What is the Legal Drinking Age in Thailand?

what is the legal drinking age in thailand

Are you planning a trip to Thailand and curious about the drinking age?

If so, this comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know about the legal drinking age, alcohol laws, and drinking culture in Thailand.

So, let’s raise a glass (if you’re of age) and dive into the world of Thai drinking customs and regulations!

Legal Drinking Age in Thailand: A Clear-Cut Rule

The legal drinking age in Thailand is straightforward: you must be at least 20 years old to purchase and consume alcohol.

So, whether you’re visiting the bustling city of Bangkok or exploring the picturesque islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phi Phi, the same age limit applies throughout Thailand.

Alcohol Sales and Consumption Laws in Thailand

In Thailand, laws surrounding the sale and consumption of alcohol are quite strict. Supermarkets, convenience stores, and other establishments selling alcohol must adhere to specific hours for alcohol sales, typically between 11 am and 2 pm, and 5 pm and midnight.

Additionally, alcohol sales are banned on certain public holidays and election days.

Nightclubs, bars, and restaurants serving alcohol must follow specific licensing rules and regulations.

For instance, establishments serving food alongside alcoholic beverages can stay open later than those that only serve drinks.

Penalties for Underage Drinking in Thailand

Underage drinking is taken seriously in Thailand. If you’re caught drinking alcohol while under the age of 20, you could face a fine of up to 10,000 baht (approximately $300) or even imprisonment.

Tourists and foreign visitors are not exempt from these penalties, so it’s essential to respect Thai laws while enjoying your holiday in Thailand.

Exploring Thailand’s Unique Drinking Culture

Thailand is known for its rich cultural heritage and warm hospitality, which extends to its drinking culture.

Thai people enjoy socializing over drinks, and alcohol often plays a central role in gatherings with friends and family.

Consumption of Alcohol in Public Places

Drinking in public places, such as parks and walking down the street, is generally acceptable in Thailand, with some exceptions.

Alcohol consumption is prohibited in places of worship, government offices, and hospitals.

Additionally, certain public parks and beaches, like Haad Rin Beach on Koh Phangan, have implemented alcohol bans to curb unruly behavior.

Religious Holidays and Alcohol Bans

Thailand occasionally imposes temporary alcohol bans during religious holidays, such as Buddhist holy days.

During these periods, alcohol sales and consumption are prohibited, so it’s crucial to plan accordingly and respect local customs while traveling around Thailand.

Legal Drinking Age in Thailand and Neighboring Countries

As a curious traveler, you might wonder how Thailand’s legal drinking age compares to other countries around Asia.

Legal Drinking Age in Macau and Other Southeast Asian Countries

Thailand’s legal drinking age of 20 is relatively high compared to some neighboring countries.

For example, in Macau, they don’t have a  legal drinking age, while in Vietnam, it’s 18.

However, other countries in the region, such as Malaysia, have a higher legal drinking age of 21 for non-Muslims.

Factors Influencing Differences in Legal Drinking Ages

Various factors contribute to the differences in legal drinking ages across Asia, such as cultural, religious, and historical influences, as well as government policies aimed at promoting public health and safety.

The Impact of Thailand’s Legal Drinking Age on Society

Thailand’s legal drinking age can have a range of impacts on society, including public health and underage drinking.

Public Health and Alcohol Consumption

By setting a higher legal drinking age, the Thai government aims to reduce alcohol-related harm, such as traffic accidents and addiction.

Delaying the age at which people can legally consume alcohol helps promote responsible drinking and protect the health and well-being of Thai citizens.

Underage Drinking and Related Issues

Despite the legal drinking age of 20, underage drinking remains an issue in Thailand.

This can lead to a host of problems, including increased risk of addiction, poor academic performance, and involvement in risky behaviors.

Tackling underage drinking requires a multifaceted approach, including education, enforcement, and community support.

How the Drinking Age in Thailand Affects Tourists

As a tourist, it’s essential to understand how Thailand’s legal drinking age affects your visit.

Laws and Regulations for Tourists

Tourists in Thailand are subject to the same alcohol laws and regulations as locals.

This means that if you’re under 20 years old, you cannot legally purchase or consume alcohol.

And remember, violating these laws can result in serious consequences, including fines, imprisonment, or even deportation.

So, make sure to respect the local rules and enjoy your trip responsibly.

Safe and Responsible Drinking While Traveling in Thailand

When traveling in Thailand, it’s crucial to practice safe and responsible drinking habits.

Here are 5 tips to help you enjoy your trip without any hiccups:

  1. Know your limits and pace yourself. Overindulging in alcohol can lead to a range of issues, from hangovers to more severe health risks.
  2. Always have a designated driver or use public transportation if you plan on drinking.
  3. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid leaving your drink unattended.
  4. Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
  5. Finally, respect local customs and traditions when it comes to alcohol consumption.

What are Some Popular Drinks in Thailand?

Thailand is known for its unique and delicious drinks. Here are a few popular ones to try:

  • Chang Beer: A light and refreshing lager that’s popular among locals and tourists alike.
  • Singha Beer: Another popular Thai beer that’s light and easy to drink.
  • Mekhong Whiskey: A whiskey made from sugarcane that’s popular among locals.
  • Thai Rum: Thai rum is made from molasses and has a slightly sweeter taste than other rums.
  • Sangsom: A popular Thai rum that’s often mixed with soda or Coca-Cola.
  • Thai Iced Tea: A sweet and creamy tea made with condensed milk and served over ice.
  • Coconut Water: A refreshing and healthy drink that’s perfect for hot days.

Minimum Drinking age in Thailand – Summary

Understanding the drinking age in Thailand and the related laws and customs is essential for anyone planning a visit to this beautiful country.

By being aware of the legal drinking age, regional differences, and the unique aspects of Thai drinking culture, you can ensure a safe, enjoyable, and respectful experience.

So, the next time you find yourself in Thailand, raise a glass (if you’re of age) and toast to the adventure that awaits!


What is the legal drinking age in Thailand?

The legal drinking age in Thailand is 20 years old for both purchasing and consuming alcohol.

Is the legal drinking age the same in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand?

Yes, the legal drinking age is consistent throughout Thailand, including Bangkok and other major cities.

Can tourists drink alcohol in Thailand if they are under the legal drinking age?

No, tourists are subject to the same alcohol laws as locals, which means that if you’re under 20 years old, you cannot legally purchase or consume alcohol.

Are there any temporary alcohol bans in Thailand?

Yes, Thailand occasionally imposes temporary alcohol bans during certain religious or cultural events. During these times, it’s illegal to purchase or consume alcohol.

What are some tips for safe and responsible drinking while traveling in Thailand?

To ensure safe and responsible drinking, know your limits, pace yourself, have a designated driver or use public transportation, be aware of your surroundings, stay hydrated, and respect local customs and traditions.