Planning your trip to Thailand and flying to Bangkok soon? Are you wondering what is the best way to stay connected in Thailand? Well, this is a complete guide with everything you need to know about the best sim cards for traveling to Bangkok. Where to buy a sim card for Thailand in Bangkok, up to date prices as per December 2023, all about sim cards at BKK Bangkok International Airport, my recommendation, a vlog about my experiences, a comparison of the Thailand prepaid sim cards and info about e-Sim cards and international sim cards for Thailand.
In 2022 I visited 62 different countries for fun as well as for my job as a full time travel blogger. Being fully nomadic I am constantly on the road and in a new country pretty much every week. With a lot of confidence I dare to say that personally a local prepaid sim card is the best way to stay connected.
It saves you from excessive high roaming costs and slow overseas data plans. These roaming plans from your home provider operate abroad with reduced internet speed and since there is 5G everywhere in Bangkok, it would be frustrated if you are still using a 3G signal.
Everywhere I go I write sim card guides and as I am also trying to travel to every country in the world you can already find more than 200 sim card guides from all over the world on Traveltomtom: Asia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bali, Indonesia, Sydney, Melbourne, Europe, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, Dubai, USA and many more.
Of course I also wrote an extensive guide about the best prepaid sim card for Thailand in 2023 with more detailed info about prepaid sim cards for visiting Thailand. If you are looking to get an e-sim card for Thailand then check out my guide for finding the best e-sim cards for traveling to Thailand.
Traveltomtom recommends buying a sim card at Bangkok Airport BKK on arrival. It is the most convenient place to buy your sim card for your trip to Thailand and it is very affordable.
Which prepaid sim card exactly is very difficult to say as pretty much all of them offer the same and they all offer 5G. However, my preference goes out to those sim cards that offer max data speed. More about it later! It is a very close call, but Traveltomtom recommends an AIS sim card for Bangkok.
E-sim cards are a convenient option if you just travel to Bangkok for a couple days and you don’t want to switch sim cards. They are also the easiest and fastest way to get connected. For more info check out my article about the best e-sim cards for traveling to Thailand in 2023.
If you are looking for the best ways to stay connected when traveling to Bangkok and don't want or could not buy your Thailand sim card at Bangkok Airport then check out my complete guide for buying a sim card for Thailand in 2023.
If Bangkok is one of the stops on a trip to many several countries then you also want to look into so called international world travel sim cards. These sim cards let you connect and use data in multiple countries. For more info have a look at my comparison about the best sim cards for traveling internationally in 2023.
Be aware that your phone needs to be unlocked if you want to use a Thailand prepaid sim card. This also applies to international sim cards as well as e-sim cards. If you are unsure if your phone is locked or unlocked contact your mobile internet provider from home.
In general phones bought in Europe, Australia or Asia are unlocked and phones from the USA tend to be often locked.
Looking for Bangkok travel tips? What about my list of the 10 best things to in Bangkok or if you are looking for unusual things to do in Bangkok then check out this link. In total you can find more than 50 articles about traveling to Bangkok on Traveltomtom.
Best e-sim cards for Thailand
Although a Thailand prepaid sim card will give you more data for the same money and also faster data speed, e-sim cards for Thailand are very popular. An e-sim card is the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Thailand because you arrange everything online in just a couple steps.
Order a Thailand e-sim card on the internet, receive an email with a QR code including instructions, scan the code, follow the simple steps and you are connected instantly.
No more visiting a shop, swapping physical sim cards or buying a local prepaid sim card.
Check out Traveltomtom's guide with everything you need to know before buying an e-sim card for Thailand in 2023, including a comparison of the best e-sim cards for Thailand and answers to all your FAQ's.
Airalo is a reliable e-sim card provider which Traveltomtom has used in more than 50 countries around the world.
Check out the following e-sim card deals for traveling to Bangkok:
- 50 GB data + 100 minutes for 10 days = $9.90 USD
- Unlimited data + calls + text for 15 days = $19.95 USD
Click here to order an e-sim card for Thailand directly online via Airalo.
E-sim cards are a great way to get connected, but personally for longer trips to Thailand I mostly buy a local prepaid sim card on arrival in Thailand. But that is a personal thing.
There are also other e-sim card providers for Thailand like Nomad and SimOptions. Read more about why I prefer prepaid sim cards over e-sim cards in my article with the best e-sim cards for Thailand in 2023.
Best way to get around Thailand
Let me also help you out with how to get around Thailand as I found in 12Go Asia the perfect match for finding tickets for: bus, boat, train, shuttles, long distance taxis and even domestic flights. Try the search engine below.
You order your tickets directly online and get a confirmation on your email and have your ticket on your phone, easy as that. No more paper tickets and travel agencies needed. You can choose your seat, find the time tables and choose your preferred way of travel depending on the availability and price.
Why buying a sim card in Bangkok
No need to tell you that if you have no data connection on your phone life suddenly becomes a lot more complicated. No more ordering Uber (Grab in Thailand), finding nearby bars and restaurants, getting directions, staying in touch with friends or checking your banking apps or sports results.
Having a working data connection on your phone makes traveling to Bangkok much more fun!
Also be careful with relying on public WiFi, although everywhere available, it is often also pretty unstable and can be really slow. Begging for the WiFi password is annoying enough already, but also keep in mind that public WiFi is through an unsecured network. The use of a VPN is recommended to protect your data.
Local prepaid sim cards, international sim cards and e-sim cards for Bangkok use a secured network and your data is protected. That said, many travelers still use VPN services for extra data protection.
Where to buy a sim card for Bangkok
You can easily buy sim cards for Bangkok on the internet. Keep in mind that these sim cards are either international sim cards that will be shipped to your home address before your Bangkok trip or e-sim cards that operate through a third party.
Buying a prepaid sim card for Thailand on the internet is convenient but the cheapest way to stay connected when traveling to Bangkok is a local prepaid sim card and these you can only buy in Bangkok, not online.
You can NOT buy an e-sim card for Thailand on arrival, but can only order Thailand e-sim cards on the internet. See my detailed Thailand e-sim card guide for finding the best e-sim cards for traveling to Thailand in 2023.
Suvernabhumi International Airport Bangkok - BKK
Buying a sim card for Thailand at Bangkok International Airport is the fastest way to get connected when you arrive in Bangkok. Everywhere around the airport you will find sim card shops from the mobile internet providers in Thailand that are happily selling sim cards for tourists.
Don’t worry you can’t miss the sim card shops at Bangkok Airport, they are everywhere! As soon as you walk out of the plane and follow the signs to immigration you will already see sim card stores everywhere.
Then near the luggage belts you will find many sim card shops all around the baggage claim hall. And with many I mean probably more than 10!
If you still haven’t gotten your sim card for Thailand after you pick up your bag and walk through the customs bag check and arrive in the arrival hall then there you will again see big stores from the 3 mobile internet operators in Thailand: AIS, True Move and DTAC.
Trust me there is no escaping and there are signs everywhere with: ‘buy your sim card for Thailand here’.
No need to worry about the opening hours of the sim card shops at Bangkok Airport BKK if you arrive super late. All the mobile phone stores are open 24 hours.
More challenging is that a lot of sim card stores, especially in the baggage claim hall and before customs only accept cash! This is kind of annoying as you just arrived in Thailand and probably don’t have Thai Baht yet.
There are ATM’s all around as well as currency exchange. Mind you that all ATM’s in Thailand charge a 220 THB fee for withdrawing money. That is $6.5 USD per transaction. This applies to all ATM’s in Bangkok, there is no escaping!
If you want to pay for your Thailand sim card by card you have to wait until you are in the arrival hall. All phone shops in the arrival hall accept credit card payments.
Bangkok BKK Airport has good working free WiFi, so if you are not convinced by the local prepaid sim card deals you can always use the WiFi here to order an e-sim card for Thailand.
However, it is no secret that Thailand sim cards at Bangkok Airport are more expensive than shops away from the airport. At Bangkok Airport they sell tourist sim cards for tourist prices.
In case you forgot to buy a sim card, you are reading this article after you already left the Bangkok BKK Airport or if you simply want the cheapest Bangkok sim card deals then you should visit any random phone store or official retail store in Bangkok where they sell prepaid sim cards for Thailand.
Bangkok city center
If you want the cheapest sim card deals for Thailand you have to wait until you reach the city center. Find the nearest phone shop on Google Maps and buy your sim card for Thailand here.
Traveltomtom recommends buying a Thailand prepaid sim card in an official retail store from one of the mobile internet operators in Thailand: DTAC, True Move or DTAC.
There are many official phone stores all over Bangkok, just head to any bigger shopping mall and you will find them.
You can also buy prepaid sim cards in convenient stores like 7Eleven, etc. Keep in mind that you will have to do the sim card registration yourself and that the staff won’t be able to help you much as they are no sim card experts. The prepaid sim card deals at convenient stores in Bangkok are often in Thai language only, so good luck with that.
It is a cheap way to get a sim card for Thailand but complicated and you might need to go to an official store to complete the registration after all anyway. Therefore Traveltomtom does not recommend buying a sim card for Thailand in a convenient store in Bangkok.
For more info about buying a sim card in Bangkok city center check out my guide finding you the best prepaid sim card for Thailand in 2023.
Everyone buying a prepaid sim card in Bangkok will have to show any form of photo ID, so bring your passport. Your new Thailand sim card will be registered on your passport number and name and a copy will be taken in the store.
If you want to avoid this then you can order an international sim card online or get an e-sim card for Thailand. No passport registration is needed for these sim cards.
Free tourist sim card for Thailand
If you are flying to Bangkok with Thai Airways they will already give you a free sim card for Thailand in the plane just before landing. This is a DTAC Easy Holiday Happy sim card for tourists. The package says: free sim card + 8 GB internet.
FALSE ADVERTISEMENT DTAC... may be smart marketing, but I don't like it!
The free internet allowance is literally just 20 MB and NOT 8 GB. Really annoying DTAC! Anyway don’t be lured with ‘free sim card for Thailand’ because all mobile internet operators offer you a free sim card, you just pay for the data package you activate.
Best 4G/5G network in Bangkok in 2023
If you are just visiting Bangkok only then then it does not matter which mobile internet provider you choose. All tourist sim cards will work excellent in Bangkok. Thailand is one of the better connected countries in the world and there is almost everywhere 5G in Thailand, country wide! If you find a spot in Bangkok without a 5G signal you are very unlucky.
If you are traveling in Thailand and looking for the best 5G network then have a look at my guide for buying a prepaid sim card in Thailand in 2023 with updated info about the best 4G/5G network and fastest data in Thailand in 2023.
Data speed Bangkok
With a local prepaid sim card you can expect excellent data speed. I ran multiple speed tests on 5G and what you see in the above picture is the average download and upload data speed result.
Sometimes I got a data speed of more than 100Mbps and I also saw upload speed of more than 100Mbps.
If you want the fastest data speed on your Thailand sim card then it is important to ask about it in the sim card store when buying a prepaid sim card. A lot of the tourist sim cards in Thailand have capped data speed, see below.
If fast mobile internet is important to you then get a Thailand prepaid sim card with max data speed up to 100 Mbps.
Prepaid sim cards deals at Bangkok Airport in 2023
Prices for Thailand tourist sim cards and data packages constantly change. Traveltomtom tries to keep all the info as up to date as possible. Your input is appreciated. Please leave a comment below.
All info in the article is up to date as per December 2023. $1 USD = 35.3 THB or 100 THB = $2.83 USD.
- 15 GB data at MAX SPEED (100 Mbps) + free social media + 100 THB calling credit for 8 days = 299 THB - $8.7 USD
- Unlimited data at 4 Mbps + free social media + 50 THB calling credit for 15 days = 699 THB
- Unlimited data at 10 Mbps + free social media + 50 THB calling credit for 30 days = 999 THB
- 25 GB data at MAX SPEED (100 Mbps) + free social media + 100 THB calling credit for 8 days = 499 THB
- 100 GB data at MAX SPEED (100 Mbps) + free social media + 200 THB calling credit for 15 days = 1,399 THB
- Unlimited data at MAX SPEED (100 Mbps) + free social media + 50 THB calling credit for 30 days = 1,699 THB - $50 USD
- Unlimited data + calls + 100 THB international calling credit for 8 days = 399 THB - $11.6 USD
- Unlimited data + calls + 100 THB international calling credit for 15 days = 699 THB
- Unlimited data + calls + 100 THB international calling credit for 30 days = 999 THB
They also have Thailand tourist sim card deals:
- 15 GB data + free social media + 100 THB calling credit for 16 days = 299 THB - $8.7 USD
- 30 GB data + free social media + 100 THB calling credit for 30 days = 599 THB
At DTAC they make it of course complicated. We already saw that in the plane they hand out 'free Thailand sim card with 8 GB', which in reality is just 20 MB! Also when it comes to the prepaid sim card deals they sell across Bangkok Airport it is a little messy as every other shop has different prepaid sim card deals. Always ask for the guaranteed data speed when buying a DTAC sim card.
The above packages all claim to have max data speed, but when I asked some employees would say 10 Mbps, the be countered by another employee saying no it is 100 Mbps. Like... uh cant trust you guys.
Then I found another store above and they displayed all sim card deals stated with 10 Mbps data speed.
And then another store had these DTAC prepaid sim card offers. As you can see at the first picture I showed you a package for 299 with unlimited data at max speed for 8 days, but on the above picture the same package for 16 days.
This sucks DTAC, would be easy for tourists if you could uniform your prices at the different DTAC stores. Would also be easier for me to recommend DTAC sim card for traveling in Thailand.
Best sim card for Bangkok in 2023
For Traveltomtom it is an easy conclusion that if you are a heavy data user and fan of fast mobile internet then buying a prepaid sim card in Thailand is the best solution.
International sim card and e-sim cards for Bangkok are much more expensive per Gigabyte compared to Thailand prepaid sim cards.
Also when using a lot of data you most probably want the best and fastest data speed as well, so heavy data users are definitely recommended to buy a local prepaid sim card in Bangkok on arrival.
How do you know if you are a heavy data user? Simply go to the settings on your phone and check how much data you use per application. Is Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook topping the list than most probably you are indeed a heavy data user.
Also an advantage of a prepaid sim card with unlimited data for Thailand with max 5G data speed is that you don’t even need to connect to public and unsecured WiFi of your hotel.
After comparing all the Thailand prepaid sim cards Traveltomtom comes to the conclusion that AIS is the best sim card for Bangkok in 2023. DTAC and True Move are a very good and similar option too. I just like that AIS is very clear about the prepaid sim card deals they offer. DTAC is a mess, as the prices differ at every shop.
However, last time when I traveled to Thailand and bought a sim card at Bangkok I bought a DTAC sim card. Haha! Why? Because I was in Bangkok for just 2 days and there was another specific reason. Watch my vlog about buying a sim card at Bangkok Airport below and you will find out.
Buying a sim card for Bangkok on arrival at Bangkok International Airport is the most convenient place to get connected when arriving in Thailand. But for that convenience you pay a couple dollar extra.
If you want the cheapest sim card deals in Bangkok you should not buy them at Bangkok BKK Airport on arrival, but at mobile phone shop near your hotel. Go where the local go and save a couple dollars. In that case you want to check out my guide for buying a prepaid sim card in Thailand in 2023.
If you only use a little bit of data every day then e-sim cards for Bangkok are a great solution. For just $9.90 USD you already get 15 GB data for 8 days and you arrange everything directly online. Check out all the Thailand e-sim card offers in my guide for buying an e-sim card for Thailand in 2023.
Order a prepaid sim card for Bangkok online
If your phone isn’t compatible for e-sim cards then you can always order a physical sim card for Bangkok online. These pre-activated sim cards will be shipped to your home address before your trip and are automatically activated from its first use. Which means plug and play when you arrive in Bangkok.
SimOptions offers the following international physical prepaid sim card for traveling to Bangkok:
- 10 GB data
- NO calling/texting - data only
- Valid 14 days
Click here to order an international sim card for Bangkok directly online via SimOptions or find more info in the link.
Also a last reminder that you can order an e-sim card for Bangkok directly online if your phone is e-sim compatible and arrange everything within just a couple minutes you are all set to travel to Bangkok.
Want more info about e-sim cards? Then check out my article about the best e-sim cards for Thailand in 2023.
Local prepaid sim cards for Bangkok vs. e-Sim cards and international sim cards
With a local prepaid sim card you get much more data for the same price and the best network connection and data speed possible. With an international sim card or an e-sim card for Bangkok you are basically a guest on another mobile operators network. Which means your data speed is potentially lower, especially during peak hours when you are being put in the back of the line to use the available bandwidth.
Therefore Traveltomtom prefers local prepaid sim cards over e-sim cards or international sim cards for traveling to Bangkok. Much more info about using e-sim cards for traveling to Thailand in my detailed article with all the pros and cons about Thailand e-sim cards.
However, it is a fact that e-sim cards are very convenient. You just buy them online, install them and you are all set. When I have a 1-2 day layover in Bangkok I also order an e-sim card online.
I am sure the above tips for buying a prepaid sim card for your trip to Bangkok, my tips about e-sim cards and staying connected in general were helpful tips for traveling to Thailand.
How to get around Thailand
Interested to find out what is the best way to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai or to Phuket? Try the public transport search engine below and it will compare bus, boat and train tickets and even domestic and international flights. It will give you prices, time tables, reviews and much more info and you book directly online.
After I found out about 12Go Asia it made traveling in Thailand so much easier. No more paper tickets, you arrange everything online and get the ticket confirmation on your phone instantly.
If you have any more questions then please leave me a comment below or reach out to me on Instagram.
Curious what it looks like trying to visit every country in the world? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along. As of December 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries, so still a long way to go.
Enjoy your trip to Bangkok!
Some links in this article about the best ways to stay connected when traveling to Bangkok are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using an affiliate link in this article I earn a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you of course!