Thailand Post – the national postal service

Learn all about how Thailand Post works, including receiving mail and sending items domestically and internationally.

Red Thai post mailbox

By Naomi Nunn

Updated 25-3-2024

Who doesn’t love receiving an old-fashioned hand-written letter? If you’re new to Thailand (ประเทศไทย), learning how to send and receive mail is likely on your to-do list. It might even be useful for your relocation to Thailand.

Discover more about Thailand Post, including how reliable local postal services and private delivery companies are and how they work, by reading the following:

An overview of Thailand’s postal service

Thailand Post (ไปรษณีย์ไทย) is a state-owned postal service. It has been operating since King Rama V established it in 1883. Before the official postal service was set up, only the royal family really sent mail. Items would take a long time to be delivered, as they would go by messengers on land or by boat.

Large concrete building: Thailand Grand Postal Building
The Grand Postal Building in Bangkok, Thailand (Photo: Education Images/Universal Images/Getty Images)

Today, Thailand Post has 19 logistics centers around the country, which support a network of almost 1,300 post offices (ที่ทำการไปรษณีย์). They also provide licenses for postal services to local shops, which adds nearly 3,800 outlets to the network. Although official post offices offer a speedier and more reliable service, smaller outlets can be far more convenient if you live in a rural area.

Unlike in some countries, Thailand Post hasn’t branched out into many other services. They sell a few souvenir-type items and a wide range of packing materials, but they generally stick to handling deliveries.

As well as the post office, Thailand has a wide range of local and global delivery services. The international providers include DHL and FedEx, while Kerry Express (เคอรี่ เอ็กซ์เพรส) and Flash Express (แฟลช เอ็กซ์เพรส) handle shipping within the country.

How do you send and receive post in Thailand?

Within Thailand, you have a few options for sending letters and packages. Generally, people use Thailand Post for regular mail and private services for delivering packages. However, you can also use these private delivery companies to send letters and documents around the country.

Thailand Post services include:

  • Normal mail (ไปรษณีย์ธรรมดา), which you can use to send letters, postcards, and items weighing less than 2 kg
  • eCo-post (in Thai), which you can use to send items up to 10 kg, with tracking
  • Registered Mail (ไปรษณีย์ลงทะเบียน), which you can add to normal mail, either signed-for or insured, at an extra cost
  • EMS (in Thai) provides fast, next-day delivery within certain parts of the country (2–3 days in more remote areas). However, it is a little more expensive.

Generally, regular domestic mail takes 2–3 days to arrive, but longer in rural areas.

You can check current rates for domestic EMS and normal mail on the Thailand Post website (both pages in Thai).

Stamps and other postal supplies

It’s generally easiest to send a letter with Thailand Post from your local post office, as stamps are no longer readily available in other shops. However, you may still find a hotel, book store, or stationery store that stocks stamps, especially in more touristy areas.

All postal services offer other postal supplies, including envelopes and boxes. They also have a counter with pens, tape, and glue for addressing and sealing boxes and envelopes.

Thai postcodes

Postcodes in Thailand are fairly straightforward, consisting of 5 numbers. The first two numbers refer to the province or area, and the last three refer to a specific post office that handles the mail for that district.

When writing out addresses, you should write the postcode after the province name. If you don’t know it, you can use a postcode finder.

Sending and receiving packages and large items in Thailand

There are several main options for sending packages in and around Thailand. These include Thailand Post and private delivery companies like Flash Express and Kerry Express.

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Kerry Express is particularly popular for online shopping from sites like Lazada and Shoppee (the Southeast Asian equivalents of Amazon).

These are the main parcel delivery options with Thailand Post:

  • Domestic packages (พัสดุไปรษณีย์ในประเทศ), which you can use to send parcels up to 20 kg within Thailand
  • eCo-post (in Thai), a tracked service you can use to send items up to 10 kg
  • EMS (in Thai) is convenient if you need a quick delivery. You can send packages weighing up to 30 kg within Thailand.
Interior of a post office in Thailand
Photo: Tuayai/Getty Images

You don’t need to worry if you don’t have a box for your package, as post offices almost always sell a good selection. Furthermore, staff are generally very helpful and will assemble and secure your box for you.

You can check the cost of sending packages online. If Thailand Post loses your item, complete this form (in Thai) and hand it to the post office where you sent the package.

Private package delivery

Private delivery options include:

  • Kerry Express offers a pickup service, or you can drop your package off at one of their stores. They provide a range of levels of speed and protection, including an option with insurance coverage up to ฿50,000.
  • Flash Express is another private delivery company that offers services like free pickup and cash-on-delivery options.

If you shop online in Thailand, you will likely receive your package from one of these companies. Their tracking tools are reasonably effective, and their drivers will call you before delivering your item. If you are not home, you can ask them to re-deliver or leave your package in a safe location. If you live in a condo, its office usually holds packages for residents.

To return items to online stores, you will usually have the option to arrange a pickup or drop the package off at their shop. Generally speaking, these returns services are simple and efficient.

Thailand’s post offices and mailboxes

You’ll find post offices in every Thai town – larger towns and cities have several branches. Thailand Post has a handy branch finder to find your nearest one. Standard opening hours are Monday to Friday, 08:30–16:30, and 09:00–12:00 on weekends and public holidays. However, you’ll find some branches open in the evenings and all day at weekends, especially smaller post office counters in malls.

In more rural areas, you may find shops with Thailand Post licenses, where you can send mail. Delivery from these locations will usually be slower than from official post office branches, but it can be a lot more convenient than going all the way to a larger town.

Away from post offices, mailboxes are not as common as they once were. However, you can spot them easily, as they are red with the Thailand Post logo on them. Individual mailboxes generally have collection times written on them.

Overseas shipping in Thailand

You have several options when you need to send mail overseas from Thailand. Thailand Post has various international mail services, and large global companies like DHL and FedEx also have branches nationwide.

Some of the most popular international shipping options from Thailand Post are:

A postal worker pushing a trolley of large packages in a warehouse.
Photo: Yuttachai Kongprasert/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)

Bear in mind that Thailand Post doesn’t guarantee delivery times with express international services. So, if you need to send something time-sensitive, it might be best to use an alternative delivery company.

Other options you can use to send mail internationally from Thailand are:

  • FedEx: The widest network of service points across Thailand
  • DHL: Has branches in most major cities

Comparing prices

If your package is time-sensitive, using a company like FedEx or DHL with guaranteed delivery standards is generally safest. EMS claims 3–5 day delivery for international shipments. However, this is not a guarantee, and it can, in reality, take much longer. Nevertheless, it is often much cheaper to ship internationally with EMS. For example, sending a 2 kg package from Thailand to the UK costs:

  • EMS International Express: ฿1,730
  • FedEx International Economy: ฿4,486, arriving in 7 days
  • DHL Express Worldwide: ฿4,141, arriving in 5 days

Import duties and customs

When shipping internationally, it’s important to take customs import duties into account. You’ll be exempt if you receive a package in Thailand worth under ฿1,500. However, for items valued over this amount, you must pay import duties (ภาษีนำเข้า) before receiving it.

Meanwhile, if you are relocating to Thailand and have a long-term non-immigrant visa (วีซ่าไม่อพยพระยะยาว visa), you can import your personal items without paying any duties. Always ensure your shipping company will deal with all the relevant paperwork.

How do you send business mail in Thailand?

If you plan to start a company in Thailand, especially if it’s an e-commerce business, mailing services are essential.

Thailand Post offers a few services for businesses:

Additionally, services like Flash Express and Kerry Express offer discounts for large-volume package shipping. This makes them very popular with sellers on online marketplaces like Shoppee and Lazada.

Does Thailand Post have a mail forwarding service?

Unfortunately, Thailand Post doesn’t have a mail forwarding service, so if you move house, you must ensure that utility companies and other services have your new address. If your mail is sent to the wrong place, your only hope is that the recipients are helpful and try to redirect it.

A woman inspecting a package as a delivery person hands it to her
Photo: Jackyenjoyphotography/Getty Images

Additionally, if you receive mail from a previous tenant, you can take it to your nearest post office. They might redirect it for you, but there is no guarantee.

Additional postal services in Thailand

If you’re planning to move regularly or don’t want to use your main address for mail, you can rent a PO box (ตู้ ป.ณ). You’ll need to do this in person by going to your local post office to check if they have any available. They usually cost around ฿500 for a year’s rental, which is the minimum term.

Poste restante (โพสต์ส่วนที่เหลือ) may also be available, where the post office keeps your mail for you until you can pick it up. This is available at Bangkok’s main post office but check with your local branch to see if they offer this service.

Tips for using Thailand’s postal service effectively

Here are a few tips for getting the most out of Thailand’s postal service:

  • Make sure you write addresses clearly and correctly – always double-check.
  • Always put a return address on the back of your mail in case it gets lost.
  • If you’d rather avoid crowds, bear in mind that the post office is busiest at lunchtime or toward the end of the day.
  • You can buy bubble wrap and other materials at the post office when packing fragile items.
  • If you’re sending important items, always use registered post to reduce the risk of them getting lost.