The first truly comprehensive insider's guide for foreign residents The website is under beta testing.
Whether or not you’re partial to becoming an illustrated man or a tattooed lady, there’s always some degree of mystique in the act of permanently marking the body. For many expats, the emotional and psychological transformation that accompanies leaving one’s home and putting down roots in an exotic country like Vietnam is most appropriately acknowledged with a thing of beauty that will forever change your body into an work of art. Without meaning to sound like an overly distraught parent, however, it’s worth pointing out – do some very careful thinking before you stick something in your body here, be it ink or otherwise. Seems legit Horror stories of shady Vietnamese tattoo parlours abound, especially concerning those around the Pham Ngu Lao backpacker area where many expats on a tight budget just do not have the moola to walk into safe, higher calibre, and consequently pricier tattoo parlours. The most typical among these scare-em-straight tales involve cancer-causing toxic ink and reused needles contaminated with every strain of local transmissible disease available, HIV included. The most pressing question for expats, then, is just how much truth there is to these tales? Sadly, the simple answer is that they’re very true – if said expats are not picky about who they trust with a needle. Despite the fact that tattooing is a flourishing business in large cities like HCMC, Hanoi, and Danang, there is still no legal regulation governing this industry. Ideally, to open up a tattoo parlour, the owner/tattoo artist has to register the business with the local authority under the ‘body art - tattooing’ category and be subjected to regular inspections by the government’s medical department checking the appropriate hygiene standard. In reality, due partially to overly lengthy bureaucratic procedures, this doesn’t always happen. Since tattooing deals with a lot