Planning your trip to Thailand and getting ready for your departure is an exciting time. You’ve likely got a few lists going of what to pack and what you still need to get for your trip – currency, sun cream, your swimsuit, camera, and passport. One thing that’s commonly overlooked is a local sim card.

There’s nothing more frustrating or inconvenient than finding yourself suddenly without coverage when you need it most or waiting for pages to load on an epically slow connection. Failing to organize a local sim for Thailand is likely to result in just this scenario.

In this post, we’ll cover all the things you need to be aware of when choosing a sim card for Thailand. We’ll cover topics like price, coverage, and the best places to purchase sim cards in Thailand.

Product
Description
GigSky Thailand
Gigsky simcard
GigSky Thailand

GigSky Thailand

  • Price > From $0.00
Jetpac Thailand
Jetpac esim
Jetpac Thailand

Jetpac Thailand

  • Price > From $1
SimOptions Thailand
Homepage of SimOptions website
SimOptions Thailand

SimOptions Thailand

  • Price > From $4.50
Sim Local Thailand
sim local homepage
Sim Local Thailand

Sim Local Thailand

  • Price > From $3.50
Get your Khao San on!
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

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Why Buy a Sim Card for Thailand?

Our phones have become indispensable tools for daily life. When we’re traveling, our phones are an invaluable tool. Things like currency conversions, finding our way around, translations, and even documenting our travels are now taken care of by one handy device that fits in your pocket. 

Got to get this on the gram!
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

Sure, you can change using your native sim card in Thailand and hope that you’re not left without coverage at a crucial moment. Unfortunately, this is likely to also result in a phone bill bloated with roaming charges and eyewatering data prices. 

Opting for a local sim vs an international card in Thailand can help avoid any unnecessary drama and frustration and save you money in the end. Thailand’s 5G network is pretty robust so there’s that to consider too. Basically, getting the right sim will just make your Thailand backpacking trip better OK!

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    Buying a Sim Card for Thailand – Things to Consider

    Your personal needs and preferences will determine what makes the best sim card in Thailand for you, so there’s no universal solution. But we’ve addressed the important considerations below.

    Price

    Everyone loves a good deal, right? The good news is that there are plenty of great deals out there to be had. There are also things to avoid.

    Don’t be lured in with the promise of a free sim. While this sounds appealing, beware. Often there’s hardly any data on it, and you’ll need to top up almost immediately – often at a premium.

    Data

    Data is cheap in Thailand (Thailand is still kinda cheap). Providers are constantly updating their deals and competing with one another which works out great for you! 

    Not sure how much data you’ll need? Spend some time understanding your daily usage and then add some padding to that figure – you’ll invariably use more data on your travels. 

    If your phone is locked to a network and buying a sim in Thailand isn’t an option, then consider a portable Wi-Fi device. These give you unlimited data and you can connect up to five devices at a time.

    Coverage

    Where in are you going to stay in Thailand? If you’re hitting top touristy spots like Phuket, Bangkok, and Chiang Mai, coverage isn’t an issue at all, so you can choose any provider.

    If you’re planning to hit the islands, AIS is a good local option for good coverage in most of Thailand. If you need 5G while you hop from island to island, then True Move is recommended.

    Local provider DTAC is a bit behind the others in terms of 5G and won’t be of use if you’re heading to really off-the-beaten-track destinations. 

    That’s not a mast!
    Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

    Bureaucracy

    It used to be much easier to purchase a sim card in Thailand. These days, you’ll need your passport to get a sim at a retailer or reseller.

    You can still get sim cards in Thailand from street vendors who won’t require your ID but we wouldn’t recommend these. 

    Expiration

    When purchasing a sim card for Thailand it’s important to check the validity. Some sim cards expire in as little as eight days. 

    The Future of the SIM Card is HERE!
    mockup of a person holding a smartphone in white background with Holafly logo

    A new country, a new contract, a new piece of plastic – booooring. Instead, buy an eSIM!

    An eSIM works just like an app: you buy it, you download it, and BOOM! You’re connected the minute you land. It’s that easy.

    Is your phone eSIM ready? Read about how e-Sims work or click below to see one of the top eSIM providers on the market and ditch the plastic.

    Grab an eSIM!

    Where to Buy a Sim Card for Thailand

    Sim cards can be purchased in a range of locations in Thailand – from airports to street vendors, and convenience stores.

    I love Thailand
    Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

    In the Airport

    Purchasing a sim card for Thailand at the airport will be slightly more expensive than in other locations. That said, it can be worth the expense to get online and set up before you even leave the airport. Local providers have a strong presence at international airports, so you’ll have your pick.

    At a Store

    Official provider stores are easy to come by in Thailand. Sales staff generally speak a good level of English and are very helpful in getting you up and running in no time.

    Convenience stores are not…well, convenient when it comes to purchasing a prepaid sim in Thailand. Firstly, the package information is all in Thai. Even if you do find what you’re looking for, you’ll still need to activate that sim and usually, staff aren’t able to assist in English.

    Online

    Purchasing your sim card for Thailand online is a great way to ensure you have enough time to do your research, make an informed decision, and receive your sim card before you depart. No precious holiday time is wasted standing in a queue at a cell phone shop.   

    Say hi to my new mates!
    Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

    Street Vendors

    We mentioned that you can purchase sim cards from street vendors in Thailand. They won’t require proof of identification or your passport, but we still wouldn’t recommend this option.  

    Best Sim Card Providers in Thailand

    There are two really great providers for sim cards in Thailand that offer great coverage and good rates. 

    GigSky

    Founded in 2010, GigSky is a Palo Alto, California-based mobile technology company that provides e-SIM and SIM card data services to international travellers. Unlike many (maybe even most) other eSIM companies, GigSky are actually a Network Operator themselves in their own right, and partner with over 400 other carriers worldwide.

    Gigsky simcard

    GigSky offers a range of packages for Thailand including a tasty ‘try before you buy’ deal that gives you 100MB of data for 7 days.

    • 1GB – $5.99 – 7 Days
    • 3 GB – $14.99 – 15 Days
    • 5 GB – $23.99 – 30 Days
    • 10 GB – $49.99 – 30 Days

    Jetpac

    Jetpac eSim
    Jetpac eSim

    As our world gets smaller, staying connected while travelling becomes not just a luxury but an absolute necessity. Enter Jetpac, a cutting-edge travel eSIM provider promising seamless connectivity at low costs, across the globe.

    Based out of Singapore Jetpac offers packages, designed primarily for travellers and Digital Nomads. They offer various data plans that can be used across many countries, and the service includes features like free airport lounge access if your flight is delayed.

    Good news, Jetpac eSIMs are compatible with a range of devices, including many models from Apple, Samsung, and Google. If you’re wondering what the heck is an eSIM, don’t panic, it’s simple and straightforward to activate a Jetpac eSIM. Users need to sign up on the Jetpac website or app, choose a plan that fits their travel needs, and then scan a QR code to install the eSIM on their device.

    We love Jetpac for its ease of setup and reliable connectivity. JetPac makes it a handy tool for international travel, ensuring continuous access to mobile data across multiple destinations. While they don’t offer local numbers, we love that most of their packs last for 30 days by default so you can just concentrate on how much data you need.

    Sim Options

    Homepage of SimOptions website
    SimOptions

    SimOptions is a reputable global marketplace that specialises in offering high-quality prepaid eSIMs for travellers in over 200 destinations worldwide. The platform has been dedicated to providing the best possible eSIM and international sim options at the most competitive rates for travellers since 2018. They rigorously test and select eSIMs to ensure that you receive the best connectivity and service wherever you travel.

    As well as effectively acting as a broker from a number of the best eSIM providers, SimOptions also offer their own eSIM products too.

    Basically, SimOptions is kind of like a market comparison website for helping you find the best sim for your travels. You simply type in your destination and they bring up the different eSIM options from a wide number of prospective providers and suppliers

    Sim Local

    sim local homepage
    Sim Local

    Irish based Sim Local specialise in providing eSIM services, primarily targeted at global travellers to help them stay connected without incurring expensive roaming charges. Based in Dublin and London, Sim Local sells local SIM cards and eSIM profiles through their retail outlets, vending machines, and online platforms.

    Sim Local offers a variety of eSIM plans that can be activated instantly and are designed to provide a convenient and secure way to stay connected in numerous countries. Their services are beneficial for those who travel frequently, as they provide the option to switch between multiple eSIM profiles on a single device, depending on the user’s location and needs.

    They also offer pretty comprehensive customer support and a range of payment options, including Visa, Mastercard, Apple Pay, and Google Pay, all processed securely via Stripe.

    Are you considering an eSim but want more options? Check out the Spanish based HolaFly which offers great deals not only in their home country but in over 100 other nations too.

    AIS

    Arguably one of the best sim cards for Thailand. AIS has excellent 4G coverage, including the islands. 

    • $11.89
    • 15GB and 15THB call credit for local and international calls
    • 8 days 

    True Move

    True Move offers only one prepaid sim in Thailand. The upside of True Move is their wider 5G offering than the other local providers, including the islands. 

    • $24.49
    • 4GB LTE Data and unlimited incoming calls. No outgoing calls or SMS
    • Valid for 10 days

    What Is The Best Sim Card in Thailand For Tourists?

    Buying a Sim Card in Thailand
    PackagePrice (basic sim)Top Ups Allowed?Expiration
    OneSim e-Sim World$13YNA
    OneSim Universal$29.99YNA
    AIS$11.898 days
    True Move$24.4910 days

    Final Thoughts on Getting a Sim Card for Thailand

    A holiday in Thailand is a bucket-list item for most people. From the incredible beaches and islands, rich culture, flavourful cuisine, and bustling cities and markets, Thailand is a kaleidoscope of experiences to be enjoyed. All of this will be so much more rewarding if you’ve chosen a sim card for Thailand that won’t let you down at crucial moments. 

    Want another kind of sim card? Check out the revolutionary new Nomad e-sim, an app-based sim card covering over 100 countries that can be organised before you leave home!

    Was this article helpful? We love to hear from you, so please share your experiences with us in the comments below. 


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