Thailand is a prime tourist destination in Southeast Asia, and attracts millions of island-hopping backpackers and tourists each year. But which is the best SIM card for thailand, and where can you buy it?
- 1 Where to Buy?
- 2 Topping up
- 3 Scams
- 4 Coverage
- 5 Wifi Availability
- 5.1 ‘Best for those making lots of phone calls’
- 5.2 Pros
- 5.3 Cons
- 5.4 Customer Service
- 5.5 Useful USSD Codes
- 5.6 ‘Good customer service and tourist friendly’
- 5.7 Pros
- 5.8 Cons
- 5.9 Customer Service
- 5.10 Useful USSD Codes
- 5.11 ‘Best for data, and cheapest’
- 5.12 Pros
- 5.13 Cons
- 5.14 Customer Service
- 5.15 Useful USSD Codes
- 6 So, Which is the Best SIM card for Thailand?
Where to Buy?
On arrival at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, there are mobile phone booths staffed with English speakers who will sell you a sim card and set up your phone. These will generally sell you the tourist deals offered by the three major providers, which are:
Alternatively, if you are staying longer or looking for something other than a tourist SIM, you might be better served by waiting until you arrive in the city and heading to either a phone shop, or the 7-11 and Family Mart stores that can be found on street corners.
If you are planning to stay longer than a couple of weeks, then it might be worth getting a monthly plan – for which you will need to go to the phone shop itself. By going into a DTAC, true or AIS store you will get access to the full range of plans.
If you are concerned about buying in Thailand and want to arrive already connected, you can purchase a SIM from your home country from SIM Easy, and have it delivered, although there is a cost.
On this page I will compare the tourist deals. These are generally a better option for short-term stays as they don’t tie you into a contract which auto-renews each month without your interventio. Additionally, these will be equipped with English instructions for those of us who can’t read Thai script!
Technically you are required to have your passport checked in order to buy a SIM card, but this is unlikely to be necessary for tourist SIMs.
Generally tourist sims will come with an unlimited package for a set number of days, but if you need to recharge, then you can do so using topup machines at 7-11, Tesco ‘Lotus’, or FamilyMart stores. Or phone shops themselves.
You can also easily topup online. If not on the website of your operator or via an app, then through a website like MobileTopUp.com
When you are buying a sim card, check the price, which should be printed on the back. Unofficial vendors may try to overcharge by covering the price with a sticker.
If you have a destination in mind, then you can use Open Signal to compare the extents of coverage between operators in that particular locality.
Public Wi-fi is widely available but not particularly reliable.
Can’t be bothered with buying a local SIM in Thailand? Want to buy before you fly?
So, Which is the Best SIM card for Thailand?
This depends on how you are likely to use it…
- Planning on using alot of data? Then go with True Move, as their 3G data coverage is cheap and the most extensive.
- More concerned about making phone calls? then go with AIS, as their phone coverage is most extensive.
- If you want a good all-rounder, and want good service in English, then go for the DTAC Happy SIM.