Get inked exploring the world of tattoo tourism

black and white image of a man using a tattoo gun on someone

Ever wonder how you can make your travel memories last a lifetime? Sure, photos and souvenirs are great, but how about something that truly becomes a part of you? Welcome to the fascinating realm of tattoo tourism – tattourism – where globetrotting meets the ink gun.

The world is your canvas

Traveling for tattoos isn’t just a trend; it’s an adventure that takes you to corners of the world rich in culture and artistry. Here are some international hotspots and renowned artists you can head to for more than just a passport stamp.


A haven for ink aficionados, Japan is the birthplace of the timeless Irezumi tradition. People from all corners of the world journey to Japan to get intricate full-body tattoos, often depicting legends and folklore, from masters of the art.  Here you can find authentic Irezumi and traditional Japanese techniques by artists such as:

  • Horiyoshi III in Yokohama, a legend in traditional Japanese Irezumi tattoos, known for intricate full-body designs.
  • Shige who is also from Yokohama. He’s famous for his unique style that blends traditional Japanese techniques with modern aesthetics.
  • Horimitsu in Tokyo is known for his traditional Japanese Tebori (hand-carved) tattoos, offering a truly authentic experience.

New Zealand

Home to the deeply symbolic Maori tattoos, or ‘Ta Moko,’ New Zealand can offer an in-depth cultural tattoo experience. A Ta Moko isn’t just skin-deep; it’s a lifelong commitment and a proud badge of your identity. Ta Moko is the traditional indigenous tattoo of the Maori people. Here are some of the top artists that can give you that classic tat or mix it up with a bit of a blend: 

  • Gordon Toi calls Mapua, South Island home. Gordon is known for his mastery of Ta Moko, the traditional Maori tattoo art.
  • Julie Paama-Pengelly is based in Tauranga on the North Island. She’s renowned for her expertise in Ta Moko, bringing contemporary touches to traditional designs.
  • Steve Ma Ching is in Auckland on the North Island. He offers a blend of traditional and modern Polynesian tattoo styles and is known for his detailed work.


Renowned for its spiritual Sak Yant tattoos, often inked by Buddhist monks, Thailand offers more than just a beautiful design. It’s about a unique spiritual experience accompanied by age-old rituals and blessings that usually take place in a Thai temple. These are some of the most sought after artists in the region:

  • Ajarn Noo Kanpai has been giving his famous Sak Yant (spiritual, magical tattoos), tattoos in Pathum Thani for some time now. He is well known for giving Angelina Jolie her back tat.
  • The elusive Ajarn Thoy is also in Bangkok. He is another well-known Sak Yant artist, offering a spiritual tattooing experience, but he doesn’t have an online presence, so to find him you’ll have to rely on the locals.
  • Wat Bang Phra Monks can be found in a temple in Nakhon Chai Si. This temple is famous for its Sak Yant tattoos done by the resident monks.

The good ol’ USA

From the hipster neighborhoods of Brooklyn to the streets of LA, you’ll find some of the world’s most creative tattoo artists and eclectic styles in some big-name cities.

  • Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy resides in New York City, New York. He’s named “the most famous tattoo artist in the world” by Vogue and has tatted some top celebs like Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, LeBron James, Adele, Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez to name a few. Bang Bang is a sought-after artist for his diverse range of styles, from intricate miniature tattoos to large-scale realistic pieces.
  • Nikko Hurtado is a world-renowned tattoo artist living and working in Los Angeles, California. Nikko is famous for his incredible color realism and portrait tattoos. His signature is hyper-realistic color portraits giving him a name in the industry and a massive celebrity client list to follow.
  • Ami James is our resident Floridian tattooing in Miami. Ami is best known for the TV show “Miami Ink,” and excels in a variety of styles, including traditional and Japanese tattoos. He currently owns Love Hate Tattoo Studio Which is home to the famous Miami Ink artists, along with 3 other studios.

The high seas

Scarlet Lady, the first-ever Virgin Voyages cruise ship, has a vegan tattoo studio onboard named Squid Ink. Once you board your cruise you can schedule an appointment with a crew of sea-loving artists. This is an experience for those who love new ink and you can also get some new jewelry with their piercing specialists available on board. 

Telling your tat truth

We love a good story about travels and at its heart, tattoo tourism is the ultimate way of carrying your adventures with you everywhere you go. We spoke with a Faye traveler about some trips she marked with a tat and what they mean to her. Here’s why getting tattoos abroad is a huge part of her travels:

Alix Greenman got her very first tattoo in Mexico City, it’s a bindle, a sack at the end of a stick, on her left forearm. At the time, she had been traveling as a digital nomad in Central America and South America and had wanted a tattoo but wasn’t certain how to go about doing it, then serendipity stepped in.

“I’d been thinking about this tattoo for a while but I’d been looking for something that would be a little celebration of my travels and my digital nomadism, but didn’t feel like an airplane or a cutesy travel tattoo, I wanted something original and authentic to me. So the story goes: I was talking with a group of friends I’d made in Belize about it and one friend, Alexa, who’s a fashion designer, offered to sketch this bindle out. I loved it and took the sketch from Belize when I went to Mexico City. There, I was on this food tour and my guide had the most amazing tattoos with fine line gorgeous shading, so I asked her if she got them locally. She had! Then, she introduced me to an artist named Jimena Medina. I made an appointment immediately and she did this stunning bindle for me and I absolutely love it. To this day it’s just like one of my favorite pieces.”

Alix also just got a turtle in June 2023 while in Bangkok, Thailand. She had planned to go with the traditional Sak Yant Thai tattoo, but chose a more modern artist, Kend, based on his phenomenal fine line and shading style. According to Alix, “He does these tattoos that literally look like origami animals but he also does incredible illustrative like shade and fine line work in a really cool shop in the city.” She ended up going for it and getting tatted on her very last day in Thailand. This time she went with a green sea turtle that was designed from a photo she took while diving in Gili Trawangan, Indonesia a few years before. She was in love again, noting “He created the most incredible art and it’s just so special to me because in addition to it representing my love for diving, my grandmother used to live in Maui and when I was five I remember going snorkeling with her and seeing a turtle; it was the first marine animal I saw up close. She was actually the first diver in my family and one of the big reasons that I got into scuba diving and has such a deep love of the ocean, so this one holds a really special place in my heart.”

Alix says, “I have five tattoos now, and I’ve gotten all of them abroad. While only one represents a core memory of the place I got it, they all serve as reminders of the trips I got them on. Getting tattoos abroad is not only less expensive but a way to meet new people and do something unique in the place you’re visiting.”

The final stroke

Tattoo Tourism isn’t just about collecting art; it’s about etching your adventures and encounters onto your own personal canvas. It’s where wanderlust meets creating stories that last a lifetime. Let the world color your adventures, one tattoo at a time with Faye

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