Excited for your trip to Thailand? I envy you! With almost 20 times it is my most visited country! Anyway, don't get stuck with high roaming charges when traveling to Thailand. This is a complete guide for the best ways to stay connected when traveling to Thailand. A local prepaid sim card or an e-sim card for Thailand is cheap and there is 5G everywhere when you choose the right sim card.
Find out everything about buying a prepaid sim card in Thailand, the best e-sim cards for Thailand, the best 4G/5G network, up to date prices as per November 2023, where to buy a sim card, my recommendation, a vlog and info about buying a sim card at Bangkok Airport, information about international prepaid sim cards for Thailand and more.
Because I have this crazy idea to visit every country in the world I constantly get to a lot of new countries and airports. Being a full time nomadic travel blogger the first thing I do is searching for the best way to get connected. Most places I go I end up buying a local prepaid sim card or I get myself an e-sim card online.
To help you getting the best, fastest or cheapest data connection on your phone and save money on roaming charges when you travel abroad I already wrote more than 200 sim card guides from all over the world: Europe, USA, New York, Egypt, Costa Rica, Panama, Kenya, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Asia, Bali, Singapore, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Tbilisi, Istanbul, Milan, Madrid, Jeddah, Muscat, Bahrain, etc.
The most convenient place to buy a local prepaid prepaid sim card for Thailand is on arrival at Bangkok Airport. Check out my complete guide and vlog about buying a sim card at Bangkok Airport BKK.
Can you buy an e-sim card at Bangkok Airport or in Thailand? No, the only place where you can get an e-sim card for Thailand is on the internet. Check out my complete guide with everything you need to know before ordering an e-sim card for Thailand in 2023.
Next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the best prepaid and e-sim card advice for your destination. Bookmark me!
Why buying a sim card for Thailand
Traveling in Thailand is easy with so many travel agencies, trains, boats, busses, cheap domestic flights in Thailand and uncountable affordable hotels, good food on every street corner and even fast and free WiFi everywhere. Then why do you need a Thailand sim card?
Can you imagine a life without being connected. Have you tried it before? Not being able to open Google Maps for directions, unable to order an Uber, find a nearby restaurant. Life is just so much easier and definitely when you are somewhere new and not familiar. Also in case of emergencies when your bank card isn't working, all these kind of things. Simply stay connected, it will make your trip to Thailand much easier.
Overseas data roaming plans limit your speed, did you know that? And why pay $5 USD per day when you get 10 GB data in Thailand for $5 USD? Forget about roaming charges! Buying a prepaid sim card and installing it takes just a couple minutes and you are all set with the fastest 5G network connection and a lot of data for little money!
Keep in mind that a Thailand sim card will only work in an unlocked phone! So make sure your phone is unlocked when you travel to Thailand if you want to use a local prepaid sim card. If you are not sure about this contact your provider in your home country!
How to get around Thailand
Let me also help you out with getting tickets for train, bus, boat travel in Thailand as well as long distance taxis, shuttle services and even domestic flights. Try the search engine below and get all the options in one overview, including time tables and prices.
No more paper tickets and tour agencies, simply book your ticket online. Select your preferred seat, compare travel options and pick the one that suits you the most based on price, departure time, travel duration and many more variables.
Traveltomtom recommends a True Move sim card for traveling in Thailand. They have an amazing 4G/5G network, same as with AIS, but a True Move sim card is slightly cheaper than an AIS prepaid sim card.
However, the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Thailand in 2023 is an e-sim card. And you can find amazing Thailand e-sim cards on the internet. If you are looking for a sim card for traveling in Thailand with unlimited data then you definitely want to hear about e-sim cards. An e-sim card for Thailand for 10 days with 50 GB data already starts from $9.90 USD.
Arrive prepared for your trip and order a sim card for Thailand online. Get a prepaid sim card shipped to your home address or buy an e-sim card for Thailand and arrange everything within just 2 minutes. Right here, right now.
Best e-sim cards for Thailand
Unmistakably the best way to get internet on your phone when traveling to Thailand in 2023 is an e-sim card! No need to swap sim cards or go to a sim card store anymore. You simply order an e-sim card for Thailand on the internet and you arrange everything within just a couple minutes.
Order online, process the payment and you will instantly receive a QR code on your phone, scan it, follow the simple steps and you are connected in just a couple clicks. Simple as that!
Airalo offers the following e-sim card plans for traveling to Thailand:
- 50 GB data + 100 minutes for 10 days = $9.90 USD
- unlimited data + unlimited calls + unlimited texts for 15 days = $19.95 USD
Click here to order this e-sim card for Thailand directly via Airalo.
The above DTAC e-sim cards for Thailand is 5G ready, where most other Thailand e-sim cards only offer 4G/LTE network speed. There is a 5G signal available at pretty much all tourist destinations in Thailand.
SimOptions offers a bunch of e-sim cards for Thailand, but only the DTAC e-sim cards, the same as Airalo, are worth it.
- 50 GB data + 100 minutes for 10 days = $9.90 USD
- Unlimited data, minutes and text for 15 days = $19.90 USD
Click here to directly order an e-sim card for Thailand via SimOptions.
For more information about e-sim cards for Thailand check out my complete guide with best e-sim cards for traveling to Thailand in 2023. With much more info how e-sim cards work and everything you need to know before ordering an e-sim card for Thailand.
You can also order a physical sim card for Thailand and get it shipped to your home address. An example is the AIS sim card with 30 GB data for 15 days plus some calling credit for $24.90 USD. Click here to directly order this AIS or one of the other physical sim cards for Thailand.
Where to buy a sim card for Thailand
Bangkok Airport or other international airports in Thailand
No matter which country you are travelling to a SIM card at the airport is always a little more expensive! But well worth the couple bucks as you will be online in no time! Every international airport in Thailand has official DTAC, AIS and True Move stores at arrivals. Check the exact locations below:
- Don Mueang International Airport Bangkok (DMK): Arrival Floor, between Terminal 1 and 2, also at International Arrivals Hall between Exit 2 and 6.
- Phuket International Airport (HKT): International Terminal 1st floor.
- Samui International Airport (USM): Arrival Hall 1st floor.
- Mae Fah Luang, Chiang Rai International Airport (CEI): Passenger Terminal 1st floor between Domestic Hall & International Arrivals Hall.
Are you flying to BKK Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok then check out my complete guide for buying a sim card at Bangkok Airport BKK.
Official retail stores
Wherever you go you will stumble upon a DTAC, True Move or AIS store. Just go to Google Maps and find the nearest store, there are uncountable!. Data plans will be explained very well, English is spoken, prices are fixed and they will activate it for you on the spot within a couple minutes. Every shopping mall in Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Krabi and Koh Samui has mobile phone shops.
Convenience stores: 7Eleven, Family Mart, Tesco
In Thailand you can buy a sim card at mostly every well known convenience store: 7Eleven only sells, DTAC and True Move. Family Mart and Tesco also sells AIS. But it is NOT as convenient as it may seem!
The hard thing about buying a Thailand sim card in a convenient store is to find someone who can really help you activate your prepaid data package! People working in convenient stores speak ok English, but mostly not enough to help you out.
Traveltomtom does not recommend buying a Thailand sim card in a convenience store! As there is no service agent to help you, you have to activate it yourself basically and packages are mostly displayed in Thai language. Good luck! :)
Buying a prepaid sim card in Thailand always be the cheapest way to stay connected when traveling to Thailand, but things have changed. You can already buy an e-sim card for Thailand for less than $10 USD with unlimited data for 8 days. Perfect for a short trip to Thailand.
If your phone is not compatible for an e-sim card then you can also order a physical sim card for Thailand online. These international sim cards for Thailand will be shipped to your home address and are automatically activated when they connect the first time to the network in Thailand. You arrive prepared in Thailand and as soon as the plane lands you have data on your phone.
How to get around Thailand?
Have you tried the search engine of 12Go Asia before? It was a game changer when I discovered it.
They show you the best bus, boat, train, taxi, shuttles and even domestic flights all in one overview. So for example when looking for how to get from Bangkok to Phuket they give you the best options plus all up to date prices, times, travel schedules and you can book directly online.
Free sim card for Thailand
They often lure you with a free sim card for Thailand and even hand them out at the airport in Bangkok or when you fly Thai Airways, but remember nothing is for free! These free Thailand sim cards are just a gift but there is hardly any credit on it and when putting them in your phone they tell you straight away to top up.
If you fly to Thailand with Thai Airways they hand out free DTAC Thailand sim cards for tourists to all passengers. The sim card package says free 8 GB data, but that is NOT true, in fact it is only 20 MB. Basically 30 seconds of internet! If you want the 'free 8 GB' you first need to top up.
Years ago you could easily buy a prepaid sim card in Thailand without any form of identification, but that all changed. If you buy a prepaid sim card in Thailand you need to bring your passport. A copy of your passport will be taken in the sim card store and your new Thailand sim card will be registered on your name and passport number. You can register up to 3 sim cards on your passport.
The sim card you receive you have to put in your phone and if your phone does not have the dual sim option you have to take out the sim card for your home country. You will get a new phone number starting with: +66.
Unfortunately they Thai mobile internet operators do NOT offer e-sim cards for prepaid plans for tourists. E-sim cards for Thailand can only be ordered on the internet.
If for some reason you want to avoid the registration process then look into buying an sim card for Thailand on the internet. E-sim cards for Thailand as well as international prepaid sim cards for Thailand do NOT require registration, they only require an email address.
Mobile internet providers in Thailand
There are 3 major internet operators in Thailand: True, DTAC and AIS. They all sell prepaid sim cards for tourists and you can buy them pretty much everywhere. However, Traveltomtom recommends buying a sim card in an official retail store. More about this later.
Back in 2014 when you were you planning a Thailand Island hopping adventure I would tell you NOT to choose an AIS prepaid sim card. Now in 2023 the table are turned and AIS has the best 4G/5G network in Thailand.
All Thailand mobile internet providers have great network coverage all over the country, even at off the beaten path places.
Mobile Internet Speed Thailand
It is no wonder that the fastest mobile data is provided by True Move and AIS. DTAC's 5G signal coverage is poor compared to its competitors. Whenever you are traveling to Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi, Chiang Mai, Koh Tao or Bangkok or any other major tourist destinations in Thailand you will be pretty much be able to enjoy fast mobile internet with any of the mobile internet providers.
That said, when buying a sim card in Thailand it is very much recommended to ask your provider at which data speed the sim card deal operates. Some have max 5G speed (100 Mbps), but also many sim card deals are capped at 4 Mbps or 10Mbps. You see the major difference?
Anyway data speed always depends on your location and time of the day. During peak hours when everyone is online, data speed is of course significantly slower than during the middle of the night when everyone is asleep.
Best 4G/5G network in Thailand in 2023
Are you ready for a full 5G experience. You might not expected it but Thailand is one of the most advanced countries when it comes to 5G. There is a 5G signal almost everywhere. Let's have a look at the 4G/5G coverage maps for mobile internet in Thailand updated for 2023.
AIS Thailand 4G/5G network
True Move Thailand 4G/5G network
DTAC Thailand 4G/5G network
What you can see on the above coverage maps for Thailand is that every operator has a more than excellent 4G signal all over the country! However, DTAC is really staying behind when it comes to upgrading their 5G network compared to AIS and True Move.
AIS has the best 4G/5G network in Thailand in 2023. Isn't the AIS 5G network in Thailand impressive? I bet you didn't think the Thailand mobile internet and 5G network would be this good!
Check out these 68 funny & interested facts about Thailand!
Prices Thailand prepaid sim cards in 2023
All info in this article is up to date as per November 2023: $1 USD = 36.3 THB or 100 THB = $2.75 USD.
DTAC offers 2 prepaid sim card deals for tourists and although it says unlimited data, don't be fooled! Yeah unlimited on E network speed. I call this false advertisement as it is not clearly mentioned but again it is NOT unlimited data!
- 15 GB data for 8 days + 15 THB calling credit = 299 THB ($9.2)
- 30 GB data for 15 days + 15 THB calling credit = 599 THB ($18.3)
For more info about the DTAC Happy Tourist sim click here.
There are 3 AIS Traveller sim cards available, which are all 5G ready:
- 15 GB data + free social media + 15 THB calling credit for 8 days = 299 THB ($9.2)
- 30 GB data + free social media + 15 THB calling credit for 15 days = 599 THB ($18.3)
- 300 GB data + free social media + 15 THB calling credit for 30 days = 1,250 THB ($38)
For more info about the AIS Traveller sim cards click here.
There are 2 different True Move H prepaid sim card deals:
- unlimited social media apps (Instagram, FB, Twitter, Whatsapp, Snapchat, etc*) = 49 THB ($1.5)
- 20 GB data (4G speed)** = 120 THB ($3.7)
*Youtube and Tiktok are not included. **20 GB at 4G speed and then unlimited at E-network speed (useless).
Having free social media apps for 30 days for just $1.5 is of course insanely CHEAP!
For using Safari, Chrome, Google Maps, Uber, etc. you will need to top up. These are the 5G data pacakges:
- 5 GB data for 30 days = 199 THB ($6)
- 30 GB data for 30 days = 399 THB ($12.2)
For more info about a True Move prepaid sim card click on the link.
Best sim card for Thailand in 2023
If your phone is e-sim card compatible then for me it would be an easy choice to order your sim card for Thailand on the internet and arrive prepared. As soon as the plane lands you are online and the best Thailand e-sim card plan gives you 50 GB data for $9.90 USD for 10 days. Staying longer? Order two of them or check out the one for $19.90 USD for 15 days.
However, when you prefer to buy a prepaid sim card in Thailand then this is what came out of my comparison of the Thailand prepaid sim cards:
- DTAC has by far the weakest 5G network coverage in Thailand.
- AIS keeps it simple at has no data speed limits.
- AIS is the most expensive.
- True Move has data speed limits and it is unclear when you get 4G and when 5G data speed.
Taking everything in consideration Traveltomtom recommends buying a True Move H prepaid sim card in Thailand on arrival. You will get free social media apps for 49 THB and when you then add another 5 GB data you are pretty much set for 30 days for a total price of $7.5 USD or for 30 GB data you pay a total of around $14 USD for 30 days. This is the best buy, but not the best sim card.
The best prepaid sim card for Thailand in 2023 is AIS, but their sim card deals are slightly more expensive than True Move and DTAC. However, for basically everything unlimited you pay $38 USD. If you buy the same AIS prepaid sim card deal at Bangkok Airport you pay $50 USD.
For short trips to Thailand it is worth getting an e-sim card for Thailand with unlimited data for 8 days, check out my complete guide with a comparison of the best e-sim cards for Thailand.
Order a prepaid sim card for Thailand online
If your phone is not e-sim compatible and buying a prepaid sim card in Thailand sounds like too much hassle then you can always order a physical prepaid sim card for Thailand on the internet before your trip.
Get yourself an international sim card that covers Thailand and get this pre-registered physical prepaid sim card send to your home address before your trip. Plug and play on arrival!
SimOptions offers the following prepaid sim card deals for Thailand:
- 10 GB data
- NO calling/texting - data only
- Valid 14 days
Also another last reminder that if your phone is e-sim compatible you can easily order a tourist e-sim card for Thailand with unlimited data, calls and text via Airalo or SimOptions. You keep your own phone number and arrange everything online in just a couple minutes.
These are trusted e-sim card providers that Traveltomtom recommends. For more info about everything you need to know before ordering an e-sim card for Thailand check out my guide with the best e-sim cards for traveling to Thailand in 2023.
Keep in mind that Thai mobile providers are constantly upgrading their coverage, changing their rates and providing better and faster internet. Let me know if you find anything that changed over time and I am happy to add it to my article.
Before you go I want you to consider reading the following blog with everything you need to know about traveling in Thailand! From visas to vaccinations, island hopping to jungle trekking, elephant sanctuaries to affordable luxury hotels, the best hostels, electricity plugs, street food tips and many more things. This is you complete guide full of Thailand travel tips!
If you have any specific questions about traveling to Thailand then don't hesitate to send me a message on my Instagram account @traveltomtom. Be aware that this could create some serious wanderlust as I am on a journey to visit every country in the world. As of November 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries.
Enjoy your trip to Thailand!