13
Cheers
Jesse McLaughlan

Travelled to 14 countries / regions

Written 48 briefs
Backpacked across Thailand in spring 2019

3119 views

0 comments


Asia > Thailand > Phuket > Phuket International Airport > Useful Info
Updated on Nov 23, 2019 Useful Info

How to buy SIM card at Phuket International Airport

  • Phuket International Airport has three terminals: Terminal 1 for domestic flights, Terminal 2 for international flights, and Terminal X for charter flights. You will be able to buy a tourist prepaid SIM card at either Terminal 1 (domestic) or Terminal 2 (international)
  • Thailand has 3 telecom providers: 1) AIS, 2) True, and 3) dtac. AIS and True are very similar to each other in terms of price, offer, and coverage, while dtac gives you more data for at a similar price but with less coverage in rural areas. Additionally, which terminal you land in will also determine the choices you have:
  • AIS has a store in Terminal 1(domestic)
  • True has a small booth in Terminal 1 (domestic terminal) and a store in Terminal 2 (international)
  • dtac has a store in Terminal 2 (international)


  • Location of the telecom stores at Phuket airport:
  • Terminal 1 - Domestic (True and AIS): as you head towards the exit of the baggage claim area, you will see a red booth on your left for True, before the row of car rental booths. After you exit the baggage claim area into the arrival hall (but before you exit the terminal building), you will see a green store to your left for AISUser submitted photo of Phuket International AirportUser submitted photo of Phuket International AirportUser submitted photo of Phuket International AirportUser submitted photo of Phuket International Airport
  • Terminal 2 - International (True and dtac): after you get your luggage, exit the customs and baggage claim area into the arrival hall (before you exit the terminal building). Immediately in front of you is red True store, and immediately to your right is blue dtac storeUser submitted photo of Phuket International AirportUser submitted photo of Phuket International AirportUser submitted photo of Phuket International Airport
  • Store hours: the stores should be open for the entire duration of airport operation, meaning whenever flights are arriving they should be open


  • SIM prices: keep in mind that prices change from time to time and what's available at the airport is usually a subset of all available offers. So please use these prices as guidelines rather than exact numbers. That said, the actual number should be very similar to these prices
  • AIS: 2GB of data usable for 5 days for 160 baht ($5.3USD); total 3GB of data usable for 8 days for 299 baht ($9.9USD); 6GB of data usable for 15 days for 599 baht ($20USD). Check AIS website for the current offersUser submitted photo of Phuket International Airport
  • True: 3GB of data usable for 8 days for 299 baht ($9.9USD); 8GB of data usable for 15 days for 599 baht ($20USD). Check True's website for current offersUser submitted photo of Phuket International Airport
  • dtac (most amount of data): 5GB of data usable for 4 days for 149 baht ($5USD); 15GB of data usable for 8 days for 299 baht ($9.9USD); 30GB of data usable for 15 days for 599 baht ($20USD); Check dtac's website for its latest offersUser submitted photo of Phuket International Airport


  • What you need to get a SIM card: you need cash baht and passport to buy a SIM card. Credit cards are not accepted if I recall correctly. Don't worry there are lots of currency exchange shops all around the telecom stores and their rates aren't terrible. You don't need anything else - the store will take care of the entire SIM card swapping process for you in less than 5 minutes


  • Which telecom to go with: if you're only travelling the major cities and tourist towns, then there's zero difference between any of the three telecoms. However, as you will see in the coverage maps below, AIS has the best 4G+ coverage in Thailand, covering the entire country with this ultra fast network. Dtac's 4G+ coverage is the least extensive among the 3 major telecoms, but it still covers the entire country with 4G, which should be more than enough for everything you need. The difference will become noticeable when you visit rural parts of Thailand, which 99% of the tourists to Thailand do not. Personally I went with dtac and I was pretty happy with the speed, and I went to Phuket, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Krabi, Samui, and Koh Phan Ngan
  • AIS coverage map:User submitted photo of Phuket International Airport
  • True coverage map:User submitted photo of Phuket International Airport
  • dtac coverage map:User submitted photo of Phuket International Airport


  • Additional tips:
  • Make sure your phone is unlocked. You need to check with your home telecom provider to see if that's the case. If your phone is locked then unfortunately you won't be able to get a tourist SIM card anywhere
  • The offers available at the airport stores are usually much more limited than what's available in town. This really shouldn't matter to most short term visitors because whatever they sell at the airport is more than enough for you. However, if you're planning to stay in Thailand for longer than 2 months, don't get your SIM card at the airport; instead, go to the location of one of these telecom's store in town and you will usually get a much lower price with higher usage allowance
  • Even if you're not tech-savvy, changing your SIM card is super simple. In fact, at these stores you don't even need to do anything yourself. The store staff who sells you the card can take care of swapping the card for you, and this process takes no more than 5 minutes. The only thing is that you need to take care to hang onto your own SIM card that gets swapped out, because you'll need to put that back into your phone when you leave Thailand


Terminal 1 (domestic) arrival walkthrough where you can see the booth for True and store for AIS:

Terminal 2 (international) arrival walkthrough where you can see the stores for True and dtac: