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If you're planning a trip to the breathtaking country of Thailand, you might be wondering how you'll manage phone service on your trip.

The good news is that travel eSIMs take the hassle out of securing mobile data for use abroad. With the help of these user-friendly virtual SIM cards, you can easily access local mobile networks in Thailand, avoiding unnecessary inconvenience during your stay.

In the following guide, I'll outline the key elements to take into account when selecting your plan. Additionally, I'll share my top recommendations for the best eSIMs for Thailand.

Airalo

Best overall travel eSIM

Airalo is one of the most well-known names in travel eSIMs, and for good reason - it partners with major local networks in over 200 destinations to provide reliable mobile internet access for travelers.

Of course, no one international eSIM is perfect for every customer. Below, you'll find what we consider to be the pros and cons of Airalo.

Overview

  • 200+ countries
  • 1GB-100GB
  • 7 days-3 months validity period
  • Prices start around $5 for one week
  • Local, regional, or global plans

Pros

  • Flexible eSIMs - add voice and text
  • Great coverage
  • Mobile hotspot usage
  • Prices drop the more data you buy
  • Phone number included with Discover+ plans
  • eSIM automatically connects to the fastest local network
  • User-friendly Airalo app and website
  • Fast, helpful customer support

Cons

  • Can't mix-and-match data size and validity period
  • Customer service is only available by message

While it isn't the cheapest option, Airalo eSIM is a solid choice with offerings to fit various needs. Plus, they have the advantage of being highly recognizable, with an impressive customer count of over five million people.


eSIM Thailand

eSIM Thailand provides a range of options, including unlimited data plans and voice calling within Thailand.

What's really special about this provider is that its unlimited data plans include unlimited high-speed data on LTE and 5G networks (where available). Since most providers limit your high-speed data usage per day, this is a great perk.

If Thailand isn't your only stop, you can also choose among city, regional, and global plans. The City plans work all over the country; the benefit is that they connect you to the best network in the city of your choice.

Here's the scoop on eSIM Thailand, including its advantages and disadvantages.

Overview

  • Coverage in 148 destinations
  • .5GB per day - unlimited data
  • 1 - 30 days validity
  • Prices start at $1.29
  • City, single-country, regional, and global plans

Pros

  • Unlimited data plans available
  • Unlimited data at max speed
  • Mobile hotspot usage
  • Calling available
  • Fixed & daily data plans

Cons

  • Customer support by message only
  • Longest validity 30 days

Holafly

Holafly is another leading provider of global eSIM plans, catering specifically to international travel needs. With Holafly, you can easily access data and make calls in different countries, all with the convenience of digital eSIM cards.

Overview

  • 160+ destinations
  • Unlimited data
  • 5 to 90-day plans
  • Prices around $20 for a 5-day plan

Pros

  • Simple to use app and website
  • Easy data and validity period top-ups
  • Useful features like validity tracking in the app
  • 24/7 customer support

Cons

  • Must use WhatsApp
  • Local number not included
  • No voice call or SMS message options
  • Doesn't allow data sharing or hotspot usage

Holafly eSIM cards offer unlimited data plans - you can send as many videos and photos with your family without worrying about the data limit. In the few countries where unlimited data isn't an option, it offers higher data limits than most other eSIM providers.

In terms of duration, too, there's great flexibility. You can get plans from 5 to 90 days and everything in between. In short, there will always be a plan close to the number of days you're traveling for in about 160 countries that Holafly caters to.

On the price front, Holafly is a little high-end, but it's worth the unlimited data and stress-free traveling it offers. For example, its 5-day unlimited data plan for the USA costs $19. It also offers regional plans. However, I found it tough to locate these plans on its website, as there's no dedicated "Regional Plans" section as there are on some other websites like Nomad and Airhub.

Brands like Airalo are significantly cheaper than Holafly, but you will have to get top-up plans if you exhaust your data mid-journey, which can be troublesome if you travel alone and don't have anyone to provide you with a hotspot in the meantime.

Installing the eSIM is also a breeze with Holafly. Scan the QR code you receive after purchasing a plan and follow the prompts. You will be guided through each step of the process, and the payment can be made through various portals like a credit card, debit card, PayPal, Google Pay, or Apple Pay. You can also use a code for manual installation if you don't want to scan the QR code.

Holafly's customer support is one of the best in the market. You can expect a reply from them within less than a minute of entering your query. With language support in English, German, French, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish, you can easily access the 24/7 support via WhatsApp or chat. On top of that, there's a frequently asked questions section that will solve most of your queries regarding the installation of the eSIM.

However, if you plan to buy a single Holafly eSIM for your family, thinking that the unlimited data plan will do the trick, beware. Holafly eSIM doesn't allow data sharing with other devices as of now.

While Holafly has great data plans, it doesn't include calls with all plans or SMS service. Currently, you can make calls for up to 60 minutes and receive calls for up to 60 minutes in Europe, Spain, France, Italy, and Germany. However, I didn't find this off-putting due to the sheer non-functionality of SMS and calls these days. You can always make calls or send texts through Holafly's unlimited Internet (WhatsApp, Skype, or other apps).


What is a travel eSIM?

A travel eSIM is a digital SIM card that connects you to reliable local networks in the specific location you're visiting. You can finally stop wasting valuable trip time hunting down traditional SIM card vendors.

In the case of eSIMs, device compatibility is vital. Many of today's most popular smartphones are equipped with eSIM support. These include the iPhone 13 onwards, and a diverse selection of Android devices.

Important note: Your phone must be carrier-unlocked in order to use a travel eSIM. Contact your carrier for guidance on unlocking your device.

How travel eSIMs work

Setting up an embedded SIM is straightforward. You'll receive a QR code after you purchase a plan, which you can scan with another phone or print out to scan at your destination. Once you scan the QR code, you'll be prompted to activate your plan.

As soon as you step off the plane, your phone will automatically connect to the nearest mobile network. Thanks to instant activation, you won't have to make any stops at SIM card retailers or vending machines.


Why should I get an eSIM for international travel?

  1. Convenience: Effortlessly manage and monitor your travel data plan right on your mobile device, typically with an app. There's no need to visit a kiosk or store upon arrival.
  2. Cost-effectiveness: By using a travel eSIM, you can connect to local networks and skip your home carrier's steep international data roaming charges.
  3. Flexibility: Discover the convenience of accessing all your mobile plans. Seamlessly alternate between your local SIM card and travel plan without ever opening a SIM tray.
  4. Security: Embedded SIM cards offer superior security in comparison to physical SIM cards since they can't be removed, lost, or stolen. That means better protection for your personal information.

How to choose the best eSIM for Thailand

When planning your trip to Thailand, it's easy to feel overwhelmed with the range of options offered by different providers. To choose the best option for your travel needs, consider your specific travel plans and the features you want.

There are a few major factors you can look at to find the best eSIM for your Thailand trip.

Where is your destination?

You can choose from local (individual country), regional, or global plans. Local data plans are the most cost-effective, while regional and global give you the freedom to move across borders without losing service.

If you're staying in the country during your trip, you'll get great value because data in Thailand is incredibly affordable.

Ensure that your plan includes all the countries you wish to visit, regardless of the option you choose. Regional eSIM cards do not have a fixed list of Asian countries included, as each provider has slight variations.

How much data do you need?

Data allowances range from 1GB to unlimited data plans. It's worth noting that most unlimited data plans have a high-speed data limit and then slow to a crawl, so make sure to check the terms and conditions.

Also, make sure to consider data sharing. Many providers offer the option to use mobile hotspots, which is crucial if you need internet access for additional devices.

Will you be minimizing your data usage as much as possible? Does your hotel offer Wi-Fi for data-gobbling activities? Calculate your daily usage to determine a comfortable amount of data for your time in Thailand.

How long will you be abroad?

Next, you should consider the length of your trip. Are you planning to stay in Thailand for a few days or months? You will find a range of options that cater to trips of almost any duration.

The most common validity lengths run between a week and 90 days, although a couple of eSIM providers stretch to six months or more. If you frequently visit Thailand, a wise choice is to pick the eSIM package with the longest validity. This way, you can keep top-ups to a minimum.

Pay attention to when the validity period starts, too. Some begin the countdown upon activation, others when you connect to a Thai mobile network. The safest bet is to activate your eSIM at the airport after you land.

Do you need international calling?

Some travel eSIMs include a local phone number, enabling you to make phone calls within Thailand or internationally. It's important to distinguish exactly what you're getting with your plan. If you want a phone number for calling your home country, ensure that option is included.

If you opt for a travel package that only includes data, you can still use WhatsApp or Wi-Fi to make international calls and send text messages. However, please note that using these applications for calling and texting will consume cellular data from your travel plan.


Best eSIM for Thailand FAQs


Recap - What's the best travel eSIM for Thailand?

From the weekend market to the Big Buddha, there are so many wonderful things to do in Thailand. Stopping to shop for a local SIM card is not one of them! Luckily, you can choose from the best eSIM plans for Thailand and be connected the minute you deboard the plane.

Check out our comprehensive guide to the best eSIM for international travel before taking off on your next journey.

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