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.
Another time when there is a ban on the sale of alcohol is during general elections. This includes advance voting and by-elections. These bans are for a two day period. They usually start at 6pm the day before voting and last until midnight of the day of voting.
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?
31 thoughts on “Days and times when alcohol cannot be sold in Thailand”
Really disappointed our last night in Patong and not allowed our beer.
Understood though as it was a religious rule, just never come back on these nights, I mean we were on holiday.
Keep in mind that its an opinion, people might not think the same thing.
Was staying at Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park Bangkok last November. Went to a nearby 7 eleven at 1 am and was easily able to buy beer. Was surprised as I knew about the time restrictions. Went to 3 other nearby 711 / family mart out of curiosity…they all had the beer fridges locked.
This is a very misleading post. Alcohol is available in any Pattaya bar at any hour of the day, except for on certain religious days of the year (look them up there are about half a dozen no-alcohol days, also known as Buddha Days). Perhaps the post is only regarding alcohol sales in shops/supermarkets in which case this should have been made clear. No disrespect, but I hate reading false and misleading information on Thailand.
This post is clearly about “your local convenience store or supermarket”, not bars.
In Bangkok. Just had lunch in Cocos in Terminal 21 at Asok and coiuldnt have a beer with it at 3pm.
Walk back past Nana and all the bars around there were serving beer at around 4pm. What’s going on?
I’m confused with the laws?
Different rules for “shops” and restaurants/bars. Anything in Terminal 21 is limited by the rules for shops. You will occasionally find a restaurant inside a mall that has obtained a license but generally the normal places will have to abide by the shop liquor laws.
Thank you. That clarifies that!
cant u alkeeeeys just go without a drink for a day ????????
Hey. Intelligent people having a conversation here. Go back to sleep
You’d think kids wouldn’t be allowed to buy, anyhow!
Just flew in, with cancelled flights and therefore missed connections, ended up being a 35 hour trip.
3:45 am, (early afternoon to the body clock) and I stopped to buy a 3-pack at the 24 hour convenience store next to the hotel. The staff was horrified!
Why don’t they do like most countries, and just put a light rope through all the cooler handles during off times? Or throw a sheet over stuff in an open cooler? A sight would have been nice!
All this come from the roots of education. What should we can do to fix it?
Be more responsible and teach the young generation, the old one is definitely done.
The problem inst the alcohol, the problem is the government, money, fake rules and laws
Very annoying. Wasn’t aware of this law and went to buy just 1 small can of chang beer today about 3pm because I’d been walking and was hot and sweaty. Took the beer out of the fridge to the counter to be greeted by a look of absolute horror on the shop assistant’s face. She pointed to a large sign on the wall written in Thai and the only thing on it I could read was the times but from her absolute borrified expression I worked out what it must mean.
I apologised, explained in my very basic Thai that I was a foreigner and I didn’t realise because we can buy beer any time during the day in my country. Just got a death stare. Certainly not “the land of smiles” today. Very strange reaction I thiught, you would think I’d just dropped my trousers and mooned the staff bybthe reaction.
So after leaving the store I googled it and came here to this page. Then I find out on here that meanwhile those same Thai shop assistants who were horrified about my small cold can of beer at 3pm are quite possibly happily selling sly nips of mekong to the tuk tuk drivers in red bull bottles, or happily selling alcohol to school children after 5pm, as others have observed. Bizarre. Only in Thailand as someone else said.
Now I’ve always believed “when in Thailand do as Thais do” so I have no problem with obeying their laws. But how about they start taking some of their other Thai laws as seriously. Enforcing traffic laws and taking the laws about pedestrian crossings seriously where there are also lives at stake would be a good start before they get so shocked and horrified about someone trying to buy a can of beer at 3pm! Perhaps the fines and penalties need to be equally draconian for other, arguably far more serious, infringements.
I’ve been to 56 countries and lived in 5 and the daytime ban is literally the weirdest alcohol law I’ve ever seen. things like no alcohol in theory in Muslim countries but High end hotels will serve non muslims or having liquor stores that require a permit that you’re not a Muslim I can understand. Not selling alcohol in certain states in the US on sundays…Again I don’t agree but it has a religious undertone. Not letting people buy liquor (or any alcohol at 3am I understand.
But I am a school teacher of 17-18 year olds and I can tell you that the ones that drink have no trouble buying there alcohol after 5 or at a mom and pop shop. None. And most of them aren’t getting trashed at 330 anyway because the ones with parents who care would notice and the ones who’s parents don’t (and many Thai parents of 18 year olds let their kids drink, trust me) already have alcohol in the house or will allow their kids To buy their own.
And the kids CAN and DO buy their own because the same stores that refuse them alcohol at 445 won’t even check their ID at 5:15. Even by TiT (this is Thailand) standards the daytime drinking laws are the dumbest I’ve ever seen.
I dont really mind the time limits , I have usually planned well . The 2 am curfew is a great idea , they should introduce in Australia .
But I dont really go to bars too much , and I’m certainly not interested in bar girls .
The various day exclusions do catch me out ,
as it did today ( 10.05.2017 ) , Yes we all know Ma and Paa , but I drink gin and the gin they keep is not close to what I want .
We all know that the Tuk / Tuk guy and taxi driver take a Nip , and ( generally ) its potent stuff , not all of course , so be careful .
0.5 ..Hmm , well vastly different if you are Farang , make sure you have an upmarket Thai with you , they wont look at 0.5 , they will look only at positive or negative , if you are positive , You have a problem , play it to the absolute minimum and if you are drinking ( even 1 ) dont drive , consider you own level 0.00 % , yes mostly you will get away with it , but dont run that chance .
Good luck ..
2pm to 5pm has to do with the schoolkids, so they do not get drunk after school. I thought that time just applied for shops/bars/restaurants in a close vicinity of schools.
Hi, is it illegal to drink a beer on a thai domestic flight, one that you take on yourself? Or is it just airlines being cheap by not providing free alcoholic drinks?
The 2-5pm was introduced to stop school children buying alcohol after school. Only in Thailand would they do this. They compromise the incomes of so many people by doing this rather than addressing the actual problem. I live in Pattaya (but not for much longer) and the crap of the Police is embarrassing. Westerners are being fined for the same thing that Thai’s are not being fined for. I got a fine for a noisy exhaust even though the police did not hear it and refused to listen when I asked and when I went back to the shop that installed it and complained, I was told “only Westerners will be fined…not Thai’s” and he refused to fix it for me. Got another most trivial fine and stated that I was certain I could do what I did as “at every intersection, everyone does the same” When I raised this at the Pattaya police station, …wait for it… I was told, “most Thai’s dont know the law because they dont have a license so they dont get fined”… but everyone else must know. Unbelievable. This is one of well over 100 incidents I know about and it is a disgrace. I am moving to the Philippines or Vietnam where they want us to live and spend money in the economy. Only this week the figures came out that China is avoiding Thailand like the plague in favor of Vietnam for similar reasons as above. This is a loss of billions os USD to Thailand. The Thai government…and sadly so many Thai people are so unfathomably dumb it is astounding. They are so far behind the West, which is fine as they are a poor country…but they have such an inflated opinion of themselves to the extent that they see us as the “under developed” people. This is in spite of almost none of them ever traveling out of Thailand. Ha ha … “only in Thailand”
I drove in a police checkpoint and they stopped me last year, after checking my papers they walked around my car to fine me for something, i heard a bump and thw police guy came back he said my tail lights was broken and i would get a fine, I went put of the car but both lights worked fine. As i told him he said. Yes start work when i hit. 😏 as he was writing the ticked a big old truck passed, with NO LIGHTS at all, I said hey why you not stop that truck, his answer…. truckman no have money 😭😭😭
Maybe don’t come back here then? Probably best if whiners like you don’t.
Not being able to buy a glass of wine with your meal is retarded
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!
It’s when kids get out of school, so they don’t want alcohol sold during that time. -kk
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.
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.
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’.
What a happy man j hart
J Hart something is seriously wrong with you. Find some help
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.
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.
Totally agree; couldn’t add to this comment.