Your mobile phone will work just fine in Thailand and WiFi/mobile data across the country is generally in pretty good shape. Tourist SIM cards are sold at any 7-11 or Family Mart (which are literally everywhere) and can also be obtained at the airport from one of the many mobile phone outlets. (best option) Look for DTAC, AIS or True Move.
If you’re getting a SIM card at the airport or 7-11/Family Mart and not sure what to do or how to do it, they are usually more than happy to set everything up and do it for you at no extra charge and takes about 5 minutes.
If you opt to only use WiFi where available and don’t want to replace your SIM card, you can, and don’t forget to turn off your mobile data as overseas data charges are very excessive. Most hotels in Thailand have WiFi, some are free and some have a small charge.
It is normally stated on your hotel’s website if they have a wireless internet fee. It is somewhat hit or miss on whether your wireless connection speed at your hotel will be reasonably fast. It’s mostly dependent on the time of day (peak periods of internet traffic) and the distance your hotel room is from the nearest wireless outlet. Some hotels just have a very weak signal or an outdated wireless modem/router.
If you only want WiFi at your hotel or anywhere else that has it available, you don’t need to unlock your phone and get a Thailand SIM card. Just hook up to the wireless normally as you would at home. Your hotel will normally give you a WiFi password when you check in. There are also many coffee shops and bars throughout Thailand that have free wireless internet access for customers.
If you want a local calling/data plan your only option is to get a local SIM card but first you will need to have your phone unlocked. The best way to get your mobile phone unlocked is to call your service provider (before you leave) and ask for your mobile phone unlock code. They will charge you a fee for this. Usually 30-50 dollars added onto your next bill.
It will not have any effect on your current plan or SIM card. All you have to do is switch back to your old SIM when you get back home. If you’re not sure if your phone is locked or unlocked you can try a friend’s SIM card that is on a different service provider in your phone and see if it works. If it does then you have an unlocked phone.
If all you want is a cheap regular non smart phone for calling and texting only, there are many makes and models available to buy in Thailand that are very inexpensive.
Getting a SIM Card in Thailand
If you’re in Thailand for a long stay you can go to a mobile phone service provider outlet such as AIS, DTAC or True Move and choose a plan just as you would at home. Don’t forget to bring your passport as you will need it to register. You can get a good voice/data plan for about 700 baht per month.
To pay your monthly fee you just need to go to any of the same outlet in Thailand and they have ATM like machines that you can enter your phone number into and deposit your monthly fee in cash. There are normally phone service provider outlets in any shopping mall but also some stand alone ones as well.
For a short stay of up to 90 days you can buy a tourist SIM card for your tablet or phone that has limited talk time and data included. After 90 days it expires and becomes basically useless.
I highly recommend the DTAC Happy Tourist SIM Card for 299 baht. It has unlimited data for 7 days where the others, although much cheaper at only 49 baht, have very limited data. They also have a 15 days unlimited data at 599 baht with a higher speed. They all have very limited talk time and texting services.
All are inexpensive and are available at any 7-11, which are found everywhere in Thailand, and many other convenience stores. They will also be able to supply you with top-up data and talk time. Your internet will work, for the most part, all over the country and it’s great to be able to use your e-mail while you’re relaxing on the beach!
How to Make a Long Distance Phone Call to Thailand
Making an overseas phone call to Thailand is easy but can be a little confusing at first because of the plus (+) sign that they put in front of all the phone numbers for calling long distance. I don’t know about you but I don’t have a (+) on my phone. Simply dial 011-66 and then the number.
But…in order to call a cell phone you must not include the 0 that the cell phone number begins with. In Thailand cell phone numbers are usually 10 digits and typically begin with a 0. An example is if a cell phone number in Thailand is 0123456789…to call that number from overseas you would dial 011-66-123456789. This does not apply to calling a landline in Thailand. To call a landline in Thailand simply dial 011-66 and then the full number.
To make a long distance phone call from Thailand to a different country, just call as you normally would with the number beginning with your calling destination’s country code.
Charging Your Cell Phone, Laptop Computer and Electronics in Thailand
The electrical outlet voltage in Thailand is 220 volts with a frequency of 50 Hz. Most phones, tablets and laptop computers are dual voltage and will handle both 110 and 220 volts.
If you are not sure it normally is stated on it’s charging unit or in it’s manual. Most hotel’s electrical outlets in Thailand are universal and will take any style of plug but I have run across some that aren’t.
The best thing to do for recharging various low power devices at once is to bring an extension cord with 4 outlets on it, then just buy one single wall adapter.