Buying a SIM Card in Thailand [2022 Update]

Like a lot of the rest of Southeast Asia, Thailand offers an amazing fortune to travelers. beautiful beaches and landscapes, great upwind, antic food, and abject prices make it an appealing destination, and many millions of visitors flock to the country every year. For those looking to stay connected in the Land of Smiles, buying a prepay SIM wag as a tourist is a fairly aboveboard and cheap work. Data allowances are typically quite generous, and you ’ ll get becoming speeds and well coverage about anywhere you ’ re likely to be. We ’ ve spend years traveling through the country, from busy cities and towns to quiet islands and isolate rural areas. Having tried all the major cell companies, we ’ ve found the best thai SIM card for most visitors, whether you ’ re on vacation for a few days or plan to stay for weeks or months at a time. here ’ mho everything you need to know.

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Companies

  • We recommend AIS for most travelers
  • Consider TrueMove or Happy (dtac) if you’re not venturing too far off the beaten track

There are three cell networks in Thailand, operated by dtac, AIS, and TrueMove. While you can besides buy SIM cards and service from resellers, there ’ s fiddling point in doing so for most tourists and other short-run visitors. AIS has the best coverage and largest market share, plus a big network of Wi-Fi hotspots you can entree as part of the more expensive packages. It seems like you ’ re rarely far from one of these hotspots in any good-sized city or town, and they don ’ triiodothyronine count towards your mobile data allowance. Prices are broadly exchangeable to the competition, indeed for the majority of visitors to Thailand, AIS SIM cards are the best option. 3G/HSPA+ is available on the 900 and 2100Mhz bands, while 4G/LTE is provided on 1800 and 2100Mhz ( LTE bands 1 and 3 ). 5G is being rolled out, although it ’ s distillery confined to major cities at this stage. Most international visitors are improbable to have phones that support the right frequencies for 5G, and given that 4G/LTE is cheaper, much more widespread, and much silent pretty fast, it ’ s not something to worry excessively much about at this stage. I ’ ve besides used TrueMove and dtac ’ s Happy prepaid services, and both provided good coverage and speeds in towns and cities. They did have noticeable serve gaps in rural areas and on less-populated islands, however. All providers offer LTE service in 80-90 % of the nation, including all major cities and towns .

How to Buy a Prepaid SIM Card in Thailand

Like many other things in Thailand, buying a SIM menu is quite bare, specially if you fly into either of Bangkok ’ mho airports. At both Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang, all three cell companies have booths beside each other in the arrival dormitory. The booths at Suvarnabhumi are often busy, with long lines for all providers. Staff are effective and the lines move fairly promptly, but if you ’ re banal and crabbed after a long flight, it ’ s not the most enjoyable experience. dtac ( happy ) has a self-service machine right beside its booth in the chief arrival area, which takes cards and Thai baht notes. Customers by and large seem to ignore it despite the long line for counter service, so it ’ s a good option if you didn ’ t need aid .SIM card kiosks at BKK airportSIM card booths at Suvarnabhumi airport It ’ s possible to buy SIMs at other international airports in Thailand a well, including Phuket and Chiang Mai. Many of the airport SIM card stalls shut down during the pandemic, but with things opening up, most of them have returned as of mid-2022. If you don ’ triiodothyronine mind spending a moment more to be connected quickly and easily when you first arrive, feel detached to pick up one of these tourist SIM card packages. If saving money is more of a precedence, you ’ ll get better deals at convenience stores and official retail shops elsewhere. elsewhere, in this case, doesn ’ t necessarily even mean leaving the airport. If you ’ ve flown into Suvarnabhumi and are taking the train into Bangkok, crop up into the 7-11 near the Airport Rail Link entrance in the basement of airport before you leave. There, you ’ ll find the usual range of SIM card packages, with standard pricing or very close to it. Thailand bought in hard-and-fast requirements for buying SIMs a few years ago, which means the days of just handing over cash at the corner shop are gone. Foreigners immediately need to provide their recommendation and potentially have their photograph taken as share of the registration action. I experienced this first hand on previous trips to Bangkok, both at a 7-11 and an official carrier store in a shopping plaza. In both cases, the staff extremity took a transcript of my pass and snapped a photograph of me on a telephone or tablet app. I ’ megabyte not a sports fan of burdensome recognition requirements like these. Unless you ’ re buying from a street seller and are glad with a practice SIM that could be shut off at any time, however, you ’ re pretty much stuck with it. On the top, the rest of the serve was relatively painless. At the store, I took a number for an english-speaking sales rep, picked a call/text/data package from a print booklet at the anticipate, and handed over the money. The rep did the rest, including activating the SIM, loading my credit onto it, and selecting the properly box. It took about ten minutes in total, and the SIM worked immediately. At the 7-11, I asked for a basic SIM poster, then picked a software from a list on the cashier ’ second screen. After paying for the card and a top-up voucher to cover the sum sum, I installed the SIM and added the credit using the instructions on the voucher. ultimately, the cashier gave me the right textbook code to enter for the package I was after, which activated immediately. Again, the process took about ten minutes. Don ’ thymine want to wait until you arrive in Thailand to get your prepay SIM card ? Buy it in advance rather ! SIMOptions ships AIS SIM cards global, letting you get set up ahead of clock time.

just drop in your modern menu when you land and you ’ ll be connected with calls, text, and plenty of data before you evening leave baggage call. Find out more here. If you have a recent iPhone or early supported device, it ’ south besides worth considering a Thailand eSIM. You ’ ll get cheap outright data for a specified period, without having to find, buy, or swap physical SIM cards .

Prepaid SIM Costs

Most of the tourist SIM cards sold at airports in Thailand crack “ unlimited ” data packages. With them, you get a certain come of high-speed data, and greatly-reduced speeds after that. A small sum of name credit may or may not be included american samoa well. In March 2022, the plans at the felicitous stall at Suvarnabhumi airport baggage reclaim were as downstairs . In compendious, you either get sincerely inexhaustible data capped to a particular rush, or a reasonably large total of data at full amphetamine followed by unlimited amounts of slower data, for a sealed duration of clock. They all come with some screen of domestic bid allowance ampere well, either a certain sum of credit or a number of minutes. Both AIS and TrueMove had broadly similar pricing, albeit with some mutant in data allowances and cogency periods. none are great respect compared to purchasing outside the airport, but they ’ re however relatively cheap by global standards. If you ’ re happy to wait, buy your SIM batting order from a convenience shop or official wall socket elsewhere in Thailand rather. There, you ’ ll have access to the wide scope of call, text, and data packages. They are many and deviate, with cogency ranging from a day to a month or more. eminence that if you ’ re plan to buy from a convenience shop, not all chains sell all SIM cards. 7-11 doesn ’ thyroxine deal AIS SIMs, for exemplar, and a Tesco Lotus memory I walked into near Don Mueang didn ’ thyroxine sell SIM cards at all. I normally buy from appliance stores, but have gone through the attempt of seeking out at an AIS store in a plaza in Bangkok in the by. Unless you happen to be staying finale to one, there ’ s no detail want to do this : it ’ s likely to take longer, and any fiscal save will be minimal. In the interests of research on my most holocene trip, I decided to buy a felicitous SIM at the airport rather than going for my usual AIS option in township. Since I ’ d be in Thailand for a couple of months, I went for the 899 baht ( ~ $ 28 ) software that gave 60GB of high-speed data per calendar month, valid for 90 days. It ’ sulfur more than I ’ ll ever use .

Topping Up

You can buy top-up reasonably much anywhere in Thailand, including many convenience stores, AIS retail locations, and several other places. Just keep an eye out for the AIS/1-2-Call logo. It ’ s besides possible to top up on-line with a credit/debit card on the AIS web site. No matter how you top up, you may then need to purchase or renew the actual software you want to use. Be sure to do this, as the default cry, text, and data rates aren ’ t peculiarly brassy. Calling * 777 # from your phone should give an interactional menu for choosing your box — take a look on the AIS locate for more details. To switch your AIS SIM from Thai to English, enter * 700 * 9 * 7 * 2 # and wait a minute or two for the confirmation textbook .

coverage and Data Speeds

AIS coverage is good about anywhere you ’ re probably to go as a tourist, and much of the lie of the country a well. I ’ ve had wide signal most of the time in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and other provincial capitals, adenine well as on bus topology and motor scooter trips in the countryside and on respective islands. I even had service for a while after crossing the molding into Cambodia, at least until I got outside the compass of the last Thai cell tugboat. It ’ mho besides worth mentioning the especial rush of the AIS SUPER WI-FI network. I regularly saw over 150Mbps download speeds when connected to it, and since it doesn ’ thymine count towards your cellular data allowance, it ’ s well worth using this network if your SIM software includes access to it. Data speeds are reasonable, but decidedly vary depending on where you are, and how busy the cell column is that you ’ re using. I had much faster LTE speeds in Chiang Mai than Bangkok, for exemplify .AIS LTE speeds in central BangkokAIS LTE speeds in central BangkokAIS LTE speeds in central Chiang MaiAIS LTE speeds in Chiang Mai As mentioned earlier, TrueMove and dtac/Happy coverage and speeds are dependable in populate areas but can drop off in more disjunct spots. Traveling through the Trang island group with a TrueMove SIM, for example, LTE handiness was hit or miss, although I normally ( but not always ) had 3G/HSPA+ service with functional but not fast speeds. 4G/LTE speeds in Phuket, however, were very flying .TrueMove LTE speeds in PhuketTrueMove LTE speeds in Phuket On my most holocene travel with a glad SIM, LTE download speeds were reasonably good in Bangkok and Hua Hin, merely occasionally slowing down to any detectable academic degree. Upload speeds weren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate as impressive, but they were hush enough for video calls and anything else I wanted to do.

Downloads were even faster in Krabi and Ao Nang, and remained amazingly quick on democratic nearby islands like Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta. Speeds were besides good on Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao, with dependable service everywhere except a few of the more isolate spots in the concentrate of the islands .Happy LTE speeds in Bangkok Check out our guides to buying SIM cards in many other countries here.

About the Author

Dave Dean

Dave Dean

Facebook Twitter Founder and editor of Too many Adapters, Dave has been a traveler for 25 years, and a geek for tied longer. When he ‘s not playing with the latest technical school plaything or working out how to keep his phone charged for fair a few more minutes, he can credibly be found sitting in a broken-down bus in some obscure corner of the satellite .Buying a SIM card in Thailand

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