Thai Stick and Poke Tattoo Experience | Rutele

Hello lovely people.

When you really, really miss a place and have no way to go there right now, you blog about your experiences right? Ha, what a coping system.


The end of 2016 and beginning of 2017 was pretty rough for me. My heart was broken and I truly was unhappy with my life and my job. I knew that to fix my soul I needed to escape my reality for a while. What is a while? Heck, I didn’t know either so I saved up money for 6 months and I broke up with my life. Yes, I quit my job, my life and bought a one way ticket to Thailand.

The whole goal of this trip was to forget the past and move on from it and deep down I felt like I needed to commemorate that in a very drastic way. The idea of a tattoo kept popping up but it really wasn’t solidified until I met a beautiful soul who completely swayed my decision to a hell yes, I want to move forward with this idea. She had gotten numerous tattoos in Phuket from a magnificent tattoo artist and when she explained the traditional Thai tattooing method and ceremony I was intrigued. I decided to let fate lead the way on this one for me. I contacted the artist and since it was so last minute I wasn’t sure if he could squeeze me in. If it was meant to happen, he will find a way to help me, if not, well then it just wasn’t in the cards for me.

Now you may be thinking obviously there are a million of other places where I could have gotten tattooed and you are correct, but I was drawn to this artist. He is so authentic, his work is magnificent and his passion for the Thai culture is profound. He is also a Master who creates unique designs for each client which was a huge thing for me. This tattoo will forever stay on my body as a reminder of the pain, struggle and release that I experienced. It had to be authentic.

I can honestly say I did hours of research on the types of tattoos, the method, the sanitary limitations, the tools, the worst case scenarios and everything else one could think of when considering getting a tattoo in a foreign country. The more research I did, the more I hoped that it would happen for me.

What is a traditional Thai tattoo?

It is a sacred geometrical design that provides protections and blessings through psalms. These are written in either Thai or Khmer script around the yants which is known as Khata (you may have never heard of Khata but in simpler terms it means Mantra or prayer).

Traditionally these tattoos are done by Buddhist monks or Brahmin Holy men using a bamboo stick. The most beautiful aspect of this for me was the fact that you can’t just learn this overnight or using the internet. This trade takes years of studying the magical side of ancient traditions, charms and magical blessings along with the designs of the Sak Yant.

My Experience

Tradition Thai Bamboo Tatoo

Let’s start by taking a look at this beauty!! I am beyond obsessed with it and I cherish it everyday. lifeofkruoh did a stunning job and I couldn’t be more pleased with the whole experience.

He ended up messaging me a couple of days later and told me to come on in when I got to Phuket for an initial consultation. This was the night where we discussed what I wanted it to mean and what shape I wanted it to be. Usually this is how the process goes. Very rarely will the tattooer just select a tattoo for you. If you go to a Buddhist monks or Brahmin Holy man they will be able to customize your tattoo based on your wants and needs. I gave him my ideas and we agreed to meet back up in a couple of days to finalize what he will have created for me.

During the second meeting I adjusted the design and on the third meeting he was ready to tattoo me.

The actual tattooing process was really unique and quite magical. He prayed before and after my tattoo which really made this an unforgettable moment in my life. I can, to this day (8 months later), feel the energy of that room and relive that experience very vividly. The physical part of the tattooing wasn’t as bad as I had expected. Granted my tattoo is fairly small and dainty. It took about an hour to an hour and a half for the whole process. The pain itself was very tolerable but uncomfortable…I mean come on, I was getting stabbed by a long stick…I was expecting that but I never felt any excessive pain or the need to stop and take a break. The really strange thing was that in certain areas where the needle went in a little deeper, it must have hit certain nerves because I swear certain parts of my body kept switching at very random times.

The aftercare was fairly easy. Keep it clean, keep it out of the sun/water and apply Vaseline on it (if you don’t bring some from home you can find this in any pharmacy). It healed in about a weeks time.

To this day it looks nice and vibrant just as it did when it was first done.

If you have any reservations about getting a traditional Thai tattoo done, I would say go for it, as long as you find someone who really is authentic and clean. You don’t want to get a poorly done tattoo from a foreign country. You realistically can get infected by diseases so just make good decisions. I would highly recommend checking out lifeofkruoh. His English is amazing and so are his skills.

If you would like to learn more about these tattoos, check out this website.

Lastly, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me. I am more than happy to answer them!

XOXO, Rutele.

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