Next week marks the beginning of Buddhist Lent with two of the most important religious days on the Thai calendar, Asalaha Bucha and Khao Pansaa, July 16 and 17.
Khao Pansaa marks the start of the monks’ rains retreat, during which they stay inside temple grounds so as not to trample crops during the rainy season. Candles are seen as a way to provide monks enlightenment during their prayers and candle parades are popular.
As these are important Buddhist holidays, bars, restaurants and entertainment venues are barred from selling alcohol on both days. From 12.01 a.m. July 16 until midnight July 17, it is against the law for businesses 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.