Getting Inked in #Cambodia

Are you thinking about getting a tattoo while you are in Cambodia? I got mine done end of August, right as I was about to leave the country.. and I chose Sun, who was based in Sihanoukville at the time. Now, he has a new shop open in Phnom Penh! Check out the AsiaLife article here: http://asialifeguide.com/News-Events/get-inked.html?-events

Here is why I chose Sun out of all the tattoo places there are in Cambodia.

It’s clean. This is the utmost important thing to consider if you want to get a tattoo in Southeast Asia.. This was something I was most nervous about… I wasn’t nervous about the pain (because I don’t really have a problem with it) but I was nervous about whether I can trust the equipments and how thoroughly sanitized they were.

Sun’s a pretty serious tattoo artist from Korea, with 15 years of experience. Knowing the laws in Korea, I’m sure sanitation was THE MOST important thing.. which is why I trusted that he would carry that on even in Cambodia.

The final thing that made me choose Sun is because he was very serious about making sure that I really wanted my tattoo. When I came to see him, he sat down with me, and asked me a bunch of questions to help me think through if I really wanted to…. go through with it. He asked me why I wanted it, what the design meant to me, and every single detail about it. I really appreciated this since I was starting to get cold feet and rethinking about it myself.. but when he walked me through it, I knew I really wanted to get it done!

He is a tattoo artist. He tweaked some parts of my design to make it look better. I had a basic idea of what I wanted but it wasn’t set and stone. He changed a few lines and angles to make it perfect! He also tweaked my friend’s tattoo for free and turned it into an amazing lotus flower!

So, if you are thinking about getting a tattoo in Cambodia, don’t hesitate to visit Sun’s new studio in Phnom Penh:

Black Star
5A Street# 90
Tel: 077 220 233
Open Daily: 10am – 11pm

Tattoo Aftercare:

Tattoo aftercare they tell you in Cambodia is a little different from what you read online or what they tell you in the U.S. I was a little worried about it first, but that’s how people in Cambodia do it, and it hasn’t been a problem. It’s important to let your tattoo breathe.. but with the blazing sun in Cambodia, it is rather detrimental. Wear thin shirts and let it air out at night, and it should be fine! :) Let me know if you have any questions!

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13 thoughts on “Getting Inked in #Cambodia

  1. Great post. I’m sure a lot of travelers will be interested in the experience of getting tattooed in other countries. I’m curious as to what aftercare suggestions they gave you, how it compares to American tattoo advice.

    • Thanks! yea, I was really hesitant at first but I went ahead and got it. I even double checked by taking a blood test a month later! Aftercare is not as serious in Cambodia. I got mine done at the beach so I was really worried about the humidity/salty water/sun, etc. They did tell me the important basics like no swimming, no sun, dab it with hot water few hours later..etc. but I guess the main difference was that they put plastic wrap around your tattoo (which I didn’t, because mine was relatively small.. I also know some places in the U.S. does this as well.. but may not be the best choice), and they tell you to vaseline on it, which I’ve read in many places, you shouldn’t do.. Also, it’s in Cambodia, so sweating was inevitable..

      Seems like you are a tattoo artist! What would you say is the best way to take care of your tattoo at a hot climate?

  2. We usually do put either a plastic wrap or absorptive pad (like what goes under meat at the grocery store) on fresh tattoos, to protect them from the initial dirt and grime you might encounter between the shop and your home. We advise our clients to take any wrap off within an hour or two of getting the tattoo, to wash immediately with antibacterial soap like Dial, and put on a thin layer of lotion like Aquaphor, Lubriderm or Eucerin. There’s also a ton of products you can use, we like After Inked because it isn’t greasy, smells delicious, and is vegan and locally made.

    I am a tattooer, and I live and work in a hot climate as well, South Florida. One of the most important things to consider in hot weather is staying out of the SUN! Once the tattoo is healed, keeping an SPF 15 or higher on whatever is exposed is a good way to keep color bright. As far as during the healing process, it’s easy for your healing tattoo to get sweaty and greasy from whatever kind of lotion you’re using, so we stress the importance of washing often (as many times a day as you can) and using a VERY thin layer of lotion.

    • Thanks for the advice! I guess that sounds somewhat similar.. the big problem probably is that you can’t get good After Tattoo products in places like Cambodia.. and it’s hard not to expose your tattoo to germs etc., when you are traveling! Definitely something to keep in mind when getting a tattoo during your travels! :)

  3. Hi, am planning to go to Cambodia in a few month and was planning to get a tattoo their but didn’t know where but looking at the shop it look clean then other shop that I was reading about. Thanks goodness I found your article. Am planning to get two tattoo both on my wrist, one is a lotus flower tattoo that I always wanted. From reading your article I really appreciate that he make sure that you really want a tattoo and help tweak the design, now I feel like am ready to get my tattoo. If it not a problem can I ask how much is it to get tattoo their?

    • Hi Steph!

      Thanks for reading :) I can definitely recommend Sun. You can check out his studio and design on https://www.facebook.com/BlackStarCambodia. For the price, it really depends on the design, color and size but Cambodia is a lot cheaper than other countries. Mine is about the size of my hand it cost $40. You can also email Sun the design and ask how much it would cost you – he originally called $100 but gave me a big discount when I actually got there :)

      • Hi there, thanks for replying back. Woah that a good discount from $100 to $40. This will be my first tattoo. I will email Sun tomorrow about the price and tweaking the design and adding alittle bit of something else. Thank you so much for the help. Can’t wait for my trip:)

      • No problem, tell him NaEun Park sent you there – the Korean girl from Cambodia. haha hopefully he remembers me ;) Also, let me know how your tattoo goes and feel free to let me know if you have any questions on Cambodia!

      • Yeah I already sent him the email and he says it will cost $100-$150 and my heart drop since am on a budget doing a ceremony for my grandma in Cambodia since she live there while I live in the U.S. Plane tickets this year is expensive. I do have some question about Cambodia even though I been there 4 times already but I don’t know what places I should visit and eat? I already went to Siem Reap and one of the beach I don’t know where. What places do you recommend?

      • That’s really unfortunate! It is a bit pricey :/ hopefully you get a chance to meet him in person and maybe he can give you a discount ;) he hangs out at Pontoon club in Phnom Penh ;) (insider hint). haha…

        For Phnom Penh, there are plenty of good places to go to eat – I don’t particularly have one spot – especially for local food (also, when I go back to Phnom Penh, I eat a lot at home since I miss my mom’s cooking alot!) but for going out, I like Score Bar by Wat Langka – and also, Elsewhere (has a pool, cheap drinks, etc. so if you want to just swim, relax, etc. during the day, it’s awesome. At night, it’s cool too). Elsewhere is also on the same street as Score Bar.

        St. 51 where Pontoon club is also a busy night-out place. Some places can be a little sketchy but it’s cheap in the area. Pontoon’s pretty much the only big foreign club in Phnom Penh. Also, the bars are a little sketchy but if you be careful, the area could be fun to end the night (check out Howie’s Bar for cheap drinks).

        The riverside is ok but can be super pricey and overrated. If you go for a drink by the river, it’s nice but food is mediocre. FCC is ok for food.

        For cafes, Fresco, Gloria Jeans, Coffee Bean are all nice to just relax and use free wifi.

        For places to visit, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Kratie, Kampot, Mondulkiri (can be a bit boring but really relaxing – especially if you like nature, check out the Elephant Valley Project). Hope this helps!

  4. Yeah it a bit pricey but I will maybe change little bit of the detail or just don’t go with to much color on the tattoo and instead of the water design under the lotus I will put my parents name in Khmer script. Haha thanks for the insider hint.

    I mostly stay in Phnom Penh for five days then am off in the countryside for most of the time since most of the relatives there. But I will mostly check out the Score Bar:) I mostly eat Khmer food here when am at home and when I get to Cambodia, everyday I have to go get a smoothie or shake whatever it called there or coffee lol. I know I will need a few drinks for this trip since it will be chaotic.

    I don’t think I ever went to Sihanoukville, Kratie or Kampot yet I will definitely go visit those places. Thanks you so much this really help. Now I can finally show my dad places since he haven’t been there since 1995.

  5. Hey! Def. plan on going here to get my sleeve finished! Though, do you know of any beaches with clear water? Are the bars at night dangerous?

    • Hi Linda! You should def. check out the place – It’s a bit pricey compared to others in the city but it’s safe and I’d say the quality is better.
      For clean water – there are a lot of islands off of sihanoukville you can get by boat (and get tickets in Sihanouville easily) that has awesome clean beaches.

      I know Koh Rong has really clean water but it’s also a bit isolated – meaning, barely any electricity at night. If you love a bit of adventure, def. check it out :)

      Bars aren’t too dangerous – the city is safe but the beach could be not the safest place to go out as a solo female – remember to always be surrounded by people and if you are going home late, make sure to be aware of the surroundings/have someone with you! Let me know if you have anymore questions.

      Thanks!

      -NaEun

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