell my friends how good of a deal I got. His initial quote was for 3,500,000 or $320 USD
- Buy all your after-care before your appointment. I had to walk a dusty road 25 min to a pharmacy after my appointment and Im sure that was great for my tattoo haha
- Write an honest review online for others to base a decision on in the future
- Foot tattoos are not for the faint of heart
- Be sure to time the tat right. Don’t book it before a rafting or hiking trip
- Tap into your intuition. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t get the tattoo
And here is one of the songs that saved me from my pain 🙂 it’s all in your head anyway, right?
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