One of the things I love about backpacking is that I get to meet lots of new people. No matter where I end up, wherever people can speak English, a popular first topic of discussion is usually my tattoo. When they ask where I got it, most of them are surprised when I tell them I got it from Bali.
But unlike a lot of ‘tattoos from Bali’ stories, mine was actually a deliberate decision that came out of five years of planning what kind of tattoo to get and where to put it. Bali gets a lot of bad rep for tattoos nowadays because of the stories of how one can contract HIV through the needles, or of how the color ink fades, or even of how some tattoo artists don’t care if you’re legal or sober so long as you have the money to have an ex-girlfriend’s name sprawled (permanently) all over your chest (or, you know, elsewhere.) The country is notorious for being part of many people’s regrettable decisions while drunk. Yet if you do your research and make sure you’re in the right frame of mind to make such a big decision (and this is really a big decision, I’m not kidding!) then getting a tattoo in Bali from respected and talented artists will definitely be a memorable experience, one to share to the grandkids after said tattoo is sagging on wrinkled skin. I managed to get a quick snapshot of the tattoo shop (photo shown below), by the way check out their website at www.indoinkbali.com
I got my tattoo over two years ago on my own visit to Bali, during my first backpacking trip through Asia with a few buddies. Since getting a tattoo and visiting the rest of Asia were both on my bucket list, it felt only natural to get a tattoo in Bali because of the cheap prices, abundance of different tattoo stores and unique artwork, which draw influence from Balinese culture. I distinctly recall asking the locals during the day where one can get good quality, hygienic tattoo art done and then consulting the rest of the world through the Internet at night, scrolling through various forums and articles. Finally I was able to find a decent establishment with a skilled tattooist, who helped me realize my dream of having a long black Asian dragon snake down my arm from shoulder to wrist for the rest of my life.
I made it back home, and to three other countries since then, without showing any signs of having contracted diseases, and until now my tattoo is still stark as ever. No regrets!
So if you’re heading down to Bali and plan to get tattoos while you’re over there, don’t let the bad press deter you from doing so. All you need to do is research and be careful of who pokes needles into your skin, and don’t make any decisions when you’re drunk!