Shipping From Thailand: Procedure, Costs, and Customs

If you live or vacation in Thailand, there’s a good chance you may have to send something back home. Whether it’s a personal letter, business package, or a purchase from an incredible shopping experience, you’ll want to know where you can get the cheapest international shipping rates from the most reliable international shipper.

This shipping guide details each step in sending items from Thailand to anywhere abroad. You’ll learn how to prepare your package, assemble and fill out the correct documents, and select the best shipper. You’ll also learn about shipping policies officials use when sending your shipment outside of Thailand.

If you want to save time and skip the lengthy read, fill out the form on our contact page and get five free quotes from moving companies within 24 hours.

If you’re looking to send items to Thailand, check out our guide to shipping to Thailand.

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Preparing a package

When preparing a package for international shipping, take extensive care while packaging items. FedEx recommends this packing process. Shipping services worldwide subject packages to a wide array of abuse, and this is especially true for international shipping from Thailand. Marking your package fragile does little if anything in preventing rough handling.

One consideration is water damage, an issue that is often not accounted for until it is too late. A good practice is to wrap any items inside a plastic bag before packaging. This helps your item stays dry.

Finally, shipping containers can get hot. Be aware of this when shipping items sensitive to high temperatures. Expect your items to reach temperatures of at least 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

There may be other times, though, when you won’t be the one preparing your package for shipping. If this is the case, it’s important to find out who will prepare your package, and by what methods. Most private shippers can take photos of your package after they’ve prepared it for shipping.

You may also want to look into having a shipping company take care of preparing your belongings for shipping to ensure that the utmost care is taken and your goods arrive in good condition.


When you ship your items from Thailand, you’ll have to fill out a Customs Declaration form. Some shippers may help you fill out the form. Without this form filled you won’t be able to ship your package out of Thailand. Be sure to fill out the sender’s and receiver’s address, the item you’re shipping, the quantity, and the value.

thai post customs form
Thai Post Customs Declaration form.

Bulk Shipping

If you are looking to ship large amount of goods, or perhaps moving the entire contents of a home, then you’ll need to look at freight forwarding and container shipping.

If you’re looking for a company to ship your belongings from Thailand in, fill out your info on our international moving page and get free quotes from international moving companies.

shipping vessel

Container Shipping

Container shipping involves shipping goods via a freight container usually aboard a freighter ship. Container shipping is best suited for individuals who are looking to ship a significant quantity of goods or individuals looking to ship a vehicle, motorcycle, building materials, or other large items. When choosing container shipping, you have two major options:

  • LCL = Less than Container Load
  • FCL = Full Container Load

LCL involves buying partial space in a container usually per 1 m³ cubic meter. As such, it is cheaper as you are only paying for a small area of a much larger container. This is great for individuals who have items that are too large to ship via standard international shipping but are not a large enough quantity to warrant an entire container.

The major drawback of LCL shipping is that you must wait until the entire container is filled and ready to ship. Therefore, you may wait months just until the container is filled and ready to ship before having to wait additional time for the actual transportation of the goods.

FCL involves filling an entire shipping container usually with at least 30 m³ cubic meter of goods. Although the price is significantly higher, you will have more control over when and where the container is filled and shipped.

The total price for shipping with a container depends on how much of the container you fill. Most shipping companies offer half containers at 20 feet long, or LCL, and full containers at 40 feet long, or FCL. Prices vary by shipper.

But a 20 foot container leaving Bangkok and arriving at New York City costs about $800. While a 40 foot container leaving Bangkok and arriving at New York City costs between $3,500 and $4,000. Adding insurance to either container type would run you another $50 to $100. All taxes are calculated by the value of items you ship.

Some shipping companies offer all-inclusive services and give you the flexibility of choosing to use the full personal container load or shared consignments so that you can meet your budget.

Freight Forwarder

Those considering container shipping will have to begin by choosing a freight forwarder. A freight forwarder is a firm that acts as an intermediary between you (the customer) and a commercial freight shipping company. A freight forwarder will offer a full range of services, consisting of sourcing a freight shipper, negotiating shipping prices, preparing the correct documents, tracking the shipment, storing the shipment, and helping with inland transportation.


A freight forwarder does not actually ship your freight. They are an industry broker who will help you navigate the complex facets of international freight shipping. They have industry relations with many shipping services and extensive knowledge of shipping logistics.

Most of the forwarders don’t list shipping costs or times on their websites because of the many variables. But they calculate packages in one of two ways:

  • Gross, or real, weight of the package
  • Dimensional weight

If you’re shipping a palette of feathers, for example, the shipper would charge you by dimensional weight. Otherwise, they’d lose money because the real weight is so light. If you wonder what the cut-off is between real weight and dimensional weight, contact the freight forwarder.

When it comes to shipping times, it’s best to contact a freight forwarder to see what option is best for you. Shipping by air and sea are not always the quickest and slowest methods, respectively. Sometimes shipping by sea will be quicker than shipping by air.

You can use this form to find a suitable freight forwarder. Once you submit the form, you will get free quotes from shippers within 24 hours.

You can also visit the official Thai Customs website that details the process of importing procedures and exporting procedures for Thailand.

Shipping Companies

Although there are many private and government funded shippers available, the shipping services listed below are just a few of the more popular options you have in Thailand.

Note that these services only work when you want to ship a few items to other countries. If you need to send many of your belongings overseas, including moving out from Thailand, its better to use a relocation company instead.

Thailand Post

Thailand Post is the main method of delivery for most people in Thailand. They have branches in most subdistricts in the kingdom. So finding a branch shouldn’t be a hassle. But the question of Thailand Post’s reliability is often a topic of debate. I’ve never had any challenges using Thai Post, but many users have claimed they’ve had packages stolen, lost, delayed, or damaged.

These claims may drive customers away from using their services, especially if they’re shipping valuable or fragile items. Take such complaints lightly, as everyone will have different experiences. I also recommend new customers look at their shipping options and rules on the official Thai Post website.

Thailand Post offers three major services for international shipping: Registered, EMS, and LogisPost World. Registered is the cheapest, yet slowest, service and has limited tracking. EMS World is similar to express shipping from other providers. And LogisPost is for packages between 20kg and 200kg.

Thailand Post offers insured shipping with tracking but it doesn’t cover much. And it’s hard to make a claim unless you purchase additional insurance.


DHL has 10 offices located across the Bangkok. DHL offers global express shipping. But drawbacks include a lack of offices outside Bangkok and expensive express shipping. And if a package is heading to a region that lacks a DHL office, another service is used to deliver the package to the final destination, negating DHL’s tracking service. DHL Guidelines can be found here.

When shipping packages internationally, DHL offers two options: Express and Express Worldwide. The only difference between the two methods is a few hours time. So unless what you’re shipping isn’t urgent, you can opt for Express shipping. They also offer tracking on up to 50 packages at a time. If you aren’t shipping bulk, then tracking your package won’t be a problem.

DHL offers insured shipping as well. DHLY will provide you with insurance, or they will refer you to a third-party insurer for bulk shipments.


FedEx offices are located in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Nakhon Ratchasima. They are usually reliable, quick, and have many shipping options.

FedEx offers ground, air, and sea shipping. They also have Customs Critical shipping, which puts packages on a fast track through customs. Temperature controlled shipping is also available with the Customs Critical shipping option. Tracking is available on all packages sent through FedEx.

FedEx offers insurance as an add on. If you’re interested in insuring a package through FedEx, check out their list of insurance options or refine your search in the upper right box. For shipping restrictions, check out the FedEx Thailand export restrictions.


UPS has offices in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Nakhon Ratchasima. Like, FedEx, they are a popular pick for people who want to send their packages overseas.

UPS offers the same shipping services as other providers. But what separates UPS from other shippers is their Volume Shipping option. If you export products out of Thailand regularly, and depending on the size of your shipments, you can select wither low- or high-volume shipping. In this case, your shipments would be automated and move through the shipping process quicker.

For a list of insurance options when shipping through UPS, check out the insurance options they offer.

International Shipping Services Comparison

The following is a comparison of a package sent from Bangkok, Thailand to New York, USA. This comparison shows only base shipping cost and doesn’t account for additional services. Moreover, different shipping providers may include additional services like tracking, insurance, and online shipping, so there are other factors besides price and duration to consider.

Item: Legal Document
Weight: .5 kg
Value: N/A

Thailand Post Registered Mail10-14 daysair1,020 baht
Thailand Post EMS World3-5 daysair1,550 baht
DHL3 daysair1,177 baht
FedEx3 daysair2,491 baht
UPS3 daysair1,400 baht


Thai Customs

Often packages shipped from Thailand take longer to arrive at their destination as a result of customs holding packages. Thailand is a major source country for a variety of drugs, contraband, and counterfeit items, and as such, many countries hold packages arriving from Thailand for longer that usual times. These packages are more diligently search for banned items as well. For instance, packages arriving at the USA from Germany will make it through customs faster than items arriving at the USA from Thailand.

To avoid any additional customs delays, be sure to include the following info on all international packages leaving Thailand:

  • weight
  • country of origin
  • shipper’s name and address
  • description of item in English
  • quantity of each item in package
  • purchase price in currency of package’s destination

These items are banned from being exported from Thailand:

  • narcotics
  • fake royal or official seals
  • counterfeit trademark goods
  • fake currency, bonds, or coins
  • goods with an improper Thai flag design
  • obscene literature and pornographic materials
  • IPR infringing goods e.g. musical tape, CD, VDO, computer software, etc.

International Customs

When shipping your package from Thailand, your package may be held up in customs at the port of arrival. In America, for example, your package could stay in customs until they’ve thoroughly checked that it contains no illegal items. If you want your package to go through customs as quickly as possible, there are two steps you could take.

  1. Follow U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s import guidelines.
  2. Check that the shipper is part of the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism Program, or CTPAT.

If you’re having trouble locating your shipment, contact the shipper or the Customs and Border Protection.

Shipping Insurance

You can purchase additional protection when moving items via shipping insurance. 

Insurance coverage and cost depends on the CIF value, item types, original port, destination port, and shipping companies. 

In the case of household items, the cost of insurance can be 3% of the CIF value, and comes with coverage of 110% of the CIF value. 

Shipping insurance covers goods being damaged, or loss due to theft, water, weather, or accidents. 

Please note that your goods must be packed by a professional company in order to get the full coverage. 

To buy shipping insurance, you can directly contact an insurance broker

Common Mistakes

Avoid these common errors when shipping to ensure your product arrives at its destination safely and on time:

  • shipping prohibited items
  • packaging items incorrectly
  • failing to account for duty and VAT
  • setting inaccurate shipping weights
  • selecting the wrong shipping service
  • misunderstanding custom’s procedures
  • failing to include the required paperwork
  • filling out addresses and forms incorrectly

Now, on to You

By following this guide, you should be able to mitigate as much risk and unnecessary spending as possible. So whether you are an expat living abroad, a tourist on a shopping spree, or someone doing business in Thailand, you will be well equipped to handle any of your shipping needs, and you’ll be sure to get the best deal possible.

42 thoughts on “Shipping From Thailand: Procedure, Costs, and Customs”

  1. Hello,

    Can anyone advice how much a 5 kg package would cost to ship to Central America? El Salvador to be specific..

  2. I would like to send 100kg of fabric from Bangkok to cape Town. What is the cheapest way to do this, please?

  3. Can anyone tell me if shipping via DHL Express or Thai Post has the option of filling out the required docs online, & then dropping a small parcel off at a postal kiosk or similar where you actually don’t have to sign for the parcel to send a small package? Hope this makes some sense.

  4. So I have some plugs that need mailed to me from Thailand. The first time they didn’t arrive because my usps post office is so unreliable it’s disgusting. Basically my two sets of plugs for my ears can fit in an envelope because they are 4g. What would you suggest? How would u ship those to us?

    • Tell whoever is posting them to you to get a piece of bubble wrap, wrap and tape the buds/ box, post in an envelope via Thailand Post (Registered Mail 2nd class). Cost 2-300 baht. Because Thailand is a Red Zone Country all outgoing mail is being isolated for 14 days at the Outward Office of Exchange @ Suvarnabhumi Airport. No use using 1st class though you will still receive them within 21 days. (2/10/21)

  5. I think the Thailand post has raised shipping rates? The 2020 prices announced here are no longer true.

    • Yeah, you are right. Their rates were significantly increased. We just edited it. Thanks a lot for pointing out!

  6. Dear manager and colleagues,
    I bought a Vespa scooter here in Thailand and would like to send it to Europe. Please for directions and some advice for the freight forwarder. The scooter is in my name and I have all the ducomente.
    Thanks for the help,
    Frank Obeser

  7. I am a visitor here in Thailand… i did shopping which is almost garments, Toys, shoes and bags etc…
    The weight is around 35 kg ….
    Needed information how to ship and how much it will cost from Thailand to Pakistan.
    Thanks in advance

  8. What about Handcraft made in Thailand (especially made of wood)? Is there any mention of prohibition or restrictions shipping these out of Thailand AS PERSONAL BELONGINGS, NOT GIFT IN BULK.

  9. I would like to send a package of Clothes, from Thailand to Singapore, by sea post. Used personal clothes, towels and beddings. About 40 – 50 kg. Moving back to Singapore, from Thailand. How should I go about it, which shipping company and the approximate cost?

  10. DO NOT USE EMS IN THAILAND! I sent a box of my personal belongings via EMS exactly one month ago, and they can’t even tell me where it is! I understand there could be a delay considering the current circumstances, but they’re failing to provide tracking service which they promised when they took my money for it. Every time I call them or email them, they just tell me to wait. Also, I sent some important document which returned to the original post office, but nobody even bothered to called to let me know about it. I only found out that it came back because my client notified that they never got it. I went down to the post office to get it back, and I gave them my credit card and the receipt so they could process my refund, but the clerk just gave them back to me saying they didn’t need it. Three days later, he called to tell me to come back because they needed my credit card and the receipt. Two weeks passed, I still haven’t got my refund and my box is still missing. I repeat, DO NOT USE EMS IN THAILAND!! Unless you’d like to pay money for inconvenience and stress that last at least one month.

    • unfortunately you have a had a bad experience or two…. I use EMS for both personal and business right across Thailand…never had an issue … I would estimate a couple of thousand sent or received items…..Now DHL FEDEX are another story altogether and would not use them unless one had money to waste or was going to the states…. I just needed to add a little balance to your comments…

  11. How much it will cost for a motorcycle from thai to ph .. weighing about 80kg ? i look forward to your reply.. thnk you

  12. Hi Ive tried everything to fill out the form and it doesnt respond. I am looking for freight company to pick up a Honda outboard all boxed up in Bangkok and shipped to Australia. Looking for genuine quote

  13. I need a Royal seal from Thailand for my packages that are held in. Canada. What do I do?

  14. Hello:

    I’m not very clear about how to ship the cheapest and safest way from Thailand to the USA. I’m planning on going on a shopping spree, mainly fabrics, which weigh quite a bit. My question, to anybody who knows is this. Would it be cheaper to ship my purchases to the USA or check the bag as excess luggage? Thank you all.

    • I’d check with the airline what their baggage fee regulations are. Those can vary from airline to airline and even on the type of ticket bought. You may actually get a lot of baggage (e.g. an extra bag or a total of up to 32kg per bag) included for a flight from Thailand to the US.

      Once it comes to actually paying by the kilo, shipping is going to be A LOT cheaper than excess baggage.

      • Thank you do much for taking the time to reply to my queri. Very kind of you to do so. Wishing you peace!

  15. Great article. here is my experience from the other day. When I went to Thai Post to ship a package with tea and rice of 3 kilos for a friend in Switzerland, they refused to ship it. They said I needed to have a export license. Upon inquiry at Thai customs they said, I can not apply for an export license unless I have a company.

  16. Hello there,
    Can anyone tell me why does a package is not update after arrived in BKK. A friend of mine in Thailand sent me clothes but when i track it, it doesn’t update where my package is and it has been a week already since then.
    I am looking forward to seeing answer from you.

    Thank you.

  17. hi can anyone help or give me an idea.
    months ago i tried sending my products from the philippines which are cosmetics like soap,lotion and vitamins but then when it arrived in bangkok it was hold by the thai customs asking for documents FDA approved Thailand and import license.
    how can i get those? if anyone can suggest any company that i can ship. thank you

  18. I want to send some KG ( Dates) from Thailand to Japan … please advise it is possible to ship ti . thanks

  19. thanks for the comprehensive ship info- we have received mail that had got wet (or dropped in a gutter) that made the insides unreadable, but have passed that info on about maybe wrapping in plastic wrap for future mailings-

  20. Shiping around half a dozen packages with Thailand Post, I’ve never been asked to fill a customs declaration form (which surprised me first few times).

    Also worth mentioning that nothing with a battery (not even a wristwatch) will be ever accepted for air postage.


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