When many people think of Thailand their mind is never far from partying and drinking. Take my word for it, I have drunk my fair share of alcohol in Thailand. Thailand is the top country for alcohol consumption in South East Asia. It’s not all tourists either, the Thai’s love a good party. With an estimated 17 million Thai’s enjoying regular drinking, let’s look at what they enjoy drinking. While Thai alcohol isn’t going to win any quality awards anytime soon, when you are in Thailand it’s better to drink like a local. Hopefully, our Thailand Alcohol Guide can help you with that.
We will only look at Thai booze here, and not western imports. In big tourists resorts & cities, imports are easy to get your hands on. You will pay a premium for these. Jack Daniels, Heineken and imported whiskeys like Johnnie Walker are everywhere.
There are 3 main beers in Thailand, and we will look at them in our Thailand Alcohol Guide. While there are others, they are not as popular and less likely to appear on a drinks menu in your average Thai bar.
1. Chang – The cheapest option and a favorite for backpackers and Thai’s trying to save some money. This light pale malt beer is known for it’s famous “Changover”, the brutal hangover this beer delivers. it might be better spending a few Baht more and enjoying something better.
2. Leo – Leo is a mid-range priced beer. Refreshing and very popular. Expect to see this in pretty much every bar or club you go to. A surprise to many, this is my favorite Thai beer. It is less gassy than the others. Nobody likes to feel bloated. Also worth noting, Leo is the strongest of the popular beers at a whopping 6.5% Alcohol volume. More bang for your buck!
3. Singha – The most popular premium beer in Thailand, Singha is as good as it gets. This pale larger tastes good with only a small price difference above the others. You will find this beer everywhere, just as the others. 7-11s, Family Marts, every bar and restaurant and even on the site of the street from vendors.
Most of the Thai rums are very similar. Try them all and see what you like. They are generally very cheap also. Thai’s drink these all the time as it’s a great value way to get drunk. Traditionally, these are drunk with soda water and a dash of coke over ice.
1. Sang Som – While often sold as a Whiskey, this Thia Rum is distilled from sugarcane and very popular throughout Thailand. Usually, you would buy a bottle for your table and drink with Ice, Soda Water and Coke. This is the Thai way!
2. Hong Thong – Distilled from grains, this Thai rum is very strong and known for its awful hangovers. Along with Blend 285, these are the 2 most popular rums in Thailand. This is likely due to the price. They are very cheap!
3. Blend 285 – Very popular everywhere, and available to buy everywhere. This stuff is very cheap and the locals drink it like it’s going out of fashion. Usually drank with soda water and coke, as with other Thai Rums.
Lao Khao & Yadong
A largely local drink that the average tourist won’t see, or try. You may be offered it and if you are offered some be very careful. Lao Khao is extremely potent and will knock you on your ass. It is a rice alcohol that has caused many horror stories of tourists getting into big problems while indulging in this stuff.
Yadong is actually a medical drink and an ingredient in Lao Khao. A blend of herbs and alcohol which is again very strong. You don’t have to drink much of this stuff to get a buzz, and it’s very easy to have to much and end up on your ass. You have been warned!
The vast majority of wine you will see in Thailand is imported and subsequently very expensive but we will still mention it breifly in our Thailand Alcohol Guide. Thailand does have its own Thai wines, with the popular brands being mostly fruit-based wines from the north of Thailand. In all honesty, Thailand probably isn’t the best destination for wine lovers.
When it comes to beer, Singha is your best bet if you like the taste of it. If not, hope down to Leo. Avoiding Change is wise if you can afford it. Avoid rice whiskeys if you can. There is really no need to drink these. If you are going to drink Thai Rums just find one you like. They are all very similar. Avoid expensive imports. Support the Thai economy.
If you think we have missed anything in our Thailand Alcohol Guide please comment below or send us an email.