Visitors and residents in Thailand should be aware that during the coming weekend 6-7th August the country will vote in a constitutional referendum and the distribution of alcohol has been suspended.
It is very common in Thailand to suspend alcohol sales on religious holidays, political polling days or even certain day/nighttime hours which catches many visitors by surprise.
Foreign visitors, be it business travelers or tourists, are often unfamiliar with such restrictions and might be caught in the middle of their holiday by the situation of not being able to even get a drink.
I had a reservation for the coming weekend at the Sheraton Hua Hin Resort who sent out this email today:
Welcome back to Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa and thank you for being our Platinum member. We are thrilled to host you for your upcoming visit As the VIP & Guest Services Leader at the hotel, I would like to extend my services to you. If there is anything I can assist with prior to, during, or after your stay, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.
Feel free to let us know what time can we expect you at the hotel on 07 August 2016 so we can better prepare for your arrival and refer to the Notification of the Office of the Prime Minister, advising the prohibition of alcoholic beverage sale on “a constitutional referendum vote” Day which falls on 06-07th August 2016, all hotels and resorts including restaurants are obliged to follow strictly through, yet alcoholic beverages are still served for personal consumption in In Room Dining Service (1212). We regret for inconveniences this may cause you during your time with us.
Very inconvenient for a resort and the hotel has not responded yet to the question of how the club lounge cocktail hour will be replaced. Often hotels offer a complimentary minibar to their Platinum / Club Level members but I for one don’t like to have a drink by myself in the room or on the balcony. Chances are I won’t be using this reservation and instead start my trip to Japan a few days early.
At the same time security is being taken very seriously indeed considering Thailand’s reputation of political protests and the current rule of a military junta.
The UK Government has put out this travel advice to their citizens:
Summary – a referendum on the Thai constitution is due to take place on 7 August 2016; political tensions are likely to increase leading up to and during the polls; you should avoid political gatherings and monitor the advice of local authorities and local media.
It’s hard to say what happens during the next weekend especially in Bangkok so it’s probably a good bet to follow this advice and stay clear of political gatherings.
Travelers staying in Thailand next week should inquire with their hotels or resorts how this mandated restriction is being handled in case it’s a priority for them. What bugs me about the email from the Sheraton is that this date must have been known for quite some time now and just today, 6 days prior to arrival they inform the guest about it. Good thing it’s a flexible reservation.