SIM cards - phones, Bangkok
It is a good idea to buy a prepaid card (prices around 200 Bath), not only to make phone calls inside the country but international calls as well. Making a phone call back home is easy with many phone boots through Bangkok with instructions in English or even better, buy a prepaid sim card from any of the mobile phone companies below so that you would not get sky high prices using the international roaming rates of your home phone service provider if you bought your mobile phone. (just be sure that your mobile phone is not sim locked to your mobile provider and it is an open line!) and you can buy prepaid load card at most stores and convenience stores lik 7-11 or family mart and at Pantip Plaza so that you can add up your airtime credits for both local thai calls and international calls.
if you are using a landline: Dial 009 before your international number and most countries can be reached for only 20 Bath a minute
if you are using a mobile phone: dial +(country code) (area code) phone number.
Fondest memory: Mobile phone companies include:
DTAC : The second largest provider with a very good network as well, they tend to be a bit cheaper than One2Call with their "Happy DTAC" prepaid package. At the moment this is the provider to choose, AIS had problems with their network making it sometimes impossible to make a phone call. DTAC had less problems and has seen their subscriber base soar.
AIS GSM : The oldest network formerly owned by former PM Thaksin with the best coverage throughout Thailand. Their prepaid package is named "One2Call" and cards can be purchased virtually everywhere. Prices vary from month to month as people can choose their own promotion. A recent price battle between the three networks has brought prices down considerably and calling inside Thailand is now around 1 to 4 Bath a minute depending on the package.
True Move (formerly Orange) : True Move is relatively new to the Thai market but is the cheapest provider around, they were the ones who unleashed the price battle in 2005 with their "Just Talk" package. However since they are new they often have capacity problems and coverage outside of Bangkok is not as good as the other two networks.
A pre-pay SIM card costs from 49 baht (Dtac) or 50 baht (12Call) - then you top it up - they have about 15 baht of calls on them.
If you ring abroad, use the 007 008 009 prefixes as they are cheaper than the standard 001.
SIM cards can be bought at the airport. There is a DTAC booth outside customs in the arrival area. A SIM card costs 100 Baht, $3. That 100 Baht pays for the card and you get 50 Baht applied to your phone account. The best thing is they install the card and activate it for you! You don't have to read instructions or load long numbers into a phone system you can't understand.
Now that you have the card installed at the airport, you can start making calls immediately. If the taxi driver can't understand where you want to go, call your host or hotel and they will explain it for you.
To recharge, go into any 7-11. Buy a recharge card and hand your phone to the girl. She will recharge it for you. It just doesn't get easier. There may be a phone service that is a few micro-cents cheaper, but it just doesn't matter. Why wander the city looking for that super deal when you can get a good deal at the airport and you can get on with your vacation with the phone problem solved.
As the name suggests, it is a service counter for anything postal. Is it not a post office so they charge a few thai bahts for their services. Services provided include: Stamps, Duty Stamp, Postal Service, EMS Services, FedEx, UPS, Mailbox, Packing, Money Transfer, Photocopy, Fax, Binding, Laminating, etc.
They are located on 4th Floor of Amarin Plaza near Erawan Shrine and accross from Gaysorn Plaza. Skybridge links to Amarin Plaza from Chitlom BTS Station.
phone: 66-02 251 2566
Every time I visit Bangkok, there seems to have been yet another change to the way payphones work - although I'm hoping that the most recent changes will be a little more permanent. There were 2 types of public payphones much in evidence around Bangkok this time - the newish TOT phones (pictured), which take coins and are good for calls around Thailand, and the yellow Lenso payphones which take cards (usually available from nearby convenience stores).
Encouragingly, most of the payphones I tried this time were working (a big improvement on 2004), and the rates on international calls from Lenso phones had dropped dramatically - a big bonus! However, save up your coins if you want to use a TOT payphone, on the few calls I made, they seemed to get used up pretty quickly...
Call time: 50B
Call charges: 2-4B
SMS charges: 2B (local, any network); 9B (overseas)
Expiry: 1 year
Top up: 100B for 1 week; 300B for 1 month