Planning on coming to Thailand or Pattaya on vacation mid-month and hoping to get your drink and party on Tuesday and Wednesday the 16th and 17th of July?
You may need to think again.
Asahna Bucha Day, a religious holiday marking the date of the Buddha’s first sermon over 2500 years ago falls on the 16th. The 17th is the start of Buddhist Lent when Monks begin a three month period of staying in the temple, reflecting, meditating and not traveling.
Both days are booze ban days in which sales of liquor and alcoholic beverages is against the law.
From Midnight on the 15th until Midnight of the 17th (48 hours in total) bars, nightclubs, discos, restaurants, hotels, 7-11, family mart, grocery stores, etc. will stop selling booze. This also means that the vast majority of booze and entertainment-related businesses, such as gogos, most bars, night clubs, live music venues, etc. will be closed during this important holiday.
Many Sports Bars will be open for watching the games that are playing, however, it is strictly no booze whatsoever.
This two day period is the longest stretch of the year when booze is banned countrywide.
Of note, this ban affects sales, not consumption, so what one does in their own private home or hotel room is up to them.
In prior years it was common to see a lot of bars risking staying open, hotels having an exception and selling liquor to tourists, coffee cups at bars, etc. However, since the coup in 2014 and strict punishments such as five-year closures to any bars that dare to break the rules, it is now nearly a complete ban. Of course, malls, islands, water parks, movie theaters, the beach, massage shops, soapies, restaurants, etc. will be open as usual and very, very crowded on these days.