Getting Inked in Taiwan: Needle No 8 Tattoo Studio

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.

My tattoo was done at Needle No 8 Tattoo Studio in Taipei by Benjamin, the shop owner, and Mason, my tattoo artist.

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

Post Author: Carrie Kellenberger

I'm a chronically ill Canadian expat who has been living abroad in Asia since 2003. I moved from China to Taiwan in 2006. My husband and I have owned our own business in Taiwan since 2012. In addition to my own work, I've been writing professionally about Asia, travel and health advocacy since 2007, providing regular content to several publishing companies and travel publications in Asia and North America. Follow Carrie on on Twitter @globetrotteri or on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/carriekellenberger/.

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

    Erica Johansson

    (November 18, 2009 - 1:44 pm)

    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 =-.

      Carrie

      (December 1, 2009 - 7:04 am)

      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.

    Kelly Chao

    (November 18, 2009 - 3:02 pm)

    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

      Carrie

      (December 1, 2009 - 7:05 am)

      Thanks Kelly. You’ll have to let me know if you ever decide to get one. I’d love to see what you come up with!

    Sarah

    (November 18, 2009 - 4:35 pm)

    I love it!! It’s beautiful!! Congrats on getting your first tattoo, it’s quite a transformative process.
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..‘We have broken the speed of light’ =-.

    Monica

    (November 18, 2009 - 5:15 pm)

    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.

    carmel

    (November 18, 2009 - 8:17 pm)

    Wow thats a big tattoo for your first time, I have 4 now and I still havent gotten one that big 🙂

    JoAnna

    (November 18, 2009 - 8:23 pm)

    Very cool! I don’t have the guts to get inked, but I’m definitely digging your new tattoo. Beautiful colors.

      Carrie

      (December 1, 2009 - 7:42 am)

      @JoAnna @Fighting Windmills Thank you!

    Fighting Windmills

    (November 18, 2009 - 11:16 pm)

    WOW! It is gorgeous, Carrie! I love that so much of the detail was retained and the reasons why you chose it are perfect.

    Stevo

    (November 18, 2009 - 11:32 pm)

    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.

      Carrie

      (December 1, 2009 - 7:43 am)

      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!

    michelle gosse

    (November 19, 2009 - 3:31 pm)

    Amazing tattoo, I love the story behind it as well. I think the hummingbird suits you very well.

      Carrie

      (December 1, 2009 - 8:26 am)

      Thanks Michelle! 😀

    lyn

    (November 19, 2009 - 5:24 pm)

    i love hummingbirds too, its a very feminine tattoo, with a spiritual meaning:)

    Kim

    (November 19, 2009 - 7:51 pm)

    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?

      Carrie

      (December 1, 2009 - 8:29 am)

      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.

    Cahleen

    (November 20, 2009 - 6:23 am)

    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 =-.

      Carrie

      (December 1, 2009 - 8:31 am)

      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. 🙂

    Recent Reads: Space Center Houston, Asian Street Stalls, and Thoughts on Bangkok – Travel Blissful | Travel Blissful

    (November 20, 2009 - 3:47 pm)

    […] Carrie Kellenberger gets inked at the Needle No 8 Tattoo Studio in Taiwan. […]

    Anil

    (November 21, 2009 - 7:47 pm)

    The design is great and the colors came out well. Sometimes the artists go light on women and the colors don’t come out as bold.

    Nora

    (November 23, 2009 - 10:05 am)

    Gorgeous – simply gorgeous! As Anil said, the colours seem to have taken well. Awesome! (Good placement too)

      Carrie

      (December 1, 2009 - 8:36 am)

      Nora, Anil, Matt, and Peder,

      Thanks for dropping by and complimenting, er, commenting. 😀

    Nomadic Matt

    (November 23, 2009 - 2:03 pm)

    that’s an AWESOME tattoo and I normally hate tats!
    .-= Nomadic Matt´s last blog ..Of Shopping Malls and Supermarkets: Visiting the Unvisited =-.

    Peder

    (November 23, 2009 - 4:45 pm)

    Very cool Carrie, and my sympathies for your grandmother.
    .-= Peder´s last blog ..In Which an Old-Fashioned Writer Praises New Media =-.

    Yu-Fen

    (November 24, 2009 - 3:23 am)

    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!

    joan

    (November 25, 2009 - 10:12 am)

    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!

    Joshua Samuel Brown

    (November 29, 2009 - 2:51 am)

    Looooove the new tat, sweetie. I’m glad you finally took the plunge. I want to get some work from your artist. My own massive arm piece is still a work in progress. Am planning to get more done to it in Singapore.

    You go girl!

    JSBellllllizeeeeee!
    .-= Joshua Samuel Brown´s last blog ..Belize Day Three: On the Wings of a Dove =-.

      Carrie

      (December 1, 2009 - 8:40 am)

      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!

    Migration Mark

    (November 29, 2009 - 7:31 am)

    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.

      Carrie

      (December 1, 2009 - 8:45 am)

      Hi Mark,

      It’s true. These are words to live by.

    KewlGadget

    (December 4, 2009 - 12:26 am)

    I love the brilliant colors. It came out very well. It is amazing that hummingbirds can go 2 miles must less 2000.
    .-= KewlGadget ´s last blog ..Multi-Directional Drive Car – The Nissan Pivo 2 =-.

      Carrie

      (December 9, 2009 - 11:13 am)

      Kewl Gadget,
      Thank you! Yes, I was also surprised to learn this fact.

    jong

    (December 12, 2009 - 2:21 pm)

    nice tattoo,how much did you pay for that tattoo ?

    Daniel

    (December 22, 2009 - 3:15 pm)

    Nice ink! I’ve been thinking about a hummingbird tattoo as well — but using the cover of Leonard Cohen’s album “The Future” as inspiration. Agreed that colour was the way to go!
    .-= Daniel´s last blog ..Looking Back: Saigon =-.

      Carrie

      (December 28, 2009 - 2:39 am)

      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!

    Tara

    (February 15, 2010 - 5:46 pm)

    Wow that looks really pretty, do you know if they do ear piercings too?

      Carrie

      (February 24, 2010 - 10:42 am)

      Hi Tara,

      I’m not sure if they do piercings or not. I’ll check the next time I drop in to say hello.

    Annie

    (April 29, 2010 - 11:42 pm)

    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!

      Carrie

      (April 29, 2010 - 11:57 pm)

      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?

    Regino

    (May 9, 2010 - 5:05 pm)

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!! YOUR TATTO ARE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!wOw!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    terry

    (May 10, 2010 - 9:36 pm)

    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 =-.

      Carrie

      (May 31, 2010 - 2:22 pm)

      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!

    rose

    (October 17, 2010 - 6:12 am)

    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

      Carrie

      (October 18, 2010 - 8:57 am)

      Hi Rose,

      I don’t have any information about tattoo ink companies in Taiwan.

    Sarah

    (May 9, 2011 - 6:33 pm)

    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.

      Carrie

      (May 11, 2011 - 5:14 am)

      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.

    Racheal H

    (August 14, 2011 - 1:28 am)

    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!

    kelly

    (August 22, 2011 - 7:21 am)

    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!

    Ulf Pattke

    (October 1, 2011 - 9:16 am)

    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 !

      Carrie

      (October 6, 2011 - 8:19 am)

      Hi Ulf,

      I don’t work for Needle Number 8 Tattoo Studio. I only had my tattoo done there.

    Amanda

    (January 1, 2012 - 4:42 pm)

    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. 🙂

      Carrie

      (January 3, 2012 - 1:09 pm)

      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!

    Karen

    (January 11, 2012 - 10:56 pm)

    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

    Dusty

    (November 28, 2012 - 11:15 pm)

    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

    Nikki

    (January 29, 2013 - 9:37 pm)

    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.

      Carrie

      (January 30, 2013 - 2:50 pm)

      Maybe I’ll see you there. I’m going in for a consult on my next design.

    jeFFF

    (February 24, 2014 - 12:24 am)

    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.

      Carrie Kellenberger

      (March 3, 2014 - 5:52 pm)

      Hi Jeff,

      It took about four hours total. They work quickly. The slow part is waiting for an appointment. You can’t just walk in, unfortunately.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *