Most people who own drones know about the restrictions on flying them in national parks, near airports and prisons. But surprisingly, there are also rules on flying drones in Thailand’s most visited tourist destinations. T
hese apply most to the popular party island of Koh Phangan and its sister islands Koh Tao, Samui, Phi Phi and Krabi. Before flying a drone in Thailand or planning a drone vacation to see the country from above through your camera lens consider this – taking photos for commercial use is illegal here.
Learn more about Are drones allowed in Thailand.
How To Legally Fly Drone In Thailand
Drone Operators Must Register Their Drones
Drones operators must register their drones before they can be legally operated in Thailand. Drone operators who are Thai nationals or permanent residents may submit an application for registration through the department of civil aviation.
They will need to provide information about the drone, including its serial number and model, as well as their personal information. Applicants should expect to receive a response within 15 days of submitting their application.
Buy Insurance Before Registering Your Drone
If you plan to fly your drone in Thailand, it is recommended that you procured insurance coverage before registering your drone with the authorities. Insuring your drone will cover any damage caused to others’ property or persons while flying.
As a quick note, you should know that if the person or property is located on private property and the owner has not given prior approval for flight, then the insurance would not cover damages.
In order to obtain coverage and benefit from insuring your drone while flying in Thailand, you must register it first with the authorities. You can obtain insurance by visiting any of the following websites:
- Drone Insurance
- Drone Insurance Specialists
Fly Under The Common Rules Of Air Navigation And Safety
Fly Under The Common Rules Of Air Navigation And Safety.
Follow these requirements from the Air Navigation Act:
- Keep your drone in sight at all times.
- Fly below 120 meters and away from clouds.
- Never fly in a way that could injure another person or damage property.
- Never fly over other people, large crowds, or things that could be damaged such as vehicles, buildings, wildlife reserves, prisons, etc..
- Give way to manned aircraft including helicopters and airplanes.
- Don’t fly the drone in a way that will affect other people’s lives or cause nuisance to others according to good manners or public order and security (this is quite vague but it means don’t do anything stupid).
Do Not Fly Over National Parks And Wildlife Sanctuaries
National parks and wildlife sanctuaries are protected areas in Thailand. Flying drones over these protected areas is illegal, and you can be fined up to 20,000 baht for flying a drone in a national park and up to 200,000 baht for flying a drone in a wildlife sanctuary.
The Royal Thai Police Office has published a list of all national parks and wildlife sanctuaries where drones cannot be flown.
Do Not Fly In Villages And Towns
You should not fly your drone over any villages or towns, because doing so will always violate the distance rule. You also need to keep your drone away from government buildings, hospitals, schools, and stadiums.
Flying near airports or railways is also a bad idea. Thailand has some very strict rules about drones flying within 30 miles of airports—and this includes both large international airports and small airstrips used by private planes. If you are going to be flying around an airport, make sure you have the proper permission from the relevant authorities.
Do Not Fly Over Foreign Territory Or Border Areas
The same principle applies for the sea, so generally drones are not allowed to fly over anywhere near the shoreline. The Royal Palace is also out of bounds and may result in serious consequences if you’re caught flying a drone above it.
Drone flight within 9km of a military base is also prohibited, as well as any government buildings and state offices. So basically just avoid anywhere near the city centre or any official looking buildings!
And finally, schools and hospitals are banned areas for drone flight.
Drone Operators Are Responsible For Any Damage
Drone operators are responsible for all damage resulting from their drone operations and must compensate any damage caused to locations or third persons according to the law on compensation for damages against the state and persons, and other laws relating to aviation accidents and aircraft damage liabilities.
You must have insurance before you can register your drone. It is advisable that you take out liability insurance covering your potential liability as an operator of a drone in Thailand.
If you are caught breaking the rules you could face a fine of up to 100,000 baht (2,103 Eur) or up to 5 years in jail.
You Can Legally Fly Your Drone In Thailand As Long As You Follow These Rules
- You can legally fly your drone in Thailand as long as you follow these rules
- You must register your drone before flying it (more info here)
- You need to buy insurance before registering
- You must not fly near aircraft in flight, or airports. The operator should use signs and flags to demarcate a no-fly zone.
- The operator should use signs and flags to demarcate a no-fly zone.
You Can Get In A Lot Of Trouble Flying A Drone
You Can Get In A Lot Of Trouble Flying A Drone over restricted airspace. There are actually many different places you can’t fly your drone, from military bases to power plants, to prisons and wildlife reserves.
The FAA has an interactive map that makes it easy for you to identify where you’re allowed to fly a drone, and where you’re not allowed. The map is based on the laws of the US government but gives a general idea about the laws for all countries in the world.
In most countries, there are no legal regulations about flying drones close to prisoners or over wildlife reserves. You may not be able to find those restrictions anywhere, even if they exist in some form. The closest thing would be prison facilities because they have limited airspace just like airports do.
In general, it’s best not to fly your drone over any place with sensitive information on it. In some areas of Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries this includes government buildings as well as military bases and airfields (if there are any).
It’s also possible that other countries don’t allow certain activities such as filming live animals or filming inside churches or temples (like Buddhist temples).
Don’t Fly Your Drone Over People Or Property
Don’t fly over people or property. While this is an obvious one, you’d be surprised how many drone pilots forget this when they get caught up in the moment of flying. If your drone crashes into someone or their property, you could face legal action and be liable for damages.
Don’t fly over the ocean or jungle. When you lose your signal to your drone, it will automatically return to its home point (the location where it took off). If you’re flying over the ocean (more than 30 meters up) or jungle/forest, there’s a chance that it may not be able to establish a GPS lock to return home.
Don’t fly over any other place where your drone could crash and cause damage or injury. This includes government buildings, military bases and prisons.
Don’t Fly Your Drone Over Crowds
While flying a drone in Thailand is legal, it is illegal to fly over people. If your drone were to fly into a crowd, there would be no way that you could prevent it from injuring or killing someone. Additionally, this could lead to the Thai government confiscating your drone and possibly fining you for breaking the law.
In particular, if you are filming from your drone, then you need to make sure that the people who appear in your footage have given their consent for their images or voices to be recorded.
Don’t Fly Your Drone Near Airports Or Other Structures
In order to fly your drone in Thailand, you’ll first need to obtain a permit. According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand, permits are required for all drones regardless of whether or not they take photos or videos.
So if you have a DJI Spark and are simply flying it around for fun, or even if you’re practicing with an inexpensive mini-drone from Amazon, you will still need to obtain a permit before flying.
- There are also other restrictions that come into play.
- You can’t fly your drone within 3 miles (5 km) of any airport or other aviation centre
- Don’t fly your drone over any military base
- You can’t fly your drone within 50 kilometres (31 miles) of the Thai-Myanmar border
- Additionally, drones may be grounded during periods of heightened security risk in Thailand’s capital city Bangkok and its surrounding provinces.
- You may need to register your drone and acquire an operating license.
- As with many countries, drone laws in Thailand are complicated. The information that follows may not be up-to-date by the time you’re checking it out. So do your own research before flying a drone in Thailand!
- If you’re a Thai national, you can register your drone on the website for the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT).
- If you’re not a Thai national, then the first thing to check is whether or not CAAT even allows non-Thai nationals to register their drones. They used to allow it, but they might have changed their policy since then.
- Depending on where you’re flying your drone in Thailand and how much it weighs, you will also need to acquire an operating license from CAAT if:
- You want to fly in Bangkok’s city limits and/or any other municipally governed areas (in which case CAAT will require a permit issued by that municipality)
- Your drone weighs more than 2 kilograms
Get Insurance For Your Drone!
Make sure you have adequate insurance for your drone. This is a list of tips for buying drone insurance, but the main point is that you need to be insured. As long as you’re insured, the specifics don’t really matter. Here are the main ways to get insured:
- You can get insurance through the FAA
- You can get insurance through the Manufacturer
- You can get insurance through the retailer
- You can get insurance through a private insurer
Doing Your Research Thoroughly Can Keep You Out Of Trouble
It is important to research the laws of a country before traveling with a drone. You don’t want to find yourself in trouble with the law, or worse yet your drone confiscated, just because you weren’t aware of the rules in place.
Even if you’re only traveling for tourism purposes and not professional photography, it’s best to be on top of these things before traveling and definitely before flying.
Unfortunately, when it comes to drone laws, regulations can change frequently so always make sure you have the most up-to-date information by doing a quick Google search or checking with your local embassy.
As an example: Thailand’s current drone rules state that drones may not be flown over restricted areas such as Royal Palaces or government buildings. Drones are also prohibited from flying near airports and certain structures like power plants and dams as well as over people or property without permission from the owner/occupant.
When purchasing your drone for travel make sure you buy one that has a geo-fencing feature which will keep you within these boundaries without even thinking about it! Another good tip is to insure your drone in case something goes wrong and you need repairs done while abroad (or possibly if it gets confiscated).
Frequently Asked Question (are Drones Allowed In Thailand)
Can I Take My Drone To Thailand?
Yes, you can take your drone to Thailand.
However, you must register your drone with the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAA) before traveling there. Make sure that all your paperwork is in order and that you have the required permits before flying over this beautiful country.
Do I Need A Permit To Fly A Drone In Thailand?
No, you don’t need to get special permission from the Thai government to fly your drone. However, if you plan on flying at high altitudes or over crowds of people, then it’s best not to do so without first contacting the local authorities.
Do I Need To Register My Drone With The Thai Government?
No, but if you plan on flying your drone for commercial purposes (such as for photography), then it’s best that you consult with local officials before doing so.
Do I Have To Register My Drone With The Faa?
No, registration with the FAA is not required. However, if your drone weighs more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and you plan on flying it above 400 feet (122 meters), then be sure to register it before doing so.
Can I Rent A Drone In Thailand?
Yes, you can rent a drone in Thailand. You can rent drones from many places, such as airports and hotels. The cost of renting a drone will vary depending on the type of drone you want to use and the duration of your rental.
If you’re looking for something smaller and less expensive, it might be worth considering buying one online before your trip or bringing one with you from home instead of renting one.
There are also different types of drones available: some have GPS navigation systems built into them; others operate using an app on your smartphone so that someone else can fly them remotely while you watch what’s happening via video feed on your device (this option is great if there are people that want to participate but don’t feel comfortable flying themselves).
Some models even come equipped with two cameras so they’re able to capture 180° views simultaneously! If this sounds interesting then definitely check out our article “Is Drone Photography Legal?” because it explains everything about how legalities differ between different countries/states within America too.”
Do I Need Insurance To Fly A Drone In Thailand?
In Thailand, you must be insured when flying a drone. This protects you from personal injury, damage to property and loss of your drone in the case of an accident. While not required by law, this is a good idea because it covers you for any damage or injury that may occur as a result of operating a drone within the country’s airspace.
The drones or UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) should not fly into the restricted area of airports, in urban areas, and near Royal residences. You have to be at least 20 meters away from people, animals and buildings when flying a drone.