Tattoo Festival at Wat Bang Phra 2011

One of the most bizarre festivals that I have ever attended in Thailand is the Tattoo Festival. This takes place at Wat Bang Phra temple in Nakhon Chaisi, about 50 kms west of Bangkok. This year it is on Saturday 19th March 2011. Wat Bang Phra is famous for its magically charged tattoos and amulets which can protect its wearer against harm and even speeding bullets. The temple was made famous by the late Luang Phor Boon and his devoted followers visit this temple every March to take part in a special “wai khru” ceremony and also to have their tattoos recharged.

The ceremony is scheduled to start at the auspicious time of 9.39 a.m.  However, it is a good idea to come early. We were there just before 7 a.m. At that time it is easier to park and also to find a good place to sit or stand to watch the proceedings. Although we had arrived early, there was already close on a thousand people there. Many of them were sitting on the ground facing the shrine for Luang Poh Pern. Others were making offerings to this former revered abbot of the temple. He was famous for making magical tattoos that could protect their wearer. Now his monks continue this practice.

I have two reports on this festival:

I won’t be able to go this year as I have another trip heading north to Chiang Rai at that time. I have marked the temple on the map below. Near this temple you will find Lampaya Floating Market. You might like to visit afterwards. Please feel free to post any questions in the comments form below.

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9 responses to “Tattoo Festival at Wat Bang Phra 2011

  1. hope you’ll have more luck in Chiang Rai this year than last time. the smoke only started a couple of days ago and I would think C.R. is not worse, so probably you’ll get to see the tea plantations and simply the views you missed last time!

  2. Thanks Betti. I had heard the haze had started in Chiang Rai already but wasn’t sure how bad it is yet.

  3. Hi –

    thank you for putting so much time and eloquence into your article, i really enjoyed reading your work.

    i’m an american, however am really interested in getting a traditional thai tattoo. do you think this festival would be the appropriate place to get it? if not, do you have any recommendations as to where i could respectfully get a thai tattoo?

  4. This festival has already passed so you would have to wait another year. You will find quite a few tattoo artists around Thailand at any time of the year. Shouldn’t be a problem.

  5. Can you tell me how to get to Wat Bang Phra from Bangkok on public transportation please? Also is it easy to get back to Bangkok from that province since I would like to visit other temples?


  6. It’s in the middle of no-where. I suggest that you hire a taxi for the day. It isn’t that expensive.

    Map and driving directions:

  7. Hi, do you know how about this year event? I mean 2012.Any exact dates are known?Isn’t connected somehow to march full moon days?How to check it up? I really want to be there.
    Many thanks.

  8. Hi Richard,

    We are planning to go to Thailand in march 2013. And we want to visit the Wat Bang Phra tattoo festival. Do you know when it’s be held that year?

  9. I have heard it is 23rd March 2013 but this will need to be confirmed nearer the time.