When you travel to a country like Thailand you want to be contactable. Normally every tourist that travels to Thailand wants to buy a SIM card. But the question is what Thai SIM card to buy?
It’s better to do some research before going or you will end up buying SIM cards at sales guys in the airport and paying more. Here you can find some information that we gather before we travel to Thailand.
Just compare and see what Thai SIM card to buy.
Why buy a Thai SIM card?
This is a big question. Everyone knows that nowadays is extremely easy to be contactable even in another country. You have internet access almost everywhere so you can do almost everything on the internet.
So why do you need a Thai SIM card? For us, it was a question of being online. Not everywhere in Thailand you have internet access and in some remote places, it’s better to have your own internet. If you are a blogger you know it’s necessary to be online so, you will need a Thai SIM card to work.
When we travel to Thailand we used a lot motorbike so we check on the places and trajectory on google maps. But you can also download the maps and used them offline. Finally, we use our Thai SIM card to keeping in touch with our family.
Mobile internet providers in Thailand
When we search for internet providers in Thailand we find out 3 major supplies: DTAC, True and AIS. We want it to know what was the best, of course, every one of them have good things and bad things.
Thailand is a country with good coverage of 3G and in the major touristy spots you will also have available 4G internet coverage. Every place you will go, you will see ‘Tourist SIM card’ but, be careful. Our interest was not only choosing the one with good coverage but also the cheapest option.
Our route in Thailand did start in Bangkok, then we headed to the north and we also visited the islands. So we needed a SIM card not only for tourist places but also to remote areas.
In the north it depends if you want to be connected to 4G or not but, all the 3 main providers have good coverage. In the remote areas, DTAC are not reliable, True Move and AIS have big 4G network coverage.
So, focus on this two provides if like us you will travel mainly by motorbike in the North of Thailand.
In the islands, things don’t change much. All 3 provides will give you 4G signal on almost every popular tourist islands. AIS still have the best 4G coverage network, don’t expect awesome coverage in most remote islands but, they are getting better.
Prices for prepaid SIM cards in Thailand
Before we travel to Thailand we also check the prices for prepaid SIM cards. Thailand has like 100 different data packages available, so we picked the ones that we think was best for our proposed.
As for AIS you have the tourist SIM card and also a good option 4G net SIM. Some differences between the two are:
Tourist Sim card – 599THB (excl. VAT) with unlimited internet for 15 days, 100TBH call credit and 6GB at max. speed.
4G net SIM – cost 88THB and after activation, you get unlimited internet at 1Mbps and WiFi valid for 7days. Weekly fee applies in this, costing 88THB every 7 days. Keep in mind if you don’t have enough credit for the weekly fee, the speed will be a downgrade to 64Kbps for 7 days and then the internet usage will be stopped.
For DTAC you can easily access this SIM card:
DTAC Happy Tourist – 599TBH (excl. VAT) with unlimited internet for 15 days, 100THB call credit. You can also top up yourself for 30 days (4.5GB) the price is 430THB or for the same number of days (9.0GB) the price is 750THB.
If you go with True the prepaid SIM card can be really handy, as you can use 14 social apps for 30 days for free. Some of the apps included: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Skype, Pinterest, Snapchat… If you want additional internet the cost is 2THB per MB and 0,55THB per calling minute.
The best SIM card to buy is also based on what usage you will give it. For us we need it for more them daily basis, we had to have access to 24h internet for our work. So we went for AIS 4G net SIM that gives full coverage of what we need.
What to bring when buying a Thai SIM card?
Nowadays it’s not so easy as it was buying a Thai SIM card, recently the Thai government applied new rules for buying SIM cards. So until now you only have to show an ID at the point of purchase. Even in some cases, you don’t need this as still, street vendors sell prepaid data packages without any identification needed.
According to new law registered from 15 Dec. 2017, they enforced a biometric system in all providers stores and outlets. Now you will have your face scanned or fingerprints taken. This is valid for new prepaid and postpaid SIM cards but, not valid to the existing SIM cardholders.
When we went to Thailand, we did go to an AIS official store in a shopping mall and the only thing they ask us it was a passport. But this was in October last year.
Where to buy and top up your Thai SIM card?
When you landing in Thailand you will tell me the best Thai SIM card to buy is at the airport. Yes, you can get a SIM card at the airports but, if you want to save money you definitely shouldn’t do it.
This rule applies to most countries in Southeast Asia, as they try to scam you. Normally in airports, they try to sell you, tourists SIM cards but, you can buy better in the city. Unless in don’t have time and don’t care about paying extra bucks don’t do it at the airport.
In Thailand you can buy SIM cards almost everywhere in the city but, be careful even in the city it can be tricky. They have a small shop or even stalls in the street vending Thai SIM cards but, you should buy from an official mobile provider or at 7eleven shops.
Every 7eleven shop has it but, obviously, the prepaid packages that you can buy here is for short-term tourists. If you are staying in Thailand for just a week you will be fine with this. You have to activate your prepaid package and sometimes this can be a real problem because some of the people working at 7eleven only speak Thai.
We didn’t buy our SIM card at 7eleven, instead, we did it at an official store in the shopping mall.
It was really simple, you can google where to find the nearest shop. Just pop up at the store and choose the best plan for you. The staff at the store always speak good English, they will explain to you the packages, prices, best option, everything and they also activate for you the SIM card.
To top-up your Thai SIM card, it’s simple, you can go to physical stores like 7eleven, Family Mart, Big C, Tesco or to phone kiosks and outlets of the operators.
You can also do it on the internet. Some of the provides even have an app where you check everything related to the SIM card.
So, what is the best Thai SIM card to buy?
For us the answer it is easy: AIS 4G net SIM is the best. We did feel this is the best option even if you intend to go to more remote places in Thailand.
With this card we did have a good connection in big cities like Bangkok but, when we went to north Thailand to remote places we had good signal too.
Even in the islands we also had a good connection. Sometimes when we were on Island hopping and we want to check our social media, we had a good signal and everything works well.
So, this is without a doubt value for money. We need to be 24h online basically and AIS provide us with this with 4G net SIM card.