Alcohol and travel: Countries where you can't drink alcohol

Having a drink while travelling is OK so long as you respect the laws of the country you're travelling in and don't behave like a drunk idiot. However, there are certain countries where consuming alcohol is illegal.

Here are the destinations where you can't drink.

India

Several Indian states have laws to limit or prevent the sale and consumption of alcohol, with Bihar becoming the latest to do so on April 1. Its partial ban means only selected urban outlets can sell booze; a total ban could be implemented next year, its chief minister has said. 

In Gujarat, holidaymakers must buy a 30-day permit, usually offered at their hotel, or at the state's main airport - Ahmedabad. Alcohol is banned entirely in the Lakshadweep islands, except at the Bangaram Island Resort, and in the far north-eastern states of Manipur and Nagaland (although illicit brews are widely available).

Smartraveller advice for India: "Exercise a high degree of caution"

USA

Although prohibition was repealed more than 80 years ago, a number of counties remain "dry", including (as of 2004) 36 in Mississippi, 83 in Alaska, three in Florida, and many in Texas, Arkansas, Alabama and Kentucky. And, despite being the location of the Jack Daniel's distillery, Moore County in Tennessee is also dry. Bottles of the spirit cannot be bought locally, or even sampled on the premises.

Maldives

Yes, you can booze to your heart's content on your holiday resort, but consumption of alcohol is not permitted in Malé, the capital, or any other non-resort islands.

Smartraveller advice for Maldives: "Exercise normal safety precautions"

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UAE

While alcohol is widely available in hotels and certain restaurants and supermarkets, it is illegal to drink, or be under the influence of alcohol, in all other public places. And in the emirate of Sharjah, alcohol is completely banned.

Smartraveller advice for UAE: "Exercise normal safety precautions"

Brunei

While the sale and public consumption of alcohol is banned in Brunei, non-Muslim visitors can bring in up to two litres of spirits or twelve cans of beer every 48 hours, and must declare them. They must also buy a permit to drink. A number of shops can be found to cater for the demand over the border in Malaysia. Around 13,000 Britons visit Brunei each year.

Smartraveller advice for Brunei: "Exercise normal safety precautions"

Bangladesh

The sale of alcohol is heavily restricted in Bangladesh, and can only be purchased by non-Muslims in certain bars, restaurants and hotels.

Smartraveller advice for Bangladesh: "Exercise a high degree of caution"

Pakistan

Non-Muslims can buy alcohol in Pakistan, but only at four- and five-star hotels in major cities. A black market exists, but home brews have been blamed for hundreds of deaths. 

Smartraveller advice for Pakistan: "Reconsider your need to travel"

Iran

The importation of all alcohol is strictly prohibited.

Smartraveller advice for Iran: "Exercise a high degree of caution"

Libya

While banned, alcohol is available through a black market. But penalties for anyone caught are stiff and tainted homemade alcohol has been blamed for many deaths. 

Smartraveller advice for Libya: "Do not travel"

Yemen

Alcohol is banned, but non-Muslims can bring a limited amount into the country, for consumption on private property.

Smartraveller advice for Yemen: "Do not travel"

Kuwait

In Kuwait, alcohol is only available at certain foreign embassies, and is not for general purchase.

Alcohol is also prohibited in Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Somalia and Sudan.

Visit www.smartraveller.gov.au for up-to-date travel advice.

Thailand/Philippines/Venezuela

Drinking is not a problem in Thailand, as you'll discover on any given evening on the Khaosan Road, nor the Philippines or Venezuela. However, there are restrictions during election time. In the Philippines the sale of alcohol is prohibited for up to two days prior to voting; in Thailand it is banned from 6pm the day before; in Venezuela restrictions last 21 hours. 

Visit www.smartraveller.gov.au for up-to-date travel advice.

See also: Drunk travellers giving drinkers a bad name
See also: Drinking culture in Australia versus Europe

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