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Wednesday 19 July 2023

Discover a five-star luxury hotel tattoo experience

So you've thought about getting a tattoo?

But you don't want to risk a back street operative or end up with a dodgy tatt or a needle infection?

How about a five-star tattoo experience while you are staying in one of Bangkok's top hotels?

Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel is offering travellers the opportunity to get inked and incensed by one of Thailand’s most famous bamboo tattoo masters: Ajarn Neng Onnut (above).

Anantara Siam is the only hotel in Thailand offering an "exclusive private service by the revered master".

A bamboo tattoo, formally called Sak Yant, is one of the world’s most ancient and sacred traditions and is expertly engraved into the skin entirely by hand using a traditional Khem Sak – a hand-crafted metal rod designed to replicate the shape of a bamboo stick.

These are often passed down to an Ajarn, meaning master in Thai, by their own master, or tutor.

Getting a tattoo has become increasingly popular with foreign tourists to Thailand in recent years, thanks in part to Ajarn Neng who has inked Hollywood actors including Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford and Brooke Shields, as well as Hong Kong actor Alex Fong.

A master, teacher and learned scholar in the art of Sak Yant, the Ajarn has more than a decade of perfecting his craft on over 10,000 people under his Khem Sak.

Sak Yant tattoos are traditional forms of tattooing ancient geometric and deity symbols with Buddhist prayers onto the body and are regarded as sacred blessings that are believed to impart magical powers for luck, protection, charisma, or fortune.

The most famous Yant is the Haah Taew or five-line Yant and Ajarn Neng also inks simple one-line Yants and Gao Yord, a nine-spine Yant, as well as bigger Yants designs like Twin Tigers.

Becoming learned in Sak Yant includes mastering the intricate artwork of the tattoos, which consists of almost 1,000 different graphic images.

Ajarn Neng’s desire to become a master saw him learning how to read and write the entire ancient Khmer and Pali scripts, memorising all the unique prayers and secret spells, chants and mantras that relate to the sacred tattoos.

A private inking session by Ajarn Neng at Anantara Siam is performed in a private treatment room.

A consultation takes place the day before when the master meets and learns about the person’s life and goals in life and decides on a fitting Yant.

Before and after inking the Yant, the Ajarn performs a ceremony where the body and art are blessed, giving the wearer a permanent and deeply significant reminder of the unique experience.

The burning of incense plays an important role, along with the recital of sacred mantras, to invoke good spirits into each Yant design so that they may offer protection against evil forces or bad luck.

Each number of incense sticks burned simultaneously has a specific purpose and most Thai people believe and value odd numbers as auspicious.

The incense sticks - called Mantra Rak - used during the inking session are custom designed and produced by Ajarn Neng.

Prices for a private inking and incense session by Ajarn Neng Onnut at Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel start from 20,000 Thai Baht (around $850) per hour’s inking - one hour is sufficient for a small symbol called Na and for a one-line Yant.

A prior reservation is essential and can be made by visiting or contacting Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel on telephone +66 2 126 8866.

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