Traveling to Asia and planning your upcoming trip? Stay connected, but don’t get stuck with high roaming charges or let slow overseas data roaming plans annoy you. Get yourself a travel sim card with data or an e-sim card for Asia. In this guide I will show you all the best available options for staying connected when traveling to Asia.
Whether you prefer buying an international sim card for Asia or an e-sim card for Asia, I got you covered and compared all the available options for you.
Being the largest continent on the planet, Asia is very diverse. From Singapore to Lake Baikal in Russia and from Israel to Vietnam and everything in and between.
My continuous travels around the world brought me to almost every country in Asia. As of August 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries around the world and more than 85% of the countries in Asia.
On Traveltomtom you can find specific guides for buying local prepaid sim cards or e-sim cards for the following Asian countries: Pakistan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bali, Thailand, Bangkok, Israel, Tel Aviv, Jordan, Amman, Turkey, Istanbul, Lebanon, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Nepal, Kathmandu, Oman, Muscat, Saudi Arabia, Medina, Jeddah, Riyadh, Bahrain, Qatar, Tashkent and more.
Where to buy a local prepaid sim card in Asia
On arrival at all the international airports in Asia they sell local sim cards for tourists. From Amman to Bangkok and from Bali to Seoul. They are hard to miss, just like car rentals and taxi services there will always be a kiosk or a store that sells local prepaid sim cards for tourists.
There are exceptions: Karachi and Islamabad Airport in Pakistan! I searched everywhere, but you can not buy a tourist sim card in Pakistan on arrival at the airport.
When it comes to buying a local prepaid sim card, Asia is the best continent to be in. Sim cards are sold in every convenience store, mobile phone shop or souvenir shops. In Southeast Asia and South Asia you will find signs of the mobile internet providers everywhere. A local prepaid sim card with data in Asia is mostly very cheap.
Asia sim cards vs. local prepaid sim cards
But why buying a sim card for Asia online when you can buy a local prepaid sim card on arrival? Very easy answer. Local prepaid sim cards are only valid for 1 country and can only be bought on arrival, not on the internet. International sim cards for Asia are valid across the whole continent and can be bought directly online.
You might also want to check out my article about the best global travel sim cards in 2023. Would I recommend you to buy an international sim card for Asia? It depends what kind of traveler you are But some are definitely worth checking out.
Anyway it is also a very simple conclusion after comparing local prepaid sim cards vs. international (e)-sim cards for Asia that if you want a lot of data or sim cards with unlimited data that local prepaid sim cards are cheaper.
But imagine traveling for 10 days and visiting 3 countries in Asia. A trip to Bangkok in Thailand, then Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and then ending in Singapore. You can buy a new prepaid sim card in every country you go to, but that will eventually be more expensive and costs you precious time. Therefore for these situations and for these trips to Asia it is definitely recommended to buy a prepaid Asia data sim card or an e-sim card for Asia online.
Buying a local prepaid sim card in Asia might be cheaper but cost time. You will have to queue up in line, find a prepaid sim card plan from one of the available mobile internet operators, hand over your passport, wait for the registration, pay, put the sim card in your phone and wait till it starts working.
After a long flight this might not be what you want and these situations can be avoided by buying a sim card for Asia online. Whether that is a prepaid travel sim card or an e-sim card for Asia. You arrive prepared and as soon as the plane touches the ground you are online.
No need to worry about losing signal when crossing borders with online Asia travel (e)-sim cards with data. I selected the best Asia sim cards for you so that you stay connected wherever you travel in Asia.
However, staying in certain country for a longer period of time I definitely recommend you to buy a local prepaid sim card rather than a travel sim card for Asia on the internet.
Best (e)-sim cards for Asia with data
All the below listed prepaid international sim cards and e-sim cards for Asia can be ordered directly online in the links below. Prepaid international sim cards will be shipped to your home address within 2-5 business days and e-sim cards will be in your email instantly. All the Asia (e)-sim cards below will only work in an unlocked phone, tablet or pocket wifi!
Make sure your phone is unlocked before buying a prepaid sim card or an e-sim card. Phones from the US tend to be locked, phones from Asia, Oceania, Africa, South America and Europe are mostly unlocked. If you are not sure ask your mobile internet provider in your home country.
1. Asialink E-sim card for Asia
Listed as the best sim card for traveling in Asia in 2023 is the new Asialink e-sim card valid in 13 countries in Asia: Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macao, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam.
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $5 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $13 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $20 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $37 USD
- 50 GB data for 90 days = $100 USD
- 100 GB data for 180 days = $185 USD
So especially for those traveling to East Asia this is the perfect sim card for your trip. Top-up is available if you need more data during your trip and there is identification needed to activate this e-sim card.
Click here to directly order the Asialink e-sim card for your trip to Asia.
2. Discover Global E-Sim Card
Without a doubt one of the best sim cards for traveling in Asia is the Discover Global e-sim card. It is actually an international e-sim card with global coverage in more than 80 countries like everywhere in Europe, USA, Canada, almost all of South America, etc.
The reason why I listed this e-sim card as the best sim card for traveling in Asia is because it covers almost all of East Asia as well: India, Sri Lanka, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and even Russia and Tajikistan.
- 1 GB for 7 days = $9 USD
- 3 GB for 15 days = $24 USD
- 5 GB for 30 days = $35 USD
- 10 GB for 60 days = $59 USD
- 20 GB for 180 days = $89 USD
Click here to order a Discover Global E-Sim Card directly online or find more info.
Keep in mind that this is an e-sim card and not a physical sim card. E-sim cards are the easiest way to get internet on your phone when traveling abroad in 2023. You will order an e-sim card online, receive a QR code, follow the steps and you are connected in less than 2 minutes and can use your data in all of the above mentioned countries.
3. 3 UK prepaid sim cards for Asia
There are multiple 3 UK sim cards deals for Asia available. You will get a +44 UK number and the sim card is automatically activated from its first use. Meaning you can put it in your phone during your flight and when you land you will have internet on your phone.
All the 3 UK Asia sim cards offer free data roaming in the following 7 countries in Asia: Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Macao, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Vietnam.
The list of Asian countries is pretty limited compared to other Asia sim cards, but 3 UK has pretty good prices and a lot of data therefore they are listed this high in my list of the best sim cards for traveling in Asia in 2023.
- 10 GB data valid for 30 days = $24.90 USD
- 12 GB data valid for 30 days = $29.90 USD
- 12 GB data valid for 1 year = $59.90 USD
- 24 GB data valid for 2 years = $79.90 USD
These 3 UK international sim cards do support incoming calls and sms, but can NOT be used to make phone calls or text.
Click here for more info or directly order a 3 UK sim card for traveling in Asia.
4. Orange Holiday World
The Orange Holiday World sim card for Asia truly covers EVERY country in Asia in 1 sim card! There is no registration needed and the sim card is automatically activated from its first use.
Orange Holiday World is a data-only sim card for Asia and costs $49.90 USD and gives you 10 GB data valid for 14 days.
10 GB is valid in the following 21 countries in Asia: Armenia, Saudi Arabia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Macao, Malaysia, Qatar, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, Vietnam.
5 GB is valid in the following 3 countries in Asia: Bahrain, Iraq, Oman.
1 GB data is valid in the following 6 countries in Asia: Afghanistan, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka.
All other countries in Asia you can only use 50 MB data, which of course is only just 2 minutes of browsing the internet and actually not worth it!
Unfortunately the Orange Holiday World sim card is a data-only sim card for Asia and does NOT support any incoming or outgoing calls or sms. If you like to use your Orange Holiday World sim card for Asia longer than 14 days you must register online and buy one of the data top up packages. The same data package of 10 GB then costs €29.
Click here to order an Orange Holiday World sim card directly online or find more info.
5. AIS SIM2FLY - unlimited data sim card for Asia
AIS is one of the main mobile internet providers in Thailand. They offer a data sim card for Asia that works in the following 23 countries in Asia:
Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China (including Tibet), Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Vietnam as well as Australia.
An AIS SIM2FLY sim card for Asia cost $19.90 USD and gives you 6 GB data valid for 10 days in all the above listed countries.
After you used 6 GB you can use unlimited data at reduced speed of 128Kbps. That is just enough to receive incoming emails and send WhatsApp text messages.
A great deal for a short stay in Asia! There is no registration needed, but unfortunately you can NOT top up. After 10 days the AIS SIM2FLY sim card is useless. You are also NOT able to receive any calls or sms.
Click here to order an AIS SIM2FLY sim card for traveling in Asia directly online or find more info.
6. True Move H - Travel SIM Asia - unlimited data sim card for Asia
True Move H is another mobile internet provider in Thailand. They offer a pretty similar Asia sim card as AIS. The True Move H Travel Sim Asia work in the following 19 countries in Asia:
Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Vietnam as well as Australia.
A True Move H sim card for Asia cost $19,90 and gives you 6 GB data valid for 10 days in all the above listed countries.
After you used 6 GB you can use unlimited data at reduced speed of 128Kbps. That is just enough to receive incoming emails and send WhatsApp text messages, basically an E network speed.
A great deal for a short stay in Asia! There is no registration needed. After 10 days you can top up your True Move H sim card through this link. You are NOT able to receive any calls or sms.
AIS and True Move are the cheapest international sim cards for Asia with data. Great value for money, but valid for only 10 days. I recommend True Move over AIS because you can top up the True Move sim card for Asia after 10 days, which is NOT possible with AIS.
Click on the link for more info and to order a True Move H sim card for Asia directly.
Just a reminder that buying a local sim card is always the best. An example is a Thailand sim card for $6,50 that gives you UNLIMITED social media apps and 10 GB data in Thailand on a 5G network. For more info about buying a sim card in Thailand click on the link.
7. China Unicom
Another Asia sim card with unlimited data is offered by China Unicom. You can use the China Unicom in the following 14 different countries in Asia:
Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
A China Unicom sim card for Asia costs $22,90 and gives you 4 GB valid for 12 days.
After you used your 4 GB you can continue using unlimited data at a reduced speed of 256kbps. That is enough for incoming emails and WhatsApp.
A great deal for a short stay in Asia! There is no registration needed, but unfortunately you can NOT top up your China Unicom sim card. After 12 days the sim card is useless. You are also NOT able to receive any calls or sms.
Click on the link for more info and to order a China Unicom sim card for Asia directly.
8. DHA SIM for Asia
Last available prepaid sim card for Asia is from DHA and works in the following 9 countries in Asia:
Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.
This DHA sim card also offers unlimited data for Asia and costs $19,99. It gives you 4 GB data at high speed for 8 days. After your data bundle is consumed speed drops to 128Kbps. There is no additional info available for topping up, however you can use Facebook, Google, Instagram, etc with this Asia sim card in China.
Click here to order a DHA Asia sim card directly from Amazon.
At Travelsim they offer a prepaid Asia sim card that covers the following 15 countries: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam.
As you can see most of them are in East Asia, including Australia and New Zealand.
Buying an Asia sim card from Travelsim costs you $10 for the sim card or $5 for an e-sim card. You can then choose your calling credit from $0 up to $100. A Travelsim Asia sim card offers one data package only: 3 GB data for 30 days = $39.
- $59 = 3 GB data + $10 calling credit* in 15 different countries.
As said before calling credit is optional, you can also choose a data only sim card for Asia.
Click on the link for more info and to order a Travelsim sim card for Asia directly.
10. Go Sim
A sim card from GoSim is $10 as well and has coverage in the same 15 countries as Travelsim.
You will have to add a data bundle for Asia: 3 GB = $40.
Seems like GoSim, Travelsim are all selling the same prepaid sim card for Asia. However, Go Sim does NOT offer an e-sim card, where Travelsim does.
Comparing Travelsim and Go Sim I would choose to use Go Sim as they offer FREE SHIPPING anywhere around the world. Go Sim also gives you 1 GB data bonus in some countries.
The conclusion is simple, this is NOT the best sim card for Asia. However if you are still interested then click here for more information or to order an Asia sim card from Go Sim.
For example: buying a sim card in Israel gets you 70 GB + unlimited calls and text in Israel for just $18. Just to let you know once more that local sim cards are always way better than international sim cards.
11. BNE - Best Network Ever
At BNE they offer an Asia sim card with unlimited data in 19 countries:
Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam.
Basically all of East and South Asia, apart from Bhutan, Nepal, Laos and Brunei.
The BNE Asia sim card is especially a winner for people looking for a sim card for North Korea. As I still have not been, I will definitely try the BNE Asia sim card myself when I travel to North Korea.
I have never seen a sim card that works in North Korea so far! :)
The unlimited data sim card for Asia is free and comes with an international phone number. You will have to add one of the following data packages for high speed internet:
- €35 = 1 GB data
- €45 = 3 GB data
- €55 = 5 GB data
- €65 = 12 GB data
After you used all the data from your bundle, a data connection will remain at lower speed. Just enough to receive email and send WhatsApp messages. BNE offers worldwide express shipping within 2-3 business days. No need to tell you that this is neither a favorite, hence its last position on this list of best Asia sim cards. Click here to order a BNE travel sim for Asia or for more info.
After comparing all the Asia sim cards available for traveling you have been able to read that I do NOT recommend most of them. Why not? They are simply really expensive! I keep on saying it, the best sim card for traveling to Asia is a LOCAL SIM CARD. Local sim cards are so much cheaper and they give you sometimes even UNLIMITED data for just $10 in Asia. You can buy local sim cards everywhere in Asia. The easiest thing to do is to get your local sim card at the airport. From Seoul to Bali and from Tel Aviv to Delhi, every airport in Asia sells local sim cards for much cheaper prices than all the above sim cards for Asia.
I hope all the above tips about buying an international sim card with data for Asia were helpful. If you have any questions please leave me a comment and I am more than happy to help you out. Also with travel tips for Asia.
If you are interested in my journey to visit every country in the world then check out my progress in the link or for the most up to date travel tips go check out my Instagram profile @traveltomtom. As of August 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries around the world.
Some links in this article about the best Asia sim cards are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using the affiliate links I will earn a small commission. Don’t worry this is at absolutely no extra cost to you, but I have the duty to inform you.