Things I do NOT like about living in Thailand: Bizarre alcohol laws

in life •  2 months ago 

Before I start this let me preface this by saying that I do not even drink all that frequently. Well, I do drink more days out of the week than not but not to excess for the most part. I hate hangovers and given the cheap booze that I tend to drink, if I do engage, a hangover is basically guaranteed. I am one of those people that would rather not screw up tomorrow for the off-chance that the booze is going to make me have a great time today.

Just like most places in the world, Thailand is a drinking culture and people go just as nuts here as they do anywhere else in the world but I have been to a few places and Thailand has some very strange and seemingly arbitrarily enforced, alcohol laws.


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Back in my home state the laws vary from county to county but for them most part you can buy booze from early in the morning until late at night. Where I went to college it was something like 6am to 2am. It was such a short window of no-drinking that I kind of wondered why they even bothered to have the 4 hours off.

This is all fine and dandy in Thailand and I am not trying to tell anyone how to run their own country but the 3 hour break in the afternoon is just silly. On more than one occasion I have been in the supermarket getting bits and bobs for my house and decided to get a bottle of wine or a pack of beer to put in the fridge at home. Because of my schedule this normally happens in the afternoon as well. It is embarrassing and confusing when I get to the front of the line and the clerk wont and can't sell me the little bit of alcohol that I have in my shopping cart. I immediately feel like an alcoholic that is trying to skirt the law even though it was just an honest mistake. It is such a silly law that I don't even think about it for the most part.

The funny thing about this law is the fact that most places outside of the big stores and supermarkets don't adhere to the law anyway. If Tesco or Big-C (both big supermarkets in Thailand) turn you away from getting booze, there are going to be 20 mom and pop shops on your way home that don't give a damn about this law and sell it to you anyway.


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Also, there are a dozen or so days of the year where the sale of alcohol is forbidden because of some religious holiday or even elections. On those days even the mom and pop shops are hesitant to sell to you and many will refuse. I normally just let it go and don't try to get anything but it does seem strange to me that there are some public holidays where the government doesn't allow their population to party. In most countries these would be the days that alcohol sales would be through the roof.

This is a relatively minor issue though because with a little bit of planning this wouldn't be an issue before. Make note! If you are in Thailand at a supermarket and you look around you and it appears as though everyone is buying large quantities of beer, there is probably an upcoming holiday where booze sales will not be allowed. I find it kind of funny that the population doesn't NOT DRINK on the days where the government is clearly trying to prevent them from doing so, they just plan ahead and then probably drink even more since for the most part you can only buy single beers or packs of 24 here.

I've been in other countries where they have NO restrictions on alcohol sales based on the time of day or time of year and they seem to run just fine. I can't really imagine what they are hoping to accomplish with these time-frames especially since they are easily circumvented. Thankfully most of Thailand's silly laws aren't really adhered to, it just kind of depends on where you happen to live in the country whether or not it is going to be enforced at all.

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