How to Stay Out of Trouble in Thailand
Thailand is one of the world’s travel destination gems and the most popular place to visit in Southeast Asia. It makes sense, as there is something for every tourist. Whether you choose to travel in luxury or on the cheap, the beaches, jungles, amazing food and interesting sites make Thailand a destination for people the world over! However, before you jump on the plane and head over, there are some very important (and some may say draconian) laws that you should know about. Nothing ruins a vacation like jail time, or being sentenced to death!
It’s very important to know that you must carry your passport with you at all times. Most of us are used to leaving our passports in a hotel safe when we leave to sightsee, but when you’re in Thailand, you must have it on your person wherever you go. Failure to produce your passport if asked for it by officials can lead to arrest!
Just Say No!
Heed the words of the late Nancy Reagan! When it comes to drugs, Thailand does not fool around. The law states:
“Violators of laws related to illicit drugs, e.g., having and holding for use, or being a producer, seller, or transporter are subject to the death sentence.”
Yes, you read that right. Being found with drugs can lead to the death sentence!
Drinking alcohol is also illegal in the following locations in Thailand:
- Temples or places of worship
- Public offices
- Educational institutions
- Gas stations
- Public parks
The penalty for illegally drinking alcohol at one of the locations listed above is six months, and/or no more than a fine of ten thousand Baht (approx. $400.00). We strongly suggest saving “Miller Time” for, well, another time.
Thank You for Not Smoking
As of November 2017, Thailand has banned smoking on many beaches where tourists frequent, including Phuket, Pattaya, Koh Samui, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chon Buri, and Songkhla provinces. Smoking is also prohibited in outdoor exercise spaces, sports training and playing facilities, public parks, zoos, amusement parks, markets and children’s playgrounds. Breaking the smoking ban can result in a 100,000 Baht fine, a 1 year prison time or both. We’d highly recommend going cold turkey!
Chew on this!
It’s actually a punishable offence to spit or throw used gum on the sidewalk or paved areas. If you get caught, the fine is close to 800 dollars, and if you try skipping the fine you can end up in jail! Maybe keep the Juicy Fruit at home?
The Panty Police
This is one of the stranger laws to be sure! It is actually illegal to leave the house without underwear. This is a law that would seem hard to enforce, but just to be on the safe side, put on a fresh pair of underwear before heading out for the day!
It’s Good to be the King
While this rule seems strange as well, we suggest you take it seriously! Making fun or voicing defamatory remarks about the king or other members of the Thai royal family can land you in jail for 3 to 15 years! So we highly recommend that you keep your thoughts regarding the monarchy to yourself!
Enjoy and Be Safe
Thailand is a wonderful and interesting place to visit and we highly recommend it! As with most countries in the world, it’s good to know the rules and laws in order to have a safe and incident-free trip! Knowing these key laws will ensure you have both!