Thailand has long been a popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia, attracting many travellers for its culinary delights, white sandy beaches, ancient temples and golden pagodas, among other attractions. If you’re planning to visit Thailand, it’s essential to know how to stay connected with your loved ones and access the Internet.
Of course, you can find Wi-Fi in hotels, restaurants and cafés, but this is not always the best option. One of the most practical solutions is to buy a local SIM card. In this article, we’ll answer the most frequently asked questions about SIM cards for tourists in Thailand.
1. Do I need a SIM card in Thailand?
Before setting off on your adventure, you may be wondering whether you need a local SIM card during your stay. This question is common among many travellers, and the answer is an unequivocal yes. A Thai SIM card is essential if you want to use your phone to make calls, send texts and use mobile data, whether it’s to order a Grab, use Google Maps to find directions or search for a nearby restaurant.
Prepaid SIM cards are ideal for travellers as they offer total control over your spending and avoid exorbitant roaming charges. You can top up your SIM card with credit at any time by buying top-up cards in shops or online.
The 4G network in Thailand is fast and reliable, with an average speed of 8 to 11 Mbps. This means you can easily browse the internet, send emails and messages and use applications without worry. As well as calls and texts, your SIM card will also allow you to access the internet to search for information on local attractions and restaurants.
Many travellers have had unpleasant experiences with their own SIM card in their home country when abroad. Buying a SIM card in Thailand will avoid these problems and allow you to fully enjoy your trip without communication worries.
Best mobile networks operator in Thailand
Thailand’s mobile networks are mainly operated by three main providers: AIS, DTAC and TrueMove H. These companies have invested heavily in improving and expanding their coverage, resulting in a vast and reliable network stretching from bustling city centres to serene rural areas.
For wide coverage
AIS is renowned for offering extensive, near-perfect coverage across the country, operating 2G, 3G and 4G networks to deliver voice and data services to its customers. AIS’ network coverage is extensive, encompassing both urban and rural areas, while its 4G network ensures fast and reliable internet services.
For internet speed
TrueMove H, a subsidiary of True Corporation, is renowned for its high internet speed thanks to its 4G LTE-Advanced network. This provider offers reliable, high-speed mobile internet services, meeting the needs of users with demanding connectivity requirements.
Best option for customer service
DTAC, meanwhile, stands out for its excellent customer service. As well as offering a variety of mobile packages and services, including voice, SMS and data, DTAC offers value-added services such as music and video streaming. Its user-friendly website and mobile app allow customers to easily manage their accounts and benefit from English-language support thanks to a 24/7 hotline.
>>> When choosing a mobile network operator in Thailand, consider the criteria that are most important to you. If Internet speed is paramount, you could opt for TrueMove H, while if wide coverage and good voice quality are essential, AIS could be your ideal choice. Take the time to compare plans and prices to find the offer that best suits your needs.
3. Which SIM card should buy in Thailand?
Before you buy a new SIM card in Thailand, make sure your phone is unlocked so that it can receive signals from cellular operators. Currently, Thai SIM cards for tourists are available in two forms: the traditional physical SIM and the eSIM (virtual SIM).
The physical SIM card comes in four popular formats: standard, mini, micro and nano. To install it, simply cut the card to the appropriate size for your phone and insert it. Prepaid SIM cards in Thailand are very popular with tourists, as they offer a certain amount of data credit, calls and texts that can be used during your trip.
As far as the tourist eSIM card is concerned, it may seem new to many of you, but it is the latest and most convenient means of communication for travellers abroad these days. The Thai prepaid tourist eSIM card is fully available online and allows you to stay connected almost anywhere and anytime in Thailand. It offers the same functionality as a traditional tourist SIM card, but without the need to physically replace a SIM card.
Tourists often opt for a data-only tourist eSIM for their trip to save money while staying in touch with others via applications. It is essential to note that not all devices are compatible with eSIMs. Before choosing an eSIM, be sure to check your device’s compatibility to avoid any inconvenience. In addition, it is highly recommended that you check the tariffs and conditions of each operator to find the one that best meets your specific needs.
4. Which mobile package should choose for Thailand?
It is advisable to compare the offers and coverage of each operator before making your choice. And if you are planning to stay in Thailand for an extended period, it may be worth taking out a monthly plan with a mobile operator, which often offers unlimited calls and data at an affordable price.
Prepaid AIS SIM card
AIS SIM card without package: The cost of a basic AIS SIM card without package or promotion is usually around 49 to 99 baht (around €1.3 to €2.6).
AIS SIM card with tourist packages: AIS offers different tourist packages that include data, voice and SMS for a fixed period, ranging from 8 to 30 days. The cost of these packages can range from THB 299 to THB 899 (around €8 to €24), depending on the package you choose.
|Mobile phone plan
|Period of validity
|Internet data (G)
|International calls (baht/min)
|30 Day Plan
(the most economical)
|15 Day Plan
|8 Days Plan (best selling)
eSIM packages for tourists : Prices for eSIM are based on data and validity and other benefits of the package. Prices range from 350 THB to 1650 THB (approximately $10 – $50). With data prices as low as 10 times cheaper than other roaming options, this is an excellent choice, especially in the new format supported by eSIM. No need to wait for a SIM card to arrive or queue – just scan the SIM code and go.
|Period of validity
|Internet data (G)
|N / A
Prepaid DTAC SIM card
DTAC SIM card without package: The cost of a basic DTAC SIM card without package or promotion is usually around 29 to 199 baht.
DTAC SIM card with tourist packages: DTAC offers a wide range of tourist packages that include data, credit for local and international calls, all for a fixed period from 1 to 30 days. The cost of these packages ranges from 49 to 599 baht. In addition, the 8-day and 15-day packages are also available in eSIM format, offering a convenient option for travellers.
|Mobile phone plan
|Period of validity
|Internet data (G)
|Happy Tourist SIM 4-day
|Happy Tourist SIM 8-day
|Happy Tourist SIM 15-day
5. Where can I buy a SIM card for Thailand?
AIS SIM and eSIM cards are widely available throughout Thailand. Here are the different places where you can buy your AIS SIM card, either locally or before your trip:
Where to buy an AIS SIM card?
At the airport: AIS SIM cards are available at many international airports throughout Thailand, including Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, Phuket International Airport and Chiang Mai International Airport.
Convenience stores: You can buy AIS SIM cards at 7-Eleven, Family Mart and other convenience stores throughout Thailand. Look for the AIS logo or ask the shop staff for assistance.
Online: For those who prefer an online solution, the AIS eSIM can be purchased via the AIS online shop or by visiting an AIS shop in person. You can follow the steps below to purchase an AIS eSIM online:
- Go to ais.th/esim-traveller
- Select “eSIM packages” from the menu bar at the top of the page.
- Choose your preferred eSIM package and click “Buy Now”.
- Fill in the required information, including your name, phone number and e-mail address.
- Choose your payment method and complete the transaction.
- Once the transaction is complete, AIS will send you an email with instructions on how to activate your eSIM.
Mobile phone shops: You can also visit an AIS shop to buy an eSIM or SIM card. To find your nearest AIS shop, visit the AIS website at https://www.ais.co.th/store/en/ and enter your location. This will allow you to enjoy the convenience of the AIS eSIM while travelling in Thailand.
Where can I buy a Truemove H SIM card?
Airport outlets: Truemove H SIM cards are available for purchase at most airports in Thailand
Suvarnabhumi International Airport
International Arrivals Hall, Baggage Claim 8, 11 and 17
International Arrivals Terminal 2nd floor, Exit B: Gate 4, Gate 5
International Arrivals Terminal 2nd floor, Exit C: Gate 9
Don Mueang International Airport
International Arrivals Hall, Exit 3
International Arrivals Hall, Exit 4
Phuket International Airport: Terminal 2
Chiang Mai International Airport
Hat Yai International Airport
Samui International Airport: arrivals hall, 1st floor
Truemove H shops: Truemove H has many retail shops in Thailand where customers can buy SIM cards, activate new services and get help with their accounts. You can find these shops close to BTS and MRT stations:
BTS Siam Exit 2 – True Shop Digital Gateway
BTS Siam Exit 5 – True Shop SIAM Paragon 3rd floor
BTS Chit Lom Exit 1,2 – True Shop Central World 4th floor
BTS Ploen Chit Exit 5 – True Shop Central Embassy 4th floor
BTS Asok Exit 1,3 – True Shop Terminal 21 6th floor
BTS Phrom Phong Exit 1 – True Shop Emquartier 3rd floor Building A
MRT Rama 9 Exit 2 – Central Rama 9
Convenience stores: Many convenience stores throughout Thailand, such as 7-Eleven, FamilyMart and Tesco Lotus Express, also sell Truemove H SIM cards.
Online: Customers can purchase Truemove H SIM cards via the official Truemove H website or various e-commerce platforms including Lazada, Shopee or Amazon.
Where can I buy the DTAC SIM card?
Airport outlets: DTAC SIM cards are available for purchase at most airports in Thailand
Suvarnabhumi International Airport
International arrivals terminal, exit gate 7
International arrivals terminal, exit gate 9
International arrivals hall, baggage reclaim no. 19
International arrivals hall, baggage reclaim no. 10
International arrivals hall, Baggage reclaim no. 18
International arrivals hall, Baggage reclaim no. 16
International arrivals hall, Baggage reclaim no. 8
Don Muang International Airport
International arrivals hall, between exits 3 and 5
International arrivals hall, opposite exit 6
Phuket International Airport
Official dtac counter International Arrival Terminal Branch Exit No. 1-2
Official dtac counter at Baggage Claim No. 2
Partner shop: dtac partner counter at Baggage Claim No. 6
DTAC Stores: DTAC has over 7,000 retail shops and service centres across Thailand where customers can purchase DTAC SIM cards and other mobile services.
Convenience stores: DTAC SIM cards are available at most convenience stores in Thailand, such as 7-Eleven, Family Mart and Tesco Lotus Express.
Online: Customers can purchase DTAC SIM cards via the DTAC website or third-party e-commerce platforms such as Lazada, Shopee, Amazon or online travel agencies such as Klook.
What documents are required for a SIM card in Thailand?
To buy a SIM card in Thailand, you will need to present your original passport and a copy of the identity page of your passport. In some cases, the operator may also ask you to provide a local address, such as that of your hotel. However, requirements may vary depending on the operator and the type of package you choose.
How long is a Thai tourist SIM card valid for?
The period of validity of a tourist SIM card in Thailand depends on the operator and the type of SIM card you choose. In general, it is valid for between 8 and 30 days. The “Pay As You Go” package of 49 baht for 24 hours is a flexible and practical option offered by many mobile phone operators in Thailand. With this package, you pay only for what you use, with no commitment and no fixed monthly charges.
How many SIM cards can I buy in Thailand?
You can buy as many SIM cards as you like in Thailand. Enjoy the flexibility to stay connected throughout your stay.
What is the average price of a SIM card in Thailand?
The cost of a SIM card for tourists in Thailand generally varies from 299 to 599 baht (around €7.9 to €15.6), depending on the different operators. Call and data rates depend on the package you choose.
How do you check your SIM card balance?
- Check your remaining credit: Dial *123#
- Check the remaining data balance : Dial *900#
- Check your phone number: Dial *833#
- Change language: Dial *9304
Where can you top up your SIM card?
- In convenience stores
- Real shop
- Online top-up via the website
In conclusion, opting for a SIM card in Thailand for your mobile phone is a great idea when you’re visiting the Land of Smiles for a few days. Fortunately, buying a SIM card is easy and inexpensive, allowing you to make calls, send texts and use the internet without having to pay expensive roaming charges. We hope this article has been helpful and that you enjoy a fun and well-connected discovery of Thailand.