Days and times when alcohol cannot be sold in Thailand

Days and times when alcohol cannot be sold in Thailand


Alcohol licensing hours in Thailand can be confusing for some tourists. Actually, to be honest, it is confusing to me at times. The hours that you can and cannot buy alcohol at your local convenience store or supermarket just don’t make sense. In Thailand, you can only buy or be served alcohol between the hours of 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. – midnight. Of course, this being Thailand, your local mom and pop store will probably sell you beer outside of these hours. Though they might refuse if they don’t recognize you. After all, you could be working undercover for the police. The fine for selling alcohol outside of these hours is up to 4,000 Baht and/or up to two years in prison.

In addition to these licensing hours, there are also 24 hour bans on the sale of alcohol on religious holidays such as Wan Makha Bucha, Wan Wisakha Bucha, Wan Asakha Bucha and Wan Khao Phansa. The fine for selling on these days is up to 10,000 Baht and/or up to six months in prison. But, like I said, alcohol is still being sold. Just this morning, I was buying some eggs at my local mom and pop store when a Tuk Tuk driver pulled up. He was served a shot of alcohol in a small brown bottle. On closer inspection, I could see it was one of those energy drink bottles. So, the next time your driver drinks some Krating Daeng or M-150 to keep himself awake, be aware, it might actually be a shot of whiskey he is drinking.

What do you think about the licensing hours in Thailand? Do you think they are effective? If not, what should they do to solve the alcohol problem in Thailand?

8 thoughts on “Days and times when alcohol cannot be sold in Thailand

  1. It´s really stupid. Anyone who want to buy alcohol can find a dealer in the small shops. It is only annoying when you go to the mall four a clock and they tell you, you can´t buy. Only if i buy large quantities. Why they have these rules i don´t understand. They open 10 and then you can buy if you are an alcoholic, but not after 11. The most important thing is that they check age.

  2. A small hotel/restaurant, (a boarding house in UK I guess), was raided in Pattaya last week for serving residents after 2.00am. The bar was shut down and the owner threatened with a 5 year closing order if the offense was repeated.

    As the owner later explained it is a busy time for the bar with residents trying to impress their overnight ‘guests’ with shooters and the like before retiring to their rooms. He said the lost income would hurt but not as much as closing for 5 years.

    As the owner also explained it’s like there are new regulations introduced every week making it ever more difficult to provide a service and make money. Maybe that’s the cunning plan.

  3. The penalty for this should be severe, if they are on a motorized bike, car, it is confiscated forever. And if no motorized vehicle,then the one at home, or the one next door, it goes, and is never returned. This may change behavior and perhaps be some sort of new ‘Thainess’.

  4. I think most farangs would consider these laws and the advertising restrictions stupid as they are so easily flouted, and by the way you can no longer get around it by buying more than 10 litres. I am not sure what problem they are trying to solve, the local guy is going to have a stock of lau kow and and his local store is not going to care. People going out at night is a different problem, they are entitled to have fun but not kill people on the road so stricter enforcement of drink driving laws for EVERYONE is what is needed. Where there is a problem is under age drinking and in my opinion the laws or their enforcement should be tougher for people selling it to minors or purchasing it on their behalf. Any Brits will remember licencing hours which the government eventually gave up on and I see in a recent report that there was no increase in alcohol consumption as a direct result of the change.

  5. There needs to be a serious review of ALL laws and policies regarding drinking in order to ensure that they all comply with whatever message the Government wishes to purport.

    At the moment the laws are relatively clear – it is illegal to sell or buy alcohol outside of the restricted time zones and to be over the legal limit whilst driving (0.05% in Thailand), oh and I think it is also still illegal to advertise alcohol, and also there was a law passed against the selling of alcohol within the vicinity of educational establishments.

    If you stick to the rules you can’t get into trouble!

    However the policies and strategies that are enforced often belittle the laws. For example if you look at your Life Insurance policy it may afford you accident cover if your alcohol limit is 0.15% or less (much higher than the legal limit) (although your Personal Accident insurance with a Non Life Insurance company may totally exclude all alcohol), and yes, we all know that it is easy to buy alcohol outside of the restricted time zones if we look and try hard enough.

    The problem is not with the laws themselves, it is with the enforcement of the laws and therefore people’s blatant disregard for them.

    But breaking the law is breaking the law … don’t do it and we can’t get into trouble, you can’t cry wolf if you blatantly flout the law and get caught by an unusually efficient policeman.

  6. I can understand the logic behind the ban on booze from midnight till 11am . It’s all about you not hopping on your bike and ride to 7-11 for a nightcap and same thing in the morning when you are not sober yet, but want to get a taste. You can actually hurt somebody. But what is wrong with 2pm till 5pm? Is it to hot to have a beer? Damn, 11pm is already hot as hell sometimes. What’s the actual reason? Thanks!

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