If you’re planning a tropical escape to the dramatic beaches and rainforests of Thailand – lucky you! But before you travel, we have some essential advice about protecting your digital privacy in this beautiful Southeast Asian country.
With a reliable VPN installed on your phone or computer, you can enjoy everything Thailand has to offer, without the anxieties about censorship, crime, or the annoyance of encountering geoblocks. But not all VPNs are up to the task. So read on to discover the providers to turn to before your next trip.
Why would you need to use a VPN in Thailand?
Thailand has a pretty good reputation for digital freedom, at least on the surface. Compared to China and other autocratic regimes, the country seems like a place where internet users can let their guard down a little. But that’s not true at all.
For one thing, Thailand is no paradise where free speech is concerned. In 2017, a Thai man was jailed for 35 years (reduced from 70) for Facebook posts allegedly attacking the monarchy. Prosecutions for speech offenses are common, and foreigners visiting the country can be targeted as much as locals.
Then there are less sinister reasons for needing a VPN in Thailand. For instance, you might want to access Netflix content that isn’t available in South East Asia. By using a Virtual Private Network, you can make an end run around geoblockers, and enjoy a full range of TV shows and movies.
Security is another key factor. When you travel around Thai hostels, cafes, and hotels, there’s a good chance you’ll need to rely on public wi-fi connections. Wherever you are in the world, these connections are vulnerable to cyber attackers, and it’s not that hard to read the emails you send or the sites you visit.
With the protection offered by a high-quality VPN, you can guard yourself against attacks on unsecured wi-fi, defeat geoblocks, and hide from authoritarian censors. So it’s a good idea to have one installed on your computer and smartphone before you visit Thailand. But what VPNs should you look to when safeguarding your devices?
Choosing the perfect VPN for your visit to Thailand
Before we list a few suggestions, it probably helps to discuss what properties a good travel VPN should possess. Firstly, you’ll want a service which has servers located around the world, and plenty of options in the Asia-Pacific region. This should ensure faster speeds, and help to work around geoblocks more effectively.
Security features are just as critical, so look for providers with military-grade encryption, sophisticated DNS leak protection, and a wide range of protocols for users to choose from.
Then there’s price. If you’re flying to Thailand for a month or so, you might not want to pay for a 12 or 18-month subscription. Look for Virtual Private Networks with shorter term packages (or even 30 day trial versions of their full products).
Many travelers also require protection on multiple devices – generally smartphones and laptops. Not all Virtual Private Networks provide cheap multi-device subscriptions, so go for a company which lets you add more than one device without ramping up the price.
Thankfully, there are plenty of providers who tick all of those boxes, and offer protection tailored to the needs of travelers. Let’s check out a few contenders to help you find the ideal option for your Thai adventure.
NordVPN lays a pretty strong claim to being the world’s number one VPN – at least for now. Based in Panama, NordVPN operates a 30 day moneyback guarantee. That’s great for travelers who are heading to Asia for a short break, essentially offering protection for free.
But it’s in the nuts and bolts features where NordVPN shines. The company operates a genuine “no logs” policy, features extremely powerful encryption, as well as add-ons to hide your online activity under even more layers of protection. So using public wi-fi shouldn’t be a problem.
With over 5,100 servers across the world, there’s bound to be a fast connection, and working around Netflix geoblocks won’t be an issue. And adding extra devices is simple, too.
NordVPN’s main competitor for the global privacy crown, ExpressVPN offers a similarly impressive suite of features for global travelers. The company maintains servers in over 90 countries, and promises unrivaled anti-geoblocking performance. So it’s a good bet for streaming fans who want to chill out in between beach visits.
The company offers clients for Windows, iOS, and Android (among other platforms), which is very handy for backpackers with multiple devices. Privacy against government intrusion should be safeguarded by the VPN’s British Virgin Islands location, while logging isn’t a worry, either.
Another versatile, reliable option for travelers, IPVanish has a good track record of beating local website censorship in Thailand and performs pretty well in global terms as well.
It’s not always as fast as NordVPN or ExpressVPN, so streamers might want to look elsewhere. But if you need an affordable option for everyday browsing, emails and adding photos to Instagram, IPVanish will perform really well.
Protect your privacy and make the most of your vacation with the right VPN
Thailand may be welcoming and friendly, but visitors still need to be aware of digital privacy. Government censorship, corporate geoblocks, and the activities of cyber criminals all make it essential to source a VPN during your stay. The three providers listed above will provide the protection you need, so pick a package before you fly.