Got your flight and itinerary planned out, so what’s next? A local data plan, it seems has in recent years become an essential part of any trip.
Not only does it help you keep in contact with your friends and loved ones, essential for Google Maps (amen), checking the details of your next adventure and to keep yourself updated with social media! As we all know a wise person who once said, ‘if it is not on social media, it did not happen.’
So here is a short list of where to get your digital life on track while travelling to some of Asia’s best loved cities, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo and Taipei.
Thailand’s tourist SIM cards offer unlimited data – no you did not read this wrong. However, do note that only the first 1.5GB is on high speed, thereafter you would be running on turtle power.
Suvarnabhumi Airport (International): Two telcos offering local SIM cards can be found at the arrival hall between gates 6 and 7 (same level as where you would be at after clearing immigration). Look out for either bright green and blue counters where the two telcos (AIS and DTAC) are, and they operate 24 hours.
Don Mueang Airport (Domestic): As this is a smaller airport, it is pretty easy to spot a bright red counter and if you can’t, look out for a queue. TrueMove is the only telco offering local SIM cards here and operate from 10am to 12am, so plan your arrival times carefully and be prepared to wait a little.
Price: Starting from 299baht ($12) valid for 7 days with 100baht credit
Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong
Telco carrier: CSL Mobile Limited – Discover Hong Kong Tourist SIM Card
Type of plan: 5-Day or 8-Day Pass, which gives you unlimited local voice calls and CSL Wi-Fi. Mobile data is capped at 1.5GB and 5GB respectively, SIM cards are also rechargeable.
Where: 5th floor of the airport’s arrival halls or most convenience stores like 7-Eleven, Circle K or VanGO.
Price: 5 day pass at 88HKD ($16) with 30HKD credit / 8 day pass at 118HKD ($22) with 48HKD credit
Seoul Incheon International Airport, Seoul
Telco carrier(s): KT, SKT and LG U+
Where: Arrival hall ground floor, huddling together between gates 5 to 7 and they operate 24 hours a day.
Type of plan: The plans offered are not the usual 7 day pass like the rest, but one that includes a set amount of mobile data and credit. Minimum is a 1GB mobile data plan and all SIM cards are valid for a month.
Price: Starting from 30,000KRW ($36)
Narita International Airport, Tokyo
Nothing says Japan like an intense selection of way to keep you connected and be prepared to pay if you want to be kept connected in Japan.
Telco carriers: Main carriers are KDDI, SoftBank Telecom and NTT Communications
Where: Terminal One – Central Building 4th floor (KDDI), Central Building 1st floor (SoftBank) and North and South Wing 4th floor (NTT Communications).
Terminal Two – Main Building 3rd floor (KDDI and NTT Communications) and 1st floor (SoftBank).
The counters operate from 9am to 8pm. Alternatively there are SIM card dispensing vending machines around.
Type of plan: There are a range of plans with some charging by the day, while some have a package plan. The cheapest ones and the most value for money plan would be the Wi-Fi only ones.
Price: Starting from 972Yen ($12) for a 1 week Wi-Fi only pass and 2980Yen ($36) for a 7 day mobile data plan.
Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei
Telco carriers: Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile and FarEas Tone
Where: Huddled together at the north side of the arrival halls after clearing immigration, they operate from 7am to 10pm.
Type of plan: 3 day pass to a 30 day pass, which gives you unlimited data and Wi-Fi access plans that is bundled with varying amounts of credit depending on the chosen plan for voice calls.
Price: Starting from 300NTD ($13)
For those travelling to Hong Kong, South Korea or Thailand and hate the hassle of being stuck in a queue right after getting off a flight, you would be pleased to know that you could get your hands on their SIM cards right here at Singapore Changi Airport before you take off! There are a few pick-up points and more details can be found here.
If you are heading on a vacation with a bunch of friends or family you could consider renting a portable Overseas Wi-Fi Router from Singapore Changi Airport, which can accommodate up to 8 devices simultaneously. Rates can go to as low as $5/day, pick-up and drop-off points are conveniently located and more information on its rates and other information can be found here.
So, don’t let FoMo (Fear of Missing out) get to you on your next trip and get your data-on!