Thai travel SIM-cards - What you need to know

Tips

There are several reasons to choose a Thai SIM-card with internet access when travelling in Thailand. We will go over several things you need to keep in mind when choosing a travel SIM-card in Thailand.

In Thailand, a Sim Card with unlimited internet comes in handy to use Google Maps, order a GRAB-taxi, or to figure out how public transportation works. The network of skytrains, beautiful temples, cosy restaurants, or impressive rooftop bars are easily found by means of mobile data.

The best providers in Thailand

There are three brands that have internet coverage entirely in Thailand, and who offer special tourist Sim Cards. These Sim Cards are meant for visitors that do not intend to subscribe to a year-base contract. Dtac, AIS and TrueMove H are the most reputable and biggest telecom providers in Thailand.

They all provide similar packages with similar data plans. Tourists that intend to visit extremely remote places do get recommended to use TrueMove H, because it has the best geographical coverage.

The special Tourist (or travelers ) SIM-cards of these providers can cost anywhere between 500 to 1300 THB. The prices differ due to the validity in days, the GBs of high-speed internet and its Call/SMS budget that sometimes is included. Therefore, best choose a SIM-Card that matches your kind of traveling.

These providers have Sim Cards available at the well-known convenience stores, being 7-Eleven shops, Family Mart, and of course, specific telecom-shops. Note that not every provider is available at every store or location.

What to pay attention to when choosing a Thai prepaid Sim?

There are several things you should pay attention to when choosing and buying a Thai SIM-card with internet access.  The average convenience store employee is not skilled in communicating in English. It can be a challenge to understand what's available or explain exactly what you are looking for, so it is important to know what the possibilites are.

Registration, activation and settings

At the time of arrival, make sure to be offline and have your roaming turned off, to avoid huge bills from your own telecom provider. In order to avoid high costs, put your own sim away or turn data off when you have a Dual-SIM phone.

Also, pay close attention to your other settings to avoid surprises (enormous bills). The first thing to prepare when buying a Thai SIM-card is your passport, since registration is mandatory by law. It's not possible in Thailand to get a SIM-card without being registered with your passport.

Data usage, phone-calls and validity

There is no such a thing as a perfect offer, it all depends on your needs and wants.  First things first, keep in the back of your mind how long you plan to stay in Thailand and where. By then, determine the amount and the speed of data you will need.

Consider if you are going to make phone calls to Thai numbers. Additionally, most packages are non-upgradeable. This means, if you intend on staying 18 days, opt for the 30-days SIM-card if you wish to stay online, instead of a 15-days sim card.

Nowadays, phone calls to home are substitutable with free calls over the internet through WhatsApp and Skype. Although, a call budget comes in handy for calling to Thai numbers. This allows you to get in touch with your hotel, guide, order a taxi or to make a reservation in a restaurant with ease.

SPEED: Unlimited internet is not always Unlimited fast

In Thailand, most packages include Unlimited Internet, theoretically. However, after the first couple of GigaBites of high-speed internet have been used up, all Telecom providers will reduce the internet-speed  (128 KB/sec - 384 KB/sec).

While still having access to the network until the last day that your SIM is valid, YouTube, Google Maps, Internet-Surfing and Facebook will take longer to load.  You should watch your data-usage carefully (which we advice anyway, this is your holiday, leave your phone in your pocket and enjoy the Kingdom ;)) if you don't want your speed to be reduced.

If you are joining one of our tours we also have two special packages ready for you to be installed, registered and activated by us.

  • Thailand’s leading telecom provider, Truemove H
  • Included 50 THB call/sms budget, at 1 THB per minute/SMS locally
  • Registered Thai phone number (phone keeps your old number for WhatsApp)
  • Order it online in advance and your SIM-card will be waiting for you on the day of your tour.