Before Getting Tattoos in Vietnam: Your Essential Guide

In today’s modern world, tattooing has become a widely popular art form among young people worldwide. Each tattoo carries its own meaning, serving as a way for the youth to express their individuality. If you’re considering getting a tattoo in Vietnam, read this article by VTJ to discover some stylish and beautiful tattoo ideas that we recommend.

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Tattoos In The Vietnamese Culture

Tattoos In The Vietnamese Culture

Tattoos In The Vietnamese Culture

Tattoos in Vietnamese culture have a profound historical significance, with roots stretching back through centuries. Initially tied to spiritual and communal practices, traditional tattoos conveyed vital information about identity, social standing, and cultural affiliations. 

Many designs were steeped in Vietnamese folklore and mythology, holding spiritual meanings and serving as protective symbols. 

In contemporary Vietnam, tattoos are increasingly viewed as a form of personal expression, blending traditional Vietnamese designs with modern global trends.

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Reasons For Getting Tattoos In Vietnam

Price And Quality

In Vietnam, the cost of a small tattoo is around 400,000 – 700,000 VND. However, for larger tattoos that require intricate details and precision, the cost is higher, ranging from 1,000,000 – 3,000,000 VND. 

Despite the relatively lower prices compared to some Western countries, the quality of tattoo artistry in Vietnam is often commendable.

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Unique Design

The quest for distinctive and culturally significant designs propels many individuals in Vietnam to get tattoos. Individuals often opt for designs that hold personal or symbolic meaning. 

Traditional motifs and symbols rooted in Vietnamese folklore, mythology, and spirituality are popular choices, reflecting a desire to carry a unique piece of cultural identity. The emphasis on unique design makes each tattoo a personal statement.

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Personal Statements

Tattoos in Vietnam are increasingly seen as powerful means of personal expression. Beyond the aesthetic appeal and cultural significance, individuals use tattoos to make personal statements about their beliefs, experiences, and journeys. Each tattoo becomes a visual narrative, telling a story that is deeply personal and meaningful to the wearer. 

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Before Getting Tattoos In Vietnam – Tattoos Safety

Before Getting Tattoos In Vietnam - Tattoos Safety

Before Getting Tattoos In Vietnam – Tattoos Safety

Prior to getting tattoos in Vietnam, individuals should prioritize understanding and ensuring the safety aspects associated with the tattooing process.

Here are key aspects to consider:

  • Hygiene Standards: Before choosing a tattoo studio, individuals should thoroughly assess the hygiene standards. Clean and sterilized equipment, as well as a sanitized working environment, are fundamental to preventing infections and ensuring overall safety during the tattooing process.
  • Professional Credentials: It’s essential to choose a tattoo artist with proper professional credentials and a reputable portfolio. Researching the artist’s background, checking reviews, and ensuring they adhere to safety protocols help guarantee a skilled and safe tattooing experience.
  • Ink Quality: The quality of tattoo ink plays a crucial role in the safety of the procedure. Reputable tattoo studios in Vietnam use high-quality, sterile ink to minimize the risk of allergic reactions and infections. Clients are encouraged to inquire about the type of ink being used and its safety certifications.
  • Health Considerations: Individuals with pre-existing health conditions, such as allergies or skin sensitivities, should disclose this information to the tattoo artist beforehand. This ensures that the artist can take appropriate precautions and recommend any necessary adjustments to the tattooing process.
  • Aftercare Guidance: A responsible tattoo studio provides clear and detailed aftercare instructions. Clients should be well-informed about how to care for their tattoos in the days and weeks following the procedure to promote proper healing and reduce the risk of complications.

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Tattoos Aftercare In Vietnam

Proper aftercare is essential for ensuring the healing and longevity of a tattoo. Here are essential guidelines:

  • Keep it Clean: Wash the tattooed area gently with mild, fragrance-free soap and water. Avoid harsh cleansers, and pat the area dry with a clean towel. Maintaining cleanliness is crucial, especially in humid climates, to prevent infections.
  • Apply Recommended Ointments: Tattoo artists typically recommend specific ointments or moisturizers to promote healing. In Vietnam’s tropical climate, it’s important to choose products that are non-greasy to prevent discomfort and to ensure the skin can breathe adequately.
  • Avoid Sun Exposure: Protect the fresh tattoo from direct sunlight, as excessive sun exposure can fade the colors and irritate the healing skin. If possible, wear loose, breathable clothing that covers the tattoo when outdoors.
  • Stay Hydrated: Given the warm and humid climate in Vietnam, staying hydrated is crucial for overall skin health. Adequate hydration supports the body’s natural healing processes and helps maintain the skin’s elasticity.
  • Resist Itching and Peeling: It’s common for tattoos to itch during the healing process, but scratching can damage the skin and affect the tattoo’s appearance. Resist the urge to scratch and allow the skin to peel naturally. If irritation persists, consult with the tattoo artist.
  • Avoid Swimming: In the initial stages of healing, it’s advisable to avoid swimming in pools, oceans, or hot tubs. Submerging the tattoo in water, especially in public places, increases the risk of infection.
  • Follow Artist’s Instructions: Tattoo artists provide specific aftercare instructions based on their expertise and the type of tattoo. Follow these instructions diligently to ensure optimal healing and minimize the risk of complications.

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Traditional Vietnamese Tattoo Motifs And Their Meanings

1. Conical Hat

Conical Hat - iconic symbols for tattoos in Vietnam

Conical Hat – iconic symbols for tattoos in Vietnam

Conical hats, also known as “non la,” are iconic symbols in Vietnamese culture. When incorporated into tattoos, they often symbolize cultural identity.

The conical hat’s simple yet elegant design can symbolize humility and grace. Tattoos featuring this motif may reflect a personal appreciation for simplicity and the beauty found in everyday life.

2. Dragons

Traditional Tattoos in Vietnam - Dragons

Traditional Tattoos in Vietnam – Dragons

Dragons hold significant cultural and spiritual meaning in Vietnamese folklore. Dragons are powerful creatures in Vietnamese mythology, symbolizing strength, courage, and resilience. Tattoos featuring dragons may be chosen to embody these qualities.

In Vietnamese culture, dragons are often considered protective beings. Dragon tattoos can be a symbol of protection, with the creature guarding the wearer against harm or negative forces. Dragons are mythical creatures deeply intertwined with spiritual beliefs. Tattoos featuring dragons may reflect a desire for a connection to spiritual or supernatural realms.

3. Foo Dogs

Traditional Tattoos in Vietnam - Foo Dogs

Traditional Tattoos in Vietnam – Foo Dogs

Foo Dogs, or “Lion Dogs,” are common figures in Vietnamese art and symbolism. Foo Dogs are traditionally seen as protectors, often placed at entrances to guard against negative energy. In tattoos, they may symbolize a protective force in the wearer’s life. Foo Dogs are often depicted in pairs, symbolizing balance and harmony.  

Foo Dogs are associated with imperial and royal symbolism. Tattoos featuring these creatures may convey a sense of regality or a connection to historical and cultural traditions.

4. Lotus Flowers

Tattoos in Vietnam featuring lotus flowers can convey a message of strength and resilience in the face of difficulties

Tattoos in Vietnam featuring lotus flowers can convey a message of strength and resilience in the face of difficulties

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The lotus, emerging from muddy waters and blossoming into a pristine flower, symbolizes purity and enlightenment. In tattoos, it may represent the journey towards spiritual awakening and the triumph over adversities. The lotus has the ability to thrive in challenging environments, showcasing resilience and determination. 

Tattoos featuring lotus flowers can convey a message of strength and resilience in the face of life’s difficulties.

5. Calligraphy

Traditional Tattoos in Vietnam - Calligraphy

Traditional Tattoos in Vietnam – Calligraphy

Vietnamese calligraphy is a visual representation of the country’s linguistic and artistic heritage. In tattoos, calligraphy may serve as an expression of cultural identity and pride.

Tattoos featuring calligraphy may convey meaningful messages, mantras, or quotes that hold significance to the wearer. 

Beyond the linguistic aspect, Vietnamese calligraphy is celebrated for its aesthetic beauty. Calligraphy tattoos may be chosen for their visual appeal, combining artistic expression with linguistic artistry.

6. Tigers

Tattoos in Vietnam - Tigers are often associated with strength, power, and courage

Tattoos in Vietnam – Tigers are often associated with strength, power, and courage

Tigers are often associated with strength, power, and courage. In tattoos, they may be chosen to symbolize the wearer’s resilience and ability to overcome challenges. 

Tigers are considered protectors in Vietnamese mythology. Tiger tattoos can be seen as a symbol of protection, with the creature guarding the wearer from harm and negative influences.

7. Turtles

Tattoos in Vietnam - Turtles are often associated with longevity and wisdom in Vietnamese folklore

Tattoos in Vietnam – Turtles are often associated with longevity and wisdom in Vietnamese folklore

Turtles are revered creatures in Vietnamese culture, symbolizing various attributes with spiritual and cultural significance. 

Turtles are often associated with longevity and wisdom in Vietnamese folklore. In tattoos, they may represent a desire for a long, prosperous life and the pursuit of wisdom and knowledge. 

Turtles are known for their stable and enduring nature. Tattoos featuring turtles can symbolize the importance of stability, patience, and perseverance in navigating life’s challenges.

8. Cranes

Tattoos in Vietnam featuring cranes may convey a wish for a long and fulfilling life

Tattoos in Vietnam featuring cranes may convey a wish for a long and fulfilling life

Tattoos featuring cranes may convey a wish for a long and fulfilling life, as well as a belief in the enduring spirit.

Cranes may also be chosen to symbolize beauty, grace, and a sense of refinement in the wearer’s character. 

Furthermore, tattoos featuring cranes may convey a desire for inner peace, balance, and tranquility in life.

Choosing The Perfect Traditional Vietnamese Tattoo

Reflect on Personal Meaning

Whether it’s a connection to cultural heritage, a representation of personal values, or a reflection of life experiences, choosing a tattoo with deep personal meaning enhances its significance.

Explore Cultural Symbols

Traditional Vietnamese symbols, such as lotus flowers, dragons, turtles, and cranes, carry cultural and spiritual meanings. Research these symbols and choose one that resonates with your beliefs or aligns with your life journey.

Understand Symbolism

Each motif in Vietnamese tattoo art carries a specific meaning. Understand the symbolism behind your chosen design.

Consider Aesthetic Preferences

Consider your aesthetic preferences, whether you prefer bold and vivid colors or more subdued and detailed black and gray designs.

Research Tattoo Artists

Look for skilled tattoo artists with expertise in traditional Vietnamese tattooing. Examine portfolios, read reviews, and choose an artist whose style aligns with your vision.

Size and Placement

Consider the size and placement of your tattoo. Some motifs may work better in specific areas of the body. Discuss placement options with your tattoo artist, taking into account factors like pain tolerance, visibility, and future considerations.

Take Your Time

Don’t rush the decision-making process. Take the time to reflect on your choices, gather inspiration, and ensure that the chosen design resonates with you on a deep level. 

FAQs

Are tattoos acceptable in Vietnam?

Tattoos are generally acceptable in Vietnam, and attitudes towards them have become more open over time, especially among the younger generation. However, individual perceptions may vary, and it’s advisable to be mindful of cultural contexts.

Are tattoos cheaper in Vietnam?

Tattoos can be more affordable in Vietnam compared to some Western countries.

Author

Vietnam Teaching Jobs (VTJ), which was founded in 2012 is a well-established platform for teachers to find their dream teaching job in Vietnam. Covering the entirety of the country, we have successfully paired thousands of happy teachers and schools. Be part of the thousands of happy teachers working in Vietnam, register and apply for your dream job today!

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Vietnam Teaching Jobs (VTJ), which was founded in 2012 is a well-established platform for teachers to find their dream teaching job in Vietnam. Covering the entirety of the country, we have successfully paired thousands of happy teachers and schools. Be part of the thousands of happy teachers working in Vietnam, register and apply for your dream job today!