Find out everything you need to know about renting pocket WiFi in Thailand to stay connected on your next visit.
Multiple speedo shots from Koh Lipe posted in our Insta Stories? Tick!
Obligatory Boomerang with drag queens in Bangkok's Silom Soi 4? Tick!
Updated Facebook status to tell the family about the latest Pad Thai we've tried? Tick!
Yes, that's right…we're one of those bloggers who love posting to their social media during their travels (have you SEEN our Nomadic Boys Instagram…?)
…but if you're reading this, chances are you're not too different from us and also love slaying on the Instagram when travelling! At least enough to want to stay connected throughout your trip.
Whilst getting a SIM card is the norm for most tech-savvy travellers, those of us with smartphones locked into contracts don't have this luxury unless we have dual SIM capability. We've also found when travelling in Thailand that having just one pocket WiFi is enough to give internet to both our phones, Kindles, tablets and laptops. It also works out cheaper in the long term by giving us more internet data to use rather than having to top up all the time.
During our extensive travels in Thailand, we've had the opportunity to test out various pocket WiFi devices, so we've put together this handy guide to help you decide which is the best one to rent:
Pre-order your pocket WiFi device now!
We've tried various pocket WiFi devices during our many trips in Thailand and found it to be the best and most reliable way of connecting to the internet. Pre-order your portable WiFi device now so you can enjoy unlimited internet access during your trip, as well as being able to connect multiple devices at once. It also creates a secure and private connection unlike public WiFi hotspots (such as in a restaurant, hotel, airport, train etc), which are often not secure.
What is pocket WiFi?
A pocket WiFi is a little device which contains a SIM card that converts 3G and 4G signals into a private and secure WiFi connection. It's small and light enough to carry around in your pocket, usually similar in size to a mobile phone.
When travelling through Thailand, Pocket WiFi devices are perfect for connecting your phone, Kindle tablet or laptop to the internet on the go, so you can get some work done, post your Insta thirst traps and keep in touch with family back home. The best part about it is that you can connect more than one device at a time, so while one of us is gloating to our Facebook friends (enduring a chilly grey winter in London) about how sunny and gorgeous it is in Koh Lipe, the other can post awesome snaps like this:
What are the advantages of pocket WiFi?
We set out the main advantages below:
- You don't need an unlocked smartphone! For us, the main advantage of renting a pocket WiFi in Thailand is that it just makes things a lot easier! Normally we'd each buy local SIM cards, but this has only been possible with unlocked smartphones. If you're in locked 12/24 month contract, getting a local SIM card is not possible and you become reliant on expensive roaming fees to get online. This is a big no-no for us!
- You can connect more than one device at the same time. This is perfect for when (like us) you're travelling with more than one person. You only pay for one device but everyone can get online at the same time. This also includes laptops, Kindles and tablets.
- It's easy to carry around. As we've mentioned, pocket WiFi devices are pocket-sized, so they won't take up much space in your luggage. They usually weigh less than 150 grams (around five ounces) as well, so won't weigh down your pockets/bags.
- No roaming charges! This goes without saying, but if you're using a pocket WiFi device, then you no longer need to concern yourself with those crazy high roaming charges!
- Usually provides unlimited data. This depends on the plan or provider you go with, but the best ones are those that offer unlimited data usage. You also don't need to top up with more data like you often need to if using a local SIM card.
- Security. The main difference between using a pocket WiFi device and say, just connecting to the free WiFi at hotels or restaurants is that you are guaranteed a secure connection.
- Ease of use. Pocket Wifi devices are usually very easy to use once you've set them up at the beginning. You just turn it on, connect your devices using the password and then each time you use them from then on they should automatically connect.
Advice for LGBTQ travellers Thailand
We love Thailand. It's one of our favourite places in the world. It not only has incredible beaches, rich cultural heritage and super smiley people, it's also incredibly gay friendly! The Thai are famous for being open-minded and extremely tolerant of all LGBTQ travellers.
Where can I get a pocket WiFi in Thailand?
It's super-easy to organise pocket WiFi in Thailand. You can book a device to rent online and pick it up when you arrive or organise everything within Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok or Phuket airport once you land.
However, we strongly recommend pre-booking your pocket WiFi device before you arrive in Thailand because you may arrive during a busy period and find there are none available to rent on the spot. Then you're looking at having no reliable internet for your holiday which would totally suck right?!!!
Pre-booking a device online before you head to Thailand also means you're able to compare the different providers and find the perfect choice for you.
How many devices can connect to a pocket WiFi?
This usually depends on the provider you choose to go with. Generally, all pocket WiFi devices can connect to at least 5 different devices. Some can be used to connect up to 15 different devices but that's for the more pricey ones.
When you're comparing the different packages for your trip to Thailand, make sure you check how many devices you will be able to use so you'll be able to connect all the devices you're planning on using during your trip.
What is the cost of a pocket WiFi rental?
The price of renting a pocket WiFi device varies depending on each different provider and what sort of things are included in the rental package. Usually, the factors that influence the price include:
- Data limit: how much data you'll be able to use whilst in Thailand is the main thing you're going to want to know. You definitely want one with unlimited data but make sure you read the fine print in case it might be slowed down after a certain amount of data has been used.
- Duration of rental: some providers may only offer devices for a short rental period, so you're going to want a pocket Wifi you can use for the duration of your travels. It usually works out cheaper per day the longer you rent a pocket WiFi device in Thailand.
- The number of devices that can be connected: the more devices you're able to connect to your Pocket WiFi will also make it more expensive. We were fine with one that connected to just five devices when travelling as a couple, but if you're travelling in a group, then you will likely need a pocket wifi with more connections (like 10) or rent two pocket wifi devices.
- Connection speed: the connection speed can also affect the price plan, but you really want to make sure you have around 75MBps to 187MBps of upload and download speed so you can use your devices properly.
- Pick-up and delivery options: some providers will send your pocket WiFi device to your hotel rather than you having to pick it up from the airport, but this will usually cost a little more. Sometimes you might also be able to return the device via an envelope instead of taking it back to the airport location.
Must do in Thailand: go island-hopping
Thailand's islands are pretty famous and with good reason. With crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches and glorious weather, you can't visit the country without spending time exploring the beautiful islands.
Which pocket WiFi should I choose?
We've done all the research so you can now compare the top three best pocket WiFi device providers in Thailand in the table below. We've highlighted our 3 favourite suppliers who we thought were the most cost-effective and reliable, particularly because they each have an easy to use online booking system with websites written clearly in English, everything on offer laid out, without any hidden fees. As you can see in the table below, GetYourGuide offers the best value at $66 for 10 days. When you pre-order your device, make sure you select the number of participants for the number of days you need: for example, if you need 10 days of rental, select 10 participants…
Total cost for 10 days
Amount of 4G data
Max. number of devices
Easy envelope return
Cost per day
GET YOUR GUIDE
$6.60 / day
$11.3 / day
$10.04 / day
What does this all mean?
- Amount of 4G data: this is the total amount of high-speed data you'll be able to use with your Pocket WiFi device. Ideally, you want unlimited data because if you reach the limit, your internet will still work but usually at lower speeds.
- Maximum number of devices: the total amount of devices that connect simultaneously to your pocket WiFi. The higher the number, the better, especially if you have multiple people and/or devices you know you're going to need.
- Speed: the maximum download speed you can expect to get from the pocket WiFi to your devices.
- Battery life: how long you can expect the pocket WiFi's battery to last. Anything between 8 to 12 hours is good.
- Hotel delivery: whether or not you can get the device delivered to your hotel. Otherwise, you will need to pick it up from the service providers' offices, or at an airport counter.
- Easy envelope return: some providers provide a pre-paid envelope for you to easily return your pocket WiFi from anywhere in Thailand by placing it in a letterbox.
- Free cancellation policy: if your travel plans are liable to change then it's always good to know if you can take advantage of free cancellation.
Learn to cook authentic Thai food
We love learning to cook the local cuisine when we travel, and we love eating it even more! When you're in Bangkok you can join an awesome cooking class that includes shopping for ingredients at a local market.
How to use your pocket WiFi in Thailand?
Once you've got your pocket WiFi you'll need to make sure you fully charge it before connecting any devices and then keep it charged. Once it's all charged up you'll be able to enter the pocket WiFi number and password into your devices that need internet and you're good to go! During our Thailand trip, we found that one full overnight charge was usually enough to last the entire day.
Make sure you keep your pocket WiFi within about 25 metres (80 feet) of the devices you're connecting it to so the signal can reach. Luckily pocket WiFi is usually small and light enough to just slip into your pocket wherever you go.
A final tip: if you know you might be using a lot of internet then you'll probably also want to bring along some spare battery packs so you don't find yourself suddenly without access somewhere.
Explore Chiang Mai's temples
Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand is filled with fascinating culture and gorgeous Buddhist temples. Exploring the area is a must-do if you want to understand the country's history and culture.
For more inspiration:
- Find out why Thailand is one of the most gay friendly countries in Asia
- Make sure you check out our gay guide to Koh Lipe, one of Thailand's most fun islands
- Read about what Thailand's gorgeous unspoilt island Koh Adang
- As well as another hidden gem, the Thai island of Koh Tarutao
- If you like swimming with the fishes, these are our favourite scuba diving spots in Asia
- Find out what it's like travelling through Asia as a gay couple
- These are the best gay cruises heading to Asia if you like a spot of luxury
- And if you prefer to bare it all you can also head to Asia on one of these gay nude cruises!
- Or just head to one the best gay nude beaches around the world