Traditional Thai Tattoo Meaning of Designs

And Thai Tattoo Rules

Meaning of the Traditional Thai Tattoo Sak Yant Designs

Traditional Thai Tattoo Meanings of Sak Yant Design.   In the following article we will discuss some of the more common Sak Yant designs and their basic meanings.
thai tattoo meaning
It takes years of study for Sak Yant Masters to learn magical languages used in Traditional Thai Tattoos.

A real and authentic traditional Thai Tattoo Meaning is a combination of the Thai Tattoo Design, Magic spells and the final Blessing. Since each Thai Tattoo can look similar in design, it might have a different spell or blessing to suit the motivations of the person receiving it.  This makes it difficult to say exactly what a Thai Sak Yant Tattoo means, but we can define the basic meanings of the Thai Tattoo designs used in a Sak Yant Tattoo.  If you would like a more detailed description and more Thai Tattoo Designs and Meanings you can view the larger article at Sak Yant Chiang Mai called Sak Yant Designs and Meanings

Traditional Thai Tattoo Meaning - Sak Yant Designs

While it is a common to read online that Monks and Sak Yant Ajarns will choose your design for you – this only happens when you lack the preparation to chose it yourself.  You can discuss options with the Sak Yant Master if you wish but overall, you can decide what Thai Tattoo Design you want.  After all the decision to get a Sak Yant tattoo is going to last a life time.  You are also able to request the location of where on your body the Sak Yant will go.  Although certain Yantra designs are restricted in placement on the body and must go in certain places.

สักยันต์ – Sak Yant

Sak- meaning “to tap” or, “to tattoo”, and

Yant – meaning “Yantra”. Originally derived from the Sanskrit word Yantra.\

What is a Sak Yant Thai Tattoo?

Sak Yant Tattoo Meaning of Master Yants

Getting Your First Traditional Thai Sak Yant Tattoo

Typically your first Sak Yant will be one of Master Yant’s. These come (being Master Yants) with a wide range of blessings that cover 95% of peoples desires .. are the from left to right

1) Paed Tidt (8 direction)
2) Hah Taew (five line)
3) Gao Yord (Buddha peaks)

Other, more complex and complicated Sak Yant designs such as animals and sacred geometry are seen as advanced talismans for more serious and dedicated believers.  If you are a westerner who is looking for your first Sak Yant, 95% of the time it will be one of these 3 designs.

Traditional Thai Tattoo Meaning and Designs

5 Line Hah Taew Thai Tattoo Meaning

hah teaw Thai Tattoo Meaning and Design
The more beautiful Lanna Style 5 Line Sak Yant found in Northern Thailand

The Sak Yant Hah Taew Thai Tattoo dates its origin back over 700 years to the ancient Kingdom of Lanna which is now known as Northern Thailand. The Buddhist Monk credited with the design of the Hah Taew 5 Lines Thai Tattoo is Kruba Kam of Wat Ton Pin, a Buddhist Temple in Chiang Ma. Kruba Kam designed the Hah Taew at around the time King Mengrai founded the city of Chiang Mai in 1296.

Over the centuries, either by accident or design, the original 5 lines of script which were written in Khom, an ancient Khmer language, underwent several changes and in recent years, several Sak Yant Ajarns have completely replaced the original 5 lines of script with lines of their own.

The 5 lines of script (transcribed) used in the original Hah Taew design are:

  • The first row prevents unjust punishment and leans in your favor when the area is grey, cleans out unwanted spirits and protects the place you live in.
  • The second row reverses and protects against bad horoscope constellations and bad fortune.
  • The third row protects you from the use of black magic and anyone who tries to put a curse on you.
  • The fourth row energizes your good luck, success and fortune in your future ambitions and life style.
  • The fifth row is to gain charisma and attraction to the opposite sex. It is also is a boost to the fourth row.

The 9 Peaks of Buddha Thai Tattoo Meaning

The Gao Yord is the “Yant Kru” or Master Yant and is a most sacred Buddhist tattoo with very wide ranging powers of protection and is quite possibly the most important of all the available Thai tattoo designs. Many people will choose the Gao Yord Design as their first Thai Tattoo Sak Yant because of its universal powers and later add other Sak Yant designs of their choice.

The basic design of the Gao Yord represents the nine peaks of the mythical mountain of the Gods, Mount Meru. According to Hindu mythology, Mount Meru is the abode of the Lord Brahma as well as other Deities. In Buddhist mythology, Mount Meru is known as Sumeru.

Gao Yord 9 Peaks Thai Tattoo Meaning and Design
The Thai Tattoo Gao Yord will protect the wearer against evil spirits and all forms of “Black Magic”.

The 8 Direction Paed Tidt Thai Tattoo Meaning

Paed-Tidt-Thai Tattoo Meaning and Design
The Sak Yant Paed Tidt will protect the wearer against harm when travelling in all directions

The Paed Tidt Thai Tattoo Design or Eight Direction Yant is a sacred Geometric Yant containing eight Mantras written in 2 concentric circles in the center of the design. The design of the Paed Tidt Thai tattoo also incorporates eight representations of the Buddha. These are the groups of 3 ovals each increasing in size from the top.

In Thailand, there is a Buddha image, each one in a different pose, for every day of the week. (On Wednesdays there are 2 Buddhas, one for the morning and one for the evening) and these 8 Buddha Images can be seen in many Thai temples, usually surrounding a Chedi.

The Paed Tidt Yant will give you protection in whichever direction you are traveling and ward off evil spirits. The script used on the Paed Tidt Yant is an ancient Khmer script known as Khom. The Mantras written in the Paed Tidt Yant and which should be chanted when going out to give further protection by devout followers of the Traditional Thai Tattoo beliefs.

The Monkey God Hanuman Thai Tattoo Meaning

Hanuman Thai Tattoo Meaning and Design
Bearers of Hanuman Yants are protected from danger as well as becoming fearless in the face of adversity. Hanuman also helps to strengthen self-confidence and can influence people on your behalf.

Hanuman is the Hindu mythical Monkey God in the time of Rama and  is invincible and has powers far greater than humans, including the ability to fly. In Thai culture Hanuman leads a monkey army to rid the world of unwanted spirits. His main traits were humility and bravery, he was looked upon as hope for humanity, demonstrating to man that a mortal being can in fact rise above the shallowness of our worldly plain.

There are different variations of Sak Yants with Hanuman. It is obtained and used to bestow the wearer with the qualities of protection  from danger as well as becoming fearless in the face of adversity. Hanuman also helps to strengthen self-confidence and can influence people on your behalf. It is also said to help one stay focused and gives the determination needed to see something through to a successful conclusion.

The Twin Tiger Thai Tattoo Meaning

The Twin Tiger Thai Tattoo Design is common among Thai people with dangerous occupations and Muay Thai Fighters.  The Tiger represents strength, power, protection and conviction, as well as authority over ones subordinates.

The tiger also offer help in business dealings and used by entrepreneurs to find the strength and mental resolve to find success in business. Twin tigers represent more power, as would two tigers in reality. This one is a favorite for those seeking extra power in their lives.

The Twin Tiger Sak Yant is very popular with military personnel, police, businessmen and politicians.

Twin Tiger Thai Tattoo Meaning and Design
Represents Power and Authority.  

The Suea Hiaw lang Thai Tattoo Meaning

Tiger Looking Back Thai Tattoo Meaning and Design
Someone to watch your Back

Tiger Looking Back Thai Tattoo Meaning

Suea Hiaw lang, or “tiger looking back” Design represents protection from behind, having the Tiger watching your back. Most of the animal Yants have the attributes of that animal, the tiger has stealth, speed and power.

This Yant is suitable for people with authority and respect. As well as giving the bearer a fearful aura, it also represents compassion and kindness. This Yant is said to be helpful in business negotiations, managing employees, finances and helps develop communication skills. 

It is said that the tiger looking back is best suited to those who are highly respected in the community. This Yant requires that the wearer must be a responsible and caring person and use their authority in a positive way.

The Ganesh (Elephant) Thai Tattoo Meaning

This is a popular Yant design. Ganesh, also known to Hindus as Vinayaka or Ganapati, has an elephant head. He has been worshiped for centuries in the Hindu religion. There are several versions of how Ganesh came to be, some believe that Ganesh was a child conceived by Shiva and Parvati while others say that the Goddess Parvati made Ganesh because she was unhappy because her husband, Shiva would not allow her any privacy. She breathed life into an effigy and called it Ganesh, her son, instructing him to block the path of anyone who tried to enter her chambers.

Later when Shiva approached his house, he noticed the boy Ganesh and thought he was spying on his wife. Outraged, he produced a sword and lopped off Ganesh’s head. Parvati was heartbroken and ordered her husband to cut off the head of the first living thing he saw and attach it to Ganesh. It so happened that the first living thing Shiva encountered was an elephant. Another says that Ganesh was born by the elephant headed goddess Malini after she drank some of Parvati’s bath water. This design is popular with people connected to the arts such as singers, actors and musicians. It is associated with material wealth and also guarding valuable assets.

Ganesh Thai Tattoo Meaning and Design
Ganesh will bring Business and Financial Prosperity

Animal Thai Tattoo Meaning

Crocodile Thai Tattoo Meaning
Crocodile-Thai Tattoo Meaning and Design

The crocodile is a Sak Yant that represents strength and power. The crocodile is one of the oldest species on the planet and represents the endurance that comes from this. For this reason it is a good source of protection from dangers from occupations that involve risk such as Police, Armed Forces or Firemen. The crocodile also has incredibly tough skin so it offers great protection against swords, blades … anything that can pierce the skin.


Having been around for a long time the crocodile has developed good instincts and can provide wisdom that protect against manipulation and experience to help the person understand deceit.

Dragon Thai Tattoo Meaning
Mangkorn-Dragon-Thai Tattoo Meaning and Design

The dragon is one of the most interesting and powerful of the mythical beasts. The dragon is a fire breathier and uses this destructive force destroy its enemies.  Because of these destructive powers, it is feared among it’s foes.


This Yant offers protection from physical harm and also from the bad influence of others. It also is said to bring the bearer good fortune and is popular among military personal and government officials.

The Dtao Ruen – Turtle Thai Tattoo Meaning
Tao-Ruean-Turtle-Thai Tattoo Meaning and Design

It is believed that Buddha was once incarnated as a turtle. During that lifetime, the turtle grew to be the size of a house, hence the name Dtao Reun (turtle house). The Turtle Sak Yant offers the bearer wealth and prosperity, good luck and a long life. It is also a very lucky animal in Chinese traditions. It is said that this Yant can help one to eliminate emotional suffering.


The turtle is a symbol of the earth and has a mythology connection to the earth element.  It has patience and good navigational skills. This animal is said to have many female attributes such as patience, the power to heal disease, knowing one’s own boundaries and respecting the boundaries of others. It offers the best physical protection, has a long life and is very independent. It is also known for tenacity and resourcefulness. The turtle has a non-violent defense.

Traditional Thai Tattoo Rules

Why do Traditional Thai Tattoos have Rules?

The Sak Yant Thai Tattoo is a spiritual and magical representation of a desire/intention or specific purpose that is magically charged by the Sak Yant Master at the time of creation.  That magical charge bestowed into the tattoo is based on the power created by the Master from regular spiritual practices, purity of life and meditation. 

The magical power embedded into the Traditional Thai Tattoo, relies on the quality of the persons thoughts, and actions to remained charged.  The rules are designed to highlight some of the most important actions that will do this.

Each Sak Yant Thai Tattoo tradition have there various and often differing Thai Tattoo Rules. The origins of the meaning of the Rules after getting a Bamboo Tattoo are often not even known by the Sak Yant Master.  They tend to not questions their own Master teacher and follow the guidelines of the tradition they learned.

Sak Yant Pai Rules after getting a Traditional Thai Tattoo

Basic Thai Tattoo Rules


The Rules after getting a Sak Yant Traditional Thai Tattoo follow The Buddhist Concepts Rules of Conduct

  1. Do not kill
  2. Do not steal
  3. Do not desire another persons lover or spouse or be unfaithful to your own
  4. Do not lie
  5. Do not get Intoxicated
  6. Do Not speak ill of your Mother
Thai Tattoo Rules after a Bamboo Sak Yant
Additional Thai Tattoo Rules by other  Masters


  1. Do not commit evil deeds.
  2. Devotees of the same master are forbidden to fight or compete with each other
  3. Do not drink alcohol or take drugs.
  4. Do not make special claims of having protective powers because of your Yant or amulets.
  5. Do not think that the power of the Yant will protect you if you intend to use those powers for bad deeds.
  6. Try to keep the five precepts.