Shipping to Thailand: Services, Costs, and Customs

Shipping a letter or package to Thailand? Moving to Thailand and need to send all your belongings here?

You’re probably worried about whether your items will make it to Thailand at all, never mind on time.

But you can set your fears aside. Sending important documents, furniture–even pets–to Thailand doesn’t have to be hard.

You just have to know which service is right for you. And that’s what this guide will help you determine.

So if you’re sitting there asking yourself, “How in the world am I going to get my stuff to Thailand?” then this guide is for you.

This guide shows you which shipping services are available to you, how much they’ll cost, how long they’ll take, plus how to deal with Thai Customs.

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 international shippers within 24 hours.

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Preparing Packages

When preparing a package for international shipping, take extensive care while packaging items. FedEx recommends this packing process.

Scissors, packing tape, and bubble wrap.

Shipping services worldwide subject packages to a wide array of abuse, and this is especially true for international shipping to Thailand.

Marking your package fragile does little if anything in preventing rough handling.

One consideration is water damage, an issue that is not often accounted for until it’s too late. Wrap your items inside a plastic bag before sealing the package. This helps your item stays dry.

Finally, shipping containers 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.

Complete Packaging Tips

You can follow our packaging tips that can help protect your items from any damage that may occur during shipping.

You will also learn how to organize your goods during packaging, knowing which items to pack first and which ones to pack later, making it easy to unpack after your move.

Packing properly also makes it easy for you to declare your items with customs.

It’s one of our 100+ exclusive pieces of content available only to our premium subscribers.

To get access, please become a subscriber.

Filling Out Shipping Paperwork

When you ship your items into Thailand, you have to fill out a Customs Declaration form. Post offices may fill it out for you. Without these forms, you can’t send your package to Thailand.

On the form you have to list:

  • your sending and receiving addresses;
  • what items are in the package; and
  • how much the items are worth.

The forms may differ depending on which shipper you use.

Writing Thai Addresses

Thai addresses can make little sense to foreigners. However, they do in fact make sense, but it may take a bit to familiarize yourself with them.

One major hang-up is the lack of standardization of street names in Thailand. This is especially true when dealing with addresses in rural Thailand.


It’s common for roads in villages to not have names. Instead, locals identify these roads by their location in reference to other landmarks.

A local Thai may identify a street as the one with the three banks on it, the street between Road A and Road B, or the intersection with the big 7-ELEVEN.

Not only do you face challenges with non-standardized street names, but you also find shops, stores, apartments, and dwellings tucked in every little corner down every winding soi, or small road, in Thailand.

These locations can be hard to identify with an address, such as an apartment that sits behind a storefront down an alley that branches off a soi that branches off a larger road with no house numbers or street names.

Despite these points of confusion the Thai Postal Service is remarkable at figuring out where a package is heading, even if the addresses are obscure.

For instance, a family member in the USA sent a package to me in Northeast Thailand. They wrote the wrong address on the package.

The postal worker not only figured out what the right address was, but he also knew where I worked and brought the package to me while in my office.

I wouldn’t count on you being this lucky when sending a package, but even if you don’t get the address right, there’s still a good chance the package will arrive at its destination.

One saving grace is that Thailand follows the Universal Postal Union’s Postal Addressing System, so the general structure of Thai addresses follows a similar logic of addresses found in Western countries.

With Thailand addresses, begin with the smallest, specific unit of identification and progress to the largest:

Building name (if any)
Plot, House number, Village (if any), Road, Soi (if any)
Subdistrict, District
Province, Postal Code

Here’s an example:

US Embassy
120–122 Wireless Rd
Lumphini, Pathum Wan
Bangkok 10330

What to Bring When Shipping to Thailand

When moving to Thailand, you need to decide what to take and what to leave.

There are some items that you definitely do not want to ship over, as shipping prices can be very expensive and you might need to pay hefty taxes.

There are also some items that you don’t need to bring since you can find them easily in Thailand.

To help you decide, you can read our article on what to bring when shipping to Thailand.

It’s one of our 100+ exclusive pieces of content available only to our premium subscribers.

To get access, please become a subscriber.

Shipping Large Items to Thailand

If you need to ship a car, bike, furniture, or other large items to Thailand, use container shipping or a freight forwarder.

A man pushing a pallet of cargo.

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

When using their services, be sure to ask about restrictions, what items are taxable, pickup fees, and shipping rates and times.

Container Shipping

Container shipping involves shipping goods in a container on a shipping vessel.

Container shipping is good if you’re looking to ship a significant quantity of goods or large items.

When choosing container shipping, you have two choices:

  • LCL = less than container load
  • FCL = full container load

Let’s look at how each one differs.


LCL involves buying partial space in a container usually bu the cubic meter. As such, it’s cheaper as you’re only paying for a small area of a much larger container.

This is great if you have items that are too large to ship through the postal service 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 full and ready to ship before your items leave port.

So you may wait months just until the container is full and ready to ship, and then have to wait more time for the actual transportation of the goods.


FCL, on the other hand, involves filling an entire shipping container. Although the price is significantly higher, you have more control over when and where the container is filled and shipped.

Case Study

Container shipping is the best choice when moving all your belongings to Thailand. This is what our editor, John, and his family did.

Since they had a daughter and already bought her necessities in America, they found out it would be cheaper to ship what they had to Thailand instead of buying it again, often at more expensive prices.

They found an international shipper in NYC that shipped to and from Thailand. For a palette-and-a-half of goods, 48 in. high and 42 in. long and wide, the cost came out to $1,400.

John and his wife had to pack everything in boxes, but the shipper’s employees came in a van and picked everything up for them. The shipping company also handled all the shipping paperwork.

The only thing John and his wife had to do was create a general list of items being shipped.

Since they were shipping their personal belongings, like furniture, kid’s clothes, toys, bikes, and so on, they didn’t have to pay import taxes.

It took six weeks to ship their belongings by sea. When everything arrived at port, a shipper in Thailand called them and delivered it to their house in Samut Prakan.

In total, they shipped 62 boxes from America, and 62 boxes arrived at their house. Not one thing was missing or broken.

But if you’re concerned about lost or damaged belongings most private shippers offer insurance. If John and his wife wanted insurance on their shipment, the international shipping company would’ve charged them an extra $200.

To find a company to help you move your belongings to Thailand, fill out the form on our contact page and get five free quotes from international shippers within 24 hours.

Freight Forwarders

If you’re considering container shipping, begin by choosing a freight forwarder. A freight forwarder is a firm that acts as an intermediary between you and a shipping company.

A freight forwarder offers a full range of services:

  • finding freight shippers
  • negotiating shipping prices
  • preparing documents
  • tracking shipments
  • storing shipments
  • helping with inland transportation

A freight forwarder doesn’t actually ship your items. They are an industry broker who helps you navigate the complex facets of international shipping.

They have industry relations with many shipping services and extensive knowledge of shipping logistics.

Use Freighnet’s freight forwarding directory to locate a suitable freight forwarder. On the site, you’re given a list of freight forwarders in Thailand to choose from.

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.

Choosing the Right Shipping Company

A key part of shipping to Thailand is to choose the right shipping company.

We have insider tips on this matter, including a list of shipping companies that you might want to consider.

It’s one of our 100+ exclusive pieces of content available only to our premium subscribers.

To get access, please become a subscriber.

Shipping Small Items to Thailand from Around the World

If you’re sending a letter or small package to Thailand, your best bet is to use one of the services below, depending on your country.

From the USA

When shipping from the USA to Thailand, you can use the United States Postal Service.

USPS truck parked alongside the street.

Most of the USPS’s shipping choices come with:

  • free packing supplies for shipments over $44;
  • package pick up from your home or office;
  • package tracking; and
  • between $100 and $200 of insurance, depending on what you’re shipping.

Below is a list of shipping methods, depending on what you’re sending from the USA to Thailand.

Best Method for Sending Letters or Documents

If you have to send a letter or important documents from the USA to Thailand, use the USPS’s Global Express Guaranteed.

Best Method for Shipping Small-to-Medium Packages

When sending packages no larger than 70 lbs. and 42 in. long and 36 in. Wide, use USPS’ Priority Mail Express International.

USPS Customs Forms

When you send a package to Thailand, you have to include customs forms. You can print US customs forms right from your computer.

Check out all of the USPS’s international shipping choices.

From the UK

When shipping from the UK to Thailand, you can use the UK Post.

A blue and red UK Post box.

The UK Post offers:

  • international shipping prices starting at £9.78;
  • up to a £100 insurance for loss or damaged parcels; and
  • the option to buy up to £500 worth of insurance for more expensive parcels.

Below is a list of shipping methods, depending on what you’re sending from the UK to Thailand.

Best Method for Sending Letters or Documents

If you need a letter or document rushed to Thailand from the UK, use the UK Post’s International Confirmed shipping service.

You’ll get your letter or documents in five to seven business days.

Best Method for Shipping Small-to-Medium Packages

Use the UK Post’s International Standard shipping. The UK post offers shipping to Thailand for parcels weighing up to 30 kgs.

You’ll get your parcel in six to seven working days.

UK Post Customs Forms

Make sure to fill out and attach the right customs forms with your international letter or parcel. Download the UK custom forms here.

Check out all of the UK Post’s international shipping choices.

From Australia

If you need to shop something from Australia to Thailand, use Australia Post.

A Australian Post box.

Depending on which method you pick, air or sea, your package reaches Thailand between two and 30 days.

The Australian Post offers:

  • package tracking;
  • shipping prices starting at $11.55; and
  • the option to add extra insurance.

Below is a list of shipping methods, depending on what you’re sending from Australia to Thailand.


Best Method for Sending Letters or Documents

If you need a letter or document urgently, use Australia Post’s International Courier service. Your letter will get to Thailand in one to two days in most cases.

Best Method for Shipping Small-to-Medium Packages

If you have to send a parcel from Australia to Thailand and you’re not in a rush, use Australia Post’s International Standard service.

Australia Post Custom Forms

You can download Australia Post’s customs forms and read more about their customs regulations on their website.

Check out all of Australia Post’s international shipping choices.

From Singapore

Singapore Post lets you send up to 30 kgs. to Thailand. With Singapore Post you get:

  • tracking;
  • notification of receipt;
  • insurance of up to $150;
  • door-step delivery; and
  • on call collection.

Below is a list of shipping methods, depending on what you’re sending from Singapore to Thailand.

Best Method for Sending Letters or Documents

If you need a letter or document right away, use Singapore Post’s Speedpost service. Your letter will get to Thailand in one to three working days.

Best Method for Shipping Small-to-Medium Packages

If you have to send a package from Singapore to Thailand and it’s not urgent, use Singapore Post’s Speedpost Economy or Standard service.

Check out all of Singapore Post’s international shipping choices.

International Shipping Companies

Aside from government-run organizations, you also have privately-owned shipping companies that could send your letter, documents, or package to Thailand.

Three of the more popular companies are DHL, FedEx, and UPS.


With DHL’s Packet Plus International you can ship up to 5 lbs. from anywhere in the world to Thailand.

DHL also offers Packet International, but you don’t get the same benefits as you would with their Plus service.


FedEx sets international shipping limits by weight: 150 lbs. to be exact. FedEx’s International Priority can get your package from mostly anywhere in the world to Thailand within three working days.

If you’re looking for overnight delivery, check out their International Next Flight service.

When using FedEx, you get guaranteed customs-cleared shipping.


UPS offers WorldWide Express Plus shipping, which can get your package from anywhere in the world to Thailand in just two days.

Unlike FedEx, though, they charge for add-on services that are usually included with FedEx shipping services.

Insuring Your Package

All services mentioned above offer shipping insurance for an additional charge.

Here’s some general insurances costs:


Most things you send through USPS come with $50 to $100 worth of insurance. You do have the choice to buy additional insurance for more expensive items up to $5,000.

Prices start at $2.10 and go up from there, depending on declared value.

UK Post

When you use the UK Post to send items to Thailand, you can get between £20 and £2,500 worth of insurance. The amount of insurance you can get depends on which service you pick. But all insurance covers losses, damages, and delays.

Australia Post

Australia Post offers insurance for international shipping starting at $5 for items valued at $100. You can buy more insurance for $3.50 for each additional $100 of value, up to $5,000.

So if you’re item is valued at $1,000, you pay $5 for the first $100 and $3.50 for each additional $100. This means it would cost you $36.50 to insure your $1,000 item.

Singapore Post

Singapore Post offers international shipping insurance starting at $1.50 for items worth up to $1,000. For items worth over $1,000, you pay 2% of the item’s declared value.


If you want to insure your shipment through DHL, you pay 1.5% of the total value of the item you ship.


You’re covered for any shipment under $100 declared value. For items valued between $100 and $300, insurance is $2.10. Any item valued over $300 costs $0.70 per $100 to insure.


Your covered for any shipment under $100 declared value. For shipments greater than $100 declared value, insurance costs are calculated into the shipping charges.

Shipping Amazon Packages to Thailand

Can you ship Amazon packages to Thailand? This has been a hot question lately, especially for expats looking to buy things from back home and have them sent to Thailand.

Amazon does ship certain items to Thailand. If you’re not sure if they’ll ship what you’re looking to buy, check the text under the Buy Now button.

It should say something like this:

A description of a package being sent to Thailand.

Amazon does estimate and charge you import tax, but if they overestimate the tax Amazon will refund you the money.

Having Amazon calculate the import tax means you don’t have to deal with Thai customs when your package arrives—Amazon does it for you

If Amazon doesn’t ship what you want to Thailand, then you’ll have to have the packaged shipped to a family member or friend and have them send it to Thailand.

Shipping Pets to Thailand

If you’re moving to Thailand or staying for a long vacation and want to bring your pet(s), you have quite a few choices.

Our writer, Thomas Wanhoff, who covers all topics related to expats and pets, covers the entire process in our guide to importing your pet to Thailand.

Calculating Shipping Costs to Thailand

To calculate shipping costs consider the item’s weight, size, and value, and how quickly you need it to arrive. The answers to these questions tell you what service is best for you.

The tables below compare different shipping services using the example of shipping a 16-ounce computer part valued at $150 USD.

When shipping small packages, there’s not much difference between government and private shippers. But if you need a shipper who can work with you on a large or custom shipment, your best bet is to use a private shipper.

You will find shipping costs for containers at the end of this section.

Shipping from the USA:

Price USD
Priority Mail Express
3–5 days
Priority Mail
6–10 days
Medium Flat Rate
6–10 days
First Class
10–14 days
FedEx International Economy
8 days
DHL Express Worldwide
3 days
UPS Worldwide Expedited
7 days

Shipping from Australia:

Price AUD
2 days
4 days
8 days
Economy Air
10 days
FedEx International Economy
6 days
DHL Express Worldwide
1 day
UPS Worldwide Expedited
5 days

Shipping from the UK:

Price GBP
Global Express
2 days guaranteed
Global Priority
4 days
Global Value
6–8 days
FedEx International Economy
6 days
DHL Express Worldwide
2 days
UPS Worldwide Expedited
7 days

Shipping from Singapore:

Price SGD
Standard (surface)
3–4 weeks
Standard (air)
4–6 days
Speedpost Priority
2–3 days
Speedpost Express
FedEx International Economy
2 days
DHL Express Worldwide
1 day
UPS Worldwide Expedited
5 days

The total price for shipping a full 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 most shippers in the USA will tack on a $45 export fee.

All taxes are calculated by the value of items you ship. Sometimes you won’t have to pay taxes, especially if what you’re shipping in the container is for personal use.

Can You Ship to Thailand During COVID-19? 

Because of COVID-19, many countries all around the world, including Thailand, have shut their borders and have implemented international travel restrictions. 

As a result, a popular question is “Can I ship to Thailand during the COVID-19 pandemic?”

Here’s the answer: it’s still possible to ship to Thailand but it may take longer than normal. 

For example, shipping from Amazon to Thailand can easily take more than a month. 

If you are in a rush, you can use private shippers that have their own fleet such as DHL, Fed-Ex, and UPS. They are still able to send your parcel to Thailand within a few days.

You can still ship your items by sea, including container shipping. But it might take slightly longer than usual.

Dealing with Thai Customs

When you package makes it to Thailand, it has to go through Thai Customs. Customs may tax or add duty rates to your package.

A Thai flag flying above a building.

Duty rates, taxes, and Thai Customs laws are always changing, so if in doubt, check with the Thai Customs Department.

Duty Rates

Thailand uses the cost, insurance, freight—or CIF—to calculate the value of incoming packages. Duty rates are based on the CIF total value:

Item Value: $100
Shipping: $20
Insurance: $30
Total CIF: $150

CIF values are used to determine duty rates. Duty rates range between 0% to 80%, with an average of 21%.

Some items are exempt from duty charges. Laptops, some electronic devices, and items with a value below $30 might not incur duty charges.

Thai Customs offers this duty rate assessment PDF. You can also use this duty rate calculator to help estimate duty costs.

When using private shippers like DHL, FedEx, or UPS, there’s no way to pay for import taxes ahead of time. These private shippers leave the collection of duties to Thai Customs officers.

Despite what you claim the item’s value to be, Thai customs can and often does value the item at a higher rate.

You may claim a pair of shoes you’re shipping to Thailand only costs $50, but Thai customs may value the shoes at $100 or even $150.

This is standard practice with Thai customs, and you have little recourse in preventing it from happening. Some people have claimed success by bringing in receipts and documents that show the items true value.

The other issue with duty rates is the inconsistency between the percentages. Like so many other things in Thailand, there is little standardization when it comes to policies and procedures.

What duty rate you end up paying often comes down to the given postal or customs agent on any given day. It’s common to pay differing duty rates when shipping the exact same item.

Without much effort, you’ll find horror stories when dealing with Thai customs. People report items going missing or getting seized or delayed in customs for months.

You’ll also find stories of customs holding packages for ransom as a means to collect more duty. I experienced this when receiving some banking info through the mail.

People report bribes to pay half of the duty rate under the table without invoices or paperwork.

These events vary and depend on your location in Thailand. It’s wise to save all shipping documents and receipts for later verification.

There are few rules you can follow to decrease or even completely avoid custom taxes. We show you how in an exclusive guide for our supporters.


Value Added Tax, or VAT, is a sales tax added to items coming into Thailand.

The current VAT rate is 7%, calculated over the CIF value plus any duty added to the item.

Therefore, the value that the VAT is applied is higher than the item’s initial value, as it includes the item’s value, shipping, insurance, and duty.

You might have to pay another 10% VAT on alcohol and food.

Restricted Items

Each international shipping service restricts certain items you can import into Thailand. But in the end, Thai Customs has the ultimate say on what can and can’t be brought here.

Check with your shipper, but cross reference their restrictions with those listed on the Suvarnabhumi Airport and Thai Customs websites.

General restrictions:

  • tobacco
  • beef products
  • any type of seeds
  • dry tea leaves
  • non-prescription drugs
  • ecigarettes
  • baraku, shisha, hookah (water pipes)
  • obscene objects, literature, pictures
  • pornographic materials
  • goods with Thai national flags
  • narcotics
  • fake currency, bonds, or coins
  • fake royal and/or official seals
  • intellectual property rights infringing goods
  • counterfeit trademark goods
  • sex toys
  • graven image and/or religious idols

Although some animals are restricted from entering Thailand, most household pets aren’t. Jump to our section on importing your pet into Thailand for more info.

You can also visit the Thai Customs website to find out about Thailand’s Importing and Exporting Procedures.

Avoid Customs Tax

It’s hard to calculate the amount of tax you need to pay since it depends on the customs officers’ opinion.

However, with certain conditions and items, you don’t need to pay it at all.

You can find out more from more on how to avoid customs tax here.

It’s one of our 100+ exclusive pieces of content available only to our premium subscribers.

To get access, please become a subscriber.

Shipping Times

If you’re wondering how long it will take to ship your letter or package to Thailand, that depends on what you’re sending and which service you pick.

A daily planner opened up.

On average, you can expect to get your letter or package to get to Thailand Customs in between two days and two months.

Rush or priority services from most of the post offices and private shippers mentioned in this guide take a few days to reach Thailand.

If you’re sending your items in a container, it could take up to two months, but most times it takes around six weeks.

After your items reach Thai Customs, you may have to wait for Customs to clear your items. Usually, items are cleared reasonably quickly—around one or two days.

But you may have to go to Customs to pay for duties and/or VAT, and that could hold up your letter or package for a few more days.

Avoiding Common Shipping Mistakes

Avoid these common mistakes when shipping your items to Thailand to make sure your belongings get here safely and on time:

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

If you can avoid making any of these mistakes, your letter or package will get to Thailand on time.

Now, on to You

There are no guarantees in life, and this is especially true with international shipping.

But by following this guide, you should be able to mitigate as much risk and unnecessary spending as possible.

Whether you’re a soon-to-be expat looking to ship your belongings to Thailand, or you’re an expat looking to receive a care package from back home, fill out the form on our contact page and get five free quotes from international shippers within 24 hours.

35 thoughts on “Shipping to Thailand: Services, Costs, and Customs”

  1. My wife is Thai and we are going to retire to Thailand from UK in 2022, her Porsche is 2011 year and she really wants to take it, is it possible to do? I know there are taxes to pay, I just want to know if it is possible and if there are agents that specialise in this service?

  2. I want to buy a total gym in the states and have it delivered to me here in thailand. the total gym costs about 400 usa dollars and the shipping via fedex will be about 400 usa dollars. does anyone know what he customs duty will be? thanks in advance for any information on the matter.

  3. I am living on a boat in Ao Chalong and cannot leave due to Covid. I need to have mail sent from the USA but I need an address to have it sent to. Any suggestions?

    • Maybe you need to ask a hotel/apartment and have your mail sent there instead. And you can go there to pick it up once the mail is arrived.

  4. I am thinking of importing a second hand Yamaha C6 piano to Thailand from the States. Does anyone know how much duty I will have to pay on it? Or is it possible to escape duty altogether?

  5. Hey boss I’m planning to retire in Thailand i have approximately 250 pounds of personal items i want to ship t
    o Thailand they are 2 compound bows and my fishing personal and gear how would be the best way to ship

    • It depends. If it’s only a few bottles for personal usage, then, it shouldn’t be problem.

  6. Hello. I want to bring a supply of troyal jelly capsules to sell in Thailand and will bring 50 bottles at a time. The total cost of goods and shipping is A$1330. How do I calculate customs costs please? It looks like the identical goods method may apply but I cannot see fee rates for this type of product. I appreciate any help please.

    • John,

      Be careful, these will be classified as Non Prescription medicine, if you do not have a permit you may not be able to import

      John C.

  7. Hi, I am shipping over about 50 sachets of food from the UK. They can all fit into 1 plastic A4 sized package but I am unsure how to label it as to avoid being flagged by customs. Any advice. It isn’t really that heavy, maybe about 2-3kg at most.

  8. I have shipped a letter to my girlfriend in thailand and its already in the system but I’m worried it wont be able to send. What I did was I put all the information in but the district it was in. I put in the providence, street name, address, and area code but no district. Will it get there?


    • I would assume it will. Usually the Thai Post can figure out a lot of those things.

      If not, there is a good chance the letter will get returned to the return address and you’ll find out that way (though with current postal mailing times it might take a month or two).

  9. I have been sent a package today from Germany that I was expecting. However, I was called and told it would be ฿40,000 to have it delivered for its last stop to my address for the fees.
    What? That’s insane! It’s a private carrier. I am being scammed somewhere.

    • Which carrier did you use?

      The customs charges incl. import VAT are calculated based on the shipment contents (and how those are classified), shipping cost, and insurance. Those often add up to an additional 50% on top of what you otherwise paid for products and shipping for most items. However, some items have higher import duty rates (sometimes in the range of 200%+). Unless you were shipping something that costs in the range of EUR 2,000 or something that has a particularly high import duty rate, that does sound odd. Are you able to go there in person and pick it up to see the details for yourself?

  10. Before the pandemic I was living in China, and now I can’t go back there due to the current situation. I’m in Thailand at the moment and I would like to ship my personal items to Phuket. There are going to be clothes, shoes, electric toothbrush, external harddrive, since books. Will I have to pay tax in Thailand when it arrives? Everything has been used. I have already spoke to the agents in China, but they were unable to tell me if I have to pay tax on my personal items. If yes, how much?

    • Usually there is no customs duty on personal belongings. If you’re sending a single box of used things, I’d probably follow the guidelines described in the article, ship it yourself. Most likely the worst case is you’d have to travel to Bangkok to pick things up, though I assume it would make it through without any issues. Keep in mind that shipping right now may take a long time (~2 months) due to very limited (air) cargo capacities.

      If it’s a large shipment (e.g. a whole household consisting of several moving boxes), you might want to ask a shipping agent to handle it as disputes can occur and tend to be expensive. Thai customs may charge you a pricey daily storage fee while requesting you to get additional documentation (which can quickly add up to more than the value of the actual shipment). So if something like that is at stake, it’s worth the premium to let an agent handle it. You can use the form here to get a quote if you are a looking to move your entire household from China to Phuket:

  11. Hello, what about shipping homemade products? I sended herbal blend which is now in custom and they want all documents and forms. Is it save to give original passport to messenger they will provide and who will bring the documents to custom? Im Island where is no custom office and its difficult to travel now.

    • I wouldn’t send my passport by messenger at a time like this and certainly not to Thai customs. I also haven’t heard of them doing this service, but maybe it’s unique to the Covid situation.

      Is this a commercial quantity of herbal blend and worthwhile traveling for? Otherwise you may want to wait to pick it up until you have a chance or maybe have to consider foregoing the shipment.

      For future shipments I recommend including an invoice that declares the what the product is and the value. Anything below THB 1,500 (including shipping/insurance/etc.) is usually not subject to customs duty, so if you can have a shipment sent that’s below that amount and document it, you most likely wouldn’t have any issues.

  12. Seems your world is only US? What about shipments from Eu countries and shipping companies?

    • Hi Peter. The Case Study is based on shipping from the USA to Thailand. But the “Shipping Large Items to Thailand” section can apply to anywhere in the world. Also, the link at the end of the post lets you fill out a form to get up to five free quotes from shippers all over the world, including the EU. (Disclaimer, they are a partner of ours.)

  13. It’s largely waste of time importing anything into Thailand. That $400 pair of Carmina shoes from London that you ordered online becomes a $600 pair, etc. Any clothes you have made elsewhere will be made exorbitantly expensive just by virtue of the 50% duty you end up paying when you include add-ons by Fedex or DHL. I now have things shipped to Hong Kong, zero duty, and fly there to pick it up myself. It’s cheaper on expensive items. The customs here are basically a corrupt mafia and virtually everything that is imported in the stores in Thailand is more expensive than in Japan or Hong Kong. Terrible for Thai people, and an annoyance for us.

    • Hey Lawrence, That is such a good idea. Do you happen to know a/ where I can send items to be held for pickup? b/ How is it coming back into Thailand with big suitcases? 😉

    • You said it. On top of that they will steal. I sent a package to a friend via DHL. Had 3 inexpensive perfumes and 3 inexpensive small handbags and a few souvenir things with minimal value. Total value under $200.
      It took 4 months and a dozen inquiries, sending receipts, sending passport photos, and more to get through customs and the perfume just “disappeared “.
      They charged me $7100 baht duty which is well over the value of the goods AND they stole the perfume.
      This is not unusual. Even Thai people are very careful what they ship within the country.

  14. Do you know in case private shipper will import essential oil ( which is normally controlled by FDA), does consignee need to apply to FDA for permission? It’s a parcel for private person with few small oils

  15. I’d like to hear your thoughts on companies like which provide a US address and then ship to Thailand by FedEx, for merchants that will not ship to Thailand directly.

    • It’s a useful work-around in case you need something very specific that can’t be found in Thailand and is only sold in the US and only by merchants that won’t ship internationally.

      For everything else, the handling, shipping and custom charges probably won’t make it worthwhile.

  16. I guess they don’t care how [EDITED] their country appears to foreigners.
    I tried to import a couple of music instruments and other gear.. it is all a crap-shoot how much they decide to charge me, but they consistently rob me of my money. (For insurance reasons) I never undervalue my shipments, I can present receipts and when I explain that I need to pay customs again upon returning with the goods to my country, they pretend not understand. On more than one occasion I´ve spent 4 hours at a round-trip to LakSi to claim my shipment and bribe the officials.

    The most ridiculous thing about this country is that you are constantly encouraged to break the rules and support corruption. If you try to be a legal citizen, you will be met with a massive, impenetrable bureaucracy. The laws are deliberately designed to be contradictory, hence they can always point to some paragraph that you “are not in compliance with” and demand bribes.

    After trying to obtain a legal working VISA and pay taxes for my earnings here, I eventually was recommended a lawyer who set me up with VISA I don’t even qualify for – so instead of paying taxes and contributing to Thai society legally, I am now pocketing my earnings apart from some tea-money. It is such a charade.
    When I bring this up with my Thai friends, who for the record have no interest in the tea money I pay, they get upset. Why? Because Thailand is corrupt? No, because I point it out.. they think I am badmouthing their country.

    I love this country for a million reasons, but some things about this country is just too mind boggling to comprehend.

  17. Really informative thanks a lot for this post, it is indeed a minefield when importing products into Thailand, i have done it many times too. However i would be interested to find out if anyone has done it for a car recently? and how import taxes are for used vehicles and getting the relevant books with them? is it even possible?

    • Hey zenred
      I made the mistake of recently buying an amplifier from the USA and need to ship it to Phuket. Any tips on how I can get it here paying the least amount of duty. It cost me US$300 from Amazon and its currently sitting at my friend’s house. Thoughts?
      Jonathan 0835953757
      [email protected]

    • From everything I heard, importing motor vehicles is such a major hassle that in nearly all cases it’s not worthwhile dealing with: Custom charges for new vehicles are super high (in the range of 200-300%). Importing second hand vehicles carries a high risk of the cars not meeting environmental guidelines (or being unable to prove that they do), making importing them close to impossible.

      While I’ve heard of shady grey market import strategies that may work, the bottomline is that for the average consumer there is nothing to be gained from trying to import a vehicle versus just buying one here and selling it when you leave.

    • Used vehicles cannot import, only if you are the owner, get a 1 year visa, have a work permit, get an import lizence and will live in thailand.
      But i lost 1 bike or have to pay over 40.000 baht without get the papers to use it in Thailand.
      I give it free to the custom …… it is 2004 lost and payed 2001 in Germany around 1250 €
      This is Thailand

      • Hi mate,

        I am working in Australia but living in Thailand, I would like to ship used motorcycle (Triumph Bonnie T100) from Australia to Thailand. I would like to know how much bullshit charge that I have to pay the custom and any extra paper works that I have to prepare (I own it and I have receipt from seller).



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