Sak Yant Tattoo Will Swallow Your Soul

Pentecostals speaking in tongues have nothing on sak yant tattoo devotees in the throws of possession. Yeah, that’s a thing in Thailand that you have to witness to understand. But we’ll try...

When the topic of Magic, Mysticism, and Mana: Superstition in Thailand came up on Evo’s other podcast, he’d planned on linking to the episode of This One Time where he told the story of visiting the Sak Yant Tattoo Festival from earlier in 2016. Only… it seems we never actually put that story into this podcast. Time to fix that!

Short version: Evo and Ric Gazarian from the Counting Countries travel podcast, did an overnight to Wat Bang Phra, some hour-ish north-ish of Bangkok and attended the aforementioned festival. It was… intense. Watching a hundred or so very patient people line up to be jabbed repeatedly by a bamboo stick with a sharpened piece of metal on the end was one thing. Witnessing at least 10,000 sak yant devotees waiting for their tattoos to possess them so they could rush the stage like some George Romero/Ang Lee crossover gone horribly wrong is quite another.

Intense doesn’t do it justice. Which is probably why Evo’s subconscious wouldn’t let him record the show at the time. To demonstrate just how creepy it was, he’s included a brief audio sample recorded live from the event in one of the calmer moments. [shudder]

Tattoo fans and those just curious about bizarre Thai events will dig it. People who enjoy listening to us react to things we’re completely unprepared for will absolutely love it. What we would love is if you decided to support us via Patreon. It’s the only way we fund the show, and it gets you a postcard from us every single month. Sign up today and we’ll include you in next month’s postcard send.

Music for our show is graciously provided by the fantastic band Velella Velella. They make killer tunes, and you should buy all of their stuff. It’s fabulous!

This is the last show we’re putting out before 2017. Be sure you’re subscribed and you’ll not miss it when we come back. And for what we’re doing during the break, like our page on Facebook, follow our Twitter account, keep up with us on Instagram… and probably a few more things. But that’ll do for now. See you after the first of the year!


This One Time (The Podcast) features retellings and recreations of the best (or worst depending on perspective) travel stories encountered in a life lived abroad. Stay subscribed on iTunes or whatever else you use to listen to podcasts and you’ll never miss an episode.