For those who are looking to stay connected in Phuket, the Land of Smiles, this traveler guide to buying Phuket SIM cards and eSIM should be their bible before travel.
Are you planning to connect to the internet during your trip to Phuket, Thailand? In this article, we will provide information about Phuket sim cards and esim. You will learn how to connect to the internet at an affordable price using a data sim card or esim in Phuket, Thailand. This way, you can avoid expensive data roaming charges and stay connected throughout your trip.
A quick start about Thailand SIM cards in Phuket:
- Top 3 best mobile network operators in Thailand (including Phuket): AIS, TrueMove H, and DTAC.
- Recommended travel SIM: data only
- Best Thailand SIM cards for travelers: prepaid SIM card or eSIM with a data plan
- Newest Thailand travel SIM card form: eSIM
Now, we will go into details to see why we give these advice:
Table of Contents
I. Overall about physical Phuket Thailand SIM cards for tourists
1. Types of physical Thailand SIM cards in Phuket
There are several types of physical Phuket SIM cards available for purchase, including:
- Prepaid local SIM card: This is used by residents of Thailand and offers affordable voice and data packages with local mobile carriers such as DTAC, TrueMove H, and AIS.
- Prepaid SIM cards for tourists: These are designed for visitors to Thailand and typically include unlimited data usage, free international calls, and other features targeted to the needs of travelers.
- Data-only SIM card: This is used in devices like mobile hotspots or tablets that do not require voice or messaging capabilities.
2. What do you need to prepare to buy a SIM card as a tourist?
What documents are needed for tourists? According to Thai law, you need to show proof of your ID when purchasing a Thai SIM card. Additionally, depending on where and from whom you purchase the SIM, you may need to present either your passport or a photo of your ID card.
3. Phuket SIM card price
The service prices of mobile network companies in Thailand are relatively similar to each other. Regardless of which company you choose, the prices for the same data plan and validity period will be almost the same.
For example, AIS, DTAC, and TrueMove all offer a package of unlimited data for 8 days at around 10 USD (approximately 300 baht)
4. Which SIM card is the best in Phuket?
It is said that TrueMove and AIS have good coverage throughout Thailand, including both urban and rural areas, while DTAC has good coverage in most major cities such as Bangkok and Phuket. However, DTAC is slightly cheaper in comparison to the others.
If you travel to Phuket, you can choose DTAC operator because its coverage and speed are great. Moreover, it can save you money.
II. Phuket travel data eSIM for tourists (virtual or digital SIM)
1. What is Phuket eSIM?
ESIM is a type of SIM card that is built into mobile devices digitally. For visitors to Phuket, eSIM can be a hassle-free alternative since it enables mobile service activation without needing to insert a physical SIM card.
Several mobile network carriers in Thailand provide eSIM services to tourists, which permit them to make calls, send texts, and access the internet while on vacation.
The majority of tourists to Phuket opt for an eSIM with a data plan, as it allows them to stay connected with loved ones while still cutting costs.
2. Types and features of Bangkok eSIM
Thailand’s eSIM has two types based on function:
- Data eSIM for internet access only, and
- Voice, Text and Data eSIM for both analog calls, SMS, and internet access.
Here are some of the main features of Thailand’s Data eSIM:
- Most Data eSIMs in Thailand don’t have a Thai phone number, so you can’t make analog phone calls or texts with them, but you can use apps for that purpose.
- Once you install the eSIM, it will automatically connect to the supported mobile network, providing instant internet access.
- An eSIM can be installed only once, so if you remove it, you won’t be able to set it up again on any other mobile device. However, some providers offer eSIMs that can be re-installed once the old one is removed, and their validity remains unchanged.
- You can add multiple eSIM profiles to your phone, depending on the phone’s memory storage. However, only one eSIM can be activated at a time, and it’s recommended to have a maximum of three eSIMs on a phone to optimize its performance.
- When you use up your data, you’ll need to buy a new data plan or top-up, depending on the eSIM provider.
III. Where to buy Thailand SIM for Phuket as a tourist?
Finding a SIM card for Thailand is easy in Phuket. There are 4 options available:
- Buying upon arrival at Phuket International Airport
- Buying at large shopping malls
- Buying at convenience stores
- Buying online
Similarly, getting a SIM card for Thailand in Phuket is also convenient. You can purchase one almost anywhere in the city. Here are 04 popular ways to find a Thailand SIM card in Phuket:
1. Buy at Phuket International Airport
When you arrive at Phuket International Airport (HKT), exit the baggage claim area to find the sim card stand where you can purchase sim packages. You can choose the plan that best suits your travel duration and needs from the many options available. Remember to keep your passport and visa (if required for travel) on hand for SIM card registration.
If you need to exchange money to buy sim cards, there are several exchange shops at the airport. However, it’s recommended to exchange only the necessary amount because the exchange rate outside the airport is much higher.
Along the way, you will also come across many tour offices where you can rent cars, book tours, internal flight tickets, and hotels. These shops are located side by side, making it easy for you to compare prices.
- Easy and convenient since you have your passport ready on hand.
- Service-oriented staff can speak English and guide you through the installation process.
- You have access to the internet right after landing.
- It’s more expensive than other places.
- The data plans are not varied.
► You can see a step-by-step guide for tourists to buy (e)SIM card at Phuket airport (HKT)
2. Buy at convenience stores
You can purchase Thailand tourist sim cards at most well-known convenience stores such as 7-Eleven, Family Mart, Tesco Lotus, Big C, and Telco counters. The most popular convenience store chain in Thailand is 7-Eleven. To purchase a sim card in Thailand as a tourist, you will need your passport, Thai currency, and an unlocked phone.
Once you’re inside the store, you can choose the data plan that suits your needs. For example, you can select the 5G sim card from TrueMove provider, which costs 49 Baht. However, if you wish to make calls, you will need to top up some money.
- Cheaper price
- Various data plans
- Staff may not communicate with you
- Staff have no time to guide you because the line can be quite long
Note: 7-Eleven stores only sells DTAC and True Move. Family Mart and Tesco sell AIS, DTAC and True Move.
3. Buy at large shopping malls
You can buy Thailand sim cards at large shopping malls, such as Central Festival Phuket. Walk around, you will see the official stores of three big mobile operators (TrueMove H, AIS, DTAC). Carefully compare the offers and make your final choice.
- Staff can speak English as well so they can guide you through the installation
- Good service
- Don’t have internet right after landing
4. Buy Thailand SIM for Phuket online
After a long flight, the last thing you want to do is to wait in a long line to get a sim card and potentially have difficulty communicating which plan is most suitable for you. You may end up purchasing something that does not meet your needs. That’s why you should consider buying online, as it gives you time to evaluate and compare the details between plans and purchase the right one with ease.
With this method, you can buy the sim card online and pick it up at the counter at Phuket International Airport. It’s that simple!
Actually, whichever company you sign up with – DTAC, AIS, TrueMove H are pretty much all the same, especially for a short period of time.
IV. Must-know tips for tourists to staying online in Phuket
1. Free Wi-Fi in Phuket
Phuket has a well-developed and relatively fast internet infrastructure. In general, internet connectivity in Phuket is good, and most hotels, cafes, restaurants and public parks, transportation hubs like airports and train stations offer free Wi-Fi to tourists.
Internet cafes can be found all over Phuket which provide Internet access for tourists and locals. Rates are reasonable, from 30 to 150 Baht per hour, depending on type of establishment or speed of connection. Some charge by the minute and have a minimum charge (often from 10 to 15 minutes) while others may charge by hour.
The quality and availability of internet access for Phuket hotels can differ depending on their location and price range. Certain hotels may offer internet access within the rooms or Wi-Fi coverage throughout their premises.
Cafes and restaurants in Phuket often furnish free Wi-Fi access to customers, facilitating tourists in staying connected while relishing local delicacies. Nonetheless, the internet quality may fluctuate depending on the venue, and some may impose constraints such as limits on time or data usage.
There are a few Wi-Fi hotspots in Phuket island, which allow you to stay connected if you have a supported mobile device. These are:
a. Patong Area
► Hotels, resorts, guesthouses
|Absolute Ceylon Pub||Jungceylon, Rat-U-Thit Road|
|Absolute Seapearl Beach Resort||Thaweewong Road|
|Amanta House Boutique Hotel||Beach Road|
|Aqua Guesthouse||Paradise Complex, Rat-U-Thit Rd.|
|Baan Yin Dee||Muean Ngen Road|
|Bel Aire Resort Phuket||Sainamyen Road|
|Burasari Resort||Soi Ruam Jai|
|Connect Guesthouse||Paradise Complex, Rat-U-Thit Road|
|Faulty Towers Inn||Soi Sunset|
|Holiday Inn Phuket||Thaweewong Road|
|Leelawadee Boutique Hotel||Siriraj Road|
|Little Buddha Guesthouse||Nanai Road|
|Patong Paragon Hotel||Prabaramee Road|
|Royal Palm Resortel||Thaweewong Road|
|Royal Phawadee Village||Sawatdirak Road|
|Safari Beach Hotel||Thaweewong Road|
|Summer Breeze Hotel||Soi San Sabai|
|The Bird Cage- Patong Guesthouse||Rat-U-Thit Road|
|The Royal Paradise Hotel||Rat-U-Thit Road|
|Valhalla V Plaza||Soi Sunset|
|Villa del Mar||Beach Road|
|The Yorkshire Hotel||Soi Sansabai|
► Restaurants and cafes
|@beach food loft||Ocean Plaza, Beach Road|
|Irish Times||Jungceylon, Rat-U-Thit Road|
|Jean Pierre Restaurant & Bar||Rat-U-Thit Road|
|Khun Woody’s Sandwich Shoppe||Aroonsom-Plaza, Rat-U-Thit Road|
|La Boucherie Restaurant||Sawatdirak Road|
|Molly Malone’s||Beach Road|
|MoMo Café||Courtyard by Marriott, Patong|
|Mai Thai Bar||Soi Eric|
|Nok & Chicken Sports Bar||Grand Condotel, Rat-U-Thit Road|
|Rio Music Bar and Grill||Soi Bangla|
|Scruffy Murphy’s||Soi Bangla|
|Thai Basecamp||Soi Paradise Inn|
|The Coffee Club||Jungceylon|
b. Phuket city
► Hotels, resorts, and guesthouses
|Bay Hotel||Sakdidej Road, Cape Panwa|
|Cape Panwa Hotel||Sakdidej Road, Cape Panwa|
|Deang Plaza Hotel||Montri Road|
|Metopole Phuket||Montri Road, Amphur Muang|
► Restaurants and Cafes
|B2S||Central Festival, Vichitsongkram Road|
|Chill Out||Ong Sim Phai Road|
|Coffee Max||Ranong Road|
|Juice Internet Cafe & Juice Bar||Phuket Road|
|Michael’s Bar||Takua Pa Road|
|Rockin Angels Jammin’ Cafe||Phang Nga Road|
|Siam Indigo||Yaowarat Road|
|Tea House||Yaowarat Road|
c. Southern Phuket
► Hotels, Resorts and Guesthouses
|Alpina Phuket Nalina Resort & Spa||Ket Kwan Road, Kata|
|Angus @ O’Tool’s||Patak Road, Soi Islandia, Karon|
|Arfur @ O’Tool’s||Ket Kwan Road, Kata|
|Baan Kiki||Chaofa West Road, Chalong|
|Bougainvillea Hotel||Patak Road, Kata-Karon|
|Patak Road, Karon||Soi 10, Patak Road, Karon|
|Evason Phuket & Six Senses Spa||Viset Road, Rawai|
|La Gondola Restaurant Guest House||Thaina Road, Kata Center|
|Kata Beach Spa Resort||95 Pakbang Road, Kata|
|Mom Tri’s Boathouse||Koktanode Road, Kata|
|Mom Tri’s Kitchen||Kata Noi Road, Kata|
|Mom Tri’s Oasis||Koktanode Road, Kata|
|Mom Tri’s Villa Royale||Kata Noi Road, Kata Noi|
|Nikita’s||Rawai Beach Road, Rawai|
|Pacific Club And Spa||Patak Road, Karon|
|Phuket Sport & Tennis Club||Soi Suksan 2, Viset Road, Rawai|
|Soi Suksan 2, Viset Road, Rawai||Kata Road, Kata|
|The Little Mermaid||Patak Road, Karon|
► Restaurants and Cafes
|Amazon Cafe||Chaofa West Road, Chalong|
|Anchor Bar and Restaurant||Thai Na Road, Kata|
|Ao Chalong Yacht Club||Soi Phon Chalong, Chalong|
|Australia Bar & Grill||Kata Night Plaza|
|Chalong Pier Beer Garden||Chalong Pier Road, Chalong|
|Dos Fringos||Chalong Pier Road, Chalong|
|DaVinci V Lounge||Soi Sai Yuen, Nai Harn|
|Happy Days||Chaofa West Road, Chalong|
|Jimmy’s Lighthouse||Chalong Pier, Chalong|
|Kan Eang@pier||Chalong Pier, Chalong|
|Khun Woody’s Sandwich Shoppe||Fisherman Way Park|
|Locanda Restaurant||Patak Road, Kata-Karon|
|The Coffee and Sandwich Shop||Soi Casa Del Sol, Kata Road, Kata|
d. Northern Phuket
► Hotels, resorts and guesthouses
|Kamala Bay Garden Resort||Kamala Beach Road, Kamala|
|Laguna Phuket||Srisoonthorn Road, Cherngtalay|
|The Residence Kalim Bay||Phrabaramee 5 Road, Kalim|
► Restaurants and Cafes in Northern Phuket
|Deli De Luca||Boat Lagoon Marina|
|Holiday Inn Resort Phuket Mai Khao Beach||Mai Khao, Talang|
|Khun Woody’s Sandwich Shoppe||Laguna Cherngtalay|
|Lady Pie||Boat Lagoon Marina|
|Lambert Brothers||Srisoonthorn Road, Cherngtalay|
|Les Anges||Royal Phuket Marina|
|Liquid Lounge Bar||Liquid Lounge Bar|
|MoMo Café||Courtyard by Marriott, Kamala|
|MoMo Café||Courtyard by Marriott, Surin|
|Red Cafe||Beach Road, Kamala|
|Red Cafe||Soi Policestation, Kamala|
|Skippers||Royal Phuket Marina|
|The Club||Kamala Beach Road, Kamala|
|The Coffee Club||Turtle Village, Mai Khao|
Watermark Bar Restaurant
|Boat Lagoon Marina|
- Be noted that WiFi hotspots are widely available in Phuket, but they are not always secure.
- It is recommended to use a virtual private network (VPN) when accessing public Wi-Fi networks to ensure privacy and security.
- Internet cafes in the city of Phuket are cheaper than those located near the beach.
- There is a small Internet cafe at Phuket International Airport in the departure halls. The price is not cheap but it is still great for you to take advantage of while waiting for your flight.
2. Restrictions on Internet use in Phuket, Thailand
The Thailand government restricts some parts of the Internet. The law applies mainly towards websites that do not follow the rules as well as regulations in Phuket or other destinations in Thailand. The websites typically blocked often contain any of the following criteria:
- Lèse Majesté (which protects the Monarchy from defamation)
- The Sale Of Sex Toys
- Gambling-Related Content
However, this can be extended to social media accounts and services. Accessing such content will result in severe penalties.
3. Mobile data in Phuket
Mobile phone coverage is good in Phuket, Phi Phi island and neighboring islands in Thailand. As mentioned earlier, AIS, DTAC, and TrueMove H are some of the prominent mobile operators in Phuket that propose mobile plans with diverse data allowances and speeds. Each operator has competitive mobile plans to suit the necessities of different users.
You can find detailed information about each of the mobile operators in Thailand here: DTAC, AIS, TrueMove H.
There are other providers, such as LINE Mobile and AIS Super Wifi, which are less well-known. When selecting a provider, it’s crucial to take into account your requirements for data, voice, and SMS services, as well as the validity period and cost of the SIM card. Each provider has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is advisable to conduct some research and compare plans before making a purchase.
4. Online services for tourists
Phuket has a wide range of online services available for travelers, including ride-hailing apps like Grab, food delivery apps, and online booking platforms for tours and attractions.
Grab, a ride-hailing application, is widely utilized in Phuket and can be downloaded for free in multiple languages. This makes it accessible to tourists who do not speak Thai.
In addition to Grab, food delivery applications such as Foodpanda, GrabFood, and Line Man are popular in Thailand’s capital, providing visitors with convenient access to various local and international cuisines without having to leave their lodging.
Online platforms for booking tours and attractions, such as Klook and GetYourGuide, are also favored in Phuket, enabling travelers to book and pay for a wide array of activities, ranging from city tours to temple visits and cooking classes.
These platforms offer a range of options for different budgets and interests, and can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.
V. FAQs about Phuket SIM cards and eSIM
How much does a SIM card cost in Phuket?
The cost of sim cards vary depending on the service provider, type of plan you select, and any pro
The local data provider is literally as low as 20 Baht per day, or any promotions that might be available when purchasing.
Can you buy SIM at Phuket airport?
The tourist sim for data/internet can easily be bought at the Terminal 2 in the Phuket International Airport.