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Traveling with tattoos, 11 countries where tattoos can be a problem ⋆

In recent years and in many countries around the world, tattoos have become an extremely common decoration for both men and women. However, in some countries, tattoos are still considered taboo. Traveling with tattoos and displaying them in these countries can be very risky as it can lead to arrest and, in the case of tourists, expulsion from the country.

The vacation period is close now, so you should be aware of and avoid problems that were not foreseen in your travel itinerary! Here is a list of countries where displaying a tattoo can be a problem.

Germany, France, Slovakia

In these three countries, tattoos are highly respected and very common, but tattoos that glorify, glorify, or simply represent Nazi culture are strictly prohibited. Displaying such a tattoo will result in arrest or exile.


Japan has some of the best tattoo artists in the world and is the birthplace of ancient art, but tattoos are still frowned upon in many circles and the rules for displaying tattoos are very strict. A tattooed person can easily be classified as a criminal gang, so much so that it is forbidden to display tattoos in many public places, such as gyms and typical Japanese spas. Suffice it to say that a relatively recent study found that around 50% of resorts and hotels in Japan forbid tattooed clients from visiting spa areas.

Sri Lanka

Over the past 10 years, Sri Lanka has made headlines about the arrest and expulsion from the country of some tourists who displayed tattoos of Buddha or other symbols of the Buddhist faith. This country actually strongly believes in the Buddhist religion and therefore the government is very sensitive to foreigners who wear symbols that are so important to the nation.

So beware of tattoos such as mandalas, unalomas, Sak Yants, and of course, any tattoos that depict or represent the Buddha himself.

More on the topic:  Tattooing your pet, why and what it means.


Similar to Sri Lanka, Thailand is also very strict with those who wear tattoos that represent aspects of their religious beliefs because they are considered offensive and destructive to the local culture.


In addition to what has been said about Sri Lanka and Thailand, tattoos are usually hard to see in Malaysia due to the issue of religious belief, regardless of the object being tattooed. In fact, whoever gets a tattoo of themselves is considered a sinner who despises and denies the way God created him. Obviously, this is a very serious sin, which is why you may receive unwanted attention during your stay in the country.


While tattoos are not banned in the country, it seems law enforcement has become particularly hostile and uncompromising towards those showing heavily tattooed body parts. It so happened that one of the high-ranking priests asked Muslim believers who had tattoos to repent and remove them surgically.

Personally, I'm not 100% sure of this information, but it's always good to pay special attention.


Like Japan, tattoos in Vietnam are also associated with the underworld, and until recently it was forbidden to open tattoo studios in the country. Recently, however, even Vietnam has been carried away by the fashion for tattoos, and today the law is no longer as strict as public opinion.

However, outside of big cities, you can still draw unwanted attention to your tattoos and you may need to cover them up.

North Korea

North Korea approves of tattoos if you follow strict and, let's face it, absurd rules. In fact, a tattoo is only allowed if it contains an element that celebrates the Kim family, or if it promotes a political message in line with the current dictator.

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If you are caught with tattoos that do not have these characteristics, you may be expelled from the country. North Koreans who have tattoos that do not meet the above rules can also be forced to hard labor.


Unfortunately, in some countries, instead of moving on, we are retreating. In recent years, some members of the government seem to have publicly established that getting tattoos is a devilish act and tattooing is a sign of Westernization, which is obviously considered very negative.


Thus, if your tattoo is considered a wonderful expression of yourself in your country, it may not be in other countries. While there are no serious consequences, such as expulsion or imprisonment, it is good to know in advance how tattoos are counted in the country we are about to visit. We may disagree with the opinion that there are tattoos in this particular country, but it is part of the journey to understand and understand the culture of the place and respect it.