Best eSIM for Thailand Travel - Complete Guide for Tourists

Getting the best eSIM for Thailand is a wise choice. You can quit searching for ‘best Thailand sim card for tourist’; I’ve got the solution for you. Is eSIM available in Thailand? Yes! And, the best sim card is eSIM Thailand. An eSIM will connect you to local carriers in Thailand from the moment you arrive.

Read on this Complete guide for tourists on the best eSIM for Thailand travel so you will have an overview about this new option of staying connected in Thai and choose the best plan for your needs.

Best eSIM for Thailand travel

I. What is an eSIM card?

eSIM is a virtual/digital version of a physical SIM card, where “e” stands for “embedded” rather than “electronic”.

Instead of being removable and insertable like a traditional plastic SIM card, eSIM is a tiny chip embedded into the circuit board of mobile devices like smartphones, smartwatches, and tablets.

How does an eSIM work?

Essentially, you cannot remove the eSIM and transfer it from one device to another. 

The stored information in the eSIM is called eSIM profile and can be replaced or rewritable. This means you can change your network provider without having to remove or insert a SIM card.

eSIM can be bought, installed, and activated 100% online without having to queue up or wait.

Instead of waiting for a new SIM card to ship or going to a local store to pick up one, you can buy it via an online store and install it by scanning a QR code with your smartphone’s camera.

If your phone supports eSIM, you can configure it, switch between lines and carriers, and manage your accounts. 

How does eSIM work in Thailand

How many types of prepaid eSIM are available?

Because this article is written mainly for travelers, we do not mention postpaid plans, but prepaid only. 

There are 02 main types of prepaid eSIM available: 

  • Data only eSIM: often does not come with a local phone number, not being able to make analog phone calls and SMS, suitable for those using mobile data only. 
  • Data, voice and SMS: work like a traditional SIM card, come with a local phone number, can make phone calls + SMS + use mobile data.

What is eSIM for Thailand travel?

When it comes to travel eSIM, in general, and eSIM for Thailand travel, in particular, it is majorly about data-only eSIM. In fact, most eSIM providers supply travel eSIM plans in the form of data-only eSIM.

Tourists to Thailand can use this eSIM during their trip to navigate the map, contact their family and friends via apps like WhatsApp, Skype,… or surf the web, check emails, etc.

Features of eSIM for traveling to Thailand

Here are what you need to know about eSIM for Thailand:

  • Commonly, virtual SIM cards do not include local phone numbers. You cannot make analog phone calls or SMS, but via apps like WhatsApp or Skype. 
  • It is important to know that a QR code can be used only once on a device. Do not remove it without asking your provider in advance.
  • Some eSIMs set up automatic APNs while others do not. 
  • Some eSIM do have functions of data sharing/tethering between devices
  • When using an eSIM, you can still retain your local number to receive calls and SMS from the primary line.

Do all smartphones have an eSIM?

eSIM technology is relatively new, so it is only available on newer generations of mobile phones.

At the moment only most recent smartphones and wearables have an eSIM. They include:

  • Apple’s latest iPhones from XS above.
  • Samsung’s Galaxy from S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra above.
  • The Google Pixel from 3, 3 XL above
  • Motorola’s Razr (only an eSIM, it doesn’t have a physical SIM card)
  • Samsung Gear S2 and Gear S3 smartwatches
  • Huawei P40, P40 Pro, Mate 40 pro
  • Apple Watch Series 3, 4, 5, and 6
  • Apple watch SE
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (1st, 2nd, 3rd generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd, 4th and 5th generation)
  • iPad (7th, 8th, 9th generation)
  • iPad Mini (5th and 6th generation)
  • Others

Do all networks support eSIM?

Currently, not all networks support eSIMs. However, over time, as this technology becomes standard, more networks will start supporting eSIMs.

II. Why choose eSIM over SIM cards for tourists to Thailand?

Tourists to Thailand now seem to prefer choosing eSIM over SIM cards due to a number of reasons.

Before knowing why choose eSIM over SIM cards when traveling to Thailand, let’s see a detailed table of advantages and disadvantages of Thailand eSIM and SIM cards:

eSIM/SIM cardThailand eSIMsThailand SIM Cards
Pros– Buy 100% online on websites
– Receive eSIM via email, no need to go to the store or wait for shipping
– Easy to switch mobile networks, no need to look for a SIM “ejector tool” to remove the old SIM from the device.
– Temporary to change to another network. Up to 20 eSIM can be stored in a device at a time (vary by device)
– Install eSIM quickly within 3 minutes by scanning a QR code
– Activate (almost) automatically and instantly upon arrival
– Save money thanks to a wide range of plan options with different data volume and validity
– Low risk of losing or misplacing SIM
– More widely available than eSIM card
– No need to have Internet access when installing or activating (just insert and go)
– Work with any phone that supports it
Cons– Not every device supports eSIM
– Not many mobile network operators support eSIM up to now (but 3 biggest operators in Thailand do support now)
– Unable to remove an eSIM from a device, so your movements are at risk of being tracked
– Installation and activation of eSIM requires an internet connection, which may not always be available while traveling.
– Most data only plans, you cannot make phone calls if not using an app like Skype or WhatsApp
– High risk of losing or being damaged
– No internet access right upon arrival
– Need to get a new SIM Card when getting to a new country (except for regional SIM)

Thailand eSIM vs SIM cards: Which is better?

Comparing Thailand eSIM and SIM cards, which one should you choose when traveling to Thailand?

👉 Actually, the answer depends on your particular needs and preferences.

If you are looking for a data plan while traveling, then an eSIM is your best choice. 

If you need a SIM that is widely available and cheaper, then a traditional SIM card is a better choice. 

👉 However, it does not matter which type of SIM card you choose, remember that you can use both two types of SIM (eSIM and SIM card) at the same time in one device. 

So, there is no reason why not to use an eSIM for your Thai trip, right?

Note: Make sure that your mobile device is compatible with eSIM before buying an eSIM plan. 

How to use both SIM and eSIM?

If you have a device that works with eSIM, you can use it alongside a traditional SIM card. Simply select the name of eSIM you wish to use, whether it is a plastic SIM or the digital eSIM.

You can use your physical SIM card as the primary line to receive calls and SMS during your trip, and your eSIM to surf the Internet. 

III. Mobile network providers in Thailand offering eSIM cards for tourists

First of all, it is important to know the main players in the mobile network market in Thailand.
There are 3 main local mobile network providers in Thai: AIS, DTAC and True Move H.

Now, to decide which network to choose for your eSIM package, you need to acknowledge 02 following things:

  • Coverage map of each provider
  • Which one offers eSIM for tourists to Thailand?

Below are the coverage map of 3G network by provider in Thailand:

1. Mobile internet coverage map for Thailand travel

When buying an eSIM, it is important to know your eSIM coverage. No matter where you buy an eSIM from, it still receives the signals from one of the mobile network providers in Thailand, be it DTAC, TrueMove H, AIS. 

Here are the coverage maps of these major Thailand mobile network operators.

AIS coverage map in Thailand

AIS coverage Map for 3G in Thailand
Map of AIS coverage in Thailand (Source: GSMA)

DTAC 3G coverage map in Thailand

DTAC coverage Map for 3G in Thailand
Map of DTAC coverage in Thailand (Source: GSMA)

True Move H 3G coverage map in Thailand

True Move H coverage Map for 3G in Thailand
Map of True Move H coverage in Thailand (Source: GSMA)

2. Which local phone carriers offer Thailand travel eSIM?

Below are some local digital SIM card providers that have plans for travelers to Thai

  • DTAC
  • AIS

2.1 eSIM DTAC Thailand

DTAC has a digital SIM card for tourists to Thai, which is called Happy Tourist. In the past, this plan is for physical SIM cards, but now it is also for eSIM. 

This eSIM includes 02 options: 15GB – 8 days of use and 30GB – 15 days of use. 

Using this eSIM, you can connect to a 5G network whenever you are in the coverage area. But, you have to go through a SIM card registration process when buying from DTAC directly. 

Benefits of DTAC eSIM in Thailand:

  • 5G coverage Internet speed
  • Free calls to other DTAC numbers and messages with local rates

2.2 eSIM AIS Thailand

AIS is one of the best network providers in Thailand. To use eSIM AIS in Thailand which is bought directly from the AIS official store, you have to buy a prepaid SIM card with one of the available packages. Then, in the same store, you request to activate it as a digital SIM card in your phone. 

No additional cost is added, but your phone needs to be compatible with eSIM technology. 

You must register your information when buying eSIM/SIM card at AIS store. 

Benefits of AIS eSIM in Thailand:

  • Includes a local number for users to make calls as with a physical SIM card.
  • Compatible with a typical SIM card that comes with a prepaid or postpaid service of any plan.

III. Mobile eSIM providers for Thailand travel

If you have an eSIM-compatible phone, you can buy and activate a Thailand eSIM card easily. If you do not, it is widely available to buy a traditional SIM card. Anyway, as mentioned above, the digital SIM card has a lot of advantages, so it is better to choose eSIM as the first option when traveling to Thailand. 

In Thailand, you can easily buy eSIM from many providers:

  • Airalo
  • Holafly
  • Nomad
  • Mobimatter

We have gathered a detailed list of Thailand eSIM providers in the previous article. Do not miss out what I revealed and reviewed there. 

Now we go to review these eSIM providers for Thailand travel.

III. What is the best eSIM for Thailand?

The best eSIM for Thailand will depend on your Internet habits, your trip duration, your budget for a SIM card, etc.

There are some main players in the Thai eSIM market that you can consider to buy eSIM from:

They are Airalo, Holafly,, Nomad, and more. 

To decide which eSIM for Thailand is right for you, let’s take a look at a review on Thai eSIM plans of each one of 3 best Thailand eSIM providers:

1. Airalo eSIM for Thailand

Airalo is the leading eSIM provider in the world. They are strong in providing international eSIM. However, it does not mean that their local eSIM is not good. 

For Thailand, Airalo offers 02 DTAC Happy Tourists eSIM packages:

  • Unlimited data, used in 8 days – $9.9
  • Unlimited data, used in 15 days – $19.95

These plans are claimed to be” unlimited” but in fact, after the specific amount of high speed data volume (the amount of high speed data varies by plan), the speed will be throttled to 384kbps. 

Other plans are regional ones, named Asialink. 

It will be great if you use these plans when crossing borders in Asia.

Best eSIM for Thailand
Airalo Thailand eSIM plans


  • You can call/text with Airalo eSIM (only Thailand, other countries do not have this feature)
  • No need to register your personal information
  • Buy eSIM for Thailand from Airalo before arrival, but avoid install in advance.
  • Get full 5G access to DTAC network


  • eSIM plans for tourists are not as diversifying as SIM plans
  • DTAC seems to have the slowest speed in Thailand (but still reasonable)
  • Signals in remote areas or adjacent islands of Phuket or Koh Samui.
  • Avoid installing the eSIM before arrival in Thai airports/border gate

2. eSIM for Thailand is a provider of eSIM services specifically designed for tourists visiting Thailand. It operates as a subsidiary of GIGAGO, a Vietnam-based company. Despite being a newcomer in the market, offers notable advantages over its competitors due to its exclusive focus on the Thai market. This specialization allows them to provide diverse packages that cater to the varying needs and budgets of different customer segments.

At present, boasts the largest selection of eSIM packages available. They offer a choice of 13 different packages, tailored to suit the duration of your trip and your data usage requirements. These packages are exclusively available for use in Thailand and also cover regions within Thailand.

If you travel Thailand only, here are the best eSIM plans for Thailand to choose from:

  • THAI 15GB – 8D Ultd: Unlimited data (with 15GB high speed data), for $8.9 – allow top up + hotspot/tethering
  • THAI 30GB – 15D Ultd: Unlimited data (with 30GB high speed data), for $19.9 – allow top up + hotspot/tethering
  • THAI 3 days: 3GB – 50GB total, valid for 3 days, for $4.90 – $62.90 – no top up, allow hotspot/tethering
  • THAI 5 days: 3GB – 50GB total, valid for 5 days, for $5.00 – $67.50 – no top up, allow hotspot/tethering
  • THAI 7 days: 3GB – 50GB total, valid for 7 days, for $5.50 – $70.00 – no top up, allow hotspot/tethering eSIM plans for tourists eSIM plans for tourists


  • Have the most plans for Thailand in compared to other providers
  • A wide range of data and validity available in each plan
  • Competitive rates
  • Use DTAC network – top 3 best network operators in Thai, with reasonable internet speed
  • Buying, installing and activating process is easy and quick
  • Allow to share data and top up
  • Have a local phone number 
  • 24/7 support in Vietnamese, English, Spain, Japanese, Chinese


  • Relatively a new brand 
  • Only packages for Thai and some Asian countries

3. Holafly eSIM for Thailand

Holafly is a well-established eSIM provider that caters to tourists visiting Thailand. They have a strong global presence, serving customers in more than 190 countries and regions. In Thailand, they utilize the networks of 02, DTAC, and TrueMove H, ensuring internet access in various areas, including urban, rural, and remote locations.

One notable feature of Holafly is that they exclusively offer Unlimited packages, but there is still a limit to the amount of max speed data available in each plan before the speed is throttled.

Holafly’s Thailand eSIM does not have a Thai phone number and there is no support for sharing data. 

If you travel only Thailand, choose from 8 eSIM plans below: 

  • Unlimited data, valid for 5 days, $19.00
  • Unlimited data, valid for 7 days, $27.00
  • Unlimited data, valid for 10 days, $34.00
  • Unlimited data, valid for 15 days, $47.00
  • Unlimited data, valid for 20 days, $54.00
  • Unlimited data, valid for 30 days, $64.00
  • Unlimited data, valid for 60 days, $84.00
  • Unlimited data, valid for 90 days, $99.00

Apart from these local Thailand eSIM plans, these providers also offer regional eSIM plans that cover Thailand that you can refer to in our previous post. 

Conclusion: What are the Best eSIMs for Thailand?

So, we have reviewed eSIM plans and providers that you can use for a Thai trip. 

👉 Here, I will conclude about the notable features of each in case you need to make a quick decision on which provider and plan to choose when traveling to Thailand:

  • Airalo DTAC Happy Tourist SIM (5G NR access): fully equipped, from mobile data to calls and texts (but only with DTAC local phone numbers)
  • eSIM: most diversifying options, fully equipped (like Airalo), competitive rates and multi-language customer support. 
  • Holafly Thailand eSIM: unlimited data-only plans

IV. Is travel eSIM realiable in Thailand?

In general, travel eSIM is reliable in Thailand, and more and more tourists using Thailand eSIM during their trip. However, after all, the reliability of eSIM can vary depending on several factors, which are network coverage, mobile network operator, device compatibility, signal interference.

Here is detailed explanation for the reliability of eSIM in Thailand:

  • Network coverage: eSIM reliability depends on the coverage provided by the mobile network operator. Urban areas and tourist destinations in Thailand usually have good coverage, but remote or rural areas may have limited or weaker coverage.
  • Mobile network operator: if you choose a reliable mobile operator like AIS, TrueMove H, or DTAC, you are warranted for their eSIM plans. These operators have strong networks in Thailand and are known for their reliable services.
  • Device compatibility: Make sure your device supports eSIM technology and is compatible with the eSIM profile offered by your chosen operator. Compatibility issues can affect eSIM reliability.
  • Signal interference: Physical obstructions or environmental factors like buildings, terrain, or weather conditions can interfere with the eSIM connection, impacting reliability.

V. Useful Tips on Using eSIM for Thailand Travel

  • Know your data usage and internet using habits so you can manage your data usage effectively.
  • Research in advance and compare plans: compare plans of different operators and providers, in terms of data volume, validity, price, coverage, extra features to pick the best plan for your trip.
  • Save a copy of QR code, and installation guide: if possible, keep a copy of what eSIM provider sent you, from QR code to installation guide to avoid any potential technical issues happenning.
  • Always have a backup plan: be it a physical SIM card.

VI. Frequently Asked Questions about eSIM for Thailand

Do I need a passport to buy the eSIM for Thailand travel?

No, you do not need to show your passport when buying eSIM from eSIM providers like Airalo,, Holafly… But you do if buying eSIM directly from local mobile network providers like DTAC, AIS, TrueMove H.

Can I share data/tether with the eSIM for Thailand?

Data hotspot/tethering may not always be available in all eSIM plans for Thailand travel. It depends on the plan and provider you choose.

How to activate eSIM for Thailand?

Each eSIM provider has a specific process of delivering eSIM info for customers. For, after making a payment, you will receive a QR code via email. You then use your phone’s camera to scan the QR code to set up the eSIM. Choose the eSIM as the default mobile data medium, turn on data (and data roaming). That way, your eSIM will work. 


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