Buying a SIM card at Phuket International Airport (HKT) for Travelers: Best Plans + Cost 2024

This article is for travelers arriving at Phuket airport and wanting to get Internet access upon arrival. Here we explain how to buy a SIM card at Phuket International Airport (HKT) step-by-step as a tourist, best plans for travelers, latest prices and alternatives to airport SIM card. Let’s find out below!

Buying a SIM card at Phuket airport

I. Should You Buy a SIM Card at Phuket International Airport (HKT)?

Yes. Buying a Thai SIM card at Phuket Airport is suitable for those who need instant Internet access upon arrival and don’t mind the high prices or queuing in lines for getting the SIM card. 

To stay connected during your trip to Phuket or Thailand as well, you can choose one of connectivity options: home SIM card, portable wifi, free public Wifi, Thai SIM card and prepaid Thai eSIM. 

Using SIM card buying at the airport is an old-fashioned way to get mobile data for travelers. This also goes for travelers to Phuket airport. 

However, the downsides of this option are higher price (in comparison with buying SIM in Phuket’s center) or less plan options to choose from. 

Our recommendation:

  • Make sure that your phone is carrier-unlocked so you can use Thailand SIM card.
  • You should choose a prepaid Thailand SIM card with data only to save cost. This still allows you to get Internet access with mobile data while maintaining contact with people at home via voice apps.
  • If your phone supports eSIM technology, it is wise to consider a prepaid international tourist eSIM for Thailand. This saves your effort and time in getting a physical SIM card as normal. The entire process can be completed online by scanning a QR code, eliminating the need to wait for SIM delivery or manually insert a card.

Good to know: The Phuket airport is approximately 28 km away from the city center which can be covered in about 30 minutes. 

II. How to Buy a SIM card at Phuket International Airport (HKT)? 

Though Phuket airport is the third largest airport in Thailand, it is not so big. Therefore, SIM card shops/stalls are located close to each other. 

The three major cellular network carriers in Thailand (DTAC, AIS, TrueMove H) all present in Phuket airport and sell tourist SIM for travelers. 

Thailand also has some mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs); however, they do not sell tourist SIM at the airport, so you do not need to care about them.

To buy SIM card at Phuket International airport, you can choose one of the two ways:

1. Buy online and pick up at Phuket airport (HKT)

You just need to search for a SIM card for Thailand travel and see if the provider you choose offers the option of getting a SIM card at Phuket International airport.

The general process is choosing your suitable SIM plan, making a payment, and getting the necessary information about SIM in your registered email. Exact location of meeting will be shared with you at the time of booking

After landing at Phuket airport, show the received information and passport to the staff. Done, you get your Thailand SIM card and are ready to stay connected during your trip.

What to prepare: your passport + unlocked phone + voucher of the provider (if any) on site

how to buy sim card tourist at Phuket airport

2. Buy upon arrival at Phuket airport

Phuket airport has 02 terminals: domestic and international.

The domestic terminal is about 2 minutes of walking from the international one. 

In the domestic terminal, there is only TrueMove H stall selling SIM cards.

In the international terminal, there are stalls of 3 major Thai network carriers.

You can find SIM card stalls/stores/shops around the Immigration area, baggage claim area and arrival hall.

What to prepare: your passport or ID card + carrier-unlocked phone + cash/card payment (if accepted)

III. How much does a Thailand SIM card cost at Phuket airport?

SIM card prices at Phuket Airport vary depending on the provider and the specific plan you choose. However, most SIM cards offered by major Thai cellular network operators cost from 259 THB (7.30 USD) to 1800 THB (50.65 USD).

Pro Tip: We recommend you to get a SIM card at Phuket Airport because you will avoid the tourist/convenience tax.

IV. Where to Buy a SIM Card at Phuket International Airport (HKT)? 

It is better to buy a SIM card from official stores like AIS, TrueMove H, or DTAC within Phuket airport to avoid extra fees that resellers might charge.

You can also buy a SIM card for Thailand at convenience stores like 7-Eleven.

Here are the detailed guidelines for each:

1. DTAC stores

Map of Dtac stores at Phuket airport HKT
Map of Dtac stores at Phuket airport HKT

DTAC is one of the biggest network companies and also the cheapest in Thailand. If you go to major cities in Thailand, DTAC is the best choice. 

The DTAC plans for tourists to Thailand are of DTAC Happy Tourist SIM line (speed up to 100 Mbps).

Locations:

Official store

  • Official DTAC counter International Arrival Terminal Branch Exit No. 1-2
  • Official DTAC counter at Baggage Claim No. 2

Partner store

  • Partner DTAC counter at Baggage Claim No. 6

Service Hours: 00:00 – 23:59 from Monday to Sunday

What to prepare: passport, carrier-unlocked, cash or card payment

Cost: from 249 THB to 1549 THB

Note that Truemove H and DTAC Thailand announced that they will merge into one company called True Corp in March 2023. 

Notes: 

  • DTAC stall at HKT airport’s departure hall only sells travel SIM cards intended for international use – not within Thailand, so be aware of this.
  • Some DTAC plans are exclusively available at airports and cannot be found elsewhere.

Pro Tip: Online prices tend to be about 35% cheaper than what's offered at the airport.

2. AIS stores

For travel to smaller towns in Thailand, choose AIS as your network provider. As the country’s largest cell service by coverage, AIS reaches more remote areas like Chiang Rai. 

In the past, AIS was the largest mobile network operator in Thailand. However, due to the merger of DTAC and TrueMove H, AIS is not the largest. 

At Phuket airport, the store of AIS is bigger than the other two Thai airports (Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport, Bangkok Don Mueang airport). 

AIS SIM plans at Phuket airport offer you credit (for domestic and international use – calls and SMS) and unlimited minutes for using within the network.

What to prepare: cash or card payment (accepted), passport/ID card, carrier-unlocked phone.

Cost: 299 THB – 1699 THB

Note: 

  • At Phuket airport, AIS store accept card payment (unlike at BKK or DMK airport)
  • The salesperson may take up your photo as part of the SIM card registration laws of Thailand.
  • Most ATMs in Thailand (including HKT airport) apply a standard fee of 220 THB for cash withdrawals using international cards. To avoid multiple charges, you should withdraw a sufficient amount of money upfront to cover your expenses throughout your trip.
  • AIS eSIM is not available at HKT airport, but you can buy it online

3. TrueMove H Stores

Map of trueshop at phuket hkt airport
Map of Trueshop stores at Phuket airport HKT

TrueMove H is the 2nd largest cellular network company in Thailand. In some locations, it has better performance than AIS. 

TrueMove H is the only provider having a stall in the domestic terminal’s arrivals hall. 

This network operator has 02 SIM card lines for tourists: TrueMove H Thailand Tourist SIM (data + unlimited minutes for on-net calls) and TrueMove H Infinite SIM (unlimited data at max speeds (5G NR) + unlimited local minutes).

Locations: 

  • Branch 1 : International Arrivals Hall, Baggage Claim No. 4
  • Branch 2 : International Arrivals Hall (After Custom Declaration)
  • Branch 3  : Domestic Arrivals Hall

Opening hours: 00:00 – 23:59 from Monday to Sunday

Cost: from 299 THB and 999 THB

What to prepare: cash only, passport/ID card, carrier-unlocked phone.

Note: Be aware of your flight’s arrival time at Phuket International Airport, as not all SIM shops operate 24/7.

4. Convenience stores

You can also buy a SIM card for Thailand travel at convenience stores like 7-Eleven and Familymart at Phuket airport.

V. What to Prepare for Getting a SIM Card at Phuket International Airport (HKT)?

You need to prepare an unlocked phone, cash or card payment (varied by SIM provider), and passport when buying a Thailand SIM card at Phuket International Airport. 

VI. Best Tourist Phuket Airport SIM Cards Options and Price

Below we introduce some SIM card options for Thailand travel by mobile internet provider and price accordingly:

1. DTAC Thailand SIM plans at Phuket airport (Happy Tourist SIM)

DTAC happy tourist sim at HKT airport
DTAC happy tourist sim at HKT airport

Here are DTAC tourist SIM plans for Thailand travel:

  • DTAC Happy Tourist SIM 8-days Unlimited Internet: 15 GB data at max speed, calls to DTAC numbers, 100 Baht calls to all networks =  299 Baht (USD 8.32)
  • DTAC Happy Tourist SIM 10-days Unlimited Internet: 50 GB data at max speed, 100 mins calls to all networks = 349 Baht (USD 9.70)
  • DTAC Happy Tourist SIM 15-days Unlimited Internet: 30 GB data at max speed = 599 Baht (USD 16.68)
  • DTAC Happy Tourist SIM Pay-As-You-Go: 1 GB data for 24 hours, calls to DTAC numbers for 1 day = 49 Baht (USD 1.36)

2. AIS Thailand SIM plans at Phuket airport

AIS SIM card for tourists at HKT airport
AIS SIM card for tourists at HKT airport

Here are AIS tourist SIM plans for Thailand travel:

  • 299 THB (7.30 USD) – 100 THB credit, 15 GB data, unlimited on-net minutes, 8 day validity
  • Exclusive for Phuket airport: 399 THB (9.75 USD) – 115 THB credit, 20 GB data, unlimited on-net minutes, 10 day validity
  • Exclusive for Phuket airport: 649 THB (15.90 USD) – 150 THB credit, 35 GB data, unlimited on-net minutes, 15 day validity
  • 699 THB (17.15 USD) – 50 THB credit, unlimited data at 4 Mbps, unlimited on-net minutes, 15 day validity
  • Exclusive for Phuket airport: 899 THB (22.05 USD) – 150 THB credit, 50 GB data, unlimited on-net minutes, 30 day validity
  • 999 THB (24.50 USD) – 50 THB credit, unlimited data at 10 Mbps, unlimited on-net minutes, 30 day validity
  • Exclusive for Phuket airport: 1299 THB (31.85 USD) – 150 THB credit, 300 GB data, unlimited on-net minutes, 30 day validity
  • 1399 THB (34.30 USD) – 200 THB credit, 100 GB data, unlimited on-net minutes, 30 day validity
  • 1699 THB (41.65 USD) – 50 THB credit, unlimited data, unlimited on-net minutes, 30 day validity

Note:  Social data for using Facebook, Instagram, Line, TikTok, Twitter & YouTube

3. TrueMove H SIM plans at Phuket airport

Truemove H SIM plans sold at HKT airport
Truemove H SIM plans sold at HKT airport

Here are TrueMove H tourist SIM plans for Thailand travel:

  • 299 THB (7.30 USD) for 15 GB data, unlimited social media data, unlimited local minutes for 16 days
  • 399 THB (10.30 USD) for 25 GB data, unlimited social media data, unlimited local minutes for 16 days
  • 399 THB (10.30 USD) for unlimited data, local minutes for 8 days
  • 599 THB (15.40 USD) for 30 GB data, unlimited social media data, unlimited local minutes for 30 days
  • 699 THB (17.90 USD) for unlimited data, unlimited local minutes for 15 days
  • 899 THB (23 USD) for 150 GB data, unlimited social media data, unlimited local minutes for 30 days
  • 999 THB (25.60 USD) for unlimited data, unlimited local minutes for 30 days

Note: Prices and plan features are subject to change over time. Contact the provider for updated information.

VII. Thailand eSIM for Phuket – an Alternative to Prepaid SIM Card at Phuket Airport

If you have a phone which is carrier-unlocked and supports eSIM, it is recommended to use eSIM for Thailand instead of SIM card for better convenience and value for money. 

A prepaid eSIM from Gigago offers clear advantages over physical SIM cards or other connectivity options.

Gigago Thailand eSIM - alternative to SIM card at HKT airport
Gigago Thailand eSIM – alternative to SIM card at HKT airport

Some key benefits of getting a Gigago Thailand eSIM include:

  • Convenience: Purchase and activate your eSIM online before traveling to avoid airport queues. Connect to WiFi upon arrival to instantly activate service.
  • Flexibility: Use one number across any supported devices without SIM swaps when switching phones.
  • Speed and coverage: Get fast speeds and reliable connections on Thailand’s top networks, better than slow hotel WiFi or data-capped pocket WiFi.
  • Savings: Contact home through internet calling apps while retaining your number, avoiding pricey roaming fees.

Gigago offers flexible eSIM plans with both data and call credits, including options from an 8-day plan with 15GB of data for $8.90 to a 30-day unlimited data plan for $34.90.

For more details and installation guide, check Gigago Thailand eSIM.

VIII. Where to Buy a SIM card Outside Phuket HKT Airport?

Here are a few options to buy a SIM card outside Phuket International Airport:

  • Mobile operator stores: Large stores of AIS, TrueMove and Dtac can be found in Phuket town and beach areas like Patong.
  • 7-Elevens: Smaller 7-Eleven convenience stores sell SIM cards from all major operators nationwide. Stores are widespread in Phuket.
  • Family Mart: Another convenient chain to find SIM cards when 7-Elevens are not nearby. Prevalent in Phuket city center.
  • Online: SIM cards, especially eSIMs, can also be purchased online from travel sites and activated upon arrival in Phuket. Gigago and Airalo are top options.

IX. FAQs

Which mobile network providers are available at Phuket airport?

The major mobile network providers in Thailand such as AIS, TrueMove H, and dtac have kiosks or stores at Phuket airport where you can buy SIM cards and data packages.

Will I need to show any identification to purchase a SIM card at the airport?

Yes, you will need to show your passport to purchase a SIM card at Phuket international airport. This is a standard requirement in Thailand for registering a new SIM card.

Can I use my foreign passport to buy a SIM card at Phuket international airport?

Yes, you can use your foreign passport to buy a SIM card at Phuket airport. The staff at the SIM card kiosks will typically require your passport for identification and registration purposes.

Will the staff at the airport help me set up the SIM card in my phone?

Yes, the staff at the kiosks or stores can assist you in setting up the SIM card in your phone, including activating it and configuring your phone’s settings.

Will the SIM card purchased at Phuket airport work throughout Thailand, or are there limitations?

The SIM card you purchase at Phuket airport will typically work throughout Thailand, but it’s always a good idea to check coverage maps and inquire about any specific limitations before making your purchase.

Can I use my foreign credit card to purchase a SIM card and data package at the airport?

Many of the kiosks and stores at Phuket airport accept foreign credit cards, but it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand just in case.