This may be the best Thailand eSIM for travelers [My review]

In-depth eSIM review for people traveling to Thailand

This may be the best Thailand eSIM for travelers [My review]
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The information in this article is at the time of writing.

This month (September 2022), I had an opportunity to travel to Bangkok, Thailand for a couple of days. In this short trip, I bought dtac Happy Tourist eSIM for mobile internet. Here is my review and why I think this might be the best travel eSIM for Thailand 🇹🇭.

TL;DR, this is an eSIM version of one of the most popular tourist SIM cards in Thailand. Great value for money, low latency, and good coverage in most cities in Thailand. Highly recommended.

FYI, there are more than 20 eSIM services and 200+ data plans available for Thailand. And esimdb.com is THE website to find and compare various travel eSIM 👇

Compare eSIM for Thailand - Find the best prepaid data plans for travelers
List of eSIM data plans & prices for Thailand. Search for the best travel eSIM by GB and customer reviews.

What is dtac Happy Tourist eSIM

Happy Tourist SIM has been around quite some time now and is definitely one of the best selling tourist SIM in Thailand (they claim it to be No.1 tourist SIM but cannot be confirmed).

You can find the physical SIM card version in all major airports in Thailand including Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), Don Mueang International Airport, and Phuket International Airport.

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dtac is one of the big 3 telecom companies in Thailand and is merging with the other big telco - True.

And this dtac Happy Tourist SIM is available in eSIM in 2 plans:

  1. 8-day package
  2. 15-day package
dtac Happy Tourist eSIM comes in two variations

Simply put, the exact same plan as the physical SIM can be bought and used with an eSIM. These are packaged tourist eSIM so to speak.

The only differences between the two packages are the validity (days) and the data amount for high speed internet.

8-day Unlimited w/ 15GB at High Speed

This package includes the following.

  • 15GB of mobile data (unlimited data at 384kbps after that)
  • Unlimited domestic calls to dtac numbers
  • 15-baht call credit (for calls to non-dtac numbers and international calls)
  • Special international call rate via 00400
  • Free data usage for 5 chat apps (Facebook Messenger, LINE, WhatsApp, WeChat, and KakaoTalk)

The official selling price is 299 THB, but each reseller sets their own price. Will explain it the next section.

15-day Unlimited w/ 30GB at High Speed

This package includes the following.

  • 30GB of mobile data (unlimited data at 384kbps after that)
  • Unlimited domestic calls to dtac numbers
  • 15-baht call credit (for calls to non-dtac numbers and international calls)
  • Special international call rate via 00400
  • Free data usage for 5 chat apps (Facebook Messenger, LINE, WhatsApp, WeChat, and KakaoTalk)

The official selling price is 599 THB, but again, each reseller sets their own price.

One of the cheapest tourist SIM/eSIM in Thailand. Period.

Both 8-day package and 15-day package are extremely cheap given the amount of data you can get as well as other perks.

Plus, what's important to note is that they are local network / local breakout, meaning it's not roaming thus the expected latency (delay) is much smaller than roaming eSIM.


Where to buy it (my recommendation)

Although it seems that you are able to buy this eSIM from dtac directly via the Happy Tourist eSIM webpage, I personally recommend that you buy it from one of the resellers listed on the webpage.

At time of this writing, there are 6 resellers listed on the dtac webpage including my favorite 'Airalo'.

And here are why I recommend the reseller route rather than direct purchase from dtac.

  1. The dtac webpage did not work properly when I tested, plus they don't seem to care a lot about UI/UX as well as security (this is just my observation though)
  2. Buying it from a reseller might be cheaper and it's in USD, not THB (thus no currency conversion)
  3. Buying it from Airalo was extremely easy and straightforward. Plus I was able to install it directly from their iOS app which was super convenient

Buying the eSIM from Airalo

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Use promo code ESIMDB10 to get 10%OFF on any eSIM from Airalo!

Here is their official website 👇

Local and regional eSIMs for travellers - Airalo
Data packs with local rates. Manage your eSIMs and top-up on the go with Airalo.
Airalo official website

Simply search for Thailand and you will find the two dtac eSIM priced at $9.90 and $19.95 respectively.

dtac eSIM on Airalo

Purchasing an eSIM on Airalo website is super easy and straightforward but if you are keen to know how, below is the article explaining it step by step with screenshots.

How to buy and install Airalo eSIM
Detailed instructions on how to buy and how to install an eSIM from Airalo.
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You can also download their mobile app and buy it on the app.

If you are an iPhone user, you can take advantage of their direct eSIM install feature that allows you to download the eSIM right from their iOS app without a QR code. (I don't think any other resellers support this direct install method.)

*This may come to Android too but not yet at the time of writing.

Other reseller options

Here are some more reseller options other than Airalo that are likely to be a little cheaper.

Airhub

Just like Airalo, Airhub has some competitive travel eSIM to offer including the dtac Happy Tourist eSIM.

Thailand eSIM from Airhub

Selling prices are slightly cheaper than Airalo.

For more information, visit their website below.

eSIM Data - Airhub App-an exquisite esim experience for travellers
To stay connected wherever you may be, get your data eSIM plans on your eSIM device within minutes.
Airhub official website

eSIM2Fly.com

eSIM2Fly.com is another company / website selling the dtac Happy Tourist eSIM.

As it's obvious from their domain name, their main product is actually 'eSIM2Fly', eSIM version of another low-cost & popular tourist SIM from another Thai telco - AIS.

Although eSIM2Fly is a great eSIM product (especially for Asia and beyond), it just can't complete with dtac Happy Tourist eSIM when it comes to Thailand specifically.

They only sell the 8-day package for $9. But you can get $1 discount with promo code 'ESIMDB'!

DTAC Tourist ESIM - For 16 Days In Thailand | ESIM2Fly Shop
Dtac Happy Tourist eSIM for travel to Thailand is the most popular traveler SIM card for visitors. With 15GB for 16 Days, unlimited 2G, and free calls to other DTAC users.

How it performed in Bangkok

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I bought the 8-day eSIM from Airalo and installed it in my iPhone 13 Pro running iOS 16.

With this eSIM, the 8-day period starts when you install it in your device. I installed it the day before my departure to Bangkok.

Network and coverage

After landing in Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) while still in the airplane, I turned on the dtac eSIM and set it for Cellular data on my iPhone. It soon connected to dtac 4G network and I was able to use internet right away.

dtac 4G signal at the top

Throughout my stay in Bangkok, I had no coverage issues with dtac network. I regularly checked and compared it with AIS - the No.1 carrier in Thailand - with my other cellular plan but did not find any meaningful differences at least in Bangkok.

*If you are traveling to rural areas in Thailand, you might want to check dtac coverage beforehand.

Occasionally it connected to dtac 5G briefly but the area was very limited and the speed was pretty much the same as 4G.

At one point at a MRT station it automatically connected to dtac public WiFi but the speed was really slow so I had to manually disable WiFi to use the cellular 4G.

Speed test results

I conducted a couple of speedtests with my iPhone in Bangkok.

Its performance can be summarized as follows.

  • Ping: around 40 ms consistently
  • Download: 30Mbps - 100+Mbps range
  • Upload: 10Mbps - 30Mbps range

Just looking at those numbers may give you an impression that the quality is very good, but my actual hands-on experience was rather okay or decent. Maybe it's due to the infrastructure itself.

So if you are used to ultra fast, low-latency mobile internet in your home country, don't assume that you'll get the same quality with this eSIM or with any other tourist SIM/eSIM in Thailand.

But still, I had no downtime or cut-offs whatsoever and was able to be connected 24/7 with decent internet speed which is what mattered to me. I was able to use internet for Google Maps, Grab, web surfing, social media, etc. all without issues. Over all it was good enough for me and for travel purposes.

Also, Personal Hotspot (tethering) worked just fine with this eSIM which was an extra point.

How to check data balance

Checking data usage / remaining was a bit tricky part of the dtac Happy Tourist eSIM.

It seems that the data cannot be pulled from dtac so Airalo mobile app / website cannot show the real-time data balance. (Probably same for all the other resellers.)

What you need to do to check the data usage is as follows.

  1. Access the dtac service webpage
  2. Click the button in Check balance, Top-up, and Add-on package section at the bottom of the page
  3. Enter 10-digit phone number of your eSIM on the check-balance page
  4. Get OTP (one-time password) via SMS and enter it to verify

Then you should be able to see your remaining balance like this 👇

dtac Happy Tourist eSIM - Data balance
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It only worked on desktop when I tried.
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You can find the phone number under eSIM section under Settings > Cellular on iPhone.

Wrap-up

dtac Happy Tourist eSIM is definitely a great value for money. It's no doubt that it's one of the cheapest Thailand eSIM for travelers.

✅ Low-cost (8-day package for less than $10 and 15-day package for less than $20)

✅ Local network = low latency compared to roaming eSIM

✅ Call credit (15 THB) included + Unlimited domestic calls to dtac numbers

✅ Fulfills cellular quality requirements for travel purposes (though not super fast)

✅ Good coverage in most cities in Thailand (dtac coverage got better than before it seems)

✅ Supports Personal Hotspot (tethering) to connect multiple devices

And again, my advice for people looking to buy this eSIM is to go with Airalo, or Airhub or esim2fly.com.

If you are traveling more than 15 days, you'd have to either buy the 15-day eSIM multiple times or find another eSIM with a longer validity from esimdb.com.

Compare eSIM for Thailand - Find the best prepaid data plans for travelers
List of eSIM data plans & prices for Thailand. Search for the best travel eSIM by GB and customer reviews.