Asian Countries With Strict Rules For Tattoos

A tattoo is a form of art that can express an individual’s thoughts and/or ideas. Some inked their skins for fashion while some have a story behind each tattoo design. Whatever it may be, tattoed persons are usually judged based on the culture and beliefs of the country in which he is currently in.

Things to Consider in Visiting Countries If You Have Tattoos


Tattoos are not totally illegal in Japan, however, banned in most public places such as pool, spa, gym, traditional houses or inns, onsens, and various temples and shrines. Carefully look for signage or gently asked personnel before entering to avoid any troubles or worse being asked to leave the place.

Some travelers say that there are places where tattooed persons are allowed to go in provided that they will cover their inks with bandages or they will wear long sleeves clothing.


This form of art is slowly being accepted in the cities of Vietnam however if you’re planning to visit the rural part of the country, you’ll still receive negative attention from the people due to their old mindsets and traditional ways.

Bring a bandage and a cover so you can safely tour the place.

South Korea

People with tattoos are not forbidden in South Korea however, the locals still interpret them as violators, criminals, and anti-social individuals.

Meanwhile, tattooing in South Korea can only be done by a licensed medical doctor.

North Korea

Wearing a tattoo in North Korea is allowed but is subject to a specific requirement, the tattoo design should show praise for the King family or something with acceptable political promotions beneficial to them.

If you are found not following these rules, you may possibly be get deported or be in prison to do hard labor.

Sri Lanka

A visitor with a tattoo is allowed in this country as long as his tattoo is not reflecting an image of Buddha or something related to Buddhists. Due to Sri Lanka’s strong Buddhist belief, their government is protective of their religion being disrespected particularly a foreigner who publicly wears something symbolic for them.

There are many instances that travelers with religious tattoos have been arrested.


Similar to Sri Lanka, Thailand is also sensitive in accepting guests with religious symbols inked on their skins. Their government takes this as disrespect and inappropriate to their culture in terms of religion.


Showing your tattoo in public will not be a good idea as Iran’s government believes that this practice is related to devil-worshipping and a sign of Westernisation which is against “Islamic System’s Regulations”.

If your planning to visit Iran, ensure to cover your tattoo especially if you have a large one which can be easily noticed by the locals.


In recent years, Turkish leaders are becoming more aggressive in dealing with people with tattoos particular to Muslims in the country, they are requested to either regret their action or to totally removed the tattoo surgically. They have also banned students from getting inked.

United Arab Emirates(UAE)

In the UAE, tourists will not get arrested for having a tattoo as there is no law that prohibits it. However, they believe that it is a form of self-injury that is forbidden in the culture of Islam.


Just like in Vietnam, a visitor with a tattoo is socially acceptable in the main cities of China such as in Beijing and Shanghai but they cannot move easily around people in most rural areas showing off their tattoos.

There is nothing wrong with expressing oneself by means of ink but we must also pay respect to the customs and traditions of the places that we are visiting. Cover and hide them if deemed necessary.

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