Staying Connected Whilst Travelling

As a solo female traveller it’s important for me to stay connected and it’s also useful to have a local sim card if I want to contact a guesthouse or arrange a pick up.

Some travellers may be happy to rely on WiFi, but I much prefer to have data. It’s also useful because I use Whatsapp so if I want to message a new traveller friend I’ve met it also means I can do that whilst out and about.

It’s been pretty easy to get a sim card for each country I’ve been and the seller has always set it up for me. This is a list of the networks I used in each country which I’ll continue to update.

INDONESIA:

In the UK I use the 3 network and they have a “feel at home” service if you’re travelling to 42 eligible destinations. Luckily for me Indonesia is included so I didn’t have to worry about buying a sim card. I was able to use 3G in Java, Bali and Lombok. I did have a slight connection issue when I reached Bali but a quick live chat message to 3 and it was sorted.

Please note: the “feel at home” can only be used 2 months out of 12, so if you were planning on using this service for say 6 months in Europe you’ll need to look into something else after the 2 months is up.

SINGAPORE:

Upon arriving at the airport I bought a Singtel simcard for $15SGD which included 4gb of data and 500 minutes of local calls, this lasts for 5 days. Coverage was really good and I had no problems.

MALAYSIA:

I visited Malaysia twice and used two different sim cards. The first I bought from the 7-11 near my hostel which was Umobile. I paid 40MYR which gave me 1 month and 3gb data.

The second visit I couldn’t find Umobile at the airport so I got my simcard from the Digi kiosk, this was 40MYR for one month and I think it was 4gb of data.

Both networks gave me great connection whilst I was there and I had no problems.

INDIA:

My friend bought the simcard for me, I had about 1gb of data. I used Airtel and after some issues connecting (I think user error most likely as my friend bought it without my phone). Anyway a quick visit to the Airtel shop and it was sorted.

The data ran out just before I left India (I was there just over 3 weeks) and trying to recharge was really difficult. I was at the airport at the time so there was no Airtel kiosk. I tried to call the support number but it went round in circles, I also tried to recharge online and it wouldn’t accept my credit cards.

If you can recharge at an Airtel kiosk or ask your hostel to help it will be fine.

NEPAL:

I bought my Ncell sim card from a local shop in Kathmandu for 500 rupees. This was a month deal with 1gb data and 50 rupees worth of calls. Nepal is notorious for power cuts so having data is a great way to stay connected and also use your phone as a hotspot. Great coverage in Kathmandu and Pokhara, and suprisingly not too bad on the Annapurna Circuit to some degree.

JAPAN:

Hands down the worst place I’ve bought a sim card, but also the most expensive. I went to Yodobashi electronic store in Akihabara which was recommended (unlike SE Asia you can’t just buy a sim card at the 7-11). I asked for 2 weeks and 1gb data which was around £18.00 (jaw drop!!).

The guy in the store faffed around for about 30 minutes, I paid and left the store. After walking 300 metres the 4g signal switched off. I went back to the store and after another 30 minutes of faffing it was working again. I said I wouldn’t be happy if it didn’t work again, the lady in the store said as I don’t have a Japanese phone there may be problems. The solution was to switch airplane mode on, then off and this would give me 4g signal….for about 10 seconds.

I was only in Japan for 11 days so this “solution” had to make do. There is pretty good WiFi in Tokyo and Kyoto so next time I wouldn’t bother with a sim card. A pocket WiFi can be rented which seems a popular choice.

THAILAND:

I used True which I picked up at the 7-11 for under 300 bhat which was an initial 7 day plan after which I paid 200 bhat for a further month. Really good connection throughout my time in Thailand.

LAOS:

I bought my sim card from a Unitel shop for 50000 kip for 1 month with 5gb of data, it was 10000kip for the sim card. The connection has been surprisingly fast and on occasion it will go to Edge which is slow as expected. I’ve only been in Laos 5 days so I’ll update further about the connection as I travel round.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *