Traveling With An iPhone: My Experience in Thailand

If you follow this blog on a regular basis, you probably know that I’m traveling for a few months and that I am sharing my experience getting pay-as-you-go plans for my iPhone in every country I visit. So far, I’ve documented my experiences in Australia, New Zealand, Bali, and it is now time to tell you about Thailand.

Before even going to Thailand, I had done a little research on the web about possible options. Turns out that there are only 2 mobile carriers in Thailand. Additionally, I learned that there is no 3G in Thailand as the communication infrastructures to support 3G haven’t been put in place yet.

As soon as we went through the customs at Bangkok airport, I turned on my iPhone, which was still under my Balinese carrier. I received a text message telling me to switch to the Balinese partner in Thailand called DTAC. So I did just this, hoping that I’d be able to get on Edge to at least check my emails. No luck for me. While I was able to make calls, I couldn’t get on the Internet.

Easily enough, there was a DTAC store right inside the airport. I went to the counter and inquired about prices. The guy was super friendly and spoke a better English than I do, which is always nice.

So he told me that for $3 I could buy a SIM card, and that they had various plans for talk time and data. Since I’m more interested in data than talk time, I asked him if it was possible to have unlimited Internet for a month.


He gave me a pricing sheet that showed me the various options. For unlimited Internet for 30 days, the price was about $30. So I chose this plan and added $10 worth of talk time so we can call hotels and stuff.

In about 5 minutes from the time I walked in to the time I walked out, I had a brand new Thai phone number with unlimited Internet and about 2 hours of talk time. That was without a doubt the most painless experience ever!

Edge is not very fast but I’m used to it now. And to be honest, it feels like Edge in Thailand is as fast as 3G in Bali or Australia.

The coverage is amazing too! We’ve been traveling to remote little islands and I’ve always been able to get coverage. Heck, even on ferries while island hopping, I was still able to tweet and email.

Next stop for us is Cambodia. Hopefully my experience getting a plan for my iPhone there will be as pleasant and easy as it was here in Thailand. To be continued…