It is difficult to realise at times, that you are in a strange country whilst on holiday in the fun city of Pattaya, as regards the laws of Thailand. Taking the extreme, the worst thing you could do after murder is get yourself involved with drugs of any kind. Often dressed in plain clothes, the local police will use entrapment methods, legal in Thailand but not elsewhere to offer drugs for sale, in the hope you might incriminate yourself by buying.
Serious drug offences carry the death penalty in Thailand, and mercy is rarely given and only by royal decree. Under age sex 18 is the legal age in Thailand, is another offence that will not be treated lightly and would result in a lengthy term in a Thai prison an unforgettable and unpleasant experience.
Thai ladies dress and appear to look older than they really are, and if in any doubt at all you should check ID cards of any sexual partners.
Although this can be difficult because the ID card is in Thai including the date of birth, using the Asian calendar. Girls are not allowed be law to work in drinking bars or go go, this being checked by the bar owner unless 18 or above and their legal age is guaranteed.
Some Thai laws seem odd but must be obeyed to avoid a fine, or arrest and deportation. A very serious offence is any derogatory remarks, overheard or made in public regarding the King or royal family this will defiantly get you arrested and into some serious trouble. This is known as lese majeste and carries a jail term of between three to twenty years. Even to stand on a bank note with the kings head on it will end up in you getting into some very hot water with the local Thai’s. Amusingly a man driving a car without a shirt on is also illegal in Thailand leading to arrest although perfectly ok at the beach.
It is a legal requirement to carry your passport at all times in Thailand,and you can be arrested for failing to produce. However in the main tourist area of Pattaya these checks are not normally carried out.
The view to nudity is an oddity in itself, whilst illegaly girls in bars and go go establishments show their charms quite openly. A woman going topless at a beach anywhere in Thailand is an arrestable offence. At the beach it would be rare to see a Thai girl in a bikini, only a full piece swimsuit with a towel wrapped around themselves for good measure. Prostuition is also illegal in Pattaya and throughout Thailand but is ignored by all.
The internet is also heavily censured in Thailand and no girly or pornographic sites can be opened, such sites carry a message in Thai that the site is censured, and not for public consumption. The television is another media heavily which is censored with American movies having whole scene’s removed, scenes of nudity are airbrushed or fogged out. This even applies to cigarette smoking and scene’s of violence when guns in movies are pointed at someone. Although bad language in general seems to escape such censorship.
Cigarette smoking is banned in shopping malls, restaurants, bars and go go bars. Although it carries a 2000 baht fine and plastered with signs banning smoking, no one not even officials or police enforce this law. It is not uncommon to see police in uniform smoking and drinking in such bars.
Recently the laws of visa requirements has been toughened up, due to widespread abuse. It is illegal to carry out any work for pay or otherwise without a work permit. On being caught it would be a fine of more that 50,000 baht and deportation. Up to 42 days of overstay on your visa, you would be fined 500 baht a day up to a maximum fine of 20,000 baht. However after 42 days of overstay it is an arrestable offence, this being carried out when you eventually attempt to leave the country. It carries the maximum fine, a minium six weeks imprisonment and your passport stamped with overstay. Effectively meaning you will not be allowed back into Thailand again period.
Being predominately a Buddhist country, the image of Buddha is sacred and protected by law. The purchase is not unlawful but don’t make the mistake to purchase a statue or image of Buddha as a souvenir. The export of such is prohibited without a special permit to do so. Being randomly stopped at customs in possession of such will lead to prosecution and serious consequences as would any desecration of an image of Buddha whilst in Thailand.
There are many laws in Thailand of course to obey and not are all obvious but a general rule of thumb is if it seems illegal, then it most defiantly is.