What are the days and times when alcohol can be bought in Thailand in 2017-2018, and when are alcohol sales banned?
I thought I would update this article on when alcohol can be bought in Thailand in 2017-2018, as laws have changed in the last couple of years and many people new in the Kingdom are still finding buying alcohol in Thailand confusing.
After all, sometimes you walk into your local supermarket or 7-11 and alcohol is easily bought. At other times you are told, “No, you can’t buy this now”.
So what are the days and times when alcohol can be bought in a store in Thailand?
Weirdly as it sounds, these are the current licensing hours in Thailand:
You can buy alcohol between 11am and 2pm, and again between 5pm and midnight on any day, weekends included. At any other times, it is not allowed.
Other restrictions include all Buddhist holidays and any election days, when the sale of alcohol is banned for all 24 hours. These holidays include Makhabucha (falls in February), Wan Wisakhabucha (sometime in May), Wan Asanhabucha (July) and Wan Khao Phansa (also in July). All bars are usually closed then as well.
Of course, this being Thailand, alcohol is still freely available at many small convenience stores around the country. Even with the current military’ junta government’s crackdown on alcohol sales.
The owners of these shops must just hope they don’t get caught, or are paying off the right police officer to ignore their alcohol sales, as punishment can include a 10,000 baht fine and six months in prison.
As a side note, however, you will usually be able to buy alcohol in a hotel, even during Buddhist holidays, as hotels often cater to international visitors and the government still wants their money. You can also buy alcohol in Thailand at international air terminals.
So, yes, Thailand’s licensing laws are strange.
After all, you can still buy booze early in the morning, part of the afternoon and in the evening until midnight every day. There is also nothing stopping you from buying it in bulk during those times.
So, how this is supposed to stop the problem Thailand has with so many people drinking to excess, I honestly have no idea. But, as they say — “TIT” — This is Thailand.