Please contact us before you buy any religious images as it is now illegal to export incomplete images.
This includes all religions – any Buddha, Hindu, Khmer or even Christian images require permission from The Arts and Antiquities Department before they can be exported.
Shops selling religious items need a certificate to do so and without this no items sold by them can be exported. Do not believe what the shop owner tells you as they are not liable if goods are exported – it is the shipper that will be held responsible.
If the seller does have a license to sell religious items the pieces must be less than 5 years old and must be full images. So for Buddha images, standing, sitting and reclining Buddhas are possible to export if it is a full Buddha with front and back and must be completely intact (all fingers toes etc). It is illegal to send part images for example Buddha heads in relief on a wall panel or full Buddha heads, torsos, hands.
Thai customs are very strict about this and have the power to confiscate a whole container even if only one image is found after inspection (all ports in Thailand now have sophisticated scanning machines that can detect even the smallest artifact).
You may be told that some buying agents are able to export these items under the assumption that they are bribing customs to get the goods out. This isn’t correct , they are actually taking the risk that customs will not inspect the container. In terms of risk/reward this doesn’t make much sense as if an inspection does take place you have the chance of having the whole shipment confiscated – and you will lose all with no recourse.
I mention all this so that you can make an informed decision as once you buy goods you will find it very hard to get a cash refund from the seller. It will also save me twenty minutes of discussion which happens every other week!
It is illegal to send some types of exotic hard woods. The following link shows a list of woods that are illegal to export.
Also popular hardwoods for exports including Teak wood require a hardwood license for transport from one province to another – this is usually provided by the manufacturer and is necessary for all shipments containing hard wood furniture.
Bamboo poles are the only item that I am aware of that has an export tax of 5%.
It is not allowed to export grass roofing, this is because it is a very cheap form of roofing and there is not enough supply for Thai demand.