What do you mean I have to wait?
As I sat impatiently waiting for the clock to tick past 5pm at the 7-11, it was apparent things had changed since my pre-COVID visits to Phuket, and I needed to get my facts straight on alcohol sales!
I mean, people come to Phuket to party on the beach and sip cocktails by the pool, right?
Well, before you panic, yes, alcohol IS still readily available and sold in Phuket – but there are rules! Here’s the latest you need to know as at 2023:
Restrictions on Alcohol Sales in Phuket
There are restrictions on alcohol sales in Phuket, as in the rest of Thailand. Alcohol sales are prohibited between midnight and 11:00 am and on certain holidays, such as the Buddhist holidays of Makha Bucha and Visakha Bucha. They have also introduced no alcohol sale rules on local election days. These run for 24 hours – midnight to midnight.
The rule which caught me out was no alcohol sales from shops between 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM every afternoon. It is apparently to do with stopping youngsters from attempting to buy alcohol on the way home from school?
In addition, alcohol cannot be sold within 300 meters of a school, university, or temple. It is also illegal to sell alcohol to anyone under the age of 20.
Since December 2020, they have banned e-commerce delivery of alcohol, so no adding a cheeky few bottles onto your grocery order or having the nearest Lotus drop a few extra bottles with your water delivery.
However, bars and restaurants are now exempt from these timing restrictions and may serve alcohol outside of the legal hours (except the religious holiday rules). Some, but not all, bars may allow you to ‘take away’ your last drink once the bar has closed, after midnight.
You are also allowed to CONSUME the alcohol you have purchased at any time of day you please; the restrictions are only on the sale of alcohol.
Legal Drinking Age in Phuket (And All of Thailand)
The legal drinking age in Phuket, as in the rest of Thailand, is 20 years old. It is illegal for anyone under the age of 20 to purchase, consume or possess alcohol. It is also illegal to sell or provide alcohol to minors.
It’s important for visitors to abide by local laws and regulations and to avoid underage drinking, as it can result in legal consequences and may be dangerous for young people.
How Much Does Alcohol Cost in Phuket?
This will vary hugely by the venue you are buying your drink; a “cheap night out” in Phuket can get costly if you’re not careful. Do pay attention to happy hours and keep an eye on your bill for added extras you may not have ordered.
We’ll provide you a rough guide from our most recent experiences in 2023.
How Much is a Beer in Phuket
- In general, a local beer in a small bar or restaurant can cost around 60-80 baht (approximately $2-3 USD), while a beer in a more upscale bar or nightclub can cost upwards of 150-200 baht (approximately $5-7 USD).
- Imported beers are usually more expensive, with prices ranging from 120-300 baht (approximately $4-10 USD) or more, depending on the brand and location. It’s always a good idea to check the menu or ask the staff for the prices before ordering.
How Much is a Cocktail in Phuket
- Again, you’ll find the prices hugely variable depending on the quality of the establishment.
How Much is Wine in Phuket
- Wine is relatively reasonably priced in Thailand but hugely variable in quality. Most ‘house wines’ are probably not of the standard you’d be used to elsewhere in the world; if you are fussy about your drop, proceed with caution at your average bar!
- In our experience, whites and rose are almost always served too warm, but be cautious of asking for ice; make sure ice is made from bottled water.
- If you have the opportunity to shop at an import supermarket such as Tops of Villa Market, you’ll find a much better range of wines for home consumption in your holiday accommodation. A bottle of half-reasonable imported wine is in the range of
Tax on Alcohol in Phuket
There is a tax on alcohol sales in Phuket and throughout Thailand. The tax rate varies depending on the type of alcohol, its strength, and its origin. The tax is paid at the supplier level and is already included in the price you pay as a consumer.
In addition to the tax, there may also be a service charge or other fees added to the final bill.
If you plan to consume alcohol at your accommodation, perhaps a cheeky afternoon sip before your start your afternoon out, it might be worth stocking up in the duty-free at the airport. You are permitted to bring in 1 litre per person (though honestly, it’s rarely checked).
So rest easy that you will be able to grab some of your favourite sips to enjoy in Phuket, but just be mindful of service times at minimart and supermarkets and the rules for drinking alcohol in Thailand.
© Mama Loves Phuket