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Can I Buy Alcohol in Thailand with a US Identification?

This question is often asked of locals on chat forums and all over online. Can you buy alcohol in Thailand with an ID from the USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Europe, China, etc.?

Yes, you can buy alcohol in Thailand with any picture identification card that shows your age, and from any country in the world. A passport is more likely to be accepted than a driver’s license, but you will almost surely have no trouble at all with either one if you are ever asked to prove your age.

It’s almost 100% accurate to say you will never need to show an identification card to prove your age here in the country of Thailand as an adult.

To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone being carded (asked for Identification ro prove age) here in the country. Ever. It just doesn’t happen. You’d need to look like a 14-year-old in order to have some people not sell it to you, and even then, there are small shops that will sell to underage kids because they need the income from the sale.

At a school graduation, I saw a table of 16-year-old girls with beer in a glass in front of them. The strict controls on alcohol just don’t exist in Thailand. It’s even less controlled on the islands, tourist spots, and in remote areas.

Here Are Thailand’s Official Laws Regarding Alcohol Consumption

Here are some things to keep in mind about the legal drinking age in Thailand:

  • The law applies to all types of alcohol, including beer, wine, and spirits.
  • It is illegal to sell or give alcohol to anyone under the age of 20.
  • If you are caught drinking underage, you could be fined up to 20,000 baht (approximately $500 USD).
  • In some cases, you could also be arrested and jailed for up to one year.

It’s important to be aware of the laws and regulations in Thailand before you travel there. By following the legal drinking age, you can help to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable trip.

Here are some additional tips for staying safe and legal when drinking in Thailand:

  • Only drink at licensed establishments.
  • Carry your ID with you at all times.
  • Don’t drink and drive.
  • Be respectful of local customs and traditions.

If you have any questions about the legal drinking age in Thailand, you can always ask a local or consult with a Thai embassy or consulate.

When Is Alcohol Sold in Thailand?

It is not sold at any time of day, like in many countries. Yes, you can order it online any time of day, but in convenience stores and grocery stores, there are specific times when you can buy alcohol.

In Thailand, the legal hours for purchasing alcohol are actually split into two timeframes.

  1. 11:00 am. to 2:00 pm. This is the first window when you can buy alcohol at most stores, including convenience stores like 7-Eleven and supermarkets. However, some restaurants and bars might start serving alcohol during this time as well.
  2. 5:00 pm to Midnight. This is the second and longer window when you can purchase alcohol throughout the country. Bars, restaurants, and convenience stores are all open for business during this time.

Note – Some restaurants will not serve alcohol outside of the time slots listed above. Others will. In Krabi and other tourist areas, some restaurants adhere more to the law, and others, pay less attention to exact times. If you come to eat lunch at 10:50 am. and order beer, you’re not going to have a problem. If you’re eating breakfast at 8 am. and order beer, there’s a lesser chance you’ll get it.

Important Exceptions

  • Buddhist holidays: On Buddhist holidays, alcohol sales are completely prohibited throughout the day. Make sure to check the calendar beforehand if you’re planning on buying alcohol during your trip.
  • Specific provinces: Some provinces, particularly tourist destinations like Phuket and Krabi, have recently extended their alcohol sales hours in certain areas. For example, in Krabi, Phuket, Ko Samui, Pattaya, and Bangkok, some nightlife venues can now serve alcohol until 4:00 AM. However, these extended hours only apply to specific areas and businesses, so it’s always best to check with your hotel or local authorities for the latest information.

By keeping these in mind, you can ensure you enjoy your alcoholic beverages in Thailand without any hiccups!

The Bottom Line

There is virtually never any sort of restriction on buying or consuming alcohol. The law is there for when Thais want to enforce it, but it is very rare to see it done.

There are restrictions on buying alcohol during certain times of the day. You cannot buy in the morning, or just after lunch. You need to wait until 5 pm. to buy it again.