Back-to-back Buddhist holidays this week mean two dry days in Pattaya as bars, restaurants and entertainment venues are barred from selling alcohol.
Asalaha Bucha Day, Aug. 2, and Khao Pansaa, or “Buddhist Lent,” Aug. 3, traditionally have been days when bars were requested to close. However, in 2009 the Prime Minister’s Office issued a no alcohol edict, banning the sale of alcohol on important religious holidays.
The Notification of the Office of the Prime Minister RE: Determination of Days of Prohibition of Alcoholic Beverage Sales (No. 2) B.E. 2552 (A.D. 2009), signed by then Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, specifically prohibits the sale of alcohol on Makha Bucha Day, Visakha Bucha Day, Asalaha Bucha Day and Buddhist Lent holidays.
From 12 a.m. Aug. 2 until midnight Aug. 3, it is against the law for businessmen to distribute alcohol. This includes bars and restaurants, supermarkets, convenience stores, department stores, and community retail stores. An amendment to the decree exempts hotels from the ban.
Those caught breaking the law can face up to six months in jail and fines up to 10,000 baht.