One strange-but-true law in Thailand is the ban on alcohol sales between 2pm and 5pm. But like many rules in Thailand, enforcement is…patchy – the larger supermarket chains and 7-11’s quite strictly abide by it although at a smaller family owned store, pretty much anything goes. Also, restaurants and bars act as if they are exempt. And if a supermarket is really the only place you want to buy a beer, then buying 10 litres counts as “wholesale” and also gets around the restriction.
It is interesting when faced with this rule how often it turns out you do want to buy beer in the mid afternoon. Or in Kristal’s case you get confused over the time and think they only sell beer between 2pm and 5pm.
A little internet research found one person who suggests the rule dates back to the 1971 coup, when the Thai head of government at the time decided the public needed to share in the sacrifice of the armed forces – although suffice to say I haven’t been able to confirm this from any official site. There also seems to be some thought that it relates to the time children finish school, although you might think that an age restriction would work more easily for that.
An interesting example of the more “official” places sticking by the rules is this foodcourt at the Tesco Lotus in Saraburi, a couple of hours north of Bangkok – where the Leo towers are prominently on display… right next to the sign with the hours implying that if you want to drink in the foodcourt you’d better get started early in the day. Or buy a few towers to get to the 10L limit, I guess….