Alcohol Consumption in Southeast Asia

18 April 2013



For expats that come from a Western background, you probably come from a culture where alcohol consumption is a pretty common social affair.  Usually these drinking habits will stay with you as you move overseas, but you might face major culture shock when you arrive somewhere in Southeast Asia, where the drinking culture can be far more conservative. Southeast Asia in general has  more modest drinking customs compared to many countries in Europe and other Western cultures. Looking at Southeast Asia, the alcohol consumption per capita is much lower compared to Europe. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Southeast Asia region has an average of 2.2 litres of pure alcohol consumed per capita, while the European Region has over 5 times more with an average of 12.2 litres per person. However, if you are a bit of a boozer then you’ll be happy to know not all of Southeast Asian countries are so conservative when it comes to drinking. Thailand and Laos have a much higher average alcohol consumption compared to the rest of the region. They also have a vibrant nightlife and the expat drinking culture is hugely popular.




Let’s have a quick look at some of the stats of alcohol consumption in Southeast Asia compared to some Western countries:


Source: World Health Organization


As an expat you should always be respectful of the local customs and culture, so if you need a little help to tone down your party habits there are some mobile apps out there to keep your partying in check:


  • DrinkTracker Breathalyzer is an iPhone app that helps you keep track of your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) by making BAC calculations based on your age, height, weight and gender.


  • AlcoDroid Alcohol Tracker is an app available on Android devices that lets you monitor your drinking habits, estimates your BAC and you can also track the costs of your drinks.



  • Change4Life drinks tracker is available both on Apple and Android devices and helps you keep an eye on your drinking habits giving you tips and feedback.