Looking to get some ink done, Vietnamese-style? Ho Chi Minh City is home to an abundance of high-quality tattoo studios. Read on to discover which one is right for you.
Tattoo culture has blossomed in Vietnam since the turn of the millennium. The country has traditionally been conservative with regards to tattoos, with many among the older generations believing body art to be the hallmark of criminals. However, younger people seem to be embracing the art form and tattoo culture is thriving. Commercial tattoo parlours began to open in Ho Chi Minh City in the mid-90s and today there are hundreds to choose from, though it’s important to do so with care. Here are the best tattoo parlours that Ho Chi Minh City has to offer.
Saigon Ink was one of the first tattoo studios to open its doors in Ho Chi Minh City and has become a firm favourite amongst local ink lovers. Owner and founder Danis Nguyen is a pioneer of tattoo art in Vietnam and is widely regarded as one of the country’s best artists, boasting a handful of international awards. Nguyen heads a nine-strong team of tattooists, each with their own stylistic speciality – meaning that Saigon Ink is an excellent choice of parlour no matter what kind of tattoo you have in mind.
Owned and run by British expats in the trendy Thao Dien neighbourhood, Exile Ink is a popular choice for Ho Chi Minh City’s tattoo aficionados. This parlour prides itself on adhering to European health and safety standards, which many customers are likely to find reassuring. Exile’s friendly and welcoming atmosphere has no doubt contributed to its success, and there is now a second location on Phu Quoc island.
Recycle Tattoo studio is so-named due to owner Hieu Chi’s struggles with Vietnam’s tattoo stigma and his subsequent mission to “recycle” himself. He has achieved just that, creating one of Ho Chi Minh City’s most successful tattoo parlours. Known for its exquisite artistry and commitment to quality, Recycle Tattoo delivers a safe and comfortable experience to its customers. Unlike other tattoo shops, Recycle’s industrial-chic studio is not primarily decorated with samples of its work, but rather with nostalgic trinkets and paintings from local artists, giving the place a stylish and creative vibe. Located in Phu Nuan district, Recycle is an excellent choice for your next tattoo.
Spade Art Tattoo Studio takes a deeply personal approach to its artwork. Rather than operating like a production line, the artists at Spade want to get to know their clients before they make permanent alterations to their body. Spade’s tattooists believe that tattoos are more than transient fashion items and so they help customers create meaningful, timeless art that means so much more than ink and needles.
Tam Quoc Tattoo is owned by a team of four brothers whose work is inspired by traditional Southeast Asian art. Their extraordinary, colourful works have attracted several Vietnamese celebrity clients. Full-body tattoos are Tam Quoc’s forte, although their delightful smaller pieces are equally eye-catching. It’s a good idea to book in advance, as this parlour is incredibly popular.
Tattoo Tadashi’s eponymous owner, Trung Tadashi, is one of Vietnam’s master tattoo artists. An incredibly skilled freehand artist, Tadashi specialises in Japanese-style tattoos, having spent five years perfecting his art there. After returning to Ho Chi Minh City, he set up shop in 2007 and his team of five accomplished artists have been working hard to decorate the inhabitants of Saigon with their incredible handiwork ever since. Tattoo Tadashi exhibits an ethos of passion and care, determined to provide its customers with extraordinary tattoos.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that a tattoo shop on a backpacker strip might be one to avoid, but Bob Tattoo is home to some of the most talented tattooists in the city. The parlour specialises in black and grey portraiture and import all of their ink and equipment from the UK and USA. Bob Tattoo is also able to provide sound wave tattoos that can be read and played back using a smartphone app. It’s open 24 hours a day, although midnight tattoos are done at your own discretion.
Saigon Tattoo Club has earned a reputation as one of Ho Chi Minh City’s premier tattoo parlours. Founder Bo Toee is Vietnam’s only member of the Cheyenne Tattoo team – a surefire stamp of quality in the tattoo world. Bo has also attracted international attention with his performances at tattoo exhibitions. In addition to their extraordinary art, Saigon Tattoo Club places great emphasis on safety and customer care – so you know that you’re in safe hands.
Monster Ink has just one tattoo artist, Tuyen Nguyen, who specialises in beautiful floral tattoos, watercolour pieces and geometric designs. His gorgeous colourful flowers have earned Monster Ink a stellar reputation as one of Ho Chi Minh City’s top tattoo parlours. Nestled down a small alleyway in District 3, the parlour is a little bit tricky to find but it’s well worth the effort.
Especially popular amongst the blossoming generation of Vietnamese tattoo fans, Viên Tattoo Studio keeps it simple with its black tattoos. Artist Duyet Phan creates fun, cartoon-style body art and prices are very reasonable. If you’re looking for a cute tattoo by a talented local artist, look no further than Viên Tattoo Studio.