Drone regulations in Thailand

When you want to fly a drone in Thailand, you have to take some hurdles. In this article, I explain you which conditions you have to fulfill.

In recent years, the rules for drone pilots in Thailand have changed very often. There are many confusions, and not all the information you find on the internet is up to date. But I will try to give you an up-to-date and complete overview of the legal situation in the Kingdom.

Get permission from the CAAT

The CAAT regulates air traffic in Thailand. Since 2017, registration with the CAAT is required if your drone is equipped with a camera or weighs more than 2 kilograms. This means that all common drones (including DJI Mavic Air and DJI Spark) must be registered.

Since summer 2018 the registration can be done via the online platform www.caat.or.th/uav/. Currently, the platform has a few start problems (for example, long load times). You will be guided through the registration process in a structured way.

Much of the interface is in Thai. However, the relevant fields have also been translated into English, so you can fill in all the forms well. During the process, you have to give a lot of personal information. In addition, you will need to upload a signed self-report, a picture of the drone showing the serial number, and proof of your drone insurance.

The insurance confirmation should be in English and contain the following critical data:

  • Full name of the policyholder
  • Brand, model, and weight of insured drone(s)
  • Worldwide validity must be clear
  • Coverage of the insurance

If you have any questions, please call CAAT on 0066 (0) 2568 8815.

After you have sent the complete documents, the CAAT checks your application. To date, three other authorities have been contacted: the National Intelligence Agency, the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, and the Immigration Bureau. This background check is to ensure that you have not committed any legal violations in Thailand yet. Since the examination of your person is very time-consuming, you have to expect a processing time of three to four months!

I could not find out yet if all authorities are still consulted with the new online registration. Even if the permission of the NBTC (see below) still has to be obtained, I am not clear yet. The following two paragraphs (NBTC and the frequent questions) may, therefore, be out of date. I try to clarify it as quickly as possible.

Permission from the NBTC

Approval from the NBTC becomes necessary if your drone weighs more than 250 grams and is operated with a controller. The NBTC regulates the radio frequencies in Thailand.

Registering with the NBTC is easy within 10-15 minutes at one of the NBTC offices. Currently, there are different empirical values, whether the CAAT passes on your data to the NBTC. If you got your approval from the CAAT, you should ask if you still have to take care of this authorization or if the CAAT has already taken over this step for you.

However, if registration with the NBTC is not carried out and the police catch you, then you may face up to 5 years imprisonment or a fine of 100,000 THB.

Frequently asked questions about drone rules in Thailand

I would like to answer the questions most commonly asked in the comments here:

  1. Do I have to register my DJI Spark / DJI Mavic Pro / … for my Thailand vacation?
    Yes, because these drones have a camera. You can find more information above.
  2. I only visit Thailand in transit and do not want to start my drone in Thailand. Can I get in trouble if I have no registration?
    There should be no problems. The customs are not interested in drones, and the registrations are only required for the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles. However, it can be critical if you get the impression that you want to resell the drone in Thailand (for example, if you import the drone in its original sealed packaging).
  3. I am flying to Thailand in a few weeks/days and would like to take my drone with me. Now I have read that I have to do the registration. What can I do now?
    It’s too late to register with the CAAT. Nevertheless, I would send the documents in your situation. So if in doubt, you have something in your hand, what you can show on site. Besides, you should register with the NBTC in Thailand. Also, you can go to a police station in Thailand and get a permit there. I’m not sure what legal validity these approvals have. But some pilots have received an official document in this way, which they can show at a check. With all these documents, you can demonstrate your goodwill and improve your position significantly, if it should come to questions.
    If you shy away from the effort, you’d better leave your drone at home.
  4. How long does it take to register with the CAAT?
    The current experience of our readers is between 75 and 104 days. However, I hope that the number of registrations will be reduced in the course of 2018, thus shortening the processing time.

Operation of multicopters in Thailand

After completing the registration of your drone, of course, there are more rules. Here is an overview of the most important provisions.

Maximum flight altitude: In Thailand, drones are allowed to climb a maximum of 90 meters (=300 feet).

Maximum horizontal distance and FPV: Your drone must be always in sight.

Compulsory insurance: Drone insurance is compulsory in Thailand. The insurance must cover damages of at least one million baht (about 27,000 euro).

Maximum take-off weight (MTOW): If you want to fly privately and no camera is mounted on your drone, a maximum take-off weight of 2 kilograms applies to your multicopter. For a higher weight, you need the approval of the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT). From a starting weight of 25 kilograms, you need a separate approval from the Ministry of Transport.

Distance to airports: You have to stay 9 kilometers (= 5 miles) away from airports.

Other safe distances: You may approach a maximum of 30 meters of people, vehicles, and buildings. The prescribed distance is 50 meters for approved drones.

Flight bans: You must not fly near crowds. It is not allowed to fly over cities and villages.

Flight approval: You must always obtain the permission of the landowner to start and land. In practice, we usually solve this in such a way that we ask the guards for permission or inform us at the info counters.

Time of operations: Drone flights are allowed in Thailand only in daylight, so in the time between sunrise and sunset.

Specific regulations: In Thailand, a minimum age of 20 is required to operate a multicopter.

Regulations for commercial pilots: Commercial pilots need permission for their flight maneuvers.

Good to know: Flights in Chiang Mai must be generally approved by the air traffic control because the airport is so close to the city. We have obtained the appropriate permission. But you should call a few days before so that the colleagues in the tower can coordinate with their bosses. Also, the approval of overflights in the historic park of Ayutthaya is necessary. The Historical Park Office grants the permission, which is open daily from 8:30 to 16:30. According to the tourist information, the permit costs 5,000 baht.

Helpful links: CAAT (contact details at the end of the page), Richard BarrowNo Fly Zones Thailand

We have researched the listed drone regulations for Thailand to the best of our knowledge. We cannot guarantee the correctness of the information. If you want to be on the safe side, contact the Thai aviation authority. Alternatively, you can also ask the Thai embassy in your country for further information about the regulations. Please leave us a comment when you receive news and/or gain experience with your copter in Thailand!

You liked the article? Then share it with your friends!

About the author

Since January 2015, we travel around the world. In our backpack we carry a camera drone which we use to capture the best places from a bird’s perspective. First we travelled with a DJI Phantom 2. But now we use a Yuneec Typhoon H. On our blog we share the best tips for you about travelling with a copter. If you have questions about this article or new information, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment!

Discussions

1 6 7 8
  • Chris | 17.12.2018

    Yikes. Reading this thread and all the various drone law websites that have information on Thailand makes me think it’s just not worth the risk or the headache. It’s such a shame that from a drone perspective, Thailand is such a difficult country to fly in.

    I will be traveling there in May, but I can’t help but worry that even if I go through all the hassle of getting multiple permits, insurance, and permission — I still risk somehow losing it at customs or while flying. Had I known this earlier, I would skip Thailand and choose different SE Asian countries that are more drone friendly.

  • Bryce Li | 18.12.2018

    Do I have to register the twllo drone in Thailand? Insurance for a inexpensive drone like tello will cost multiple times more than its value

  • Sam | 31.12.2018

    If drone is less than 2kg you do not need to register and you do not need insurance, but there is still rules that you have yo follow for start in bangkok no fly zone 19km radios from the king palace .
    Plus u need to make sure not fly as close as 30m from ppl

    • DULEROY | 04.01.2019

      Hello !
      Please landing Sir
      Ah Ah
      Every bodies know if you have Camera shall be registred under 2 kg all drone as par CAAT information !!!!

    • David | 04.01.2019

      Where did you get your information from?

    • Kim René Bjerre Leth | 08.01.2019

      not correct, you have to registrate all drone with camera, and insurence on english, on min 1 mill, but you have that in house insurence

  • Azuolas | 16.01.2019

    It’s possible that they blocks drone signal? Because when I turn on phantom 3 advanced it connects to transmitter and after few seconds disconnecting. I have same issue every time I try to operate it.

    • Sir Maxwell Greene | 23.01.2019

      Not likely- depends on where you are? I know there are a few places in Bangkok that is restricted by signal. I have tried to launch at a few places and am unable to connect due to some blocking device.

  • J.Ma | 16.03.2019

    Hello,

    Within 3 months I have prepared a 2 month trip through Southeast Asia, my port of entry is Bangkok, where I spent 4 days before flying to Laos. I would like to know if there is any kind of problem to enter Bangkok with the drone, and if I need a requirement that is met despite not wanting to fly it in Thailand. Thank you very much for the information!

  • oriol | 12.04.2019

    Hello, I’m going to thailand in 2 weeks for 1 week with my dron but I’m not interested to use in this country. I need the permissions to enter my dron in the country or I shouldn’t have problems if I’m not interested in use?

  • Dany | 19.04.2019

    Hi Francis!
    Thank you for all the info!
    1- I’m planning to visit Thailand end of May or Beginning June this year. Do you think that the process for obtaining the approval from the Thai concerned authorities is shorter now?
    2- In fact, I will be flying from Japan to Europe via Thailand, and in case I will not get the Thai approval on time, I will not use my drone in Thailand (I have a DJI Mavic Air). Even I will stay a few days in Thailand and I will not use my drone, do you think they will confiscate it at the airport?

  • Lasse Kaila | 30.04.2019

    Note to those who try to register drones in Thailand:
    I went through this process, it was quite tedious. 1) register drone with the NTBC. This was fairly straightforward, but the southern department in Nakhon Si Thammarat were quite lost as my drone was not purchased in Thailand, they were insisting on import documents and local registration documents. However after directing them to discuss with the Bangkok office everything was OK. 2) Insurance, this cost about 20€ and covers the necessary amount. I got mine from JP insurance as they have done drone insurance before. Quite a lot of documents were needed for this, including house registration (tabien baan). 3) The final step was to register the pilot at CAAT. The website states that processing would be done in 15 days. Mine has now taken over 2 months and was not finisihed in time for my trip. My wife called them numerous times, it seems the approval and everything is OK but the document is pending the signature by some official and thus not 100% completed. Apparently they have a backlog from somewhere in January 2019 and despite our requests they never got the needed signature. Thus I was not able to fly my drone at all during my 3 week trip, quite disappointing.

    • SPREX64 | 30.04.2019

      Hello !
      You are not Alien resident ( long stay visa or citizen in thailand ….
      You have to be registrated to the Bore-Dopa
      if not ! …. you will wait long time… long time
      I can say that because I have my license on year ago
      CAAt ask me to many others privates documents to prove my situation in the kingdom ……
      Note : You say 20 euros insurance Oups !!
      The courante price is 4500 bahts ( around 125 euros) minimum for 1 Million and insurance company must be registrated in Thailand co.th …
      I product my proper tabien ban TS 4 ( yelow color) and ID card 13 Digit national civil registration Thai and added visa long stay OA ready running 6 years …..
      Good look

      • Lasse Kaila | 30.04.2019

        @SPREX64 Thanks for your comments. My wife is a Thai resident so most papers, where applicable, were done in her name. However, the whole equation from a visitor’s point of view is almost impossible, you’d have to reserve at least half a year for processing and still have no guarantee of success. This just results in people ignoring the whole thing. Already during the process you’d need to be in the country (for applying for the insurance, for instance), they ask for your visa number (which you can’t possibly have at the time, especially if you get a 30-day visa on entry) and many officials complained that they can’t find the drone serial number in the Thai drone import list (of course, since it’s abroad) and so on.

        Insurance company was this one: http://www.jpinsurance.co.th and I remembered the fee incorrectly, sorry about that, it was 1690 THB for 1M insurance for 30 day duration.

        So in the end everything else was OK except for the final approving signature @ CAAT.

  • ZAZA | 14.06.2019

    Hey, can you clarify on new DJI Tello? Cause Im planning to go for honeymoon and have some moments recorded in Phuket. Can you help?

  • Shaky Traveler | 28.06.2019

    I’m not sure what you are asking. If you would like to fly the Tello in Thailand, then you need to get approvalsfrom CAAT and insurance. If it has a CAMERA you have to get approvals and insurance. The Tello has a camera.

  • Paul | 08.07.2019

    I’m in Pattaya at the Intercontinental Hotel right now. It’s on the beach. I just went around the corner and found a fairly quiet and flat place in a rather secluded area. Was on my second battery and 4 security guards came litterally running up and gave me the riot act. They were pissed it was taking the drone so long to get back to shore (I was trying to get to an offshore island. They wanted to see my video and I told them I would need a computer to see it. An actual Thai cop showed up and escorted me back to my hotel. I guess I was lucky. I think they’re more worried about guest privacy (especially in Pattaya, lol). My bad for not checking ahead of time.

  • Ryan L | 08.07.2019

    Hello,

    Just wanted to give my experience. I just got back from Thailand and was on Koh Lipe at the end of May 2019, was the only place I thought I would try flying.

    I stayed on the far north of sunrise beach and it was a very quiet area. I spoke with the hotel receptionists about flying and they were pretty enthusiastic about me flying and said no one there will have problems.

    I was there for a week and I flew my Mavic Air just about every day with no issues. To be honest there was really no one there while flying to even bother. Met another guy while there and he had a spark, and flew with no issues either.

    I only flew while on Koh Lipe and did not try or ask anywhere else while in Thailand. I cant say someones experience will be the same and also am not saying this is the legal way to go about flying in Thailand, but at least for Koh Lipe this was my experience and my 4k shots are epic!

    • Ryan L | 08.07.2019

      Forgot to explicitly mention I did not register anywhere or even try to. I don’t have insurance. I had no issues entering / leaving the country, no one stopped me at customs or even attempted to. I don’t even think anyone saw me flying.

      Like I said, this was just my experience. Koh Lipe also seems to a bit more different than the rest of Thailand… For one, you can buy Alcohol in the stores at anytime where the rest of thailand has strict time restrictions, besides 7-11, they still follow the law.

      Overall was an amazing experience, would highly recommend a trip down to Koh Lipe.

Write a comment