The Truth About Getting a Tattoo in Bali | The Traveling Twin (2024)

Getting a Tattoo in Ubud, Bali for the First Time

Tattoos and bali debuts

Are you on the trip of a lifetime and wanting to commemorate it in a way that’s more permanent than souvenirs? Trust me, I’ve been there. Tattoos are a fun way to remember a fantastic trip forever, and a way to make that trip become a part of you. They can also be a lot cheaper than opting for a tattoo at home! But before you make an appointment and eagerly hop in that chair for some ink, there are a few things you should know.

In 2019, I got my third tattoo in Bali. My first two were in the United States, so I knew what to expect, but I wasn’t really sure how Balinese artists handled tattoos. After deciding with my best friend that we 100% wanted these tattoos during our two week trip and designing them, there were a million questions that followed. These included:

Is it safe to get a tattoo in Bali?

How much do tattoos in Bali cost?

When during my trip should I get the tattoo?

What tattoo shop should I choose?

How old do you need to be to get a tattoo in Bali?

Should I get a traditional Balinese hand poke tattoo, or a normal one?

Below outlines the answer to these questions, the best tattoo shops in Bali, my tattoo experience, and more!

Best Tattoo Studios in Bali

If you're considering getting a tattoo in Bali, you're going to need to know which shops are the most reputable. These include: Mex Tattoos Bali, Platinum Tattoo Studio Bali, God Gold Tattoo Bali, Lumina Tattoo Studio, and La Femme Tattoo House. Below showcases a map with a brief explanation of each tattoo parlor, as well as a link to their Instagram page so that you can see some of their work!

Map provided by Wanderlog, a road trip planner app on iOS and Android

Common Questions About Getting a Tattoo in Bali

1. Is it safe to get a tattoo in Bali?

The simple answer you are looking for is YES! Despite the myths you may have heard, it is safe to get a tattoo in Bali. You just need to make sure that you are going to a reputable shop and artist, because while the majority of spots are safe, there will always be places and people that don’t follow the proper protocols. You also need to make sure that you're following the aftercare instructions your artist gives you so that your tattoo heals quickly and without any issues. Luckily, there's a great tattoo aftercare kit for under $15 I've linked here- I love to get this one because all the items in it are 3 oz or under as well, which means you can travel with it!

For a more comprehensive guide on the safety factors, click here.

2. How much do tattoos cost in Bali?

Tattoos are SUPER cheap in Bali. In the United States, it costs a person approximately $50 to $250 for a small tattoo. A lot of shops have a minimum or artists charge a flat rate per hour, and this can jack up the price for any size tattoo. However, in Bali, most currencies go far. Because everything from food to souvenirs are so inexpensive, it is no surprise that tattoos are also cheap. The average cost of a 5"x5" tattoo in Bali is only $35-$85. For more information on the cost of a tattoo in Bali, how much to tip, and a breakdown of how much I paid, click here.

3. When during my trip should I get the tattoo?

As far as I’m concerned, there’s only one right answer to this question- at the end!

When I went to Bali, we went with a group of six of us in total. Four of us wanted to get tattoos, but we hadn’t made any appointments prior to our trip, so we decided on everything at the last minute. One person in our group opted to get his tattoos in the beginning of the trip, and the other three of us decided to go at the end. I was part of the crew that wanted to get it at the end of the trip, and thank god I did! Our friend who got the tattoo at the beginning got a medium sized tattoo underneath his neck/on his upper back, and one on his bicep. He got these on our first full day in Ubud. After that, the rest of the trip he was worried about keeping both tattoos covered in the Balinese sun and not getting them wet. This means he couldn’t tan on the beach or swim in any of the waterfalls we visited. On the other hand, the three of us that opted to get tattoos on the last day got to fully enjoy exploring the outdoors while still coming home with a new piece of ink or two at the end!

4. What tattoo shop should I choose?

The best way to choose a reputable tattoo shop is to do research. It actually doesn’t matter what tattoo shop you choose, and what city you choose, as long as you look into the shop beforehand. I would advise starting by looking at tattoo shops located near your accommodation, and going from there. Once you’ve located 3-4, I would go to each parlor’s Instagram and website and look at the overall aesthetic of their shop and staff. Does the interior look legitimate? Do they have a professional website? Do they have information about how to schedule an appointment, their process, and aftercare? If everything checks out thus far, I would find an artist at that shop that specializes in the type of tattoos you like and message them. Finally, I would ask them about their rates, availability, and typical process (how are they sterilizing between people?).

5. Do the artists in Bali sterilize the equipment, and if so, how?

Typically, artists use what is called an autoclave, or a machine that utilizes water, heat, and pressure, to clean tattoo equipment that will be used repeatedly. Most Balinese tattoo parlors follow this practice, but definitely confirm that this is part of the process when scheduling your appointment.

6. How old do you need to be to get a tattoo in Bali?

The minimum age an individual can get a tattoo in Bali is 15 years old. However, a lot of professional tattoo parlors will only tattoo people 18 years and older with a valid ID.

7. Should I get a traditional Balinese hand poke tattoo, or a normal one?

This decision is totally up to you. Personally, even though I was very interested in the traditional Balinese hand poke tattoo, I knew I wanted the tattoo on my sternum and was worried about the pain. For that reason, I opted for a normal tattoo since I figured those were probably a little quicker. However, if I was to go back and do it again I would probably go with the hand poked because it’s so tied to the Balinese culture and traditions. I think if you are split between the two, try to dig deeper into why you are getting the tattoo and what’s important. Are you getting a traditional tattoo because you want something to remember Bali by? Then get a Balinese hand poke tattoo to stick with the theme. Have you been waiting to get an extensive tattoo in the states forever, and now you are getting it in Bali because of the cost? Then I would just get the normal one. Weigh the pros and cons and decide on what’s right and important to you!


The rule for fading tattoos is the same no matter what country you're in; as long as you go to a reputable shop and follow post-care instructions, there should be no reason why your tattoo from Bali fades. One of my best pieces of advice is to also bring some tattoo goo with you so that you can use quality products to help your tattoo heal during your trip. You can also get tattoo numbing cream to put on before getting the tattoo if you are nervous/sensitive to pain, and a sunscreen made to protect new tattoos. To see my complete list of Bali travel essentials that you'll need for both tattoo aftercare and traveling to Bali in general, click here.

In my experience though, I will say that my tattoo did fade- but it was my fault. The reason for this is that I went to a shop through a friend of a friend and the owner was a young tattoo artist who didn't go over one letter of my tattoo enough. My best advice: find a reputable shop and artist, take a look and make sure the tattoo looks perfect after they are about to be done tattooing, and follow post-care instructions. To read a little more about this, click here.

What To Consider Before Scheduling the Tattoo Appointment

No matter where in the world you go to get a tattoo, you should always start out by doing research. There are many questions to ask yourself when choosing the design, shop, and artist. Follow the steps below, in order, to ensure that you have a great tattoo experience:

1. What do I want?

This is one of the most important questions to ask yourself. This is going to be on your body for a very, very long time and should be a representation of you or something you care about. Choose a design that you won’t get tired of, and will be proud to show off.

2. Style

Is there a certain style you want? Watercolor, traditional, or black and white? It is important to decide what design is important to you- the line work, the font, or the colors? Identify what is necessary for the artist to know, and look for an artist especially known for that particular style.

3. Artist

Doing research about artists in your area who could do your tattoo in a way that makes you happy is a must. If you’re looking for a watercolor tattoo, make sure to find someone with lots of experience in watercolor. Each tattoo artist is known for at least one discipline of tattoo, and if you could find someone known for the style you want, odds are they will also have the experience you’re looking for. Lucky for you, each artist usually has some form of social media, so you’ll be able to take a look at their past work and make sure you like what they do.

4. Ask Questions

Before booking an appointment, ask questions. This is most necessary in different countries, because you don’t know their standards. For example, I made sure to ask questions like how they clean their needles, what type of ink they use, what they recommend you heal it with, and if they reuse needles. It may also help to look at reviews for that shop, and make sure that they are a reputable tattoo parlor.

5. Timing

Make sure to think about the timing! If you can, schedule your tattoo for the end of your trip, so you can experience everything and go swimming, be in the sun all day, and not have to worry about the healing process until your trip is almost over.

6. Transportation

The final thing that you want to think about is transportation. If you are not within walking distance of the tattoo parlor, and you chose one a couple of miles a way, how are you going to get there? The way I see it, you have three options: you can either rent a car, hire a driver, or get a scooter rental. Personally, I would advise getting a scooter rental from Bikago as the best option. My friends and I did this because we were a little nervous to drive a bigger vehicle like a car on some of Bali's narrow roads, so we rented scooters for only a couple of dollars a day to get around short distances. We loved that they have pickup and dropoff locations all around Bali which meant that we could pick them up near the airport and then drop them off near where we were staying in Canggu at the end of our trip.

My Experience

I would rate my tattoo experience in Bali 8/10. This is how it went:

My friend Callie and I knew before even stepping foot on Balinese soil that we wanted semi-matching sternum tattoos.I designed mine to have the word “become” coming out of a vine, and a little lotus underneath it to tie in Bali. She wanted a similar thing, but instead of a word she had a design.

When we got to Bali, we talked with the private driver we hired for going long distances (who has since become a good friend) about where we should go.He recommended a little shop in Ubud where he was friends with the owner. I looked into the shop, their website, and their Instagram and decided “Why not?”.

We scheduled the appointment, and on the day we were so excited.I went first, hoping to get it over with the quickest and let my friend know how it was. During the tattoo, I was covered by singular cups so as not to show anything. The tattoo then took a total of approximately 10 minutes (it’s very small). Afterward, they gave me an aftercare kit and I was on my way!

While I would recommend this shop to people, I would probably also point out that the person who tattooed me was very young.He was only about 19 years old. While he did a great job bringing my mini tattoo to life in ink-form, he didn’t use enough ink on one letter so it’s looked a little faded in that spot since the day I got it.

Summing It Up

Bali is a great and safe place to get a tattoo, especially if you’re looking to save a couple bucks. Based on my experience, I would say the best advice I have is to make sure that you do the research and choose a design and artist that you love! As long as you do those two things, I’m sure you’ll leave your trip to Bali with great memories and a beautiful new piece. To learn more about specifics like how much a tattoo in Bali costs, how to take care of a tattoo you got in Bali and more, scroll down and click the related articles below!


The Truth About Getting a Tattoo in Bali | The Traveling Twin (2024)
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