Thai Visitor SIM Cards: Which is the Best SIM Card for Thailand?

Best SIM Card for Thailand

Paradise beaches like this one adorn the Thai coastline.

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?

where to buy 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.

 Topping up

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

scams icon Scams

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.

coverage Coverage

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.

 Wifi Availability

Public Wi-fi is widely available but not particularly reliable.

Best Sim Card for Thailand - AIS

 

 

‘Best for those making lots of phone calls’

AIS, Advanced Info Service, are Thailand’s largest and oldest mobile operator with the most established network. They may not have the fastest data speeds, or be the cheapest, but have the most extensive coverage if you plan to travel to areas away from major cities.

They offer three different types of sim for tourists, with either 7 or 15 days of free unlimited internet usage, and 100 THB credit.


 Pros

  • Great coverage for calls

 Cons

  • Reports of bad 3G reception

  Customer Service

 Useful USSD Codes

  • Check your remaining balance  *121#  
  • Get your own phone number *545#  
  • Activate new SIM *120

Buy on Amazon

 

Can’t be bothered with buying a local SIM in Italy? Want to buy before you fly?

OneSIM offer an international SIM card that lets you save up to 85% in roaming fees in 200+ countries.

It can be sent out ahead of time so you hit the ground running. Find out more here.

Best Sim Card for Thailand - DTAC

 

 

 

 

‘Good customer service and tourist friendly’

DTAC have a reputation for providing the best customer service, and provide competitive rates for calls and data. Their ‘Happy Tourist’ SIM includes English instructions and you can talk with English-speaking staff on their helpline.

 Pros

  • Good coverage all over Thailand, including the islands.
  • English speaking helpline

 Cons

  • None!

  Customer Service

 Useful USSD Codes

  • Check your remaining balance *101*9# or *101#
  • Get your own phone number  *102*9#
  • Check the price of a call to any country – 004 (international_number_to_call) 

 

Best Sim Card for Thailand - True Move

 

 

‘Best for data, and cheapest’

Reported to have the fastest data speeds and most extensive 3G coverage, Truemove is the best choice for those looking to access the internet on the go more than make phone calls.

With the more expensive tourist package, you will also have access to the true wifi hotspots; which are all over the country.

 Pros

  • Most extensive 3G and 4G coverage
  • low international call rates
  • Access to range of wifi hotspots

 Cons

  • Bad service reputation

  Customer Service

 Useful USSD Codes

  • Check your remaining balance #123# or 9302 press 1
  • Get your own phone number *833#
  • Check Rates for international calls via 00600 – *006* Country Code #

 

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.

 

Thailand Phone Numbers

Mobile phone numbers in Thailand are ten digits long and start with 08, 09 or 06. The country code for Thailand is +66.

To reach your mobile in Thailand from abroad, callers need to dial 0066 and then your number. 00 is the International Access Code and 66 is the Thailand country code.

Useful Contacts

Police: 911
Tourist Police: 1155
Ambulance and Rescue: 1554
Fire: 199

 

Useful Phrases

English is spoken only in major population centres, and often to quite a low standard. However, anyone working in tourism should be able to converse with you.

Greeting: Sa wa dee krap (m) Sa wa dee ka (f)
Do you speak English? Poot pasa ang-krit dai mai?
I do not speak Thai: Pom poot pasa thai mai dai
I don’t understand: Mai kao jai
Where are the SIM cards: Yu tee nai SIM cards?
Thank you: khob khun krap (m) khob khun ka (f)

 

2 Replies to “Thai Visitor SIM Cards: Which is the Best SIM Card for Thailand?”

  1. Hi Kieran, I am about to go to Bangkok, and this is so useful! I like that you shared how and where we can buy sim cards, and the difference between different providers. You mentioned scams, what are some of them that we should look out for? Thanks for sharing this!

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