IF you are visiting Phuket, or Thailand in general, it is always a good idea to be aware of the local laws that you would have to abide by as a concerned traveler. In this article, we will highlight a few laws that can be considered weird depending on which country you are from.
No shirtless driving allowed
Whether you decide to ride a bike or drive in the comfort of a car, driving shirtless in Thailand is illegal. Granted, on an island like Phuket, this rule is not enforced as the police understand that tourists want to enjoy the sun. But you may find yourself confronted to a zealous police officer who has the right and authority to fine you if you decide not to wear a shirt while driving.
Gambling is a no-no
Gambling in Thailand is illegal as well, with the exception of the Government-sponsored bi-monthly lottery that you can buy at every street corner from vendors. If you come here and fancy placing a bet on a Muay Thai fight or a football game, you might get caught and have to face harsh penalties. Thailand even has a whole section dedicated to playing cards, the Playing Cards Act, which allows individual to own no more than 120 playing cards.
Disrespecting the money
In your country, you may inadvertently walk on a coin laying on the street and, let’s be fair, not a lot of people would care. In Thailand, however, doing so may result in a lot of Thai people looking at you in a very strong way.
Indeed, each coin and bank note has the face of the King of Thailand printed on it, so it is considered very disrespectful not to take care of the Thai currency. Thailand has some of the strongest laws when it comes to respecting the monarchy and section 112, as it is called, can get you behind bars for 15 years.
Fun fact: when doing magic in Thailand and asking people to sign on a coin, it is better to use a foreign currency as most of them will refuse to mark down their initial as a mark of respect for the King.
Alcohol Sales is a matter of when
It is illegal for a business in Thailand to sell alcohol from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and from midnight to 11 a.m. the next day. Though international hotel chains are not concerned with this rule, it will be difficult for you to access booze at 3 p.m. in the afternoon. Grabbing a beer at 5:01 p.m. doesn’t seem to be a problem.
No underwear is a no-no, too
This one is certainly the weirdest of all and luckily is not enforced in the country. In Thailand, it is illegal for someone not to wear underwear. Period. While I am sure this rule made sense at some stage for historical reason, it is well beyond me why it hasn’t been abolished yet.
As always, we hope you learned a thing or two through this article and feel free to let us know in the comments if there are any laws you came across that you found to be weird.
By Nattha Thepbamrung