You can keep in touch with friends and family back home when you are in Thailand. V.O.I.P services can be used in an internet cafe or on a computer. If that isn’t an option, then one of the easiest and most convenient ways is to purchase a Thai pre-paid sim card for your phone. This will work out cheaper than using your own card. Depending on where you are in Thailand, you may be asked by some shops to show proof of I.D., although this is more usual for postpaid sim cards rather than the pre-paid pay as you go variety
Getting a SIM card at Bangkok airport
You can get a pre-paid (pay as you go) sim card from the kiosks in the arrival hall at the international airport. An extra amount of call credit is usually included in the cost of the sim card. The cost of a sim card is usually between 50 and 100. At the airport kiosks, you can pay 200 Baht, but it will usually include credit or call time.
Free tourist SIM cards at the airport
It is worth keeping an eye out for promotions staff handing out free cards. Tourists visiting Thailand will be able to get a free sim card from the Airports of Thailand. The leaflet is bright yellow and explains how to use your card. If you only need a phone for the occasional call back home or a text message then this is a great option. I have seen these pamphlets handed out at airports in Thailand.
Buying a SIM Card in Thailand
All major towns and cities have shops that sell top-up cards if you forget to buy a card at the airport. If you go to a shopping mall where there are a lot of phone shops, you should be able to find staff who can speak English. The assistants in the phone shops have always been helpful. Even if your phone is locked, the staff will be able to set it up for you, even if it’s not unlocked. It is easy to buy a new or second-hand phone in Thailand if you do not have a phone. 7-Eleven and Familymart sell sim cards for 99 Baht or less, with no call time credit or included call time.
Which network provider should I use?
There are a number international data sim europe of network services to choose from and in my personal experience there isn’t a lot to choose between, it will depend on individual usage for the most cost-effective option. Some people prefer 1-2-Call or True Move, but I use DTAC. You can compare call rates and service availability by clicking on the links below.
AIS 1-2-Call »
DTAC Happy »
True Move »
Dialling codes for cheaper international calls
Thailand has a general international dialling code. Refer to the websites above or the leaflet provided with your sim card to check on which code is best for you. For instance, I use a nickname. The cost of making an international call to the UK is 5 Baht per minute if I use the prefix 004. The call is charged at a higher rate if I don’t use the 004 prefix. True Move uses the prefix 006 for first class quality calls and another for low cost calls, which is currently as low as 1.5 Baht to Australia, Canada, UK and USA.
I would dial the relevant prefix for my network provider, followed by the UK dialling code, and then the number dropped the first 0.
Using DTAC Happy
004 44 181 123 4567
Using True Move Low Cost
00600 44 181 123 4567
Sending an SMS text message
The cost for a single message is 5 Baht. The international format is used to send an text.
Selected international dialling codes
United Kingdom 44
Topping up the credit on your SIM card
Vouchers can be purchased from a number of retail stores. Instructions are available in English on the top up card or via voice prompt on your phone, so it’s straight forward.