Sending and receiving packages in Thailand


As an expat, there are inevitably certain items you might want or need from back home, and around the holiday period, many people like to send gift packages.

How easy is it to send and receive packages in Thailand?

Is the public postal system efficient?

Do people tend to prefer using private shipping services? Which ones?

How do the costs of the private shipping services compare?

How long does it take generally to receive packages from abroad in Thailand?

Do you have to pay taxes on items received by mail from abroad?

Are packages delivered right to your doorstep, or do you usually have to go collect them somewhere?

Thank you for sharing your experience,


As an expat retiree living in Chiang Mai for over seven years now my experience of the Thai postal system has been very good overall. I found them to be very helpful and most of the staff speak very good English.
Thai Post seems able to handle addresses in both languages easily. Even when overseas friends have put the incorrect postcode or address on mail it has eventually found us so Thai post gets a good wrap from me.

They do advise however to register all mail. This makes sense as it is then traceable. All registered mail seems to arrive intact. I occasionally send packages to Australia - mostly packaged food as gifts such as coffee or honey. The main concern is at the Australian end and whether the goods comply with customs and quarantine laws which in Australia are rightly very strict.

I buy items from China through Alibaba fairly often and each parcel has arrived when it should and usually without any customs delays or extra charges. Our local postman knows me by name and brings the packages right to our door for signing. He is a very polite and pleasant chap and receives a little token of appreciation at Christmas time as we used to do in Australia.

So overall my experiences of Thai post have been very good.

I've had a good bit of exposure to the Thai mail system.  I'm not as clear as I might be on the different levels of shipping options but in general the public system seems to work fine.  It's really inexpensive within Thailand and not so bad overseas, beyond shipping much weight around the world getting pricey, and just sending envelopes being a lot more expensive than domestic mail.  Onto the questions then.

How easy is it to send and receive packages in Thailand?

It's not different than in the US.

Is the public postal system efficient?

For the most part it works well.  Lost packages might come up more often than in the US but that's still a rare occurrence.  Shipping times around the world, like back to America, are inconsistent, but it also depends on the type of shipping option selected.

Do people tend to prefer using private shipping services? Which ones?

There are some other options but I don't have much experience with them, since the Thai postal system seems to work well enough.

How long does it take generally to receive packages from abroad in Thailand?

It depends on from where, and there are options for how to ship items.  Sending packages by air transport would be standard, and that could still take around 3 weeks to arrive from the US, kind of a long time given the packages are being flown.  There must be multiple processing steps involved.

Do you have to pay taxes on items received by mail from abroad?

Technically yes, in practice generally not.  I've received a lot of mail here, lots of boxes of items from lots of countries, and only once one was stopped by import review, with a tax assessed, also requiring an extra step to go pick it up at a processing center.  It seems like ordering through a company like Amazon might trigger that (versus getting a private package), since that case would be a lot more like importing something, and it would be obvious it was new goods purchased overseas.  I've not had Amazon ship things here to check on that.  Tax rates are high, per my understanding, with the tax assessment percentages possibly being as high as the goods' actual value.

Are packages delivered right to your doorstep, or do you usually have to go collect them somewhere?

I have packages sent to my work office since for whatever reason they tend to never get lost and aren't typically screened for import tax review.  It should be possible to get packages delivered to your door, I would expect.  We don't tend to, since we don't mail order goods online, or get much in the way of gifts online.  Since I wasn't managing getting the few boxes we did receive (gifts from home and such) maybe my wife did have to go to a local postal center to pick those up.  I've only been to one of those to pick up a package myself (beyond the one stopped for tax review), because it was damaged, and they needed me to check it and sign for it, in case I wanted to file a claim for the damage.

I purchase many items from Lazada and Ebay. About 50% of the small package size items from Ebay never arrive.  I have had issues with the total cost of items shipped from Ebay using Ebay's service to pay shipping and customs. I purchased a part for my welder Ebay price $57 total price including shipping and customs was $171 for the 120 gram item.

I have received many packages from Ireland to Thailand, mostly gifts from my mom to my son for Christmas and birthdays. They always arrived with in 3 weeks in good condition and I was never approached buy customs. As regards exporting from Thailand the post office is fine but if you want something sent in a hurry it gets expensive. I live and work in Phuket and export apparel for gyms and MMA fight clubs etc. who want there stock asap. I  have found a happy medium with
My goods are picked up(just like any big name courier company) and delivered to anywhere in the world between 8-12 days and it's much cheaper than the big courier companies. For the same price in the post office, phuket cheap shipping provide a much quicker and better service.

Duties and taxes have been hit or miss for me. I order from iHerb and I don't get any duties or taxes charged. Even though I should be charged...I don't get charged duty or taxes. I find iHerb goes through just fine. It comes to my building. It takes about 3 weeks.

I couldn't find my thyroid medication in Thailand. I had to smuggle it in. I ordered my thyroid medicine from the mail order pharmacy. I had the medicine sent to my parents home. I ordered an iHerb shipment and sent it to my parents home. I told my parents to add my medication to the supplements in the iHerb box and then send the entire box to me.

I told my parents to put this on the customs form:
1. Declared Value: $28
2. Item: Nutritional Support (do not name anything in particular, keep it vague)

My parents used the regular US Post Office to ship to me. They sent me the tracking number via email.

The first box came through no issues. Shipping time 3-4 weeks.

Second shipment was stopped. I had to pick it up from the post office and pay $6 USD in duties and taxes. No one opened the box, inspected it or had any idea what was inside the box. The duties and taxes charged was arbitrary. It was stopped due to it was heavy.

The post office sent a notice to me to pick up my shipment. I had to sign for the notice with my building management. I took that notice to the post office to pick up my shipment. I had to get in line, pay at one window and then go to a different room to pick up my shipment. I had to show my receipt that I paid, sign for the package and show ID. I had to show my passport to prove I was the person the package was intended for. It was a long wait, but painless.

Once I got the notice to go to the post office the tracking number was on the notice. I knew what I was picking up. The notice had the tracking number on it that my parents had sent to me via email.

If you keep the shipment light, use more than one box, you can get it through okay. You run into trouble when the box is heavy.

I don't recall the exact weight of the box that was stopped, maybe about 2 pounds? The only reason I can think of why they stopped it is due to the weight. No one opened it to see what was inside. It was sealed.

I ordered some things on eBay and they got to me just fine because the declared value was under $28 USD.

Keep the weight light and things will go through. It is better to split items up into multiple lighter weight boxes than to consolidate them into one bigger, heavier box. Use multiple, small, light weight boxes to get things through.

Declared value: don't exceed $28 USD as that is the limit to not pay duties and taxes. No matter what is being sent to you and how much it is $28 or under on the declared value to avoid duties and taxes.

Item description: if clothing say "used clothing" even if new. Remove all tags showing they are new.

I had my mom send me a skirt. I had her mark it as "used clothing" and value of $6 USD. It came through just fine.

Shoes: I had my sandals fall apart. I bought new ones and sent them to my parents house. The ones sold here are often fraudulent and not the real brand name. I bought them online in America to make sure I got the real brand name. I had my mom take them out of the shoe box, remove all tags, remove all paper and put them in a padded shipping envelope. She sent them to me via the US Post Office padded envelope. I told her to mark them as "used shoes" and declared value $28. They came through no problem.

Don't send shoes in the original shoe box, with the tags, papers and looking new. You will have the shipment stopped and pay duties and taxes. Use the padded envelope and say they are "used shoes".

I have bought many things and have never had a problem and excellent service.I Bought three articles from ebay never arrived.I have sent envelopes parcels etc from Thailand to Vietnam etc no problem
I have sent 4 parcels to South Africa and each time the people waited between 3 to 6 months due to the fools in SA holding the parcels up at so called customs actually correct name  Corrupt  in Johannesburg
Sent balloons to my grandchildren. It was opened and sealed with a customs sticker indicating it was inspected
Half were stolen in Johannesburg by the customs staff who I established are al all black.
In SA you are informed not to use the Post Office also Amazon doesnot send many things to sa need a US Post Box
Then it has to go to Cape Town 1500 km away as they cannot xray in Cape Town or so I was informed.But  Thai post are really good. Numerous parcells from Aliexpress over a 100 never lost anything once had to pay seven Baht Tax.
The postman delivers to my BIL when I am not here at their shop in the local town.What a nice service
Thai Post office to the US two weeks no problems.
Never lost a parcel or envelope.I will continue using them

Yes, Thailand lacks so MANY IMPORTANT things that you need to import from abroad...


Here are Onest and good peoples. Sometime you can pay tax but depend what you buy same other country. Also you can pay insurance for your gift and it's ok: country Thailand it's very good!

Sending to Thailand can take long and for most provinces the adres must be in Thai writing.

receiving to ( my Case Netherlands ) takes about 10 days , impossible to track because they change the Thai post numbers as soon as they leave Bangkok airport.

Beware what is send to you otherwise the customs will stall your packet long , without informing the post agency.

Also Brand products can give you problems and even a big Fine.

Mr G

There is absolutely no need to write any address in Thai language, all people working at post offices can read english, and anyway they do not care what you write, they care about the post code.
If you send any items by registered mail from EU or US you can use your tracking number in Thailand which OF COURSE does not change, or maybe its only  DHL Dutch post who use a non conform tracking number.

Time wise it usually takes ten days from Australia for airmail to reach me and about the same for sent mail. I guess it depends on whether they are busy or not. Also be aware that some things will not be carried by air and so will go sea mail which can take a longer time. Anything such as oil or inflammable material and also some batteries might have to go by sea. This is the same for all countries.

When I'm sitting in a plane up in the sky I'm glad they don't carry dangerous things.
It can also depend on how bust=y they are to be able to process your packages from about now on its not a good time to send anything to Europe, America or Australia.

I had never problems with EMS or KERRY. Both deliver at home.

Sometimes, my Thai wife uses the parcel service of the minibus or bus services for sending food.

Thats a hell of a jump from the start price 'if they tell people the end cost they wouldant botter to buy off ebay

I asked a friend back home in the UK to send me a parcel of items I needed ,it was sent via parcels 2go it weighed 2.2kg and cost £10.60.i was able to track it from door to door and the post office in Thailand let me know when it was at my local office for collection,I was very impressed.

I have had nothing but positive results using Thailand Post.  I've only sent a few things out, some regular international mail and a couple express mail but they always arrive within 7-10 days.  All my mail originating in America has arrived safely and within the same 7-10 day time frame.
  I've bought a few things from Amazon originating in America and they have all arrived within 10-12 days.  One of them was a camera frame with a declared value of $500 and it arrived with a notice left at the condo desk where to pick it up at the postal station.  I have a friend who does a lot of shipping in and out of Thailand and he briefed me how to pick it up in the most expedient manner at the postal station and it worked like a charm.
   There is some looseness shall we say in the import duty collection procedures but it has always surprised how modest the fees were.  I am told by my friend that the duties start on items valued at around 1,500 baht (roughly $40 US) but I have had several items with declared values above that and not had to pay an import duty.  I would never tempt fate and try to circumvent the "declared value, description of product" requirement.  I have ethics and they extend to all parts of my life.  I am also told that there can be severe penalties for shippers who abuse the system so I would never ask.
   I have bought a variety of used camera lens and photography bits and pieces through E-Bay.  They ship with a tracking number and you can track it from each point as it makes it's journey, the domestic route being with Thailand Post. I have always been delighted with the quality of the product and the speed when I buy out of Japan and Korea and they seem very carefully packaged, arriving in 7-10 days.
   In the past the Thai e-marketing organization Lazada always served me well with delivery at a reasonable price to my door and the product was as advertised.  They offered payment on delivery for most things which was reassuring.  Now that Alibaba has taken them over I am less happy buying from them with a flood of copies originating out of the PRC dominating the shopping experience.  I prefer not to shop with them any longer.
  I have been able to find most everything I needed for sale here in Thailand over the past ten years and the few items that I can't I use E-Bay or have my brother bring along with him from the US on his once or twice a year visits.  I have had positive experiences with Thailand Post.

little different question : i like to have a thai postal adress to receive items while im in the netherlands and to open a thai bank account in the future (as it needs a recendency adress to open)

does anyone know of a business / place that does this in thailand ?

im hoping theres a storage place in thailand similar to shureguard that allows you to rent a postbox along with storage

You'll find that you will need a current Thai address. You also have to be physically present to open a bank account.

You'll find that you will need a current Thai address. You also have to be physically present to open a bank account.

There are private mailbox services where you don't need an official Thai address. Why would you need a mailbox if you have a place to stay? Thailand Post deliver to your doorstep.

I have tried ordering from Amazon, but they tell me that they don't ship to Thailand.  Is there something am not doing right?


Not sure if you need to be a Prime member.

I have Prime and have had items delivered here

To be honest I try to use E-bay instead of Amazon when I can.

I've noticed the shipping costs are much much less with E-bay.

It may depend on the item being shipped.

Has anyone shipped/imported cigars (for personal use) into Thailand? Did you buy/import them from Europe or South America

I haven't, but I can shed some light on how such concerns tend to go in relation to having problems with another type of product, tea.  There is a list of how controlled different types of goods are, with tax rates varying by product type.  The more an import competes with Thai goods the higher the tax level.  But then there's a general import tax on everything, so I don't think it works out in such a way that anything can come in tax free. 

So then it's down to what is going to be flagged as a potential import, or what isn't, or how shipping channels influence that likelihood.  If your kids' grandparents buys them toys for Christmas it's not as if conditions make that automatically tax exempt, so the "personal use" theme only goes so far.  It's about bringing something into the country, not related to your intention, which wouldn't be possible to prove or disprove anyway.  I've had tea samples stopped, and had to pay a tax on those, and there's no way someone could import a limited size set of tea samples for resale purposes.

If you have things sent by commercial carrier, like DHL, UPS, or FedEx, they are much, much more likely to be flagged for import review, and it's a different, much more difficult clearing process there.  Only have anything sent through standard mail, EMS and such.   Even if that is set aside for review, which is more likely, the clearing process is very straightforward in comparison.  The last time I had a substantial amount of tea sent, unwisely by commercial carrier, it was all but impossible to get it out, with taxes and fees adding up to the value of the goods, but the process alone was also impossible.  Let's just say that it worked to get it but that it "cost extra."

If it's at all possible to wait and have a person carry it with them, someone you know already making the trip, that would be much better.  Personal goods transported by someone traveling is all but a non-issue in comparison.