Vietnam is known for its amazing food, breathtaking landscapes, and extraordinary culture. But what about tattooing? Should travelers consider getting a tattoo in Vietnam? My answer is yes and here’s why.
Tattoos once had a stigma in Vietnamese culture. It was considered as something only mafia or bad people had done to their bodies. But nowadays, having a tattoo is a common thing internationally, and it has become the case here in Vietnam. People with receptive minds accept it and local creatives bring this art to the next level. This article is about where to get a tattoo in Saigon with a list of my top 5 recommended tattoo parlors in town.
- Tattooing in Vietnam
- Best Places to get Tattooed in Ho Chi Minh City
- Tips to Get a Tattoo in Saigon
Tattooing in Vietnam
With the advantages of being creative and clever, tattoo artists in Vietnam can come up with many great tattoo ideas that come alive on your body. The 54 ethnic groups within the country offer 54 different cultures and concepts of art, contributing to unlimited tattoo inspiration.
In addition, international tattoo artists come up with new trends, new methods, and style: tribal, Maori, watercolor, dotwork, linework, etc. Eager to learn, Vietnamese artists create new art by bringing their personality to the table. The tattoo industry in Vietnam is growing fast. If you are in Vietnam, don’t hesitate to give it a try.
Tattoos in Vietnam vary in style and design
You can get a portrait using dot work technique or an Asian influenced Geisha tattoo on your arm. But if you are looking for something that represents Vietnam, you must look into Vietnamese symbols like the lotus, bird (the imaginary bird: chim lac), dragon, Vietnamese traditional dress or hat, and especially the Vietnamese traditional drum.
The Dong Son bronze drums are considered the cultural symbol of Vietnam. In the Dong Son civilization, old Vietnamese people used a drum surface as a book to record their daily life activities, their histories, and knowledge. Beautiful patterns inscribed with meaning about the old civilization have brought inspiration to people seeking tattoos today. Furthermore, it can be a simple pattern on the drum or combine the drum with other Vietnamese traditional symbols to decorate your body. The drum pattern tattoo is not only art but it also shows your love and pride for Vietnam.
Saigon, one of the biggest cities in Vietnam, has many tattoo parlors with well-known artists that create masterpieces. Worried that you can’t find a shop that speaks English? Let us help you. Below is a list of the 5 best tattoo shops in Saigon that are English friendly, and display excellent workmanship.
Best Places to get Tattooed in Ho Chi Minh City
1. Saigon Ink
Operating for over 5 years, Saigon Ink is one of the most well-known tattoo studios in Saigon. Danis Nguyen, the founder of the shop has brought back many prizes from competitions and conventions both nationally and internationally. The most recent one was in August 2017, he was awarded for his dedication to the Samui International Tattoo Convention in Thailand. He will be back in Bangkok in November as an examiner for the Bangkok Tattoo Convention.
Saigon Ink has a team of 9 artists, each talented with specializations in specific styles. Phuc and Trang specialize in tribal and Maori; and Bon Bon and Ansone’s strength is neo-traditional tattoos. Khanh Dinh and Hoang Dang also won prizes in the Samui International Tattoo Convention in 2017, and basically, they are good at everything.
Information Saigon Ink Tattoo:
- Address: 26 Tran Hung Dao Str., District 1, HCMC, Vietnam
- Website: https://saigonink.net/
- Facebook/ IG: https://www.facebook.com/saigonink | @saigonink_studio
- Price: 65USD – 150USD/ hour (depending on design and tattoo artists)
- Call them for more helpful advice:
- Tel: (+84) 283 836 1090 – Hotline: (+84) 942 393 838
- Operating hours: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM
2. Recycle Bin Tattoo
“Tattoo makes you a new you” – Binx
Chi Hieu, aka Binx, is a young talented tattoo artist. Taking part in both national and international conventions, with high prizes and experiences, he decided to open his own shop with the goal to change people’s mindsets about having a tattoo. He gathered the best tattoo artists in Vietnam and opened Recycle Bin in 2009. Binx wanted to use the traditional meaning of “recycle”, to convert waste into helpful materials, in his own way. He wants people to understand that having a tattoo is like converting sadness and happiness into a meaningful symbol that lasts forever.
Hidden in Phu Nhuan District, Recycle Bin’s location is not ideal compared to other tattoo studios in District 1 but it is worth the trip out of the bustling city center. It’s also a good opportunity for you to explore another part of Saigon and experience the exotic Vietnamese food on the famous food street, Phan Xich Long, by night. The studio is decorated with paintings by Recycle Bin’s artists, old nostalgic items like cameras, and toys which emanate a warm feeling when you walk in.
Young at heart and passionate about their art, Recycle Bin artists learn and improve their skill every day. Some of them have become experts in specific styles: Binx (realistic), Fiu Tran (blackwork), Lam Nguyen (blackwork), Quy Tran (Japanese influenced, lineart), Loc La (realistic).
Information Recycle Bin Tattoo:
- Address: 176 Huynh Van Banh, Ward 12, Phu Nhuan District, HCMC
- Website: http://recycle.tattoo/
- IG: @recycle.tattoo
- Call to reserve and for information:
- Tel: (+84) 907 470 779
- Operating hours: 10:30 AM – 9:00 PM
3. Tadashi Tattoo
Trung Tadashi is a talented artist, who moved to Japan, the home country of Asian tattoo, to study the ancient technique. He returned to Vietnam and opened Tadashi tattoo parlor in 2007. He is now one of the most successful tattoo artists in Vietnam. In 2015, he was the first Vietnamese to participate in the Nordic Ink Festival in Denmark and he was awarded the 2nd place prize for “Best Tattoo of the Day.” If you are in the inking business or simply wish to get a tattoo, Tadashi is always on the list of recommendations.
Using the knowledge and technique from Japan, the Tadashi tattoo artists and are skilled at turning your idea into ink on your body no matter what style you desire. If Japanese influenced tattoo design is what you want, such as the geisha, Samurai, or Koi fish, there is no better place in town to go.
There are 5 skilled artists working at Tadashi with many years of experience. Call the shop in advance to get more information and advice.
Information Tadashi Tattoo:
- Address: 283/1 Pham Ngu Lao St., Pham Ngu Lao Ward, D. 1, HCMC
- Website: https://tadashitattoo.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tadashitattoo
- Call them for more helpful advice:
- Tel: (+84) 283 920 2782 – Hotline: (+84) 904 393 985
- Operating hours: 11:00 AM – 7:30 PM
4. Tam Quoc Tattoo
This joint opened in 2013 with a specialization in full body tattoos. The name means Romance of The Three Kingdoms, the famous historical event that occurred in China around the year 221. The artists, four brothers, are inspired by traditional Asian patterns and symbols. They cleverly combine tradition with modern details to create unique artworks. With their impressive skills, the brothers have created a lot of impressive body works. Unlike some of the shops I mentioned above, Tam Quoc’s works are what define their reputation, not competitions.
Tam Quoc is often fully booked and many Vietnamese celebrities trust their work. If you are thinking about a full body tattoo, this is the place.
Make sure you call and reserve a spot beforehand.
Tam Quoc Tattoo
- Address: 45 Luong Huu Khanh, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, D.1, HCMC
- Facebook/ IG: https://www.facebook.com/tamquoctattoo/ | @tamquoctattoo
- Call them for more helpful advice:
- Tel: (+84) 909 011 996 – (+84) 934 040 037
- Operating hours: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
5. Saigon Tattoo Club
7 years in operation, Saigon Tattoo Club is the only studio in Vietnam that Cheyyenn Tattoo Machine Manufacturer and Radiant Colors Company sponsor. Bo Toee, the founder of the studio, is also a member of Cheyyenn Tattoo Team, the only tattoo artist from Vietnam that is a member.
Saigon Tattoo Club has a team of 8 tattoo artists. In order to understand the shop, you must understand these 8 artists:
Artist/Founder Bo Toee: Specializes in portraits, realistic tattoos, and fantasy.
Oanh Hoang -Artist: good at portraits and realistic tattoos.
Viet Anh -Artist: expert in flower tattooing, ancient Asian influenced tattoos, watercolor, and old school.
Binh Peace -Artist: specializes in Maori and pattern tattoos.
So Toee -Artist: creates mini tattoos for girls.
Thai Tran -Artist: expert in old school, Samoan, Maori, tribal, and dark art tattoos.
Binh Nguyen -Artist: specializes in letter tattoos.
Once you know an artist’s strength, it is easy to decide who you will pick. Don’t forget to make an appointment before coming, they are easily booked out.
Saigon Tattoo Club
- Address: 234A Huynh Van Banh, 11 Ward, Phu Nhuan District, HCMC
- Website: https://saigontattooclub.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/saigontattooclub/
- Call them for more helpful advice:
- Tel: (+84) 914 490 919
- Operating hours: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Tips to Get a Tattoo in Saigon
Not all of the tattoo studios in Saigon take credit card payment. I recommend that you have enough cash on hand just in case.
Big cities only
Even though getting a tattoo is now a common thing in Vietnam, only trust shops in big cities like Hanoi or Saigon. They have good facilities and enough knowledge about safety and how to create a great tattoo.
Find a trust-worthy tattoo studio in Ho Chi Minh City
Do some research and find reliable studios. Look at what they’ve done, customer reviews, and their strengths. You should have more than 1 option in mind so that you can better compare price, quality, style etc.
Choose your artist
Yes, you found a good studio but the artist will be the one who inks your body. The artist is an important factor in the quality of your tattoo. The artist should create pieces you can see on your own body and you should also feel comfortable letting them do your tattoo. Try talking with them beforehand to create an understanding and a connection. It helps.
The studio should have good equipment like tattoo machines, ink, and a good space that you feel comfortable in.
Have a clear idea of your tattoo and where it will be on your body
You can have your tattoo designed beforehand by someone else or the tattoo artist can help you create one. But you have to be sure of what you want, at least name the item, image, and style. It will be time-consuming but the worst case is it could be an unsatisfactory tattoo.
Position decides the size of the tattoo and then the price will change. You should be clear about where you want your tattoo to be on your body. It is not only a meaningful place, but you should be comfortable with the placement, during the inking process and after it’s done.
Grab your keys and let’s drive!
Tattoos are an art, and like any other type of art, it needs a passionate and daring soul to support its meaning, whether it’s the artist or the person with the tattoo. Saigon is burning with talent. Find a truly talented artist and make the difference.
If you enjoyed this article, follow Travel Blog Phuot3mien for more helpful info on what to do, see and eat while in Vietnam!