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Cell Phone - buying in Thailand... Use it all over SEA?

  • jBird

    Joined Travelfish
    11th January, 2009
    Posts: 19

    Going to Thailand, Laos, & Vietnam. my cell phone isn't GMS compatible... whatever that is, so I'm planning on buying a phone and SIM card in Thailand.

    Can I use that phone in Laos and Vietnam or do I need to buy a SIM card for each country?

    #1 Posted: 16/1/2009 - 01:55

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  • DLuek

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    19th June, 2008
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 796
    Total reviews: 14

    Hi jBird,

    You will need a different SIM for each country but you can use the same phone. Last time I did this I bought a phone at Siam Square in Bangkok (MBK 5th floor I think - the whole floor is just for cell phones). After you buy your phone they'll give you the SIM for a little more money and when you run out of minutes you can go to any 7/11 to re-charge.

    Or you can buy an unlocked phone in your home country before-hand and then buy the SIM when you get there. A Thai friend of mine who lives partly in the US and partly in Thailand said that phones are one thing that are just as expensive in Thailand as here in the states. If you want to know your phone #(s) before you leave, you can buy SIM cards for a bit more $ at www.telestial.com. They also give instructions to help people reach you in each country.

    Hope that helps,

    DL

    #2 Posted: 16/1/2009 - 10:28

  • jBird

    Joined Travelfish
    11th January, 2009
    Posts: 19

    Huge help... Thanks, DL.

    #3 Posted: 16/1/2009 - 21:18

  • thaiyaikit

    Joined Travelfish
    20th September, 2008
    Posts: 32

    Don't know how much a phone costs in states, but in Thailand you can buy a brand new mobile for 800 Baht and a SIM card for about 70 Baht

    #4 Posted: 22/1/2009 - 08:39

  • jBird

    Joined Travelfish
    11th January, 2009
    Posts: 19

    Thanks for the info.

    I've got a GSM phone. Can I buy a SIM card in Samui or Pha-Ngan?

    We're flying into Bangkok, spending the night then off to Samui, catch the ferry to Pha-Ngan (same day).... when we arrive, we're staying someplace near the airport & saving Bangkok for the end of our trip. Not sure if I'm going to want to head into Bangkok after the dreaded 28 hour flight just for a SIM card... would rather sleep!

    Is it worth going into Bangkok to get the SIM card? Also, are there any SIM companies that have better rates or are they pretty much the same?

    And lastly, is it easy to recharge the card any where in Thailand? We'll be on the islands, then up to Chiang Mai and/or Rai and some other smaller cities.

    #5 Posted: 22/1/2009 - 21:15

  • DLuek

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    19th June, 2008
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 796
    Total reviews: 14

    Yes, you can defenitely get the SIM on Samui. Just go to any 7/11 and ask. The 'happy' brand is what I've always used, and it seems to be a fine rate. You can re-charge at any 7/11 (or anywhere else where 'happy' is sold) throughout the whole country (7/11's are very, very common in Thailand).

    good luck,

    dl

    #6 Posted: 23/1/2009 - 05:25

  • jBird

    Joined Travelfish
    11th January, 2009
    Posts: 19

    Here I am trying to get away from the 7/11s and Starbucks and McDs...
    Thanks for the your help!

    #7 Posted: 23/1/2009 - 21:53

  • DLuek

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    19th June, 2008
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 796
    Total reviews: 14

    I know - I realized after I wrote my response that it sounded like an advertisement for 7/11! It's not only at 7/11 where you can get the SIM and re-charge it - most convenience/grocery/communications stores will do it. I just used 7/11 as an easy example because they really are everywhere. But if I have the option, I always try to support the local businesses instead.

    Have fun!

    #8 Posted: 24/1/2009 - 04:36

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