Internet connection for travelling

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This topic contains 14 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  JEFFREY 25 May 2018
at 20:51
.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)

  • Max11
    Participant

    Travelling to 3 countries in Southeast Asia next month for my business meeting. Any recommendation on how to have internet connection?


    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    Hello Max11. Welcome to the forum.


    Gin&Tonic
    Participant

    Max11, assuming you need connection primarily for work and keeping in touch with home, the WiFi available at the vast majority of hotels and cafes is more than suitable. Depends on where you are, if you want to stream Netflix etc then that’s not always so good, but for day to day email, FT or Skype you will be well covered. Enjoy your trip, first time I assume? Safe travels.


    capetonianm
    Participant

    Hotel wifi is the obvious solution but it’s not secure. I would never do banking or anything security sensitive on any other than a known private wifi network.

    For security I would recommend either getting an unlocked 4G dongle and putting a local SIM card with data into it, or using a smart phone, again with a local SIM, as a ‘hot spot’.


    handbag
    Participant

    I use “3”. They have a tariff called “Feel At Home”. When you go to any of the specified Countries, you just use your phone at as you would at home for no extra charge. Had a look at the list of the countries they cover and it is very extensive and they add more all the time. If I am going to a country, that I don”t go to very often, I just had a quick look to see if included. The majority of BA Crew are on these packages now.

    I only pay £15 per month. For this I get unlimited calls and text and 12GB of data.

    Below are the Countries.

    Aland Islands Austria Azores Balearic Islands Belgium
    Bulgaria Canary Islands Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic
    Denmark Estonia Finland France French Guiana
    Germany Gibraltar Greece Guadeloupe Guernsey
    Hungary Iceland Isle of Man Italy Jersey
    Latvia Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Madeira
    Malta Martinique Mayotte Netherlands Norway
    Poland Portugal Republic of Ireland Romania Reunion
    Saint Barthélemy Saint Martin San Marino Slovakia Slovenia
    Spain Sweden Switzerland Vatican City

    Australia Brazil Chile Colombia Costa Rica
    El Salvador Guatemala Hong Kong Indonesia Israel
    Macau New Zealand Nicaragua Panama Peru
    Puerto Rico Singapore Sri Lanka Uruguay USA
    US Virgin Islands Vietnam


    Huit-Six
    Participant

    Hi Max11,

    Is this your first time in Southeast Asia? If so, I sure hope you will love the region as much as I do!

    As a few participants above have already mentioned, hotel/restaurant connection is usually totally fine. I usually use those to connect my laptop and write a few e-mails on the go.

    But if you are an ‘internet addict’ like me and need constant 4G connection everywhere, I would definitely recommend you get a SIM card at the airport. Everywhere it is easy to find and quite cheap. The only exception to this is Jakarta CGK airport where it is not only difficult to find a local SIM card (you have to really look for it) but it is also ridiculously expensive! I’m talking $20 for a few days only, keeping in mind this is a country where locals often pay less than $5-$10 for their MONTHLY plans.

    This is why I have a phone with a double SIM slot: 1 sim for data access and local calls when travelling, and the other sim is for my home number in case someone calls me on that line, the number is always available.

    If you need transport, do note that UBER has pulled out of Southeast Asia altogether (this is very recent), so now I would recommend you use the GRAB app which is basically the same thing.

    Hope this helps.
    Enjoy your trip!


    luckyone
    Participant

    Hi Max11,

    I often travel to SE Asia just about every 1-2 months and stay within the various SE Asia countries including HKG and last year to North America. It really depends on the countries you go to. I only just arrived back less than 10days ago and was literally in SIN, KUL and BKK and within the non-tourist part of Thailand up north. I was in SIN for merely 48 hours but paid for 2 nights in Orchard Hotel which is a fabulous hotel if you’re not on a tight budget.

    SIN – Wifi is available widely everywhere (in Changi Airport) and their local SIM card is relatively cheap – about SGD30 for 10days. I stayed in Orchard Hotel as their main group is under the Millennium Hotels and Resorts Group and they own over 60 hotels worldwide including JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach, St Regis, The Raffles Hotel all in SIN and had mega merger deals with hotel groups like Marriott International and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide to provide the best comfort for both business and pleasure travellers as they also cater for cheap “chic hotels” for those on budget. I also stayed in their signature suite room last Aug during when they had some renovations done but I was in the newer wing and didn’t have any disturbances. This trip, there were still a few renovations behind the property but with easy access to Orchard Road via the “short cut” along the back entrance as the hotel is linked to offices, with had restaurants and a supermarket attached with I never went since you can easily get 7/11 to buy your local SIM card, money changers and if you run out of business shirts, you can easily buy them in the many departmental stores along Orchard road. Orchard Hotel actually provides a FREE unlimited local calls and international calls, unlimited mobile internet, indispensable city guide etc on Handy phone gadget (http://handy.travel) which is pretty much like an iPhone8 or X from their Premier Rooms rates and above which I didn’t even bother to use. Even though the water is safe to drink in Singapore, I mainly only drink Avian and bottled mineral spring water from Australia which I actually would re-boil for warm water. If you do consume a lot of water, then it’s actually cheaper to buy Avian from the supermarket but on a short trip, I didn’t bother. Perrier and good Australian wines plus the ones they stock are very reasonable with their breakfast range of a cup of coffee. Meter cabs (or taxi) is relatively cheap even from the airport to the hotel. Do note that SE Asia countries have very strict laws. CCTV is everywhere in SIN including restaurants! so do be aware about your conversations as it may be tape recorded. However in hotels, meeting rooms and offices, you do have privacy including the hotel’s business centre.

    KUL – wifi is available also in KLIA Sepang Airport, on the Airport Express train and even local cheap (MYR10 express buses which seats only several local people on budget!) which will take you to Sentral station not far from the city however, if you need to be in the CBD where the “golden triangle is”, I would recommend that you just catch a airport limo/taxi which is priced so that you DO NOT get ripped off. You find this on your way out after collecting your luggage and past the customs in KLIA. Local SIM cards are on sale in the airport straight after you clear immigration. I personally have never used UBER worldwide as I don’t trust it since I have been told that the prices can vary up to 15x more on public holidays compared to a local cab ride in Australia as it is based on “demand and supply” and with NO security AT ALL. It is still available in KUL but I never ever used it. Maxis (hotlink) is the largest privately owned mobile carrier in Malaysia. Other carriers are Digi and Celcom. My roaming via VodaFone, actually used Digi (another carrier) for this trip. It was pouring and thundering non-stop and suddenly the weather was super humid but I really question about the mobile carriers in Malaysia since my roaming line was actually SUPER SLOW like a tortoise and with the international roaming calls I made, my iPhone could literally go silent and the same happened in BKK which I was rather unhappy with VodaFone this trip. Other trips, I didn’t have ANY problems except in Canada last year when they used Telus which I found them TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!

    BKK – wifi is available for free in BKIA Suvarnabhumi Airport. I generally buy a TrueMove SIM card which is the largest and most efficient mobile carrier in Thailand. Available on the 2nd floor when you arrive however, DO NOTE that once you come out from the customs check point, the free airport wifi isn’t available and should you exit the customs, you’ll need to pay additional THB700 taxes even just to go to get a SIM card or if you forgot something in the airport! Other mobile carriers like Dtac and AIS aren’t as good if you are travelling outside the tourist areas and BKK itself. Local metered cab (taxi) can be found on Level 1 and Express Trains (MRT and BTS skytrains) on the lowest level but I don’t bother since I’ll just pay the cab to use the tollway to get to the CBD “golden triangle” Silom is and exclusive areas of Sukhumvit where all the top hotels and shopping areas are. As I travel frequently to Thailand, I have found that their local hotels like Dusit Thani BKK, Chatrium Hotels & Residences Group and the Accor group mostly Sofitel and Novotel Suvarnabhumi hotel which is excellent. Novotel Suvarnabhumi actually provides a free shuttle to and fro the airport and if I have people picking me up and do not have to wait in the airport, I will get catch a ride to Novotel Suvarnabhumi Hotel and sit in their lounge for a drink but generally with Royal Silk and Royal First, the “BLACKLANE” limo (Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 Series, Cadillac XTS or similar) costs about USD82/one way including taxes with “Free 60 minutes wait time for airport pickups, 15 mins for all others, Meet and Greet, Free cancellation up until 1 hour before pickup”. This is considered expensive compared to a local meter cab which would only cost you at most THB500 including the THB50 surcharge with tips one way. Npte: There is a surcharge of THB50 from the airport. If staying in a hotel, I’ll just get them to call me a metered cab. BKK is literally a 24hour traffic jam! unless I travel at unearthly hours between 1am and 4am or just after the “peak hours”. However during the traffic jam, a metered cab is safe and there’s always a hotline if you get ripped off. Always ask and negotiate a price before you get on and tell the driver where you need to go. Generally, most hotel staff can help you speak in Thai. They all use GPS and generally have 1-2 mobile phone with them all the time on as to get travel by the best and fastest way. Up north Thailand, I would stay with Centara Group where the local Thai royalty and military, navy and armed forces plus airline crew would stay.

    As with any of the SE Asia countries, if you are polite to the staff, generally in return they would not cheat you. I mainly only speak English but I do actually understand many languages even though I would not speak it unless I really have to. I have been very fortunate to have travelled frequently as a child, a teenager and graduated at a very early age with my first job of only a year as a permanent staff. Then I started to do “contract” jobs which I basically travelled on “weekend” trips – all at my own expense where I learnt how to communicate via sign language or showed my flight departure time and draw pictures so even a child could understand! During those days, mobile phones didn’t exist nor did the internet so in places like Taiwan, Japan and Korea, I carried a map and just looked at the characters and matched them but later, decided that a compass was much easier. I have travelled extensively throughout SE Asia even when Myanmar (which I referred to as Burma) was still under the military rule, and literally only carried USD UNMARKED cash since credit cards were NOT ACCEPTED even in 5 star hotels and the restaurants would return me with their Kyat currency as I would have a local chauffer drive pass Aung San Suu Kyi’s home when she was still under house arrest. I have been most fortune to have travelled to most of SE Asia countries; Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Vietnam, India as well as Japan, Korea, various parts of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Australia, New Zealand, Fuji, Dubai, North America, UK and bits of Europe but haven’t had the time to go to the smaller islands and to South Africa which I do have friends who have been there.

    I do apologize for the long email but I hope it will benefit those who plan to travel more abroad whether it be for business or pleasure. I’m actually still relatively young in age or over “3score 10”, even though all my travels have been out of my own expenses as work as and when I wish. Thank you kindly and I do wish you have a safe journey to SE Asia.


    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    For additional security if worried by hotel wifi, use a vpn such as provided by Norton or AVG.


    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    Excelent stuff – thank you, everyone.

    Unfortunately there is a poster or posters who are determined to promte their internet product on the forum and are creating new handles and starting new threads on this subject. I know we are all very welcoming to new posters here, but just as a warning we are monitoring the forum very closely at the moment.

    Many thanks

    Tom


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    Excelent stuff – thank you, everyone.

    Unfortunately there is a poster or posters who are determined to promte their internet product on the forum and are creating new handles and starting new threads on this subject. I know we are all very welcoming to new posters here, but just as a warning we are monitoring the forum very closely at the moment.

    Many thanks

    Tom

    I didn’t want to say anything, without the info about certain handles, but it looked that there was astroturfing going on, in quite a subtle and clever way.


    handbag
    Participant

    Excelent stuff – thank you, everyone.

    Unfortunately there is a poster or posters who are determined to promte their internet product on the forum and are creating new handles and starting new threads on this subject. I know we are all very welcoming to new posters here, but just as a warning we are monitoring the forum very closely at the moment.

    Many thanks

    Tom

    I do hope that I am not one of the “Posters” and have not done the wrong thing by saying how good my provider is and giving quite a few details. If I have, then I do apologise, as I have nothing personal to gain from this.


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    Excelent stuff – thank you, everyone.

    Unfortunately there is a poster or posters who are determined to promte their internet product on the forum and are creating new handles and starting new threads on this subject. I know we are all very welcoming to new posters here, but just as a warning we are monitoring the forum very closely at the moment.

    Many thanks

    Tom

    I do hope that I am not one of the “Posters” and have not done the wrong thing by saying how good my provider is and giving quite a few details. If I have, then I do apologise, as I have nothing personal to gain from this.

    handbag, I am sure that Tom is not referring to your posts, there are some ‘astroturfers’ in action (trying to promote services/products at grass roots level, but in a false way, thus fake grass).


    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    Yes, absolutely correct.

    I’ve deleted a lot of new topics and threads on this subject, but often they introduce themselves on one thread and then start another, or ask questions etc.. Just part of life on forums and threads, I suppose. Nothing too bad at the moment.

    And as I mentioned above, there’s some really useful information on this thread, and the product they are trying to promote isn’t mentioned!

    Have a great day

    Tom


    Chris in Makati
    Participant

    If you travel outside Europe frequently you may want to consider one of these 4G mobile portable wi-fi devices.

    The one I have is Pokefi. Once you’ve bought the unit, for US$15 you can buy either a 5-day pass or 5GB of data (to be consumed within 2 years of purchase). I’ve had this for several months and it has worked well so far.

    https://www.mypokefi.com/

    There’s a similar device available called Skyroam Solis. That has coverage in more countries than the Pokefi, but you can only buy day-passes for this, you can’t buy blocks of data. I can’t comment about how well it works as I don’t own one.

    https://www.skyroam.com/

    I’d agree that the cheapest option is to get a local SIM card. Sometimes these are easy to obtain, but as someone stated earlier it can also be a bit complicated. These portable devices eliminate any hassle as you just turn them on when you land and they’re ready to go immediately.

    If you don’t want to fork out the capital cost of buying one of these devices, another option is the Birdie Travel SIM, which is available from Hong Kong. This is basically a data-only roaming SIM, but the rates are excellent. For example, in Japan, Taiwan, Macau, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia it’s HK$12 (about £1.15) per day.

    https://www.birdie.com.hk/birdiehome/en/


    JEFFREY
    Participant

    Hi Max11,

    I often travel to SE Asia just about every 1-2 months and stay within the various SE Asia countries including HKG and last year to North America.

    BKK – wifi is available for free in BKIA Suvarnabhumi Airport. I generally buy a TrueMove SIM card which is the largest and most efficient mobile carrier in Thailand. Available on the 2nd floor when you arrive however, DO NOTE that once you come out from the customs check point, the free airport wifi isn’t available and should you exit the customs, you’ll need to pay additional THB700 taxes even just to go to get a SIM card or if you forgot something in the airport! Other mobile carriers like Dtac and AIS aren’t as good if you are travelling outside the tourist areas and BKK itself. Local metered cab (taxi) can be found on Level 1 and Express Trains (MRT and BTS skytrains) on the lowest level but I don’t bother since I’ll just pay the cab to use the tollway to get to the CBD “golden triangle” Silom is and exclusive areas of Sukhumvit where all the top hotels and shopping areas are.

    Some incorrect information in your post.
    There are no “express trains” from Suvanabhumi Airport, nor do the MRT and BTS operate from there.
    It is the Airport Rail Link (ARL) City Line which operates from the basement at BKK.
    Since you also mentioned you don’t bother using it, I can understand that you do not know the correct details.

    The ARL runs all the way to Phaya Thai Station, which is connected to the BTS network.
    Or you can get off at Makassan Station, and use the very long walkway to connect to the MRT line from there

    ARL is very useful if you are travelling light. You can alight downtown to take a taxi, or transfer to the BTS or MRT lines (as per the stations mentioned above)

    For me AIS is the best mobile provider in Bangkok, good 4G coverage and cheap plans, including plans that give free AIS Wifi access at all malls and shopping areas

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