Do You Know Alcohol Free Days In Thailand?
Many people who visit Thailand are often oblivious to the fact that the Kingdom frequently has days where it is illegal to buy or sell alcohol. If you arrive on one of these days, it may come as a total shock that you cannot partake of a beer or your favourite wine or spirit.
This law is applied across Thailand with no exceptions, so it is worth gaining knowledge of when these days fall or at least be aware that they do occur.
It is almost certain that alcohol sales will be banned on the King’s birthday, which is the 28th of July. In addition to this, it is also possible that the King’s mother, Queen Sirikit’s birthday will also be an alcohol free day but it would be rare for this to be imposed. She celebrates her big day on the 12th of August.
In addition to the current royal birthdays, the nation also pays respect to the former king, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who passed away on the 13th of October, 2016. It is possible that in honour of the world’s then longest serving monarch, no alcohol will be permitted on this day. These days are easy to follow for their birthdays or celebrated events fall on the same day annually.
However, to make matters more complicated for visitors, many of these holidays are based of Buddhist religious events and more often than not, fall on a different day each year.
Take Makha Bucha Day for example, which always falls on a full moon. In 2017 it was celebrated on 11th of February but in 2018 it will held on March 1st.
Similarly Visakha Bucha day, the celebration of the birth of Buddha, will he held on the 29th of May 2018. This full moon event, commemorates the day Buddha was born. All drinking establishments will be closed on this day. Again, the date changes yearly.
On July 27, 2017, the nation’s bars will be closed for Asahna Bucha day. This is a day when Thai people visit temples to pray or make merit, an important part of the Buddhist religion.
Another important day in the Buddhist calendar is Khao Phansa Day, which in 2018, occurs on Saturday 28th of July. This is what the Christian world refers to as Lent. In Thailand, this is an important event for monks and is a popular day for men to be ordained at temples too.
Awk Phansa Day is the end of the three month Lent period in Thailand and is another merit making day for Buddhists. In 2017, it falls on October 6th and for 2018 it will be the 16th of October.
For anyone thinking of selling or purchasing alcohol on these days, you could face a hefty fine or even go to prison. You really should refrain and follow the law.
There are of course other national holidays but there are no enforced alcohol bans for these events, which include the Thai New Year (Songkran), Coronation Day and western New Year’s day.