Best Thailand SIM Card for Tourists in 2024: All You Need To Know

In this ultimate guide to staying connected on your trip to Thailand, we go over the best Thailand SIM cards, which carrier to choose, and how to decide between a physical or eSIM package.
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Arijana & Matej
Arijana & Matej

Croatian-Slovenian full-time travel duo, photographers, bloggers and travel journalists for over 4 years. We write in-depth travel guides about destinations we have personally visited, providing practical travel tips and recommendations.

On our multiple trips to Thailand, we have tried and tested the different options of Thailand SIMs and eSIMs to know which to recommend and which not.

So in this article, we’ll cover all the essentials you need to know about before buying a SIM card or eSIM package in Thailand.

Simply looking for the best Thailand SIM deals?

Best Thailand eSIM package

SIM for pickup in Bangkok

SIM for pickup in Phuket

SIM Card delivery
(Beijing, Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong)

Traveling soon?

Check Thailand visa requirements.

Get your Thailand E-Visa photo online.
(simple and compliant with regulations and sizing)

Why you should get a Thailand SIM card

While WiFi is widely available in Thailand, in your hotel, hostel, or resort, and almost all cafes and restaurants, getting a local Thailand SIM card is the way to go for a comfortable trip.

The most significant benefit of buying a Thailand SIM card package is comfortably using ride-hailing apps like Grab (Uber), Google Maps for navigation, and Google Translate.

And while it’s true that most locals and businesses in Thailand use apps like WhatsApp and LINE for communicating, having a local number has proven helpful for us.

Since you’re reading this blog, we assume you’re not in the group that wants to explore Thailand while being “offline.” (nothing against those people – respect!)

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Should you get a physical SIM or eSIM for Thailand?

For the last few years, it’s very common for most people to have phones supporting eSIM technology.

Buying a Thailand eSIM is the most hassle-free option, as you simply buy it online, scan the QR code you receive and install it on your phone in minutes—no need to go to any store or mess around with it at the airport.

So if your phone supports eSIMs, there’s no reason not to get one.

We are big supporters of the eSIM technology and have had it since we got a phone that supported it a few years ago.

Note: Many Thailand eSIM packages you can find online don’t come with any text or calls. However, our favorite, Thailandesim, does have packages that include them.

But that’s also the case with some of the standard SIM packages at the airport. Most only give you data.

So if you need calls and texts, just make sure your plan includes it (we will recommend the best packages below).

Which Thailand mobile carrier is the best?

There are four major mobile carriers in Thailand, with the two best networks being AIS and DTAC, and right behind being TrueMove, with still great coverage, excellent internet speed, and more affordable plans.

The internet coverage and speeds in Thailand are amazing, even 5G. So any of the top carriers will perform well all over the country. And if you want the clearest picture of each carrier’s coverage in Thailand, check out the practical nPerf coverage map.

Best Thailand SIM Card for Tourists - Thailand Mobile Networks Comparison - ShippedAway.com

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1. AIS

AIS is the mobile carrier with the best coverage in Thailand and the most expensive packages. However, it’s the best choice for travelers who want the ultimate coverage and the most reliable service.

Click here to find more information about AIS prepaid packages.

AIS - Best Thailand SIM Cards
nperf AIS coverage 2023 - Best Thailand SIM Card

2. DTAC

DTAC has the second-best coverage in Thailand and, in addition to AIS, is the best choice for great coverage.

And DTAC also offers the famous Happy Tourist SIM Card package, which you can find all over Thailand or buy it online on Airalo.

Click here to find more information about DTAC prepaid packages.

DTAC - Best Thailand SIM Cards
nperf DTAC coverage 2023 - Best Thailand SIM Card

3. TrueMove

We’ve used TrueMove the most and have had great coverage throughout Thailand, with fast internet speeds, even when we hot-spotted it for work on our laptops.

The ONE time where we would have needed to have AIS with better coverage was during our stay on the Floating Bungalows on Cheow Lan Lake in Khao Sok (AIS was the only one with signal).

TrueMove has the third-best coverage but offers many plans with high internet speeds. And that’s why it’s an excellent choice for most travelers.

Click here to find more information about TrueMove prepaid packages.

True Move H - Best Thailand SIM Cards
nperf True Move H coverage 2023 - Thailand SIM Card

Where to buy your Thailand SIM card

The three most common ways to buy your Thailand SIM card are at the airport, online, or at one of the official mobile carrier stores in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi, or any other city.

1. Buy a physical Thailand SIM card at the airport

The simplest way to buy your physical Thailand SIM card is upon your arrival at the airport.

All Thailand airports are full of kiosks selling Thailand SIM card packages from operators like TrueMove, DTAC, and AIS.

Just walk up to the kiosk, and you will get your Thailand SIM card installed and ready to go in minutes.

We highly recommend comparing packages of at least two kiosks to find the best deal, as they don’t always offer the same packages or prices. And while some have better deals for shorter periods, some have better deals for longer trips.

Do note, though, that mobile packages at Thailand airports are more expensive than at official stores or online.

Note: Please note that to buy a physical SIM card, you need a passport, as they will have to register the package in your name, as is the official requirement. This is not required if you buy an eSIM online.

2. Buy your Thailand eSIM online

It’s straightforward to buy a Thailand eSIM online and activate it in a matter of minutes.

Getting an eSIM online is especially smart if you’re entering Thailand by land border from Cambodia, Laos, or Malaysia. If you’re on an organized bus trip, you usually don’t have enough time to sort your SIM at the border.

And, of course, having a pre-installed eSIM when arriving by plane in Thailand means that you’re online as soon as you land.

We’ve been following the providers of Thailand eSIMs since they started offering them and have compiled a list of the best ones below.

Thailandesim - best eSIM marketplace for Thailand travelers and tourists

Thailandesim

Affordable, Best choice for unlimited plans

Airalo - best eSIM marketplace for Thailand travelers and tourists

Airalo

Affordable for short and long trips

SimOptions - best eSIM marketplace for Thailand travelers and tourists

SimOptions

Great selection of eSIM and prepaid SIM plans

Holafly - best eSIM marketplace for Thailand travelers and tourists

Holafly

Unlimited data packages for longer periods

Thailandesim

Our personal recommendation is to buy an eSIM from Thailandesim, because they offer the biggest selection of plans, local or regional, which are also the most affordable on the market, and even offer a local phone number.

  • plans for 3, 5, 7, 8, 15 days
  • unlimited data or fixed data packages
  • local Thailand and regional plans
  • calls & text available (local number)
  • data sharing (hotspot)

>> Check packages
5% off with code SHIPPEDAWAY

Airalo

Airalo is the second-best Thailand eSIM retailer, with a few options of local packages, in addition to regional Asia packages.

  • unlimited data
  • local Thailand and regional plans
  • plans for 10 and 15 days
  • data sharing (hotspot)

>> Check packages
$3 off 1st order with code MATEJ1033

SimOptions

Much like Airalo, SimOptions offers a great selection of eSIM plans, but in addition provides the service of getting a prepaid SIM card package.

  • unlimited data or fixed data packages
  • plans for 7, 10, 30 days
  • data sharing (hotspot)

Holafly

Holafly is the most expensive Thailand eSIM retailer, but they are great if you want an unlimited data package for longer periods.

  • unlimited data
  • plans for 5, 7, 10, 15, 30, 60, 90 days
  • data sharing not available (hotspot)

>> Check packages
5% off with code SHIPPEDAWAY

Best Thailand SIM Cards - Best Thailand SIM packages - Best Mobile Phone Plan for Thailand
Golden rice fields in Pai

3. Order your physical Thailand SIM online

You can order your Thailand SIM card online and pick it up at Thailand or nearby airports or get it delivered to your home address. This way, you get a much better deal than buying it directly at the airport, and you get to skip the line.

The Thailand SIM card pick-up options are great, but the delivery options are currently a bit limited. We could only find reliable options for China and Vietnam.

Please let us know if you find any more options for delivery of Thailand SIM. We would love to update this guide and let others know about it.

Best options for buying a physical Thailand SIM online:

Thailand Physical SIM pick-up and delivery
Bangkok or Phuket Airport DTAC SIM Card pick-upcheck offer
Bangkok or Phuket Airport TrueMove SIM Card pick-upcheck offer
Kuala Lumpur DTAC SIM Card pick-upcheck offer
Ho Chi Minh City Airport DTAC SIM Card pick-upcheck offer
Hong Kong Airport Portable WiFi pick-upcheck offer
Bangkok Airport Portable WiFi pick-upcheck offer
Beijing, Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong DTAC SIM Card deliverycheck offer
Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Ha Long Bay TrueMove SIM Card deliverycheck offer
Pick-up and delivery options of Thailand SIM Cards

Klook.com

4. Buy your Thailand SIM card at the official store

You can buy your Thailand SIM card at one of the official stores of mobile carriers across all cities.

Buying your package at the official carrier store of TrueMove, AIS, and DTAC can get you better deals than at airports or smaller reseller shops.

Stay protected on public WiFi

We’ve been using NordVPN for over 5 years now and can highly recommend the tool for protecting your privacy and freedom while browsing the internet.

It encrypts your connection and hides your data from potential hackers. Also, with a VPN, you can access blocked/restricted content like some Netflix movies or booking sites.

TIP: Shipped Away readers get a special deal.

How much does a Thailand SIM card package cost?

Thailand SIM Card packages are affordable and cost upwards of 4 USD for a smaller amount of data and about 10 USD for an excellent data package with text and calls included.

Mobile data packages often change names, and what they offer, so we won’t discuss each carrier’s packages. But we will give you a reliable estimated cost of a Thailand mobile package.

4G DATA IN PACKAGE / VALIDITYCOST OF PACKAGE
15 GB – 15 days6 USD
30 GB – 1 month9 USD
Unlimited data – 7 days10 USD
Unlimited data – 15 days20 USD
Unlimited data – 30 days30 USD
Estimated cost of a mobile data package in Thailand.

Please note that the prices and packages at Thailand airports can be different and often higher than what you would pay at the carrier’s store.


MORE OPTIONS

Do you get calls and texts on your Thailand SIM card package?

Most Thailand SIM card packages you can buy at the airport come with a good amount of calls and texts.

You can also top-up some money to your account and get extra calls and texts if the package you bought doesn’t include them. Calls in Thailand cost about 1 Baht per minute, and texting costs about 2 Baht per SMS.

Our recommended provider Thailandesim, also includes calls and texts with a local number in most of their eSIM packages.

Traveling soon?

Check Thailand visa requirements.

Get your Thailand E-Visa photo online.
(simple and compliant with regulations and sizing)

How to top up your prepaid Thailand SIM package?

Topping up your Thailand mobile package is simple in almost every convenience store, like 7-Eleven.

Often, these stores have dedicated systems where you just provide them with your phone number, and they top up how much you want to your account. And if they don’t have that system, you will receive a code on your receipt that you use/call to top up.

Finally, you can buy top-up vouchers or scratch cards and simply use the codes to top up.

And don’t forget that all carriers offer mobile apps where you can register your SIM, top-up your credit, change your plan or buy add-ons.

AIS Thailand add-on options

Best Thailand SIM Cards - AIS add-on packages
Best Thailand SIM Cards - AIS add-on packages
Best Thailand SIM Cards - AIS add-on packages

DTAC add-on options

Best Thailand SIM Cards - DTAC add-on packages
Best Thailand SIM Cards - DTAC add-on packages

TrueMove add-on options

Best Thailand SIM Cards - TrueMove add-on packages
Best Thailand SIM Cards - TrueMove add-on packages
Best Thailand SIM Cards - TrueMove add-on packages

Frequently asked questions

Is it worth buying a SIM card in Thailand?

It’s absolutely worth buying a SIM card in Thailand, as you can’t always rely on WiFi.

Where to buy a Thailand SIM card?

You can buy your Thailand SIM Card online or in many shops at the airport, in official carrier stores, or smaller resellers in any city.

What is the best Thailand SIM Card?

The best Thailand SIM Card is TrueMove H because it’s the most affordable, offers great coverage, high-speed internet, and great package options.

How much does a Thailand SIM Card cost?

A Thailand SIM Card package costs upwards of 4 USD for a data plan with about 3 to 5 GB of data.

Do Thailand SIM Card packages come with calls and texts?

Yes, many Thailand SIM Card packages come with calls and texts, but check the offer before buying.

Can I buy a Thailand eSIM – embedded SIM?

You can get a Thailand eSIM (embedded SIM) from many online providers, some even with unlimited data.

Is it better to get a Thailand physical SIM or eSIM?

It’s best to get a Thailand eSIM if your phone supports it.

How long is a Thailand SIM Card active?

SIM Cards in Thailand are usually active for 7, 8, 15, or 30 days.

Can I get a Thailand SIM Card at Bangkok Airport?

Yes, you can get a Thailand SIM Card at the kiosks at Bangkok Airports or by pre-ordering it online.

Can I get a Thailand SIM Card at Phuket Airport?

Yes, you can get a Thailand SIM Card at the kiosks at Phuket Airport or by pre-ordering it online.

Can I get a Thailand SIM Card at Chiang Mai Airport?

Yes, you can get a Thailand SIM Card at the kiosks at Chiang Mai Airport.

Final thoughts

Hopefully, we answered all of your questions about getting the best Thailand SIM card deal for your trip.

Got any extra questions? Leave a comment below, and we’ll get back to you!

Have you found a better deal than one of the recommended ones in this article?

We are happy to hear about it!

We’re continuously searching for the best deals for travelers to Thailand, so we’d appreciate any feedback.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you book something through them, we may earn a small commission. But at no extra cost to you!

This helps us to keep posting great informational content and keep everything fresh and up-to-date.

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Arijana & Matej
Arijana & Matej

Full-time travelers, photographers, bloggers and travel journalists.

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We're Arijana and Matej, a couple and travel blogging duo from Croatia and Slovenia who thrive while slow-traveling. And we have been doing it for over 4 years.

During and after our travels, we love publishing in-depth, researched and above-all, useful travel guides, full of personal first-hand information on the places we personally visited.

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2 Responses

  1. I followed this article and bought 2. DTAC.

    They have 8 minute youtube videos for installation guide it’s hell long.

    Also nowhere in the process did they warn that activation policy says it starts counting on installation, and i installed it when my holiday is far out and the plan will be expired in the middle of my holiday, very bad.

    The youtube also made it seem like there are 2 setup steps, one done locally before going, and other when reach destination. It misleads people into thinking the local step can be done first, and user can choose to do 2nd phase when arrive. But they actually start counting when installed locally.

    Good to warn in this article.

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