Getting Inked in Taiwan: Needle No 8 Tattoo Studio

Hummingbird Tattoo
Ta-da! My new tattoo is almost healed.  This was my first time getting inked, and in Taiwan no less!
 While I was at dinner at Dozo, my favorite restaurant in Taipei, I noticed that they have a similar hummingbird for their logo. I still like mine better though.

So, a little about my new tattoo:

Hummingbird by Scott Si

The original design for the tattoo was based off the artwork of Si Scott, a graphic designer and illustrator from Manchester.

The Hummingbird Tattoo

I chose the hummingbird as a reminder to myself to always seek the joy in life. Hummingbirds are thought to represent peace, love, and happiness. These tiny little birds are often called new world birds because they are native to North America, Central and South America. I really liked the idea of getting a tattoo that represents my North American heritage.

The ancient pagans believed that hummingbirds were sacred because of the tireless energy. They remind us to find the good in life and to seek beauty each and every day.

Hummingbirds are also incredible travelers, and have been known to fly as far as 2000 miles to reach their destination. This quality teaches us that we should always show persistence and determination in following our dreams and living out our lives to the fullest.

Where to go if you want to get inked in Taiwan:

There are dozens of tattoo studios in Taipei, including a special area of tattoo studios in the back alleys of Ximending. However, I chose to go with Needle No 8 Tattoo Studio, because they came recommended by a friend. She had a stunning tattoo done on her back last year and I didn’t need much convincing after I saw hers.

I went in knowing the original design had too much detail for a tattoo, so I asked the artist, Benjamin, to leave in as much detail as possible. I also wanted bright jewel tone colors incorporated into the design mainly because I’m planning to add a peony to it within the next year. Mason did the actual tattoo work in under four hours. A word to the wise, while Mason doesn’t speak any English, Benjamin’s spoken English is quite good. He will be the first to tell you that he doesn’t speak English, but be persistent. I promise, he knows far more than he lets on. He’s just a little shy.

As it turned out, I arrived on the evening of my appointment just as Benjamin and Mason were finishing up with their latest customer. After chatting with him for a few minutes, he revealed that he was from Brunei and the ONLY reason he was in Taiwan was because he wanted his tattoo done by Mason and Benjamin. Apparently, these guys are well known throughout Asia for their artwork and expertise. Hearing his story was like music to my ears.

Since I got my tattoo, I’ve sent a number of friends to see Benjamin and Mason at Needle No 8. They specialize in cover-ups, but they also have an incredible artist on site that does black and white portrait work as well.

Needle No 8 Tattoo Studio

No.5 Alley 29.Lane205. Sec.4, Chung Hsiao E.Rd., Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C

Taiwan, Taiwan

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60 thoughts on “Getting Inked in Taiwan: Needle No 8 Tattoo Studio

  1. Erica Johansson

    This tattoo looks really good! And I like what it represents, that it has such a great meaning to it. Tattoos that stands for something meaningful are the best ones. I wouldn’t want a tattoo only because it looks beautiful, I want it to stand for something, to act as a reminder – like your hummingbird.

    And these guys Benjamin and Mason sounds awesome. If I ever visit Taiwan (which I hope), I know exactly where to go for my next tattoo!

    So, when will you get your next one…? Or was it a one time thing?
    .-= Erica Johansson´s last blog ..Music That Makes Me Happy: Enjoy Ya Self =-.

    Reply
    • Carrie Post author

      Hi Erica,
      I’m surprised at the number of people who get tattoos that don’t have any meaning. This tattoo was a rite of passage for me in many ways and yes, there is more to come. The second part of it involves my favorite flowers, peonies. This one will be a tribute to the women in my family, and will also have meaning because my grandmother grew champion peony bushes in her garden, and my mother grows them as well.

      Peonies have a long history rooted in Chinese and Japanese culture, so I believe it’s an appropriate symbol to use as it will represents how I have flourished in Chinese culture over the past seven years. Peonies represent prosperity, success, and romance, and also a daring or devil-may-care attitude – a symbol to remind myself to always take a chance in the things I most deeply believe in.

      Reply
  2. Kelly Chao

    Dear Carrie,

    That is one awesome tattoo! Reading your article is really convincing me to get one for myself. And it is lovely that you explained the original meaning of the hummingbirds. I think it suits your in any way.

    Kelly

    Reply
  3. Monica

    OMG! What a badass you are! Lol. I can’t even imagine how painful that was. No pain, no gain – right? I agree with Erica. Tattoos are a form of self-expression and it’s something that should be timeless.

    Reply
  4. Stevo

    Excellent, Carrie. I will keep this place in mind. I would like to get another tattoo. I know a great tattoo artist in Hong Kong but the idea of going to Taiwan just for ink is rather exotic.

    Reply
    • Carrie Post author

      Steve,

      Please do! How can you possibly pass up a photowalk with Taiwan’s best photographers and the chance to be inked by a great artist? Dinner and drinks are on me when you come!

      Reply
  5. Kim

    Hi Carrie, that looks gorgeous! The colours are beautiful and the design is very pretty, much nicer than the standard hummingbird tattoos I’ve seen before. This one is delicate yet at the same time powerful, I’m checking out the artist’s site next! I also love your story behind the tattoo, it certainly beats my coworker’s “drunken bachelor night” tweety bird tattoo… So, did it hurt much?

    Reply
    • Carrie Post author

      Hi Kim,

      Thank you! I’m glad I decided to go with color. I was thinking for the longest time that this would be more of a tribal tattoo, but one look at Benjamin’s color sleeves convinced me that color is exactly what this piece needs. I thought the whole process would be a lot more painful than it was. It hurt, but it was completely bearable. The day after I felt like I had been hit with a bat, but whenever I looked at it, it all felt worth it.

      Reply
  6. Cahleen

    What a beautiful tattoo! Watch out, it can be addicting. I thought I would just get one, and here I am with two. I know where I’ll go for my third now, if I ever get a third. =)
    .-= Cahleen´s last blog ..Belly Pic #1 =-.

    Reply
    • Carrie Post author

      Cahleen,

      So they say. My brother and sister are both ink addicts. My sister was just starting a full back piece last December and I got to see the completed project when I was home last month. I think this is her 5th or 6th piece and she admitted that she probably only had one more in her. My brother, on the other hand, seems to have a new one every time I see him. :)

      Reply
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  8. Yu-Fen

    Dear Carrie,

    That’s an awesome tatoo! I’ve never seen a more beautiful one!!

    My condolence too to you and your family who have lost your beloved grandmother! What a sweet series of pictures you posted to remember her. She’d smile!

    Reply
  9. joan

    that is a beautiful tattoo and they did a great job doing an intricate job.

    hope you’ll vote on the best of taipei restaurants poll on my blog when you have time!

    Reply
    • Carrie Post author

      Josh,

      Ahem. It would be cool if we could finish our video series and follow up on a tat story when you come back. We have much to discuss, my friend!

      Reply
  10. Migration Mark

    Very nice tatto, I think it looks great. I love on the first line when you say that the hummingbird is a reminder to “seek the joy in life.” That is an awesome attitude to have when doing just about anything.

    Reply
    • Carrie Post author

      Hi Daniel,

      I look forward to seeing it when it is finished. I know exactly which album you’re talking about. It’s the perfect piece for a tattoo!

      Reply
  11. Annie

    Hi Carrie,

    The hummingbird looks so gorgeous with all that vibrant colors, Im flying to Taiwan in a few weeks and plan to get my tattoo @ Needle #8 studio since your tattoo looks amazing
    how much did it cost you in total in NT? I know theres a $2000 NT deposit.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Carrie Post author

      Hi Annie,

      Thank you! I paid NT$10,000. When are you flying in? I’m supposed to be interviewing Benjamin and Mason in the next week or two and I’d like to do it while someone is getting a tat done. Are you interested?

      Reply
  12. terry

    hi!
    the hummingbird looks gorgeous! have you gotten the peony tattoo yet?

    i want to get a tattoo when i move to taiwan and came across your site while looking for a place. it’s going to be a latin phrase so i need a tattoo artist that is comfortable with the roman alphabet (script style). i went onto needle no. 8′s website and saw some of benjamin’s work and there was one with the style i wanted…so i will keep this place in mind!

    i was wondering if there is anywhere else you may know of that have artists who specialize in those types of tattoos?

    anyways, your website is very interesting! i will be coming often :)
    .-= terry´s last blog ..055. 刈包 / 割包 / 刮包 / gua bao =-.

    Reply
    • Carrie Post author

      Hi Terry,

      Thank you! No, I haven’t gotten the peony yet. It will probably happen this fall. I don’t know anyone who specializes in these kinds of tattoos, but you could certainly ask Benjamin. He would know. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  13. rose

    hi Carrie!
    could you pls answer my question directly to my mail box???
    I hope you can give me some of the best companies’s name which producing the best tattoo ink in Taiwan.

    thank you

    Reply
  14. Sarah

    Hey Carrie,

    I’m doing some research on where to get tattooed in Taipei and came across your website. I followed the link you provided to check out the needle no 8 tattoo studio website and it said that they couldn’t quote prices or accept appointments via email or phone. Because I’m not physically in Taipei yet, I can’t just pop in the store, which makes it a little complicated for me.

    I just wanted to know a rough idea of how much I’ll be spending if I decide to get my tattoo done with them. Can you tell me how much you had to pay in total to get your tattoo done and how long it took?
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Carrie Post author

      Hi Sarah,

      My tattoo was around $300USD and it took about four hours. You’ll also notice that it has a lot of fine detail, which popped the price up.

      Reply
  15. Racheal H

    this is beautiful! i’ve been wanting to use the exact humming bird design but its so complex i have been turned down a few times by artists (partially b/c i did not have a high res version of the image). who ever did yours did a great job of simplifying it while keeping the unique character!

    Reply
  16. kelly

    Beautiful work. I’ve had several pieces done… from Hong Kong, Denver, Honolulu… now I want my next one from Taiwan and have been looking for a reputable artist. I had it narrowed down to a couple guys in Kaohsiung but after coming across your blog/post, and since I live in Taipei, Mason/Benjamin seems to be a better fit.

    Do you know if they are in the same location? Please email me if you have a moment kbk1008@gmail.com

    thanks!

    Reply
  17. Ulf Pattke

    Hi Carrie,

    have you time in 18.-22.02.2012 for a little Dragontattoo? (Holiday)

    You stay now in the 8er Studio?

    Thank`s from Germany,
    Ulf !

    Reply
  18. Amanda

    Hi Carrie –

    I’m a total random passerby who stumbled upon your blog when I googled “hummingbird tattoo” – I loved the original design by Si Scott. Here’s the best part: I never clicked through to your blog beyond the google image search…but I brought the Si Scott photo to my fave tattoo artist when I came back to Taiwan (I live in NYC) and he said, “Oh, I’ve done that tattoo before in color” (completely nonchalantly). I got home and searched for the image again, and this time I clicked through to your blog from the image…..and realized your tattoo was done by the same tattoo artis–Benjamin Lee! How weird/meant to be!!

    Anyway, just wanted to share. :) Benjamin has done 3 of my tattoos (including my first) and I always wait until I visit Taipei to get my tattoos done, even though I live in New York and visit TW only every two years or so!

    Take care. :)

    Reply
    • Carrie Post author

      Hi Amanda,

      Well, how cool is that! It’s such a small world, isn’t it? I’ve sent quite a few friends and readers to Benjamin over the past three years. I’m getting ready to go in for my next tattoo some time soon. Who knows? Maybe our paths while cross while I’m there. All the best for 2012, and thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      Reply
  19. Karen

    I accidentally stumbled on your blog when I googled “humingbird tatoo”…To me, this bird has a very special meaning!! When my husband and I met in high school, and were walking along, a hummingbird literally just flew around us, I out out my left hand, and it landed on my hand…And it let me pet it a few times before finally flying away…I knew hummingbirds meant love, so I just knew he was the one for me..14 years later, we are still married! And seeing this version of a hummingbird tatoo, really left me in awe! It’s gorgeous!! Thanks for this!! :)

    karen

    Reply
  20. Dusty

    Carrie, I will be there coming up in Feb 2013, And I’m to get married there and we both would like to get a tattoo, but I’ve looked and can’t find a web site for them, do they have one or a phone number?

    Thanks,

    Dusty :-)

    Croppyflop@hotmail.com

    Reply
  21. Nikki

    It’s funny cuz im getting this tattoo on my leg this friday the 1st of Feburary!!! But mine will be much bigger and will be almost a foot tall so much more can go into it.

    Reply
  22. jeFFF

    Hello Carrie,
    I just wonder How long did it take to tattoo your bird ?
    I watched their work on their websites and I really want to go there but I am in TaiPei for juste one day, consequently i have no time for a big piece of tattoo.

    Reply

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