Reggae House in Haad Rin is a cool bar to hang out and get a few drinks and a bite to eat. It is also one of the leading places in Koh Phangan to get a traditional Thai tattoo. They give free consultations and will draw designs to any specifications. I don’t recommend getting a tattoo but if you are determined to add more ink to your skin or need to hide a truly awful tat then this might be the place for you.
The bamboo tattoo technique is thought to have originated from the Khmer period 3,000 years ago. In Thailand the practice of getting tattoos began with monks getting inked with religious texts under the behest of senior monks. Over time these tattoos became regarded as giving magical powers of protection. Soldiers started going to temples to get tattoos to give them strength, invincibility and even invisibility on the battle field.
Thailand is a traditionally conservative culture and so the majority of Thais didn’t adopt tattoo art into main stream culture. As in Japan, tattoos were regarded as the preserve of gangsters. With the rise of tourism in Thailand and the contact with Westerners obsessed with body art and piercing tattooing became popular especially with young Thai men. However, tattoos using a machine were easier to do, and as a result bamboo freehand tattoo artists are thin on the ground. Recently, celebrities such as Angelina Jolie have had bamboo tattoos. This has done a lot to revitalize the ancient practice.
Reggae House has a resident tattoo artist who uses the traditional method. In essence needles are welded together and put in a long piece of bamboo. This is dipped in ink and the tattoo is made up of many holes. It is painful but not very bloody.
So after getting wasted on buckets and special shakes and dancing all night to techno, trance and house why not do the sensible thing and head down to Reggae House near Haad Rin Nai and get a mystic design tat or the name of your current amour tat or get an old tat covered with something else? It will remind you of your mad times in Haad Rin, be a conversation piece and you will look alternative like all the other souls with tats.