Don't worry, you can still drink on your vacation. Just be careful if you Instagram it.
The party scene, street food, and nightlife in Thailand are bucket list-worthy, must-do-before-you-die experiences. But as a Buddhist (a religion which advises its followers against becoming intoxicated) country, there are strict laws that try to regulate the promotion of alcohol, including one that requires clubs and bars shut down at midnight, and a “sin tax” that applies to cigarettes and booze. Thailand takes these regulations so seriously that advertising alcoholic beverages is actually illegal. And if you take a picture with a drink and then post it to your social media account, that could actually be interpreted as advertising, according to Vogue.
Companies that make alcoholic beverages have ways of getting around the 2008 law, called the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, which bans any images that “induce people to drink such alcoholic beverages, either directly or indirectly”; they simply don’t use any product placement in their ads. Others have turned to social media to ask celebrities to promote their products. Authorities have thrown a wrench in that strategy, however, by announcing that they will begin patrolling social media for any images or videos that promote drinking.
That means that you could be fined up to $1,500 dollars for posting a photo of your drink on Instagram while on vacation, as it could be interpreted as an endorsement of alcohol that could “induce drinking,” in anyone who saw it. Earlier this month, eight Thai celebrities were arrested for just such an offense, as were several girls who work at a bar after they made a Facebook Live video inviting people to drop by for a beer promotion.
Don’t let this news discourage you from visiting Thailand. You can still have a good time. After all, no one is outlawing partying. Just put down the camera and enjoy yourself.