- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Thailand Guide (PDF)
Expats moving to Thailand won’t have a problem keeping in touch with family and friends back home as the standard of the country’s communication infrastructure is generally good. Most communication services are high-quality and are available at affordable prices. Some amenities may be limited to larger cities, however.
Mobile phones in Thailand
In recent years, it has become more difficult for expats in Thailand to buy a SIM card. In most cases, expats will be required to present their passport to get a registered SIM card.
TrueMove, DTAC and AIS are the three major mobile providers in Thailand. All offer both prepaid and post-paid options. Contract deals are usually better value than pay-as-you-go, but they offer less flexibility in terms of moving networks or closing an account early if leaving Thailand.
Internet in Thailand
For most expats, having reliable internet is a priority, whether for work or to keep in touch with family and friends back in their home country. There are many internet service providers in Thailand, especially in big cities like Bangkok. Nationally, the four major ISPs are True Online, AIS, 3BB, and TOT. The speed of connection varies widely according to the package and service provider chosen.
WiFi hotspots are regularly available in most malls, restaurants and hotels. Free connections in public places should generally be avoided to prevent issues such as hacking or data theft. Free WiFi connections from restaurants and hotels are usually safe, but the connection speeds do vary.
The Thai government has placed blocks on certain obscene internet content, and there is also substantial political censorship in Thailand. Several bloggers and online users have been arrested for voicing anti-government or anti-royal sentiments.
Postal services in Thailand
The Thai postal system is efficient and reliable, if a little slow. Thailand has over 3,000 post offices across the country but rural areas are not serviced as well as urban areas. Domestic mail can take up to a week to arrive. Expats, especially those living in urban centres, can make use of courier services such as DHL to speed up the process and ensure a secure delivery.
Staff at Thai post offices don’t always speak English well, so it may help to have a Thai friend assist with translation if the request is particularly urgent. With communication difficulties throughout Thailand in general, Thai staff may try to ‘save face’ in public to avoid confrontation and agree to a request even if they do not understand it.
English-language media in Thailand
Thailand has a well-developed media sector, yet the Thai government and the military remain firmly in control of radio and TV broadcasts. For accurate and independent news, it may be useful to consult an international news outlet.
There are several English-medium publications in Thailand, such as the Bangkok Post and the Nation, which is a solely digital newspaper.