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  • Writer's pictureKolin Friske

Unlocking the Skies: Rules for Flying Drones in Thailand 2023

If you're planning to fly a drone in Thailand, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with the country's drone regulations. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in high fines and even imprisonment. In this comprehensive guide, we'll provide you with the most up-to-date information on drone regulations in Thailand, including the necessary registrations, insurance requirements, and safety guidelines.

DJI Mavic drone take off from operator
Flying your drone in Thailand 2023

Table of Contents

  • Drone Insurance

  • National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) Registration

  • Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) Registration

  • Safety Distances and Flight Bans

  • Commercial Drone Operations

  • Chiang Mai

  • Ayutthaya

Beautiful tropical island in Phang Nga province, Thailand
Flying above tropical islands in southern Thailand

1. Introduction

Over the years, drone regulations in Thailand have undergone several changes, leading to confusion among drone pilots. Therefore, it's crucial to have accurate and up-to-date information to ensure a hassle-free flying experience. In this guide, we'll provide you with the essential details regarding Thailand drone rules in 2023, including the registration process, insurance requirements, and safety guidelines.


2. Registration of Drones

To fly a drone legally in Thailand, you must complete three important steps: obtain drone insurance, register with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), and register with the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT).


Let's take a closer look at each of these requirements.


Drone Insurance

Before flying your drone in Thailand, it's mandatory to have drone insurance. The insurance confirmation should be in English and include details such as the full name of the policyholder, brand, model, serial number, and weight of the insured drone(s), and coverage of at least THB 1 million (approximately EUR 30,000). This insurance coverage provides protection in case of any accidents or damages caused by your drone. We insure our drones with FEIC (Thailand) Limited and they have great policies for those already in Thailand - https://www.feic-asia.com/aviation-insurance/drone-insurance/

National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission

(NBTC) Registration

To operate a camera drone in Thailand, you need to register with the NBTC, the regulatory body responsible for managing drone frequencies. Previously, the registration process required an in-person visit to an NBTC office. However, the process has now been digitized, allowing you to prepare for the registration before your trip.


To register with the NBTC, create an account on their official website and provide your contact details and Thai address. However, **the actual registration of your drone can only be completed in Thailand, as it requires a photo of the entry stamp in your passport. The cost of drone registration with the NBTC is approximately 214 baht.

Failure to register with the NBTC can result in severe penalties, including up to five years of imprisonment or a fine of 100,000 THB (approximately 3,000 euros).


Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) Registration

In addition to the NBTC registration, you must also register your drone with the CAAT. This registration is required if your drone has a camera/recording equipment or weighs more than 2 kg. Before registering with the CAAT, you must obtain approval from the NBTC.

The registration process with the CAAT is carried out online through their official website. You'll need to provide personal information, upload a signed self-declaration form, a picture of the drone with the serial number, proof of drone insurance, and a copy of your passport with the entry stamp. It's important to note that you can only register with the CAAT once you have entered Thailand. CAAT UAV Registration Guide


After submitting all the required documents, the CAAT will review your application and conduct a background check. The processing time can vary, but you can expect to receive a notification within 15 working days. If your registration is successful, it will be valid for two years.


Failure to register with the CAAT can result in penalties, including up to one year of imprisonment or a fine of 40,000 THB (approximately 1,200 euros).

CAAT UAV Registration Guide


Golden temple Wat Thang Sai in Prachuap Khiri Khan, perched on a hill overlooking the Gulf of Thailand.
Wat Thang Sai - Prachuap Khiri Khan, Thailand

3. Frequently Asked Questions about Thailand drone rules in 2023

To address common concerns and queries, let's answer some frequently asked questions about drone regulations in Thailand.

  • Do I have to register my drone for my Thailand vacation?

Yes, registration is mandatory any drone with a camera and drones weighing over 2 kg. Ensure you complete the necessary registrations before flying in Thailand.

  • What if I'm only visiting Thailand in transit and don't plan to fly my drone there?

If you're in transit and have no intention of operating your drone in Thailand, you shouldn't encounter any issues. However, if authorities suspect the intention of selling the drone in Thailand, problems may arise.

  • I'm travelling to Thailand soon and want to bring my drone. What should I do?

Prior to your trip, obtain drone liability insurance and gather all the required documents for registration. Keep in mind that the registration process can take several weeks, so plan accordingly.

  • How long does it take to register with the CAAT?

The processing time for CAAT registration varies depending on the number of applications. To expedite the process, ensure you submit all the necessary documents on time. Processing will only commence after you receive approval from the NBTC.

An aerial view of Ko Panyi in Phang Nga Bay the colourful floating Muslim fishing village.
Ko Panyi - Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

4. Further Regulations for Operating Drones in Thailand

In addition to registration, there are several other regulations to follow when operating drones in Thailand. Let's explore some of these regulations.


Safety Distances and Flight Bans

To ensure the safety of airspace and individuals, certain safety distances and flight bans must be observed when flying drones in Thailand. Here are some important guidelines:

  • Maintain a distance of 9 kilometres (5 miles) from airports.

  • Keep a minimum distance of 50 meters from people, vehicles, and buildings.

  • Avoid flying near crowds of people, cities, villages, government buildings, and hospitals.

  • Always obtain permission from the property owner before taking off and landing.

  • Maintain a visual line of sight with your drone at all times.

  • Drone flights are only permitted during daylight hours, between sunrise and sunset.

It's also advisable to have an emergency plan and carry a fire extinguisher with you while flying, although the enforcement of this requirement is uncertain.


Commercial Drone Operations

If you plan to use your drone for commercial purposes in Thailand, additional permissions and regulations apply. Commercial drone pilots need to obtain specific permissions for their flight maneuvers. It's essential to familiarize yourself with these requirements and adhere to them to avoid any legal complications.


Magenta sky durning sunrise at the Big Buddha in Phuket, Thailand.
Sunrise at Big Buddha - Phuket Thailand

5. Flying Drones in Specific Locations

Certain locations in Thailand have additional regulations and restrictions for drone flights. Let's take a look at two specific locations: Chiang Mai and Ayutthaya.


Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, known for its cultural heritage, requires prior approval from air traffic control before flying drones due to its proximity to the airport. It's important to contact the authorities a few days in advance to coordinate your flight plans.


Sun peaking over distant mountains near Doi Inthanon, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Sunrise over rice farms in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Sunrise over rice farms in Chiang Mai, Thailand


Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya, a historical park, also requires permission for drone flights. The Historical Park Office is responsible for granting this permission. They operate from 8:30 to 16:30 daily, and a permit costs 5,000 baht.


6. Ensuring Compliance and Additional Resources

While we have provided a comprehensive guide to drone regulations in Thailand, it's important to stay updated on any changes or new requirements. To ensure compliance and for further information, consider contacting the Thai aviation authority or the Thai embassy in your country. It's always best to seek official and authoritative sources for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Top down drone shot of Banana Beach in Phuket, Thailand
Banana Beach - Phuket, Thailand

Banana Beach - Phuket, Thailand


7. Conclusion

Our team at Phuket Photography Tours is here to assist you in navigating the process of using your drone in Thailand. We understand that the regulations can be complex and frequently changing, but we are well-versed in the latest requirements set by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) and the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT). We encourage you to read the information provided above and feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns you may have. Our goal is to ensure that you have a seamless and enjoyable experience while using your drone in Thailand, while also adhering to the necessary regulations. Please note, while we've diligently researched the listed regulations, we can't guarantee absolute correctness. For peace of mind, contact the Thai aviation authority or your embassy for the latest information.

Share your experiences with us! Leave a comment, and your feedback will help us assist all drone enthusiasts better. Happy flying!



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