10 strange laws to be aware of in Thailand

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Be careful if you speak English using a microphone, you could be fined! Thailand’s culture and values might be much different than those you’re used to in your country. Therefore, there are some offences that most visitors may not know are illegal. Some laws might seem downright silly, but they need to be taken seriously if you don’t want to pay a hefty fine or end up in prison. Here are some strange laws you need to know before visiting Thailand.

Don’t drive shirtless

Strange laws in Thailand
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With Thailand’s hot, humid, and dry temperature, it’s understandable that a lot of tourists choose to go around without a shirt. But when you’re driving a vehicle, always keep your clothes on no matter how hot it is. If the police pull you over for driving shirtless, expect to be hit with a fine or even jail time. So keep your shirt on and save your skimpiest outfits for the beach.

Don’t go commando

10 strange laws to be aware of in Thailand | News by Thaiger
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Yep, you read that right. It’s illegal to go out in public without wearing any underwear. This law might seem ridiculous to some people, but one you might want to keep in mind if you tend to underpack for a trip. Of course, no one will know that you’re not wearing any underwear, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Don’t disrespect the Royal Family

Strange laws in Thailand
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The Lese Majeste, introduced in 1908, is one of the oldest laws in Thailand. It states that insulting, defiling, or threatening the image of the royal family in Thailand is illegal. Being caught disrespecting the monarchy can result in a jail sentence of up to 15 years. Therefore, be sure to avoid making jokes or any type of criticism about the royal family while you’re in Thailand.

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Don’t step on Thai currency

Strange laws in Thailand
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Having money stuck in your shoes may seem like the start of a lucky day, but not in Thailand. Why? Because stepping on the Thai currency is illegal. The notes and coins contain an image of the King, so stepping on them would disrespect him. Make sure to watch your step no matter where you are in Thailand. And if you accidentally drop a Thai bill, don’t use your feet to stop it from rolling away.

Don’t fly your country’s flag

10 strange laws to be aware of in Thailand | News by Thaiger
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Some people love to carry their country’s flag with them when travelling. But did you know that it’s against the law to fly the flags of other countries in Thailand? According to the 1979 Flag act, waving or raising a foreign flag can result in imprisonment. Only embassies and diplomatic residences are allowed to do it.

Don’t litter

10 strange laws to be aware of in Thailand | News by Thaiger
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You shouldn’t litter no matter where you are in the world. But in Thailand, littering is punishable by law. If you get caught throwing trash, you could be fined up to 2,000 Baht and even face a year of jail time.

There are some scammers who claim to be BMA inspectors, though, so be careful. They’ll try to take money from you by forcing you to pay a “fine”. One way to avoid getting scammed is to ask for their ID card.

Don’t remove Buddha statues or images from Thailand without a permit

10 strange laws to be aware of in Thailand | News by Thaiger
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Obviously, this rule is more often broken than followed. But be advised that putting a Buddha statue or image in your luggage might result in a fine or perhaps an arrest and jail sentence. Devout Buddhists also think decorating your home and yard with Buddha sculptures and images is offensive.

Don’t speak any language other than Thai using a microphone

Strange laws in Thailand
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This is possibly among the most unusual laws in Thailand. The strange law states that you must not speak any language other than Thai using a sound amplifying device, such as a microphone. Yes, even saying “mic test” or “hello test” using a microphone is a severe offence punishable by up to one month in jail. Doing so is only allowed in religious ceremonies, state events, and concerts.

Owning over 120 playing cards is illegal

Strange laws in Thailand
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Thinking about packing a deck of cards with you to Thailand? Well, as fun as you thought it would be, it’s best to leave them at home. According to the 1943 Playing Cards Act, owning more than 120 playing cards is illegal. It could result in imprisonment for up to 10 years and a fine. Although a deck only has 52 cards, you still need the authorisation to possess it. This is one of the strange laws in Thailand that might seem silly, but better be safe than sorry.

The right place to enjoy your booze

Strange laws in Thailand
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You can’t drink alcohol in certain places in Thailand, including in temples, education institutions, public offices, public parks, hospitals, and gas stations. Get ready to be punished with a maximum fine of 10,000 Baht or imprisonment of up to 6 months if you get caught drinking at these places.

And that concludes our list of strange laws in Thailand. Although these laws and regulations might seem somewhat bizarre to you, it’s important that you respect and follow them if you want to have a trouble-free holiday. You won’t be let off scot-free just because it’s your first time visiting.

Want to learn more about Thailand? Let’s find out about the things you shouldn’t do in Thailand.

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