If you are planning to visit Thailand over the holidays for some merrymaking and fun, it is important that you understand the laws so that you do not flout them or even break them while in the country enjoying the climes. Thailand has some serious penalties for breaking certain laws. If you are a non-Thai, you should be extra cautious about violations of Thai Law as they can ruin you financially and also land you in a Thai prison.
If you are an alcohol lover, you should read this.
All bars and pubs in Thailand close after midnight. The legal drinking age in Thailand is 20 years of age. You cannot drink alcohol in temples or other places of worship. Drinking is also barred in public parks, petrol pumps, educational institutions and pharmacies. If you are caught drinking alcohol at any of these places, you can be put behind bars for up to 6 months and a fine of 10,000 baht.
You are also not allowed to sell alcohol to anyone who had lost consciousness while drinking at a previous occasion. If you are caught drinking and brawling, you may be fined up to 20, 000 baht and even be jailed for a year. It is illegal to sell alcohol from 2 to 5 pm and from midnight to 11am seven days a week in Thailand. This applies to all supermarkets and chain shops. Smaller shops in rural areas might buck that trend. If you are visiting during religious holidays, you will also not be able buy alcohol during those days of official ban.
Also, importantly, Thailand may be a permissible country in terms of fun and enjoyment, however, if you are caught doing drugs or even caught with the possession of some, you may face imprisonment and the eventual death penalty. You are also not allowed to carry obscene publications, items of sale, counterfeit coins or even wildlife that may include protected birds and animals, flora and fauna.
You also need special clearance from the government to carry special items such as Buddha images, antiques and arts, weapons and explosives and animal products. Certain foods and drugs, cigars and alcoholic beverages also need permission from the local authorities and the Customs clearance.
Failure to declare any foreign currency may also be a punishable offense in Thailand. If you are traveling to Laos, CAMBODIA, Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam, you should not be carrying more than 50, 000 baht if flying out of Thailand. Also, if you are traveling to Thailand from anywhere outside, you cannot carry more than 20,000 USD.
Certain value added refunds are also available to tourists who are traveling out of Thailand. You should be exiting Thailand through an international airport and have to be a non-Thai resident in the country for not more than 180 days. You should also not be part of a flight crew of an airline that is flying off from Thailand. A VAT refund is also available if you show your passport along with a filled up VAT Refund application form along with original receipts and actual goods purchased to the customs.