Local laws and customs
Conditions in prisons and other detention facilities in Thailand are harsh, with limited access to healthcare. There have been recent cases of detainees dying in custody.
Do not become involved with drugs of any kind. Possession of even very small quantities can lead to imprisonment. If you’re found guilty of being in possession of 20 grams of a Class A drug on exiting Thailand you risk receiving the death penalty. Amphetamines and ecstasy are regarded as Class A drugs and possession or trafficking carries the same penalty as heroin.
As of 9 June 2022, private recreational use of cannabis is legal if THC content is below 0.2% by weight, but cannabis use in public places remains illegal. Cultivation, consumption, distribution and sales of cannabis products is legal, although some restrictions remain in place - you should check with the relevant local authorities if you are unsure. More information on usage and registration can be found on PR Thai Government.
It is illegal to import more than 200 cigarettes per person into Thailand. This is enforced at customs on arrival. Those who exceed the limit may be fined ten times the value of the items and face confiscation of the cigarettes.
In January 2018, Thai authorities introduced a smoking ban on some beaches, including in Koh Samui, Pattaya and in Phuket, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chon Buri and Songkhla provinces. Those caught smoking in non-designated areas face a 100,000 baht fine or up to a year in prison. There are also strict rules on the disposal of all forms of waste, especially polystyrene and plastic, and any act that can cause damage to coastal areas. You should follow local guidance.
On 27 March 2020 the Thai Department of Disease Control linked the smoking of cigarettes to the impact of coronavirus. Smoking in public could result in a fine of up to 5,000 Baht. This includes electronic cigarettes which are illegal in Thailand and their use may incur further fines or imprisonment. Electronic cigarettes are already illegal in Thailand and their use may incur further fines or imprisonment.
Vaporisers (like e-cigarettes and e-baraku) and refills are illegal in Thailand. These items may be confiscated and you could be fined or sent to prison for up to 10 years if convicted. Their sale or supply is also banned and you could face a heavy fine or up to 5 years imprisonment if found guilty.
Thailand is generally a tolerant and progressive place for LGBT travellers, although in parts of Thai society LGBT rights and issues are more tolerated than accepted. There are active LGBT communities and social venues and increasingly people from the LGBT community play high profile roles in the public sphere, including trans-MPs.
Same-sex relationships are not criminalised by law. Thailand has no legislation on same-sex marriage and same-sex marriages conducted elsewhere aren’t recognised. Those wishing to change their gender marker on official documents can do so from male to female or vice versa, provided that they have undergone, or attempted to undergo, gender reassignment surgery. Thailand does not recognise a third gender. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community.
Thailand is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). It’s illegal to buy, sell, kill or capture any protected wild animal or trade its parts without a licence and the ivory trade is banned.