When you’re traveling away from home, you will want to stay in touch with family and friends back home. You may want to make phone calls, access emails and maybe access bank accounts or investment accounts in other parts of the world. Depending on your need, there is a range of options. They are all available here in Thailand, especially in Pattaya!

Internet Access

If your need to stay connected is more than just the occasional email or web browsing, you can access the internet from your hotel, at Wi-Fi hotspots, or via mobile broadband using an Aircard.

Travelers have a number of ways to check e-mail and access the Internet on the road in Thailand. The electronic devices available today like e-mail enabled mobile phones, Wi-Fi capable laptops, and hand held devices allow travelers to stay in touch almost anywhere. There is always the danger that electronic devices will get stolen, so If staying wired isn’t a major part of your holiday, then leave your hardware at home, travel light and check e-mail at internet cafés.

Most hotels in the Pattaya area offer Wi-Fi internet access, for your laptop, PDA, iPod Touch or Sony PSP! Hotels will often provide an internet enabled computer for accessing emails. You can also visit the cyber café for a minimal fee to check your emails.

If you need internet access to data servers back home, there are a number of options here as well.

Phones

Traditional phones using landlines are still widely available and if you don’t have a suitable smart phone or laptop, then your best bet is to use either a public phone or an internet café that offers overseas calls.

Public phones

A good value solution for using public phones is to buy an international calling card from a convenience store like 7-Eleven or Family Mart. The cost of these starts at around Bt 100 ($3). You can also use these cards to make calls from your hotel room. This is a cheaper solution than using the hotels IDD phone service.

There are also numerous internet cafés and street booths offering international calls. These calls are typically VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) or internet phone calls. The quality is generally good, but can sometimes be a bit flaky.

Skype calls from your Laptop or Hand Held Device

If you travel a lot, or make a lot of long distance calls, you probably use Skype already. Skype enables you to make free calls to other Skype users, anywhere in the world, using VOIP. You can also make calls to regular phones, if you have a Skype account. The cost of calls to land lines are very reasonable, but can be quite pricey to some cell phone providers.

You can download Skype at www.Skype.com. You will need a headset with a built-in microphone or you can use a separate microphone and headphones. Call quality is generally good.

You can also call from your hand held device if it supports a wireless internet connection (Wi-Fi). There are now a bunch of phones and PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants), that support Wi-Fi. For example, the iPod Touch has Wi-Fi capabilities and can run Skype. So you can turn your iPod into a mobile phone with Skype, and make calls from any Wi-Fi hotspot! The same costs apply as for using Skype on your laptop: free to other Skype users and cheap to land lines and some mobile phones. This a great solution, it means you can leave your laptop at home if you can get by with the small screen on a hand held device!

Mobile phones in Thailand

If you are staying in Thailand for more than a few days, you probably want to stay connected with your friends here. Almost everyone you meet here has a cell phone. It’s easy to get connected to the mobile phone network in Thailand. The GSM networks in Thailand use 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequencies.

If you are from Europe or most any part of the world that uses GSM networks except North America your phone will work in Thailand. You just need to get a Thai SIM chip, and check that your phone is unlocked. If your phone is locked to your service provider, you can get it unlocked on-line (see GSM phones page), or you can get it unlocked here in Pattaya at Tukcom on South Pattaya Road.

The mobile phone networks in USA and Canada use two different types of mobile phone technology. Sprint, and Verizon use CDMA and related technologies. These phones cannot be used in Thailand.

T-Mobile, and AT&T use GSM technology. Since Thailand uses different GSM frequencies, your phone will work if is tri-band or quad-band. If your phone only operates on the US frequencies of 950 MHz and 1900 MHz, it will not work in Thailand. If you need to get a phone that will work in Thailand, then eBay is a great source of unlocked GSM phones. (See the page on GSM multi-band phones for details.) You can also buy a basic phone in Thailand for around Bt 1,000.

GSM phones

GSM is the most widely used mobile phone technology. It is used in Europe, most of Africa, and Asia and in North America alongside the alternate CDMA technology. The great advantage of GSM is that the phone number resides in the SIM card. When you travel to a different country you can change the SIM card, and make local calls with your new phone number. There are a number of GSM frequencies, so if your phone is tri-band or quad band it will work in any country that has GSM networks.

Mobile phones using GSM-900 (900 MHz) and GSM-1800 (1800 MHz) are used in most parts of the world: Europe, Middle East, Africa, Oceania and most of Asia, including Thailand.

The GSM frequencies used in United States and Canada are 850 MHz and 1900 MHz. So if your phone is from North America it should be tri-band or quad band in order to work in Thailand.

European GSM cellular phones works fine in Thailand.Mobile phones (cell phones) GSM-850 and GSM-1900 are used in the.

Tukcom

If you have a GSM mobile phone, you can buy a Thai SIM card when you get here. Cost is about Bt 200 for a SIM card with prepaid service. Almost every Thai girl has a mobile phone, so it’s a convenient way to keep in touch. GSM is the standard inEurope, Africa, most of Asia, and South America. Some countries like USA and Canada have both GSM and CDMA networks. In North America GSM networks use different frequencies, so your phone should be tri-band or quad-band to work here. Thailand uses GSM 900 and 1800 frequency bands.

If you need a GSM phone you can buy one at Tukcom on South Pattaya Road (between Second Road and Third Road). They have a huge selection from about Bt 1000. Your GSM phone may be locked to your service provider. You can get it unlocked at Tukcom, any motor cycle taxi driver knows where it is. There’s a Starbucks coffee shop next to the entrance. If you need a phone, a computer or software, CDs, or DVDs, Tukcom is the place to go. There is also a food court and grocery store in the basement.

Aircard – Mobile Broadband Connection

If you need to connect to the internet on a regular basis, but cannot always be near a wired or Wi-Fi connection, you can connect through the mobile phone network.

This requires an Aircard and a SIM chip with air time. If you plan this before you come to Thailand, you can get an Aircard for a bargain price.

There are several Aircard suppliers, like Merlin, Sierra, Option GT, and Lenovo. For more info on mobile Aircards and where to get them, check the Aircards page.