Thailand calls for ban on religious tattoos for tourists

Thailand calls for ban on religious tattoos for tourists

Concerned with the growing number of deities appearing on skin, the Culture Ministry wants Buddha, Jesus and Ganesh declared off limits

Jesus Christ tattoosIf the Culture Ministry has its way, tourists will have to get their Jesus Christ tattoos elsewhere. Thailand's Culture Ministry wants to ban tourists from getting religious tattoos after noticing an alarmingly high number of foreigners sporting deities that were inked in parlors in Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai. 

As the Phuket Gazette reports, Culture Minister Niphit Intharasombat told reporters this week that Phuket's Culture Office had noticed many tourists are getting inked up with religious images such as the Buddha, Ganesh and Jesus Christ on their arms, legs and ankles. 

"We noted that these tattoos were all over the country, in particular in tourist destinations such as Khao San Road, Tawanna and Chatuchak Market in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket,” he said.

"People with visible religious tattoos who engaged in 'bad behavior' such as 'sitting drinking alcohol and arguing' would damage the faiths through association," the Gazette quoted Niphit. 

A ban is not yet in place, but according to the state-run National News Bureau, Niphit said his ministry had asked regional governors to inspect tattoo studios and ask them not to use religious patterns. 

We went back and took a look at our own gallery of wild street tattoos and sure enough, the only foreigner in the bunch had a massive Buddha tattoo on his upper arm. And then of course there's Angelina Jolie, who deserves much of the blame for making sak yant tattoos a popular trend among traveling females.