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Major Buddhist holiday brings alcohol ban to Phuket

PHUKET: Visakha Bucha Day is around the corner which means most of government offices will be closed on this auspicious day and because it is a holy day, shops, bars and restaurants are barred from selling alcohol for 24 hours from midnight on Thursday night.

By The Phuket News

Monday 16 May 2016, 08:56AM

Click on image to see larger version.

Click on image to see larger version.

Visakha Bucha Day falls on Friday, May 20 this year, when Buddhists all over the world commemorate three great events on this full moon of the sixth lunar month: The birth, enlightenment and the passing away of Gautama Buddha.

Devout Buddhists will rise early and go to temples to make merit and listen to sermons on the Buddha’s teachings. After sunset, candle-lit processions will take place at major temples throughout the country. The devout Buddhists walk three times around the principle chapel clockwise, each clasping three incense sticks, a lighted candle and lotus buds. The air is filled with burning incense and smoke from the candles as the faithful complete this most sacred of Buddhist celebrations.

On this day, most government offices on the island will be closed, including Phuket Immigration Office, the Employment Office, the Land Transport Office and the island’s three District Offices .

All main bank branches will be closed, but branches in shopping centres will remain open.


All Royal Thai Police and Tourist Police stations will remain open and some local consulates will be open to serve their respective citizens.

Visakha Bucha is a Buddhist holiday, so across the country, alcohol sales is prohibited except at duty-free shops at the airport.

According to an announcement by the Prime Minister’s Office on January 22, 2015, the sale of alcohol is prohibited on five specific religious days: Makha Bucha, Visakha Bucha, Asanha Bucha Day, Khao Pansa and Wan Org Pansa days. (See story here.)



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robertd | 25 May 2016 - 16:11:21

Joe12- This wasn't about abiding by the law, it was about whether people agreed with the law.  I'd wager 99% of Thais agree that there should be a law against murder.  Like you, I have no stats, but would be very surprised if more than 20% of Thais agree with a law banning alcohol.

Christy Sweet | 25 May 2016 - 08:41:09

Stegee I was the one who criticized a certain patriarchal religion specifically, dictating moral codes and bleating fantasies to everyone while  relegating women to maids who'll fix the meals and clean the temple. You want peace in the world- get rid of the (relatively) new daddy religions and bring back the mother. Worship planet Earth, at least she's real.

Joe12 | 24 May 2016 - 18:45:52

robertd... it's just like any other law... take murder for instance. It's the law but people still kill one another. Exceeding the speed limit is an offence but we still exceed it. Therefore what is your point? ... nothing. Check stats yourself it's not an assertion as you allege.  

stegee | 24 May 2016 - 17:57:28

@joe12.. firstly- kurt has not criticised the religion of buddhism or anyone practicing it- he has criticised a law and suggested that buddhists are quite capable of following their own religion without the intervention of their governments as are most people who follow any religion.. obviously, i can read but i do find it hard to understand you.. where are you getting this '95%' from? did...

yvonne | 24 May 2016 - 02:04:39

Christy sweet, I do understand what you mean by your reply to me. All commenting on this topic  are not Thai citizens it seems and must realize they are guests only in Thailand. Even on retirement visas. A Government in Thailand can change their laws at any time and will those will never be in favour of foreigners or to accommodate foreigners from virtually all cultures and countries of the world,...

robertd | 23 May 2016 - 18:40:18

What I find amusing is that in my 20 years in Thailand, I haven't met many budhhists who agree with or abide with this silly law.  But they all know where to go that is not required to comply with the ban.  Not sure where joe12 comes up with his 95% assertion.

Joe12 | 23 May 2016 - 18:16:58

Stegee... sure.."What is justifying a total alcohol ban on a Buddha day on Phuket...Let the Buddhist ban themselves."

One does need to ask them. Can't you read or understand what I said, "The law is that way because the people choose it that way. It is meant for everyone, not just minorities." Who else decides the law?...unless you live in a Communist State or an ISIS ad...

stegee | 23 May 2016 - 14:17:49

@joe12- could you point out where kurt has 'rubbished' buddha or buddhists or buddhism? have you conducted a survey of these '95%' to ask them their opinion?
most thai 'buddhists' that i know are buddhists in name only- they practice the religion as it suits them and for their own purposes..  bar/shop/restaurant owners who deal with westerners on a regular basis that i hav...

Christy Sweet | 23 May 2016 - 08:33:21

yvonne, MISUSE  of Capitalization does  NOT Make  A WEAK POINT STRoNGer, BUT It Sure DOES MAKE  any Point more ANNOYING!

Christy Sweet | 23 May 2016 - 08:31:44

Joe112, I disagree with religious rules being enforced on a general population- but I cannot simply evaporate into outer space and must remain on the earth, preferably in a country where there are groceries. 

Inepto Cracy | 22 May 2016 - 16:35:33

Kurt, plain and simple. FIOFO.Are you a reincarnation of Sue from PW days?

yvonne | 22 May 2016 - 02:22:28

KURT, to put it Bluntly.. UNLESS YOU change YOUR attitude towards THAILAND and your mentality, in fact towards ANY COUNTRY where you a Tourist/Visitor( a GUEST and NOT  BONAFIDE CITIZEN BOON there!!) YOU are creating  your OWN Problem. THAILAND,NOR ANY other Country are going to change/adapt their LAWS/REGULATIONS to Accommodate YOU and YOUR Opinions.You have limited Options. ABIDE, COMPLY and ADJ...

Joe12 | 21 May 2016 - 20:45:20

Kurt..don't know why you repeating your silly questions, which have already been addressed, but I suppose you are either thick, dumb or stupid to understand. 

It's because 95% of the Thai population (who are Buddhist's) want it that way. That is democracy in action...the majority rules, so it conforms to democractic notions. The law is that way because the people choose it that way....

swerv | 21 May 2016 - 16:46:26

Kurt: You are residing in a country which is predominantly Buddhist. You are a guest here and therefore should abide by the laws of the land. If you are so desperate for a drink...buy before as i do.Note: The majority of Muslims do not consume alcohol so i am not sure why they are included in your 50% as you already stated that 30% of Phuket's population is Muslim. There are also a large numbe...

Christy Sweet | 21 May 2016 - 13:28:50

Kurt, just another example how patriarchal religions have to control everyone. Many counties in USA will not sell alcohol on Sundays for the same old goat reasons. Please somebody, stop the bleating!!

malczx7r | 21 May 2016 - 12:20:34

I don't understand the total addiction to alcohol and not being able to go without for one day, if you are so addicted buy the day before, it\'s not rocket science!

Kurt | 21 May 2016 - 09:02:13

I don't understand the total alcohol ban on Phuket during Buddha Days.
--: In Thailand, State and religions are separate.
Buddhisme is not a State religion.
--: On Phuket is about 30 % of the population Muslim.
--: There are many foreigner living on Phuket who are not Buddhist.
--: There are may tourists on Phuket who are not Buddhist.
--: Many restaurants, bars are negatively effected b...

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