Law & order in Thailand


Thailand is a welcoming country, and most tourists will feel comfortable with the warm climate, delicious food and smiling Thais. Most Thais are tolerant to foreigners. But there are some important rules that you should be aware of, because you don’t want to be paraded for the press and imprisoned in “Bangkok Hilton”.

  1. The monarchy in Thailand is protected by one of the most stringent “lese majeste” law in the world. Any act that is interpreted as disrespect for the royal family is punished with jail sentences from three to fifteen years. Read more HERE.
  2. Disrespect to Buddha is also forbidden by law. And to export a statue of Buddha do you need a written permission from the Thai Government Fine Arts Department. Read more HERE.
  3. Possession of any kind of drugs is severely punished. For example does possession of 20 grams of heroin result in a death sentence. Be aware that some substances in medicines that are sold over the counter in other countries are illegal in Thailand. Read more HERE and HERE.
  4. You can import 200 cigarettes (or 250 g tobacco) and one litre with alcoholic beverage without declaration. Prohibited items are obscene items and publications (sex toys and pornography), food (especially meat), counterfeit goods and pirated items, counterfeit notes and coins, and protected wildlife. For example cannot you bring ivory or other animal parts in or out of Thailand. Read more HERE.
  5. Immigration: People overstaying their visa more than 90 days will be banned to enter the Kingdom for up to 10 years. An overstay of 90 days of less is fined with 500 bath per day up to maximum 20,000 bath. But if you are caught by the police and have overstayed as little as 1 day will you be banned to re-enter the Kingdom for 1 year. Read more HERE.
  6. Having sex with a person under age 15 is considered to be rape, regardless of the circumstances. Having sex with a person under age 18 is a compoundable offence, which means that a jail sentence can be avoided if you can reach an agreement with the victim’s family, which means that you pay them a lot of money.
  7. There’s smoking ban at 24 beaches. Violators will face fines up to 100,000 bath and/or 1 year in jail.
  8. E-cigarettes are forbidden, even for private use. Maximum penalty is 10 years.

Some of the rules are enforced randomly, but if you meet the “wrong” police officer may you face a lot of problems. And just to remind you: The conditions in Thai prisons are very bad.