Best Asia SIM Cards for Tourists: Updated Prices & Where to Buy 2024

It’s important when traveling Asia to know about costs and convenient purchasing locations for the best Asian SIM card, ensuring seamless connectivity.

Asiam SIM card

Planning to visit Asia soon? Staying connected to the Internet is important if you want to have a rewarding and convenient trip! Prepaid Asia SIM card with data plans help you stay in touch with loved ones and share your adventures. Wondering if you should get one? Gigago will cover Asian SIM card types, costs, and best plans in the following article guide.

I. Should You Get a Sim Card in Asia?

Yes, definitely. There are various options available for staying connected while traveling in Asia, including roaming, free WiFi, pocket WiFi, and SIM/eSIM cards. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, but the most popular is still using a SIM card. Some of the most prominent reasons why you should buy a SIM card when going to Asia:

  • Cost saving: Local SIM cards offer a cost-effective solution in comparison to other methods of staying connected. Specifically, when it comes to using internet data, travelers can avoid incurring high fees associated with international roaming services.
  • Convenient: When opting for a SIM card connection method in Asia, travelers will be provided with a local phone number. This offers the convenience of making domestic calls and receiving messages while exploring the region.
  • Stable Internet connection: By using a local SIM card in Asia, foreign tourists can enjoy uninterrupted internet in all areas with coverage. This is convenient for tourists when visiting remote areas with limited Wi-Fi in Asia.
  • High flexibility: Asian domestic SIM cards are more convenient than other connection methods such as public Wi-fi. Because visitors can flexibly choose service packages and providers depending on their needs.
You can easily get a Sim card in Asia
You can easily get a Sim card in Asia

Pro Tips:

  • For travelers who primarily require Internet access and don't need to text or call, choosing Asia Data SIM is a cost-effective option.
  • Tourists need to check their phone settings to be unlocked so they can receive signals from the network operator in Europe to avoid connection interruptions.

II. Types of Asia SIM Card for Tourists – Which One is the Best?

SIM cards in Asia are available in two types: prepaid physical travel SIM cards and travel eSIM. Each type offers distinct features that cater to the specific requirements of tourists, whether they need only internet connectivity or a combination of calling and texting services.

1. Prepaid physical SIM card in Asia

Prepaid physical SIM card in Asia
Prepaid physical SIM card in Asia

Currently there are 2 types of physical prepaid Asia SIM Card for tourists.

  • The first is a data-only package that does not provide a phone number for visitors to make calls and text messages. The product is suitable for travelers who only need to access the Internet to view maps, browse the web and use mobile applications such as Facebook, Instagram, Telegram.
  • There is also a service package that provides Internet data and a phone number for visitors to call and text. Therefore, depending on specific needs, visitors can easily choose the appropriate SIM type.

2. Prepaid Tourist Asia eSIM

eSIM allow tourists to use 2 SIMs at the same time
eSIM allow tourists to use 2 SIMs at the same time

Prepaid Asia travel eSIM is a modern technology SIM that can be purchased and activated 100% online, allowing tourists to use 2 SIMs at the same time. Thanks to that, you can maintain contact via the phone number you are using, and at the same time connect to the network via eSIM.

However, not all mobile phones are compatible with eSIM technology, so you need to check if your device supports eSIM. Similar to physical SIM, eSIM also has 2 types: eSIM only data and eSIM data + call and text to meet the diverse needs of travelers.

To better understand prepaid physical SIM cards and prepaid Asia travel eSIMs, travelers can follow the following comparison table:

Prepaid physical Asia SIM cardPrepaid eSIM for Asia
Pros– Good price
– There are many diverse packages, suitable for each customer’s needs.
– Easy to buy at many different locations.
– High compatibility with any unlocked device.
– Simple installation and activation process.
– You can easily buy eSIM through online sites.
– Customers can use 2 SIM cards at the same time, reducing the risk of losing the main SIM.
– Switch quickly between providers.
Cons– When purchasing a prepaid physical SIM, visitors must purchase and activate it directly at the store.
– Visitors may have difficulty communicating with store staff because of language barriers.
– The physical SIM card may be lost or damaged, causing connection interruption.
– Some devices do not support eSIM technology.
– When activating eSIM, travelers need to ensure a stable internet connection.

Pro Tips:

  • Many Asia eSIM packages available online do not come with calls and texts. Just a few providers offer packages with this feature. So, if you want to make calls and text messages, make sure your package includes it (we will recommend the best plans below).
  • Even when the eSIM provider claims that their plans offer unlimited data, check carefully because in fact, there is just a certain amount of data equipped with high speed data. After this amount runs out, the speed will be capped to a lower level.

III. Best Asia SIM Card Packages for Tourists and Price

The best Asia SIM card plans for travelers offer convenient and cost-effective solutions for staying connected while traveling in Asia. Below are detailed information about packages and prices in some countries of interest to many travelers.

1. Best China Mobile SIM Card Plans and Price 

This is one of the leading phone companies in China. In addition to operating in its home country, this network also provides prepaid SIM cards for tourists with coverage in many Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

China Mobile SIM Card for tourists
China Mobile SIM Card for tourists

With a China Mobile SIM card, you can find data plans ranging from 1.5GB – 4GB with 4G/3G network, depending on the coverage in the destination country. These packages last 7, 8 or 10 days and range in price from $10 – $60.

2. Best Korea SK Telecom SIM Card Plans and Price 

SK Telecom is one of the largest phone companies in Korea, offering a diverse range of products. SK Telecom’s SIM card plans come with unlimited local data at up to 10 Mbps. Moreover, the product also includes unlimited calls to local numbers from the 5-day option onwards.

  • Unlimited data, 1-day validity = $4.59
  • Unlimited data, 3-day validity = $8.2
  • Unlimited data, 5-day validity = $14.9
  • Unlimited data, 10-day validity = $22.5
  • Unlimited data, 20-day validity = $38.2
  • Unlimited data, 30-day validity = $45.4
SK Telecom offer a diverse range of SIM cards
SK Telecom offer a diverse range of SIM cards

3. Best Japan NTT SIM Card Plans and Price

When purchasing a Japan NTT SIM card, you will find 8, 20 and 30 day plans with 3GB, 6GB and 9GB of high-speed navigation respectively. Regarding the cost of the packages, they are also reasonable, ranging from $20 – $70. You must remember that your phone must be able to operate on LTE band 1 to use it.

Japan NTT SIM Card Plans
Japan NTT SIM Card Plans

Note: The price and plan can be changed over time. Contact the mobile operator to get the most updated information

IV. Where to Buy a Tourist SIM Card for Asia?

There are four different methods to purchase an Asia SIM card designed specifically for travelers. Below, Gigago will outline the advantages and disadvantages of each option, allowing you to make the most informed and convenient decision to buy a SIM card based on your needs.

1. Buy SIM card online before departure

Purchasing a SIM card online ahead of your trip is a convenient choice for travelers. You just need to search for a suitable SIM provider and network package without providing personal information (name, address, phone number,…) to place an order.

The outstanding advantage of this method is that when visitors come to Asia, they already have data to access the Internet. However, this option is quite expensive for short trips. Furthermore, travelers cannot change packages while traveling.

2. Buy SIM card at the airport in Asia 

If you choose to purchase a SIM card at the airport in Asia, it is recommended to research information about the network operators in advance. Upon arrival, you can easily locate the kiosk of the selected network operator by referring to the map or guide board.

Buy SIM card at the airport in Asia 
Buy SIM card at the airport in Asia 

The benefit of purchasing a SIM card at the airport is that you can obtain it instantly, without the need to wait for shipping. Additionally, the staff at the airport are typically proficient in English, avoiding any language barriers.

However, it’s important to note that SIM card prices at the airport are generally higher compared to outside stores, and there may be limited plan options available. Additionally, visitors are typically required to present their passport when purchasing a SIM card.

3. Buy SIM cards in cities in Asia 

Apart from the aforementioned options, visitors can also purchase SIM cards in various cities across Asia. SIM cards are often available at locations such as convenience stores, shopping malls, train stations, and official stores of mobile operators. 

However, visitors might encounter challenges when purchasing SIM cards at city locations due to language barriers. Staff members may have difficulty answering customer questions during the selection of service packages and the SIM activation process.

4. Buy eSIM

Purchasing an eSIM online is a straightforward process, allowing visitors to choose between international SIM suppliers or Asia SIM suppliers. With an eSIM, visitors can conveniently maintain contact using their existing phone number.

Purchasing an eSIM online is a straightforward process
Purchasing an eSIM online is a straightforward process

However, it is important for visitors to carefully review the eSIM provider’s terms and return policy before making a purchase. Also, don’t forget to verify whether your device supports eSIM connection or not.

V. How Much Data is Enough for a Prepaid Tourist SIM Card for Asia?

A 1GB data plan is generally sufficient to fulfill basic usage needs for tourists during a one-day experience in Asia. This includes tasks such as communication, accessing social networking applications, browsing the internet, and streaming music.

  • For simple tourists: Tourists do not require too much data access, they have the option to choose service packages ranging from 1GB to 5GB based on the duration of their stay.
  • Business travelers or guests who need to share wifi: Guests who need to share WiFi with 2-3 devices and engage in activities such as using social networks, watching videos, or streaming music online should consider selecting a data package ranging from 7GB to 10GB.
A 1GB data package is generally enough for a one-day traveler in Asia.
A 1GB data package is generally enough for a one-day traveler in Asia.

Pro Tips:

  • The capacity for each of the above usage needs is only an estimate, not accurate.
  • Actual data usage may vary depending on the traveler's specific activities.
  • Travelers should balance data usage according to usage needs to avoid wasting data or missing data causing access interruptions.
  • Travelers should choose a package with data rollover feature to take advantage of unused data that day and transfer it to the next day

VI. Asia eSIM – Alternative to Physical SIM Cards to Get Internet in Asia

Prepaid eSIM is a flexible and cost-effective mobile solution for travelers who need an internet connection in Asia. Compared to data roaming or pocket Wi-fi services, eSIM has many service packages at more reasonable prices.

GIgago eSIM for Asia
If tourists want to buy a Asia eSIM, they can refer to the options at Gigago

In particular, this option helps visitors have a stable connection anywhere and without interrupting communication with the old phone number, something that public Wi-fi or physical Sim cards cannot do.

If tourists want to buy a Asia eSIM, they can refer to the options at Gigago. With a convenient 100% online process, customers will receive the eSIM via email and activate it with a QR code, connecting immediately upon landing.

For Asia, Gigago offers multiple data plan options, starting from 1GB for 5 days with $6.90 . What is great about Gigago’s Asia eSIM is that its plans’ costs are diversifying, varying between $6.90$72.00 . Thus, it does not matter how Internet users you are and how long your trip is in [country], there is always an option for you with Gigago.

eSIM Gigago is 100% free of data roaming costs, providing call and texting services via applications. Gigago’s staff is always ready to support guests 24/7 via chat or email.

VII. Which Asia Mobile Networks Are The Best for Tourists?

Visitors have 3 major mobile networks to choose from to buy SIMs in Asia: China Mobile, SK Telecom and NTT Japan. Each network operator has diverse services, competitive prices, and attractive incentives. Below are some evaluation criteria to help you understand better.

1. China Mobile

China Mobile is the largest wireless carrier in China. Nham This carrier provides 3G, 4G, 5G mobile voice and multimedia services through mobile telecommunications networks across many Asian countries. Especially in 2023, China Mobile is ranked 25th in Forbes’ Global 2000.

China Mobile is the largest wireless carrier in China
China Mobile is the largest wireless carrier in China

2. Korea SK Telecom

SK Telecom is the largest wireless telecommunications operator in Korea with 27,019 million subscribers in 2017. Currently this network provides 3G, 4G, 5G Internet services in many countries such as Vietnam, Japan, China. In 2023, SK Telecom ranked first for the fastest average download speed in Korea at 192.67 Mbps.

SK Telecom is the largest wireless telecommunications operator in Korea
SK Telecom is the largest wireless telecommunications operator in Korea

3. Japan NTT

NTT is the fourth largest telecommunications company in the world by revenue, as well as the third largest publicly traded company in Japan. In 2023, the company was ranked 56th in Forbes Global 2000. One of the main services of this carrier is to provide 3G, 4G, 5G SIM card options for tourists coming to Asia.

NTT is the third largest publicly traded company in Japan
NTT is the third largest publicly traded company in Japan
CriteriaChina MobileSK TelecomJapan NTT
SpeedSuper FastFastFast
PriceReasonable CheapReasonable 
eSIM availableYesYesYes

VIII. How to Use Asia Prepaid SIM Cards and eSIM

Travelers can easily purchase and activate Asia Prepaid SIM Cards or eSIM with just a few simple steps. This provides them with a convenient solution for staying connected while traveling in Asia. Below is a general guide to assist you further.

1. Using prepaid Asia tourist SIM Cards

Once you have purchased an Asia SIM card, follow these steps to use it:

  • Turn off your phone and remove your existing SIM card, keeping it in a safe place.
  • Insert the SIM card into the appropriate slot.
  • Power on your phone and wait for it to connect to the network.
  • If necessary, configure the APN settings provided by the SIM card provider.
  • You’re all set! Now you can make calls, send texts, and access the internet using the Asia SIM card.

2. Setting up and activating Asia eSIM

To use an eSIM in the Asia, you can refer to the following steps: 

  • Verify eSIM compatibility: Ensure that your phone supports eSIM functionality and is unlocked.
  • Activation: Access your phone’s eSIM settings and either scan the QR code or enter the provided activation code.
  • Enjoy seamless connectivity: After activation, you should switch between different eSIM profiles in your device settings for uninterrupted connectivity.


Can tourists buy SIM cards in Asia? 

Yes. You can buy an Asia SIM card at international airports, mobile provider stores, convenience stores, or online.

Can I share data with others using an Asia SIM card? 

Yes, you can share data with others using a SIM card. Simply activate data transfer on your phone to enable data sharing.

Should I get eSIM or physical SIM Asia?

If you are visiting Asia for tourism, a data eSIM comes highly recommended. It lets you keep your own number for important calls and use apps to stay in touch with family and friends.

What do I do if my SIM card doesn’t work in Asia?

If you have any problems with your digital SIM card or need support, you can contact your SIM card provider’s customer service for help. They will assist you regardless of your location or time.

X. Conclusion

In conclusion, purchasing an Asia SIM card and eSIM is highly recommended for travelers. Hopefully from the above article, you have saved useful information and please visit Gigago to check out the latest packages with preferential prices for your upcoming trip.