Whilst it’s possible to rely just on your hotel wifi and many restaurants will provide their wifi for free, we have found more and more over the years we need an internet connection on-the-go from checking opening hours to ordering Grabs and the like.
If you are a short-term visitor, nothing can really beat the value of picking up a tourist sim from Phuket Airport as soon as you arrive. They offer incredibly good value data-only packages and will save you from needing data roaming with your home telco.
Several telecom companies in Thailand offer tourist SIM cards for visitors to Phuket, as well as the increasing emergence of eSIMs. Here are some of the best tourist SIMs for travellers in Phuket.
We’ll take a look first at physical SIM cards you can pick up in Phuket, then your eSIM or pre-ordering options.
AIS Thailand Tourist Sim
The largest mobile operator in Thailand, this is likely the first booth you’ll see as soon as you descend from immigration at Phuket airport. The AIS staff are super fast and efficient and will have you set up within a matter of minutes.
Prices and packages may well change, but at the time of writing, data-only sims start from 399 THB for 8 days/15GB (that’s about $11.50 USD/€10.50). They also offer 15-day and 30-day packages on 5G.
NB – are you a return visitor to Thailand wanting to reactivate a previous SIM? Head to the AIS counter in the main arrivals hall after baggage collection, they have a few more options for you there, topping up data and dealing with enquiries.
dtac Happy Tourist Sim
This a cheap and cheerful option on what is arguably the slowest network in Thailand – if you think you’ll be spending a fair bit of time in the more remote islands of Phuket, this may not be the option for you.
There are eSIm options for dtac too, more on these below.
NB Dtac and True Move H are now one company but will continue to operate as separate entities for several years.
True Move H Thailand Tourist SIM
The AIS signs might overwhelm you on arrival that they are the only option, but further investigation, True Move H. They offer two types – Thailand Tourist SIM and Infinite SIM. The big difference being, once you’ve exhausted your data allowance, you move to reduced speed internet, where as infinite is unlimited at 5G NR.
At only 100 THB more than a regular tourist SIM, opt for the Infinite. Plans range from 299THB for 15GB/16 days to 899 THB unlimited/30 days. (NB this store is cash only so you may need to stop at an ATM first; see our post on cash and currency in Phuket)
have the same network as AIS but can offer plans a little bit cheaper.
NB – if you’re arriving in the domestic airport, there’s only the choice of TrueMove H – you’ve gotta make the two minute walk over to the international airport arrivals to find the other two providers!
It’s also worth noting that the availability and pricing of tourist SIM cards in Phuket can vary depending on the time of year. Be sure to check with the telecom companies for the latest offers and promotions before making a purchase.
eSIMS in Phuket
If you are wanting an eSIM, this cannot be done at the airport. You will need to do this online. An option is via reliable online eSIM stire Airalo, you can purchase a DTAC tourist eSim:
- 15 GB data + calls / 8 days $9.90 USD
- 30 GB SData + call for 15 days $19.95
Important to note if you are going the eSim route:
- Your eSim validity starts as soon as you install it! Do not install it until you are ready to start using it. You can still order online beforehand but note that you have 30 days to activate it.
- Your phone must be unlocked! If you’re locked in with your home mobile network you won’t be able to activate your eSim. These can be easily unlocked by a savvy tech in Thailand, for a fee.
- And it should go without saying; your phone needs to be eSim compatible. Latest models generally are, but if your phone is more than a few years old, this may not be a viable option for you – back to good old fashioned sim cards. Airalo has a pretty good list of compatible models
- Do watch out for “unlimited deals” and what these can mean in reality; once you’ve used up your alotted GB, you move to super slow internet – these days, effectively useless.
If you missed picking up a SIM card in Phuket airport but later decide you need more connectivity, there are many mobile shops across the island that can help you.
Pre-purchasing a Thailand Sim Card Before Travel
If you’re the type of traveller that likes to be organised and connected before hitting the ground, then we recommend you try a service such as SimOptions which offers international prepaid sims for Thailand. They are pre-activated and delivered to your home address before you travel.
Note, when you are at Phuket Airport and anywhere in the immediate vicinity of the building you can connect to the free wifi, so it’s still possible to WhatsApp or Internet call drivers etc without a SIM to start your journey in Phuket.
© Mama Loves Phuket 2023