Bangkok and Thailand in general has good internet access. Today, you can find an internet cafe or Wifi connection everywhere in the country. The problem, though, is that speed is still very uneven. You can forget about high speed broadband like you are used to in the West. Internet billed as high speed is often only a fraction of the speed promised and it’s not uncommon for an entire block to share one connection. Nonetheless, you will be able to find internet fast enough for everyday use, while finding internet fast enough to stream internet television and fast downloads is difficult.
When you first arrive in Thailand, chances are you won’t have steady access to the internet until you get set up. Below is a list of instant access internet options:
- Internet cafe’s are everywhere in Bangkok. Most of the time, they are occupied by children playing games or chatting online. They range in price from 20 Baht/hour to 60 Baht/hour. Prices are higher in tourist areas and cheaper in residential areas. Some internet cafes have very fast connections and other services such as fax and scanning of documents.
- Prepaid internet cards are another option. There are several providers, the biggest being True which offers many kinds of Wifi services. True has city wide coverage, though the best coverage is found near major roads and shopping areas. You buy one of the many packages either in True shops or in 7-11. The staff will most likely try to sell you overpriced prepaid cards. Ask for a monthly price or buy a True SIM card and buy internet time by sending an SMS to a specific number. Ask the True staff to show you. Another provider is KSC which have hot spots all around the city, but most notably in all Starbucks. Again, try to stay clear of the tourist prices and get a monthly card.
- The last resort is to plug your computer into the phone landline. You can buy prepaid cards for 56K modem speeds in 7-11 and FamilyMart.
Long Term Internet Access
The above options are acceptable for a short period, but they are often slow and expensive. For long term internet access, you should try to aim for a broadband or Wifi connection in your home.
ADSL or DSL connections are fast and convenient. You can either connect to the internet from a Wifi or Ethernet cable connection and you have unlimited use. All condo’s offer some kind of internet access from your apartment and many have wireless access as well.
The major problem with setting up an ADSL connection is that it’s tied to a phone line, so you either need to get a landline in your name or arrange with your landlord to pay him to use his line. Today, most condo’s offer internet access and landlords generally understand that expats need internet access.
ADSL prices vary from a few hundred to a few thousand Baht depending on speed. Most expats will probably need a 1/2/3 Mbit line which usually costs approximately 1000 Baht monthly. Take note though that the speed you actually receive is often not the advertised speed. There doesn’t seem much to do about it, though.
Also note that though advertised as unlimited, many providers do not allow file-sharing and downloading of large files such as movies or streaming.
Below are the websites of internet broadband providers as well as landlines:
- True, http://TrueCorp.co.th, 02-900-9000 to order
- TOT, http://www.tot.co.th, Telephone Organization of Thailand
If you already have a landline, you just have to call the provider and order ADSL. A technician will be sent and set up the connection and router. It should only take a few hours.
If you don’t have a landline yet, you have to order a new connection. This can be done from one of the above providers. You will need a work permit and a big deposit. If possible, it’s better to place this order in the name of a Thai. Once the order has been placed the line will usually be ready for use after a few days.