When traveling to Thailand I highly recommend you buying a Thailand sim card. But which one? At Bangkok Airport you will already be offered a free Thailand sim card, but is this your best choice? Here is your guide to what is the best Thai SIM card for travellers in 2021.
Why buy a Thailand tourist SIM?
Traveling in Thailand is fairly easy nowadays with so many travel agencies, long haul busses and cheap domestic flights in Thailand. A place to sleep can easily be found, good food on every street corner, transportation can be booked in any hotel/hostel and there is FREE and Fast WiFi everywhere. Then why do you need a SIM card for traveling in Thailand?
First of all to simply be online. As a professional travel blogger I am constantly online. For me it is not just a way of keeping in touch with my family and friends it is work as well. So a travel sim for Thailand is vital for me!
Buying a sim card in Thailand is fairly easy, finding the best data package available is a little bit of a challenge.
But even if you are not an internet addict it is handy to have a Thai SIM card. Think about emergency situations, meeting up with fellow travellers or using Google Maps to find directions. It makes travelling so much easier and it is really affordable! You can buy your Thailand sim card online, click here to get them shipped to your home address.
READ these 68 funny & interested facts about Thailand!
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Are you planning to go to remote islands in Thailand or are you going visit the islands on The Banana Pancake Trail? Do you want a 5G connection? Different types of travellers and different types of SIM cards, find out which one suites you most.
Mobile internet providers Thailand
There are 3 major suppliers in Thailand: True, DTAC and AIS. All of them have pros and cons, but their signal and 3G coverage is nowadays everywhere the same. So if you are going to the major touristy spots and you are not interested in 4G internet speed then simply choose the cheapest option of one of these 3 mobile companies. You will see signs everywhere saying: 'Thailand SIM card for tourist'.
Want to know my tips & tricks about how to get temporary internet access while traveling? Check the link for great tips about having internet abroad.
If you are you planning to go on a Thailand Island hopping adventure and still want to be connected to the world then do not choose AIS I would have told you back in 2016. Now in 2021 things have changed and AIS has a really good 4G AND 5G coverage nowadays.
All Thailand mobile internet providers have great network coverage all over the country, even for off the beaten path island hopping in Thailand, But if you want 5G you would want True Move... more about that later.
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Mobile Internet Speed Thailand
It is no wonder that the fastest mobile internet is provided by True Move, although AIS is not far behind. DTAC does not provide a 5G signal yet, but this will quickly change! Staying in places like Phuket, Samui, Chiang Mai and Bangkok the mobile internet speed between the Thailand providers won't change much.
Coverage maps mobile internet providers Thailand in 2021
These days 3G is not good enough anymore, we all want 4G or even 5G these days. Who provides the best 5G coverage in Thailand in 2021? These are the latests coverage maps for mobile internet in Thailand. Source: nperf.com.
Coverage map of AIS
Coverage of True Move
Coverage of DTAC
All the above maps are updated in January 2021!
As you can see on the above coverage maps of the internet providers in Thailand, AIS is still your best bid as it covers most of Thailand with 4G, with True Move being a good follow up. However True Move has the best 5G network and DTAC does NOT support 5G yet.
DTAC still has to do some catching up, but that only counts for the remote areas. That said all three mobile providers have very good coverage in most tourist destinations in Thailand.
Prices for prepaid sim card packages in Thailand in 2021
There are 4 DTAC Happy Tourist sim cards available:
- 599 THB ($20) = Unlimited data for 15 days, 30 GB at MAX speed, 15 THB call credit.
- 299 THB ($10) = Unlimited data for 8 days, 15 GB at MAX speed, 15 THB call credit.
- 149 THB ($5) = Unlimited data for 4 days, 5 GB at MAX speed, 15 THB call credit.
- 49 THB ($1,60) = 15 THB call credit.
For more info about the DTAC Happy Tourist sim click here.
There are 3 AIS Traveller sim cards available:
- 599 THB ($20) = 30 GB data + 15 THB call credit - valid for 15 days.
- 299 THB ($10) = 15 GB data + 15 THB call credit - valid for 8 days.
- 160 THB ($5,30) = 5 GB data + 15 THB call credit - valid for 5 days.
For more info about the AIS Traveller sim cards click here.
There is basically only 1 Thailand prepaid sim card from True Move available.
It costs 49 THB ($1,60) and it comes with free social media like Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, etc. but that is it. NO calling, NO texting included!
To extra data for using Google, Uber, etc. you will need to top up with one of the many data packages. These are the 3 most common:
- 99 THB = 5 GB data for 7 days.
- 199 THB = 10 GB data for 15 days.
- 249 THB = 15 GB data for 15 days.
For more info about a True Move prepaid sim card click on the link.
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Thailand SIM card for tourist
Heading to a specific area then go to opensignal.com and zoom in on your destination to find the best provider. Especially for long term travellers this tool is perfect to see what is the best thai sim card for nomads. The perfect example is myself when I was living in Koh Tao in 2016. I know I was going to stay in Koh Tao for at least 2 months, so I zoomed in. At that time the fastest internet was provided by AIS, True Move had the biggest 4G network, but in the end I chose DTAC. Why? DTAC was the only mobile internet provider offering a 4G signal in Koh Tao and to me the best thailand prepaid sim card was therefore DTAC.
What to bring if you buy a sim card in Thailand in 2021?
Years ago you could easily buy a sim card in Thailand without any identification, but nowadays they changed a couple rules. If you purchase a sim card in Thailand a passport is needed. Still street vendors sell prepaid data packages without any identification needed, but the official resellers will need your passport. So always bring your passport when you are going to buy a sim card in Thailand.
Find the cheapest bus/boat/train and flight tickets online
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Where to buy your Thailand prepaid sim card
Planning to stay for longer than a week in Thailand then head to a phone shop rather than the 7Eleven. Prices drop for monthly plans, but they don’t sell them at the 7Eleven.
Buying a sim card at Bangkok and 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:
- Suvarnabhumi International Airport Bangkok (BKK): International Arrivals Terminal 2nd Floor and International Arrivals Hall around Baggage Claim No. 18.
- 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.
Free sim card Thailand
They often lure you with free SIM, but remember nothing is for free especially in touristy countries in South East Asia! The free sim card Thailand is just a gift, there is hardly any credit on it and when using they tell you straight away to to top up.
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 plenty!. 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.
Convenient stores: 7Eleven, Family Mart, Tesco
In Thailand you can buy a sim card at mostly every well known convenient store. But it is NOT as easy as it seems!
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.
7Eleven only sells, DTAC and True Move. Family Mart and Tesco also sells AIS.
I would not recommend you to buy a sim card for traveling in Thailand in 7Eleven, Family Mart or Tesco!
Here is what one of my readers found for sale in the 7Eleven in January 2021.
Packages are mostly displayed in Thai language. Good luck! :)
Buy your Thailand sim card online in 2021
Forget the hassle buying a sim card for Thailand on arrival. No more waiting and line and misunderstandings, get your Thai sim card online and let it be shipped to your home address.
Very easy and simple and for $25 you get 30 GB data + some credit for calling and texting.These are the 3 best sim cards for Thailand to order online:
- 3 GB data
- 15 THB credit for calling or texting
- Valid 8 days
- 30 GB data!
- 15 THB credit for calling or texting
- Valid 15 days
- 3 GB data
- FREE Social Media
- 100 minutes calling
- Valid for 8 days
- Price $11.49
Portable WiFi device for travelers
If you have a locked phone buying an international SIM card is not an option. Or if you simply don't want to change your sim card for a Thai SIM card, take a look at Teppy a portable WiFi device! It gives you unlimited data plus you can connect up to 5 devices at the same time! Great option if traveling with children.
Get $30 Airbnb credit for free
Get $30 off your first booking when you sign up for an Airbnb account through this link! Any new email address is $30 travel credit!
This is one of my more than 50 Thailand travel blogs, all updated in January 2021 to give you the most accurate information possible.
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.
I have already collected more than 40 stamps of this lovely country in my passport. Let me help you planning your next Thailand itinerary and take a look at my blogs about the land of the smile on my Thailand Page. Curious why I have been to Thailand 17 times? ;)
This is a handy guide 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 and many more things.
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.
Also if this was helpful for you would you like to help me out a little in return? If you could share the link of this article somewhere on the internet that would be awesome. Every tweet on Twitter, Pin on Pinterest or post in a Facebook Group helps me a lot. A small thing for you to do, which can make a big difference for me.
Enjoy your trip to Thailand!