(CTN News) – This Next Saturday, June 3, Thailand will implement a statewide alcohol prohibition in honor of the Buddhist holiday Visakha Bucha.
The restriction is timed to coincide with a birthday celebration for Her Majesty, Queen Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshana, and a trip to Phuket by King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
Alcohol Ban Details: Enforcement and Penalties
Prince Siddhartha’s birth, enlightenment, and death occurred on the same date, decades apart, in the ancient Buddhist calendar, and this day is celebrated as Visakha Bucha.
Practising Buddhists often attend morning sermons and merit-making rituals at local temples. Nighttime processions with candles are held at important temples all around the country.
From midnight on Friday to midnight on Saturday, the sale of alcohol will be illegal across Thailand except for airport duty-free shops.
Five religious holidays, including Makha Bucha, Visakha Bucha, Asarnha Bucha Day, Khao Pansa, and Wan Org Pansa, are excluded from the prohibition, which the Prime Minister’s Office implemented in January 2015. Offenders face up to six months in jail time and/or a fine of 10,000 Thai Baht.
Last week, Phuket Vice Governor Amnuay Pinsuwan revealed that Phuket would host a royal visit on Saturday, coinciding with the holy festival. According to the Bangkok Post, provincial officials will organize three celebrations to honor the King.
At 7:30 in the morning, Phuket Provincial Hall’s multi-use yard will host an alms offering ceremony. At 6 o’clock, there will be a ceremony where the “Phan Phum” will be laid in front of a statue of the King as a mark of respect.
Public Holidays and Office Closures in Thailand
Finally, at 7:19 p.m., the Phuket Government Centre Auditorium will host a candle-lighting ceremony to celebrate the happy event. These gatherings are open to the general public.
Immigration, District Offices, and the local Department of Land Transportation will all be closed on Saturday, June 3, and the following Monday, June 5, in observance of Thai public holidays.
Most banks will close their doors, although those in retail centers will remain open. Hospitals will only treat emergencies and offer routine care as usual, while Thailand Post offices and mall kiosks will remain open as usual.
Some consulates will be open to serve their nationals, and all Royal Thai Police and Tourist Police stations will remain operational.