In a follow up on my posting about the banning of alcohol during election voting, I wanted to detail a very odd ban on the sale of alcohol in Thailand.
It is illegal to buy alcohol in shops and supermarkets- meaning for private,
personal consumption- from 2:00pm until 5:00pm. Shops cannot sell alcohol from midnight until 11:00am.
Yes, this is odd. I understand the desire for shops and supermarkets to cut off sales from midnight through 11:00am, this is common in many countries, but why the mid-afternoon ban? It is very odd if you happen to be in a 7-11 or supermarket in the middle of the afternoon and want to buy a few beers for the evening- you cannot.
To make things more odd- you can drink in a bar or restaurant all day.
Even more odd? If you are buying 10 liters of alcohol, you can buy make the purchase anytime, as it is a larger quantity, like wholesale. Now this is very strange- it is okay to purchase a large quantity and possibly get very drunk, but if you want to buy a few beers then you are subject to restrictions as to when you can make the purchase.
There is nothing published about the logic of this ban or the reason. I have been told it is to prevent Thai people from drinking all afternoon. This would appear to be the reason- many Thai people cannot afford the “bar” price of beer and spirits. I don’t think this is prevention, but just makes it inconvenient to find a bottle of beer in a store in the middle of the afternoon.
You can beat the ban- generally a local store that is not part of a chain or large grocery store will sell you alcohol, at anytime.
If you cannot buy a few bottles and need a fix, don’t worry. Bars are open close to 24 hours a day. There are bars that open at 9am, most close at 2am during the week and 4am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There are sidewalk bars- literally temporary bars set up on a sidewalk- that will stay open as long as you want to pay.
One lesson of Thailand, where there is a rule, there is generally a way to work around the rule. Just smile and ask, there is a good chance someone will help you.
Additional information about buying alcohol in Thailand can be found in this 2013 post.