The auspicious Buddhist holidays Asarnha Bucha Day and Khao Phansa (Buddhist Lent), also called “Vassa”, will be observed tomorrow and Wednesday (July 16-17), respectively.
As both are major religious holidays, the sale of alcohol is banned by law across the nation on both days. As such, the alcohol ban starts at midnight tonight and concludes at midnight Wednesday night.
Over the two days, 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.
Alcohol sales is prohibited across the country, 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, Asarnha Bucha Day, Khao Pansa and Wan Org Pansa.
Under the order, anyone caught breaking the ban faces a prison sentence of up to six months, a B10,000 fine or both.
Asarnha Bucha day is the full-moon day of the eighth lunar month, commemorating the Buddha’s first sermon to his first five disciples after attaining Enlightenment more than 2,500 years ago.
As part of making merit to honour the day, Buddhists attend evening candlelit processions called wien tien at temples across the country. Visitors are welcome to respectfully join the event.
Buddhist Lent day, or Khao Phansa Day, is the start of a period of three lunar months during the rainy season when monks are required to remain in one particular place or temple and undertake deep meditation.
The Class Act Media office will be open on Asarnha Bucha Day tomorrow (July 16) and Khao Pansa Day on Wednesday (July 17).