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Chiang Mai to Crackdown on Public Drinking During Songkran

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Chiang Mai outdoor alcohol ban songkran

During the extended Songkran event next month, Chiang Mai will prohibit the sale and consumption of alcohol, as well as smoking, in numerous public locations, including those surrounding the city’s moats.

Nirat Phongsitthithawon, the province governor and chairman of a municipal committee on alcoholic beverage and tobacco product supervision, said the limits will be in effect from April 1 to April 21.

They include bans on the sale and use of alcoholic beverages, as well as smoking cigarettes and vaping, in government and state enterprise offices, schools, temples, and any other location overseen by a government agency or state organization. It would also have public parks and roads along the moat.

The restrictions will also apply to specific roads, such as Rat Chiang Saen, Manee Nopparat, Bunrueang Rit, Chang Lor, Arak, Chaiyapoom, Kotchasarn, Sri Poom, and Mun Mueang Road.

Selling and drinking alcohol will also be forbidden inside automobiles, on sidewalks, along roadsides, and outside shopping malls during Songkran. Venues with special permissions will be excluded from the prohibition from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to midnight.

Chiang Mai is planning a 13-day Songkran event from April 4 to 16 to commemorate the Songkran holiday’s new status as an intangible cultural heritage item after Unesco certified it as such.

The formal Songkran public holiday runs from April 13 to 17, but the “World Songkran Festival” will take place in several regions around Thailand from April 1 to 21 to attract tourism.

Officials had declared that during the Songkran event, water-splashing locations around the country will be fully alcohol-free.

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Drinking Laws and Etiquette

There are a few rules and things to know about drinking in Thailand:

  1. You can only buy alcohol in shops between 11 am and 2 pm and between 5 pm and midnight. More on that below.
  2. The legal drinking age in Thailand is 20 years old. Most bars and supermarkets don’t check IDs but almost every club does. So make sure you got your driving license or passport with you when you go out.
  3. It’s prohibited to drink in the street. Or in public places in general. Drinking in the street in Thailand is often tolerated but it’s against the law. You can get fined for it.
  4. Don’t get too drunk in Thailand. Thais love to drink and to party but not to the point to be absolutely wasted and to embarrass themselves or their friends (most of the time). While screaming and doing dumb shit might be seen as fun in the West, it is seen as losing face in Thailand and it will not make you popular.
  5. Thais usually share drinks. When you go out in Thailand it’s common for groups to buy alcohol (and food) for everyone to share.
  6. Your glass will never be empty. There’s always gonna be someone to refill it. Either your Thai friend or a waiter/waitress. Not a bad thing most of the time but it can make it hard to keep track of how much you drink.
  7. Thais often eat and drink at the same time. Not only in restaurants but also in bars and clubs. It’s common for Thai clubs, even high-end ones, to have a food menu with Thai food and snacks.

Alcohol Sales in Thailand

Buying alcohol in Thailand is easy and most supermarkets, including convenience stores, have a decent selection of local and imported beers and spirits.

But in Thailand, you cannot buy alcohol between midnight and 11 am and between 2 pm and 5 pm.

That’s true for every shop in the country including 7-Eleven and other supermarkets.

In some areas, small mom and pop shops still sell during the ban but you need to know where to go and to keep it low key.

But during these hours you can still drink in bars, restaurants, and clubs.

The rule only applies to sales of alcohol to take away.

In Thailand, there’s also a ban on alcohol during Buddhist celebrations as well as the day before and during elections.

So keep an eye on the calendar and the news and stock up.

In those days, alcohol is banned completely.

Bars and clubs are closed and restaurants don’t sell any alcoholic drinks.

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The CTNNews editorial team comprises seasoned journalists and writers dedicated to delivering accurate, timely news coverage. They possess a deep understanding of current events, ensuring insightful analysis. With their expertise, the team crafts compelling stories that resonate with readers, keeping them informed on global happenings.

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