If you plan on visiting Thailand, having a sim card is essential for convenient navigation and connectivity. When traveling to new cities, having internet access allows you to easily find the best restaurants, get directions to your accommodation, book taxis, and share photos with your family on the go.
While roaming is an option, international fees can quickly accumulate, so we strongly recommend either an eSIM or a local sim card to access local phone rates. The good news is that obtaining either an eSIM or a local sim card in Thailand is incredibly simple, but it helps to know which option is the most suitable for you.
This comprehensive guide aims to provide you with all the information you need to know about purchasing a sim card in Thailand, including current prices and the absolute best sim card for your needs.
The best sim card in Thailand is an Airalo eSim. For 350 THB (9.90 USD) or 700 THB (19.95 USD) you can get unlimited data for 8 or 15 days respectively. This offers roughly comparable value to the local sim cards but with the added convenience of not needing to visit a store and purchase a physical sim card.
Although AIS offers the best network speeds, Dtac is the cheapest sim card you can buy in Thailand offering unlimited internet for just 199 THB and is valid for 30 days. You will need to register when purchasing these sim cards, so if privacy is a concern to you then you may prefer the Airalo eSim above.
A Tourist Sim Card in Thailand costs between 299 THB and 899 THB in February 2024, however, the exact price will often depend on the store you visit and the plan you choose.
Alternatively, an eSim in Thailand will cost between $9.90 USD and $19.95 USD. This, again, depends on how much data you require and which eSim provider you choose.
I generally recommend this Airalo plan for most tourists visiting Thailand which includes Unlimited GB of data which is valid for 15 days and costs $19.95 USD.
In Thailand, the main SIM card providers are AIS, TrueMove, and DTAC. AIS (Advanced Info Service) is the leading telecommunications company in the country, offering various prepaid and postpaid SIM card options. TrueMove, a subsidiary of True Corporation, is known for its reliable network coverage and competitive data plans. DTAC (Total Access Communication) is another major player in the Thai market, providing affordable voice and data services to its customers. These three providers have a strong presence nationwide and offer a wide range of services including mobile internet packages, international roaming, and value-added services. AISTrueMove, a collaboration between AIS and TrueMove, combines the strengths of both companies to offer enhanced services and improved network coverage to its users.
AIS, one of the leading telecommunication companies in Thailand, offers convenient tourist SIM cards for travelers. These SIM cards provide seamless connectivity and high-speed internet access throughout the country. With attractive plans, AIS caters to the diverse needs of tourists, offering unlimited data, local calls, and international calls at affordable rates. AIS also provides excellent customer support, ensuring a hassle-free experience for tourists exploring Thailand’s vibrant culture and picturesque destinations.
The price of a AIS tourist sim card in Thailand is either 299 THB or 599 THB.
The plan offered by AIS stores includes 35GB data + free social apps valid for 15 days.
TrueMove H is a leading telecommunication provider in Thailand, offering exceptional service to both locals and tourists. Their tourist sim cards are designed to enhance the travel experience by providing seamless connectivity across the country. With affordable data plans, reliable coverage, and 4G speeds, TrueMove H ensures that tourists can stay connected with their loved ones, access maps, and share their memorable moments throughout their visit to the Land of Smiles.
The price of a TrueMove H tourist sim card in Thailand is 199 THB.
The plan offered by TrueMove H stores offers 5GB 5G data + unlimited social media apps valid for 30 days.
Dtac is a leading telecommunications company in Thailand. They offer tourist sim cards, specifically catering to travelers visiting the country. These sim cards provide unlimited data, local calls, and SMS services at affordable rates. Dtac’s extensive coverage ensures a reliable connection throughout Thailand, enabling tourists to stay connected with their loved ones, navigate with ease, and access the internet on the go. Overall, Dtac’s tourist sim cards are an essential companion for travelers exploring Thailand.
The price of a Dtac Thailand tourist sim card in Thailand is 199 THB.
The plan offered by Dtac Thailand stores includes Unlimited valid for 30 days.
Identify mobile providers: AIS, TrueMove H and Dtac Thailand are your best options in Thailand.
Find your nearest store: Locate a store or retailer by searching on Google Maps for your nearest store or asking at your hotel reception. I’ve never had issues finding a store as they can usually be found in major cities, shopping centers, or tourist areas. If possible, I always recommend to to avoid airports and head in to an official store in the city.
Bring the necessary documents: It is always a good idea to carry your passport or identification documents for sim card registration purposes. We’ve found most providers will need to confirm your identity to provide a sim card and it can be a major hassle to head to a store only to have to come back again later with your passport.
Choose your plan: Either request the plan you are after or consult with the staff in the store to select the right plan for you. My recommendations at the beginning of this guide are a good starting point, but the staff will usually be able to suggest the best option.
Pay and activate your card: Pay for the SIM card and plan, and the staff will activate it for you.
Test: It’s always a good idea to check that you can access the internet before you leave the store. I always search for something on Google then refresh my Instagram feed to check it’s working fine.
Buying a prepaid sim card for Thailand at the airport is usually considered the most convenient option for travellers arriving by plane.
However, airport stores selling sim cards are almost guaranteed to charge inflated prices, so if you are a cost-conscious traveller then you should definitely buy your sim card from a store in the city center.
In addition to this, we would argue that buying physical sim cards at all aren’t particularly convenient now that most people use esim compatible phones. If you are looking for the most convenient option, then buying an esim before you arrive or with the airport wifi is much easier and will save you having to queue up or communicate with staff.
If you must purchase a sim card at the airport in Thailand then you will be in luck. All major international airports in Thailand have stores selling sim cards. Despite the prices being higher than normal, the staff are knowledgable and will be able to get you set up with the correct sim card relatively quickly.
If you want to avoid the inflated sim card prices you’ll find at the airport and your phone isn’t esim compatible, then you’re going to need to head in to a store to buy your sim card.
I recommend visiting one of the official retail stores of the mobile internet operators such as AIS, TrueMove H and Dtac Thailand. Your best option is to enter their names into Google Maps and find the branch closest to your hotel or accommodation. Typically the staff in the official stores in Thailand are knowledgable and helpful which means you can ensure you’ll walk away with a functioning sim card.
Despite this, it’s always a good idea to check your internet is working before you leave the store by loading a Google search results page and your preferred social media app. You should also ensure you always bring your passport with you when purchasing a sim card in case they need to register it.
If you like to be prepared and would prefer to arrive in Thailand with your sim card all sorted and your phone ready to connect to the internet immediately then you should look into purchasing a sim card online.
The first option is to buy your sim card in advance via SimOptions, which is a company that will prepare and ship a sim card directly to your door. It’s a reliable and effective service, but with the invention of eSims it’s becoming obsolete.
The better option is to purchase an eSim online. We’ve written more on that below!
An eSim is a digital version of a traditional sim card and is most likely the future of connectivity for mobile devices. The convenience of no longer visiting a store, handing over your passport and purchasing a physical sim card is quickly making physical sim cards obsolete in favour of eSims.
We recommend Airalo’s eSim when travelling to Thailand. The Airalo Thailand eSim offers fast internet speeds, wide coverage and extremely competitive prices making it a far more compelling option than purchasing a physical sim card from any of the local sim card providers.
In order to get set up with an Airalo eSim, all you need to do is visit Airalo here and purchase the eSim online (the $19.95 USD plan is suitable for most travellers). Once you’ve purchased the sim card Airalo will email you instructions and a QR code. Following these instructions should take just a couple of minutes, then you’ll have a sim card in Thailand without having to venture outside.
Our preferred eSim provider in Thailand is Airalo. We used them, alongside a local sim card on another device, for our most recent trip to Thailand and found the service to be equal to the local sim card but without the hassle of acquiring a sim card in a store.
Airalo’s Thailand eSim uses the AIS network to provide data and connect users to the internet. You can expect very good coverage and reliability with the AIS networknetwork as they are amongst the best mobile internet operators in Thailand.
Here are the plans and prices for Airalo’s Thailand eSim:
Unlimited data valid for 8 days – Price: $9.90 USD
Unlimited data valid for 15 days – Price: $19.95 USD
For most travellers we recommend the Unlimited GB data plan for $19.95 USD which is valid for 15 days. Some travellers may prefer a larger plan, whilst travellers visiting for just a couple of days may be fine with a smaller plan.
An alternative eSim provider we can recommend is Holafly.
Holafly’s eSim is a suitable option for travellers who require large amounts of data, such as digital nomads and people who work online while they travel. All of Holafly’s Thailand eSims offer unlimited data.
Holafly’s Thailand eSim uses the TrueMove / DTACnetwork to provide data and connect users to the internet. This network will provide reliable speeds and coverage while in Thailand
Here are the plans and prices for Holafly’s Thailand eSim:
Unlimited data valid for 5 days – Price: $19 USD
Unlimited data valid for 7 days – Price: $27 USD
Unlimited data valid for 10 days – Price: $34 USD
Unlimited data valid for 15 days – Price: $47 USD
Unlimited data valid for 20 days – Price: $54 USD
Unlimited data valid for 30 days – Price: $64 USD
Unlimited data valid for 60 days – Price: $84 USD
Unlimited data valid for 90 days – Price: $99 USD
An eSIM, or embedded SIM, is a digital SIM card that is already built into devices like smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches. This eliminates the need for a physical SIM card to be inserted or removed.
Instead, the eSIM is integrated into the device’s hardware and can be remotely activated and programmed by a mobile network operator. This makes it easy for users to switch between different mobile networks or plans without having to physically swap SIM cards.
The convenience and flexibility of eSIM technology are particularly useful for travelers or people who frequently change mobile networks or travel internationally. It removes the need to purchase and insert physical SIM cards, which makes managing multiple mobile connections on a single device much more convenient.
To activate an eSIM, users can either scan a provided QR code or manually enter the activation details given by their mobile network operator. Once activated, the device can connect to the chosen mobile network and enjoy the same voice, data, and messaging services as with a traditional SIM card.
There are various advantages to using an eSIM:
– Convenience: Without the need to physically insert or remove a SIM card, switching between mobile networks or plans is made easier. This is especially beneficial for frequent travelers who switch networks or use local SIM cards when in different countries.
– Dual SIM functionality: eSIM allows for dual SIM functionality on one device, enabling the use of two active mobile numbers. This is useful for separating personal and work numbers or managing multiple phone lines.
– Space-saving: As eSIMs are embedded within the device, there is no need for a physical SIM card slot. This creates more space within the device, allowing for smaller designs or the inclusion of additional components.
– Remote provisioning: eSIMs facilitate activation and management of mobile plans remotely over the air. This eliminates the need for a physical SIM card or visiting a store when activating or switching to a new mobile plan. It offers greater flexibility and convenience in managing mobile connectivity.
– Future-proofing: With increasing support for eSIMs from mobile networks and service providers, using an eSIM-compatible device ensures access to new services and offerings as they become available.
Overall, eSIM technology offers flexibility, convenience, and future-proofing for mobile connectivity, making it an appealing choice for many users.
eSIM technology is becoming increasingly popular and is supported by a growing number of smartphones and other devices. Here are some examples of eSIM-compatible phones:
Apple iPhone series (iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13, etc.): Apple was one of the early adopters of eSIM technology and offers support for eSIM on various iPhone models.
Google Pixel series (Pixel 3, Pixel 4, Pixel 5, etc.): Google’s Pixel smartphones also support eSIM functionality, allowing users to activate and use eSIMs.
Samsung Galaxy series (Galaxy S22, Galaxy Note 20, etc.): Many of Samsung’s flagship devices now come with eSIM support, enabling users to utilize eSIM technology.
OnePlus devices (OnePlus 7, OnePlus 8, etc.): OnePlus has included eSIM support in some of its smartphone models, offering users the flexibility of using eSIMs.
Motorola Razr (2020): The latest iteration of the iconic Motorola Razr features eSIM compatibility, enabling users to use eSIMs for cellular connectivity.
These are just a few examples, and the list of eSIM-compatible phones continues to expand as more manufacturers embrace this technology. There’s a very strong chance your phone supports eSims so if you’re unsure we recommend looking it up on our list of eSim supported phones.
Using an eSim is new for many travellers, however, the good news is it’s surprisingly easy to get set up – even for the technologically challenged!
Here’s a general guide on how to use an eSIM:
Check eSIM Compatibility: Ensure that your device supports eSIM functionality. Many newer smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, and other devices are eSIM compatible including all iPhones produced since 2018.
Obtain an eSIM: There are multiple ways to acquire an eSIM. You can purchase an eSIM online from a provider like Airalo (which we recommend) or directly from a mobile network operator. Some devices also allow you to scan a QR code provided by your carrier to download the eSIM profile.
Activate the eSIM: Your eSim provider will send you instructions to activate the sim. This will usually involve scanning a QR code, entering an activation code, or downloading the eSIM profile directly onto your device.
Set up the eSIM: Once activated, your device will guide you through the eSIM setup process. This typically involves selecting the eSIM as your preferred mobile plan, configuring settings like data roaming, and entering any necessary authentication details.
Enjoy the Connection: Once the eSIM is set up, you can use it as you would with a physical SIM card. Make calls, send messages, browse the internet, and use data services as needed. You can also switch between eSIM profiles if you have multiple eSIMs installed on your device.
Hi, I’m Mitchell. I’m a full-time traveller, explorer and travel blogger. Travel Sim Expert is a blog dedicated to helping you find the best sim card for you, no matter where you are or what your budget is.