Alcohol ban in Thailand on June 3 for Visakha Bucha and royal visit

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A nationwide alcohol ban will be enforced in Thailand this Saturday, June 3, in observance of the Buddhist holiday Visakha Bucha. The ban coincides with a royal visit to Phuket by King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshana, celebrating Her Majesty’s birthday.

Visakha Bucha commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Prince Siddhartha, which all occurred on the same date, decades apart, according to the ancient Buddhist calendar. Devout Buddhists traditionally visit temples early in the morning to make merit and listen to sermons on Buddha’s teachings. In the evening, candle-lit processions take place at major temples across the country.

Alcohol sales will be prohibited throughout Thailand, except duty-free shops at the airport, from midnight Friday night until midnight Saturday night. The ban, introduced by the Prime Minister’s Office in January 2015, applies to five specific religious days: Makha Bucha, Visakha Bucha, Asarnha Bucha Day, Khao Pansa, and Wan Org Pansa. Violators face up to six months in prison, a 10,000 baht fine, or both.

The religious holiday coincides with the royal visit to Phuket on Saturday, as announced last week by Phuket Vice Governor Amnuay Pinsuwan. Provincial officials will organise activities to honour the King, with three ceremonies scheduled to take place reports Bangkok Post.

An alms offering ceremony will be held at the multi-purpose yard at Phuket Provincial Hall at 7.30am. A ceremony to pay homage to the King and lay the ‘Phan Phum’ in front of his image will occur at 6pm. Lastly, a candle-lighting ceremony to honour the auspicious occasion will be at the Phuket Government Center Auditorium at 7.19pm. The public is invited to join these events.

Due to the public holidays in Thailand, government offices, including Immigration, District Offices, and the local Department of Land Transportation, will be closed on Saturday and next Monday, June 5.

Main branches of banks will also be closed, but some bank branches in shopping malls will remain open. Thailand Post branches and kiosks in shopping centres will operate as usual, and hospitals will provide emergency and ongoing regular treatments only. All Royal Thai Police and Tourist Police stations will remain open, and some local consulates will be open to serve their respective citizens.

Phuket News

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.