🖐 In this blog post we’ll share all drone laws links & known regulation around recreational & commercial drone use in Thailand (Bangkok). Give a 👍 at the end of this post if you enjoyed it & feel free to ask any questions or share your experience the Thailand Drone Discussion Group. Keep in mind that the content below is updated to the best of our ability & does not replace official sources & your own research.
Recreational vs commercial drone use in Thailand
Thailand does not seem to differentiate much commercial & recreational drone uses other than all commercial flights should ask permit & be registered. Both uses are subject to restrictions, registrations & a strict code of conduct. Drone regulation in Thailand will also vary according to your drone's weight & if it has a camera or not.
✅ In Thailand, the use of drone for any purpose falls under the permission of the CAAT (Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand), and they are fairly strict in applying the drone laws.
🚨 Fines and prison sanctions have been set for whomever does not follow the rules.
Can I bring my drone to Thailand?
✅ Currently, there doesn't seem to be any restrictions on bringing drones within Thailand (Bangkok) as long as your import is considered as legitimate (generally one drone per person).
🚨 Be aware of the airline you purchase to travel as some main ones will only accept your drone on-board if its batteries are detached & placed in a firecase during travel time. Most airlines will have a battery voltage limit based on the recommendation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). You can find more info about a specific airline here.
💡 Smart! Get your drone batteries' firecase today and make sure you're complying with aviation safety rules.
Where can I fly my drone in Thailand?
✅ We found a very useful drone fly map however cannot guarantee the authenticity of it but when doing our research it seemed pretty much bang on.
Thailand Drone Fly Map
Depending on your drone's characteristics you might need to register your drone. In the following two cases, it seems compulsory to register your drone towards authorities.
if your drone weights more than 2 kg
if your drone has a camera on-board (there is a debate on this one)
🚨 Drone insurance is compulsory in Thailand if your drone weights more than 2 kg no matter if you intend to fly for recreational or commercial purposes in Thailand. You will need this insurance before even being able to register your drone online.
Recreational Drone use in Thailand
You will need to register and obtain a permit for most drone recreational use in Thailand. Moreover there are strict rules depending on your drone's weight, your flight zones & a code of conduct to follow for all operators.
In Thailand, when flying a drone, you must fly:
at a maximum altitude of 90 m above the ground.
at least 30 m away from vehicles in movement, people or large crowds.
a drone weighting less than 2 kg (different regulation categories applies for 2 kg+ & 25 kg+ unmanned aircraft, see below for further explanations).
about 9 km away from airports (any airport, seaplane base or area where aircraft or helicopter take off & land) & give way to all other type of aircraft.
only during day time (no night flight tolerance) & within your sight at all times.
avoiding sensitive areas including military facilities, palaces and parks in Bangkok.
you need to be at least 20 years old.
How to apply for a drone insurance in Thailand?
This is a tricky one that we can read a lot of comments online & have tried to sum it up. In any case, your insurance must cover damage arising from bodily harm, loss of life, as well as damage to an asset of third party with insurance limit more than 1 million Baht per claim.
Searching online and reading visitors' blog posts, we found an example here suggesting that Mittare Insurance provided such assistance. Also check www.dronethaiinsurance.com which we haven't tired but expect to make things a little easier for you.
✅ PhantomThailand.com provides you an all inclusive service for 5,000 Thai Bath.
How to register my drone in Thailand?
The registration is made in two steps:
Ahead of your trip, online you should plan ahead and visit the the CAAT drone portal. This step is to register the person or representative who will be in charge of the drone & gives time to authorities to understand who you are and what your intentions.
If your an individual (visitor or national) applying you will need:
Fill out the CAAT registration form. (Note that this only works from Google Chrome & that you will need to specify if you're a national, visitor, juridic representation or a government agency as the information asked
will be different). Check the drop down menu on the left of your screen to see all option, once selected, go down right.
Download, complete & return the unmanned vehicle registration application & the self declaration form. You can email these to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and if in need of an update call them at (+66) 0 2568 8815
Join a valid ID and address justification.
Show your drone insurance copy (as described above).
Join photos of your drone with a least one where the serial number is clearly visible.
💡 Smart! Heading to the coast? Water glare is a killer when flying above Thai coastal waters, make sure you have a lens filter before heading there.
✅ Your drone application & registration in Thailand should be processed within 15 working days should all elements are provided & will be valid for two years. (Note; several blog feedback suggest delays are much longer in reality, we read up to 6 months but this was prior the above new process).
Once onsite, you need to go to the nearest NBTC (National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission) office to register the frequency of transmission used by your drone. The process has been reported to take about 20 mins, provided you have done all the ahead of arrival work & have your insurance papers with you.
The offices are usually open weekdays from 8.30am to 4.30pm
Chiang Mai Office (It seems that most of Chiang Mai city region is forbidden to unmanned vehicle flights due to the closeness of the airport).
🚨 Note, it seems that a different weight limit applies for this step, as any drone over 250 g should register. To clarify, if your drone is between 250 g & 2 kg without a camera, you simply need the NBTC registration step.
🚨 If your drone weights more than 25 kg, you will need on top of all above process, an authorisation from the Minister of Transports of Thailand.
Commercial Drone use in Thailand
You will have to follow all the steps and code of conduct of the recreational drone use practices. Little extra information is available around this but there seems to be a common agreement that any flight should be registered and ask for permission no matter the weight of your drone in this case.
'If you have further information, please share in the Thailand Drone Discussion Group; this would help immensely.'
What do I risk for flying a drone illegally in Thailand?
Failing to register your drone to CAAT exposes you to a fine of up to 40,000 Bath & up to 1 year of prison.
Failing to register your drone to NBTC or no steps at all exposes you to a fine up to 100,000 Bath & up to 5 years of prison.
📰 Read the unfortunate story of this local user (need Google translate if you don't speak Thai) Long story short, he got charged for flying above 90 m altitude and posting 8 images of his illegal flights on Facebook. After going in front of court, the sentence was reduced to ฿55,000 as first fine was outside law's defined scope. This still represents 2 months of full time salary in Thailand!!
If you're lucky, you will be simply warned as Matt & Amber but this will probably become a rarer situation as the Thai drone law is now quite well known after being on the Bangkok Post's front page.
✅ The excellent news is that once you've passed all this admin work, you can start flying above Thailand's awesome landscapes & create videos like this one:
💡 You're a local, have a question or want to share a travel experience? Head to our Thailand Drone Discussion Group
Disclaimer: Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information researched, we take no responsibility for any loss, harm or damage caused as a direct or indirect consequence of relying on this information. It is your responsibility to seek advice from qualified local & relevant authorities for needed information about local drone rules and regulations.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links meaning we will get a commission if you decide to purchase via them. This has no costs for you but helps Dronemade stay free for all. If you need to buy anything on Amazon or DJI stores, think of us.
PhantomThailand.com for a fully taken care of drone registration & insurance process.