No alcohol sales today – Makha Bucha Day, February 19

The 24 hour ban on alcohol sales for Makha Bucha Day will remain in effect until midnight tonight.

Makha Bucha is a sacred Buddhist holiday taken to refer to a day to honour the third lunar month and, in particular, the Buddha and the teachings that he delivered on the full moon day of the fourth lunar month.

Any person or businesses found selling alcohol during the 24 hour period (it started at midnight) faces up to six months’ imprisonment or a fine of up to 10,000 baht, or both.

Most pubs and bars will be closed, and main convenience stores and supermarkets will not sell alcohol during the 24 hour period.

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The alcohol ban for Makha Bucha Day was made a law under an announcement by the PM’s Office on January 22, 2015.

Under the order, the sale of alcohol is prohibited on five specific Buddhist religious days: Makha Bucha, Visakha Bucha, Asarnha Bucha Day, Khao Pansa and Wan Org Pansa.

Duty-free shops in international airports are exempt from the ban. So book an international flight to, well anywhere, so you buy a beer today. Take your passport too.

Alternatively you could head to a local temple and observe local Thais making merit on this auspicious Buddhist holiday. All temples will gladly allow you to watch the ceremonies or participate as well. Wear appropriate clothing (cover your shoulders and your knees).

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