The Three Strangest Illegal Acts in Thailand

There are loads of things you can do to get into trouble with the law no matter where you are, but you may find even more opportunities for mischief in the notorious party paradise of Thailand. Many of these infractions are notable for being illegal despite being…not that big of a deal. Still, the following mundane acts are Thai crimes; so do not engage in any of the following if you want to avoid the criminal life while traveling to Thailand:

  1. Driving Shirtless

Don’t let the tropical weather tempt you to joyride with your shirt off in Thailand. Police can (and do) hand out tickets if they spot you topless while driving a car or motorcycle. Once thought to only apply to men, this weird law could have been seen as sexist, but it is in fact illegal for anyone to drive topless.

There are no documented cases of such a heathen criminal serving actual jail time for motor shirtlessness, but hefty fines are levied and jail is on the books as a possibility. We suggest you keep your torso covered in Thailand, no matter how hot and humid it gets.

  1. Leaving the House With No Underwear On

We can’t quite imagine why this was ever deemed illegal, as it is not nudity that is the issue here, but rather the absence of underwear even in the presence of other clothing. Nonetheless, this presumable holdover of massive purity culture is actually illegal.

The bigger question, of course, is how the authorities would come to know of someone going commando in the first place if they are not entirely nude or at least bottomless in public? If they’ve befallen some terrible accident that requires the forcible removal of clothing that would reveal a lack of underpants, they’ve got a bigger problem to deal with than being charged with Lack Of Underwear In The First Degree.

  1. Stepping On Money

The root of this one is the fact that defiling or defacing any image of the Thai King is highly illegal and taken very seriously. Criminalizing disrespect is a risky prospect, though, and that’s how we end up with laws like this.

Of course the image of the king appears on the Thai Baht (Thai currency), which is where the careful care of money comes into play. Most people are not in the habit of walking on their money, but when you consider how easy it would be to accidentally drop some or otherwise make a misstep, this law seems a bit more daunting.

As one blogger noted, it’d be hilarious if, just for a laugh, someone threw a handful of Thai coins onto the sidewalk during rush hour to see what happens. Would the locals scatter like pigeons in order to avoid stepping on the coinage, or would they dive to collect it before you can?

Probably best not to test these, or any of the laws in Thailand for that matter. Have a fun, safe visit, and make sure to pack lots of underwear!