Buying a SIM Card in Vientiane for Travelers 2024: Guide from Locals

Based on this article, you will learn information about SIM cards in Vientiane, how to buy SIM cards in Vientiane, and some necessary tips to make connecting to the network easier during your trip.

buy-sim-cards-in-vientiane-for-tourists

You are planning your trip to Vientiane? But you haven’t chosen how to get connected when you get here. This article will guide you to prepare for buying a SIM card in Vientiane easily and conveniently.

I. Why Buy SIM Cards in Vientiane?

Compared to other connectivity options such as Pocket WiFi and Roaming, SIM cards have several advantages:

  • Cost savings: SIM cards are often much cheaper than roaming fees or pocket Wi-Fi rentals.
  • Flexibility: You can choose the data plan that best suits your needs and budget.
  • Convenience: The SIM card is easy to insert and activate, allowing you to stay connected right away.
  • High connectivity: Vientiane has good mobile coverage so you can connect almost anywhere in the city.

II. Which Mobile Internet Carrier is the Best in Vientiane?

the-major-of-operators-in-vientiane

There are 4 major operators with wide coverage in Vientiane: Lao Telecom, Unitel, ETL and TPlus. Among them, Lao Telecom is the largest supplier here.

Here is a brief overview of the 4 major operators in Vientiane:

Operators CoverageSpeedData PlansReliability
Lao TelecomExcellentGoodVarious prepaid and postpaid plansExcellent
UnitelGoodExcellentCompetitive data plansGood
ETLLimitedGoodLimited data plansFair
TPlusGood in urbanGoodAffordable data plansGood

► Conclusion: Overall, Lao Telecom is the best choice for mobile internet in Vientiane due to its wide coverage, reliable network, and variety of data plans. However, Unitel is a good option if you need fast speeds and are willing to pay a bit more.

III. Best Vientiane SIM Card Plans and Price

Good to know: USD 1 = KIP 20,888; KIP 10,000 = USD 0.47 (as of March 2024)

To help you choose more easily, we list some SIM card plans from 4 major carriers in Vientiane including Lao Telecom, Unitel, ETL, and TPlus. There are some favorite plans for tourists in Vientiane below:

OperatorDataValidationPrice (KIP)Price ($)
Lao Telecom5GB30 days50,000 KIP$11.36
10GB30 days100,000 KIP$22.73
Unitel5GB30 days49,000 KIP$11.13
ETL5 GB30 days100,000 KIP$22.73
TPlus5 GB30 days45,000 KIP$10.18

Tip: Make sure to keep your SIM card safe because SIM cards are small and easy to lose.

IV. Where to Buy SIM Cards in Vientiane?

You can easily buy a SIM card in Vientiane in many places including the official stores, retail stores, shops, or convenience stores like 7-Eleven. So the best places to buy SIM cards in Vientiane for you are at Wattay airport and Vientiane center.

1. Buy a SIM Card at Vientiane Airport 

the-operator-shops-in-the-wattay-airport

In Vientiane, Wattway International Airport plays an important role, being the main entry point into Laos for international and domestic visitors. Picking up your SIM card at this airport upon arrival is the easiest and most convenient method. This way, you’ll have reliable Internet access immediately upon arrival in Vientiane. However, you will have to buy at a slightly higher price than buying online or in the city center.

Here are some places where to buy at Wattay Airport:

  • Unitel’s Shop: There is a Unitel shop located before baggage claim in the arrivals hall. It opens from 7 A.M to 9 P.M.
  • Lao Telecom’s Shop: The Lao Telecom shop is located just before exiting the airport terminal building and opens from 7 A.M to 9 P.M.
  • 7-Eleven: There is a 7-Eleven convenience store located across from the domestic terminal. It provides various SIM cards from operators like ETL, Unitel,…

Tip: You can find logo signs of stores and easily find places to buy SIM cards at Wattay Airport.

2. Buy a SIM Card in Vientiane Center

Going to Vientiane city center is also a good option to buy SIM cards. This way, you will have the opportunity to compare different travel packages and then choose the best one that suits your travel.

This will be suitable for travelers who have free time because additional travel into the city center is required. But Vientiane Center can be crowded, especially during peak tourist season. This can make it difficult to find a mobile operator store or shop.

You can find some places to buy a SIM card in Vientiane Center below:

  • Lao Telecom: They have many stores in Vientiane Center, including one on Lan Xang Avenue and one on Samsenthai Road.
  • Unitel: Unitel also has several stores in Vientiane Center, one on Chao Anouvong Road and one on Setthathirath Road.
  • TPlus: TPlus has a store on Chao Anouvong Road in Vientiane Center.

Our Recommendation: You should buy a SIM card at the airport or buy eSIM online before departure from eSIM providers (not mobile network carriers because you will have to present your passport). Note that the phone must be compatible with eSIM.

V. Laos eSIM Card for Vientiane – Alternative to SIM Card for Travelers

If you own a mobile phone that supports eSIM, eSIM for Vientiane is the best solution for you to stay connected during your trip. eSIM offers a lot of benefits like downloading and activating eSIM online, no need to go to a SIM store, and switching between different plans and network providers without swapping physical SIMs quickly.

Travelers can purchase eSIM:

  • Through the websites of major carriers such as Lao Telecom, and Unitel (need to check ID)
  • From reputable eSIM providers like Gigago (No ID check required)

For Vientiane, Gigago offers multiple data plan options, starting from 15 GB for 10 days with $6.90 . What is great about Gigago’s Laos eSIM is that its plans’ costs are diversifying, varying between $6.90$12.90 . Thus, it does not matter how many Internet users you are and how long your trip is in Laos, there is always an option for you with Gigago.

the-esim-for-tourists-of-gigago-in-vientiane

VI. What to Prepare to Buy SIM Card in Vientiane

To buy a SIM card in Vientiane, you need to prepare a few things:

  • Valid identification such as your passport: Stores may request this to verify your identity at check-in
  • Pay in cash: Many stores only accept cash when purchasing prepaid SIMs. You should bring some Lao cash.
  • Know what type of SIM you need: mini/ micro/ nano SIM.
  • Unlocked phone: Only unlocked mobile phones can accept mobile networks from Vientiane, Laos.

VII. Extra Tips when Buying SIM Card in Vientiane

These tips will help you choose a more convenient SIM card in Vientiane that is suitable for your tourist:

  • Compare network plans from operators like Lao Telecom, Unitel, and TPlus to help you choose the best package for your needs.
  • You will need to present your passport or visa when purchasing a SIM card in Vientiane.
  • Staff at mobile stores are usually happy to help you choose the most suitable plan and activate your SIM card.
  • Keep your SIM card safe and secure because SIM cards are small and easy to lose.
  • Be aware of roaming fees if you plan to use your SIM card outside of Laos.

VIII. FAQs

1. What payment methods do they accept?

Most stalls accept cash (LAK or USD) but may not take credit cards late at night. Have small LAK banknotes ready. Some stalls accept cards during the day.

2. Can I use my SIM card outside of Vientiane as well?

Yes, the major carriers have coverage across Indonesia. However, coverage may be more limited on some remote islands.

3. Can I use my SIM card from home in Vientiane?

You can use your SIM card from home in Vientiane depending on your carrier and your plan. Some operators offer international roaming plans that allow you to use your SIM card in other countries.

IX. Conclusion

In general, buying a SIM card in Vientiane is an easy way for tourists. SIM cards are affordable and compatible with all mobile devices,  By choosing from the available providers such as Unitel, Lao Telecom, ETL, or TPlus, you can find a suitable SIM card that meets your communication needs. Hope you have useful information when exploring Vientiane.

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