In general, the best place to buy a SIM card for a tourist coming in to Thailand is at the airport of arrival. I have seen tourist SIM cards on sale at the international airports of Phuket, Krabi, Chiang Mai, Don Mueang, and Suvarnabhumi. However, for some reason if you missed that, you will need to look for a SIM in the city. I have earlier written an article on where to buy a SIM card in Nana / Asoke area of Bangkok. In this article, I will write about tourist SIM card availability in Pattaya. (Bonus Tip later in the page on how to extend validity of DTAC SIM for just 10 THB per month.)
In case you are interested. you may read my article on buying a SIM Card at Don Mueang Airport Bangkok.
Is Finding A Tourist SIM A Problem?
Actually prepaid SIM cards including the “tourist” variants are available at road side shops all over Thailand. But there is a problem with that. It’s the price. A 50 THB SIM card is usually sold at these shops for 100 THB, and the shop owners also manage to misguide tourists in to buying some expensive add-on packs for data or talk time. Paying 100 THB for a 50 THB SIM is not so bad if you do not know where to look for a shop that would charge the official price. But it does become a problem when some SIM shops located inside shopping malls ask for 290 THB for a 49 THB SIM. I had that experience in Pattaya and even wrote an article on this SIM Card Scam in Thailand.
Where To Buy A Tourist SIM in Pattaya
Your best bet is to find an official company shop of DTAC, True Move, or AIS. One place to find such shops is ‘Big C Extra’ on Central Pattaya Road.
Central Festival Mall
This shopping mall has entry from both Beach Road and Second Road. All three mobile companies – DTAC, AIS, and True have official SIM / customer service shops in Central Festival Mall in Pattaya. Read on for details of SIM shops in Central Festival Mall.
This DTAC Hall is located on level 3 in Central Festival Mall. Once on that level, just look around and you will spot the shop.
This True Move Mobile shop is located on Level 1 of Central Festival Mall inside ‘Central Departmental Store’.
This AIS shop is located on level G.
At these three company shops, apart from buying a new SIM, tourists can buy add-on packs for data or top-up their SIM to add talk time or extend validity.
At the DTAC Hall on level 3, one can extend the validity of a DTAC prepaid SIM for a month by paying just 10 Baht. One can extend validity by up to a maximum of one year by doing 12 top-ups of 10 THB each. There is an ATM sort of top-up machine at the right hand side while entering the shop. This machine even accepts 10 THB coins. I did 6 transactions of 10 THB each using this machine and could extend the validity of my DTAC SIM by six months.
Read all my articles on SIM cards for tourists in Thailand here.