Last updated on November 26th, 2023 at 06:53 pm
Looking for the best eSIM for Southeast Asia? Based on our experience, Airalo eSIM plans start at $5 which is best for affordability, while BNESIM offers so much coverage and speed in Asia. In this guide, we go into detail about Airalo, BNESIM, and other eSIM brands that offer regional eSIM plans for Asian countries and Southeast Asia.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the top eSIM providers for Southeast Asia, covering pricing, coverage, and other essential factors. Our aim is to help you find the best eSIM to stay connected while exploring the region.
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Check our best guides on travel insurance for Asia below.
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What is an eSIM and Why You Need One for Southeast Asia
An eSIM (Embedded Subscriber Identity Module) is a virtual SIM card that allows you to connect to multiple mobile networks without the need for a physical SIM. This digital SIM technology is perfect for travelers, as it provides a seamless, hassle-free way to stay connected across different countries. In Southeast Asia, where countries have varying mobile network providers and data plans, an eSIM simplifies the process and allows you to enjoy uninterrupted internet access.
Updated Comparison Chart of eSIM Providers
|Provider||Coverage Countries||Data Packages||Pricing||Unique Features|
|Airalo||13 in SE Asia||1GB-100GB||$5-$185||Extensive coverage in SE Asia, affordable plans|
|Holafly||14 in Asia||Unlimited / 6GB-10GB||$19-$64 for unlimited, $44-$54 for limited data||Unlimited data plans, no tethering on unlimited plans|
|Nomad||100+ globally||Various||Competitive pricing||Global coverage, flexibility in data purchase|
|SimOptions||33 in Asia||6GB over 10 days||$18 for Smart Traveller eSIM||Affordable options, coverage in multiple countries with exclusions|
This chart provides a succinct and clear comparison of the key eSIM providers based on the latest information. It includes details on coverage, data packages, pricing, and unique features, making it easier for you to make an informed choice on the best eSIM for Southeast Asia.
Southeast Asia eSIM: Coverage
Here’s a comparison of the countries covered by each eSIM provider in Southeast Asia:
|eSIM Provider||Countries Covered|
|Airalo||This plan includes Cambodia, China, China (Hong Kong), China (Macao), Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam.|
|Holafly||Unlimited Data – Hongkong, Indonesia (with Bali), Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam|
Regional Plan – covers the whole Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Cambodia Malaysia, and Brunei (no unlimited option for these countries).
|Nomad||For APAC, Nomad offer a 12-country plan and a 15 country plan. Both plans include: |
China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam.
While the differences are that the 12-country plan includes Australia, however, the 15-country plan doesn’t have Australian support but adds to it support for India, Macao, Taiwan and Hongkong.
Nomad’s coverage is supported by Truphone.
|BNESIM||Taiwan China, Australia, Hong Kong China, Macau China, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar (Currently Blocked), Thailand, USA, Vietnam, Indonesia, New Zealand, Mainland China, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Israel, Russia, India, Turkey, Japan, Kuwait, South Korea, Nigeria, Dominica, Cambodia.|
Quick Summary: Best eSIM for Southeast Asia
Airalo is a popular global eSIM provider that offers a range of affordable data plans for Southeast Asia. With coverage in countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia, Airalo is an excellent choice for travelers exploring the region.
Holafly is a reputable eSIM provider that specializes in travel eSIMs. They offer country-specific plans with generous data allowances, making them an attractive option for travelers who want a tailored solution for Southeast Asia.
BNESim is a versatile eSIM provider that focuses on global connectivity. They offer coverage in Southeast Asia, with data packages designed for various travel durations and data needs.
Nomad, just by the name, promotes itself as the eSIM for the constant traveler. Offering some of the best rates for travel, it’s one of the options you can use for eSIM when in Southeast Asia. Nomad offers flexibility and convenience for those seeking reliable internet access during their trips.
Airalo – Our Choice for Best eSIM for Southeast Asia for Affordability
Ranking as our no. 1 suggested option, Airalo offers 1GB for 7 days at $5 and can rise to only $20 for $5GB for 30 days, giving you a very affordable data option in Southeast Asia. This plan includes Cambodia, China, China (Hong Kong), China (Macao), Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam.
Airalo offers some of the best pricing options for Southeast Asia eSIM with multiple data options.
- 1 GB for 7 days for $5 USD
- 3 GB for 30 days for $13 USD
- 5 GB for 30 days for $20 USD
- 10GB for 30 days at $37
- 50 GB for 90 Days for $100 USD
- 100 GB for 180 Days for $185 USD
- Coverage: Nationwide, including major cities and tourist destinations
- Network: Utilizes the MTN network
Read our detailed review of Airalo here. Please note, Airalo plans do not cover Central Asian countries.
Holafly – Our Choice for Best eSIM Unlimited Data in Southeast Asia
Holafly Unlimited Data Plan – Southeast Asia Country-Specific
Holafly stands out for those needing unlimited data, offering plans in key Southeast Asian countries. Their unlimited plans include:
- 5 days for $19
- 10 days for $34
- 15 days for $47
- 30 days for $64
Additionally, Holafly offers a 14-country Asia-wide plan with 6GB for 15 days at $44 and 10GB for 30 days at $54. However, tethering is not allowed on unlimited plans.
|Country||Unlimited Data Price and Validity Period|
|Indonesia (including Bali)||Taiwan|
Holafly Regional Asia Plan
With Holafly’s International Travel eSIM for Asia, you get coverage for 12 countries including South Korea, Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, and Laos.
This plan gives you 6GB data for 15 days for $44. While for 30 days, you can get 10GB for $54. Maximum 500MB/day.
Coverage for this plan includes connections in South Korea, Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, and Laos.
Holafly plans for their International Asia eSIM below:
- 6 GB for 15 days for $44 USD
- 10 GB for 30 days for $54 USD
- Coverage: Nationwide, including major cities and tourist destinations
- Network: Utilizes the Vodacom network
Review our full Holafly Guide here.
Nomad Plan – Best Choice for Regional Asia eSIM w/ Most Countries included
Under Nomad’s APAC Regional Plans, Nomad offers a 12-country plan and a 15-country plan eSIM for APAC (Asia Pacific).
12 Countries Plan is at $15 for 5GB, 30 days, and $13 for 3GB, 30 Days. 15 countries plan has a higher GB plan costing $38 for 20GB, 30 days, and down to 3GB for 15 days for $13. See the plans below.
For APAC, Nomad offers a 12-country plan and a 15-country plan. Both plans include:
China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.
While the differences are that the 12-country plan includes Australia, however, the 15-country plan doesn’t have Australian support but adds to its support for India, Macao, Taiwan, and Hongkong.
Nomad’s coverage is supported by Truphone.
BNESim – Best Choice for Best ESIM Packages and Deals
A new contender to our lineup of recommended eSIMs, Bnesim gives you 500MB/day of data for 3 days for only $5.99. Coverage includes: Taiwan China, Australia, Hong Kong China, Macau China, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar (Currently Blocked), Thailand, USA, Vietnam, Indonesia, New Zealand, Mainland China, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Israel, Russia, India, Turkey, Japan, Kuwait, South Korea, Nigeria, Dominica, Cambodia.
Maya Mobile eSIM
One of the newest additions to our recommended eSIM for Southeast Asia is Maya Mobile eSIM. See full review here. Maya eSIM has great data packages that can rival brands like Airalo and also offers unlimited data options like Holafly.
Maya Mobile Southeast Asia eSIM plans are:
- 3GB for $7 USD valid for 5 Days
- 5GB for $10 USD valid for 5 Days
- 10GB for $15 USD valid for 5 Days
- 20GB for $27 USD valid for 5 Days
- Unlimited Data for $19 USD valid for 5 Days (no hotspot/tethering)
- Unlimited Data for $29 and $39 USD valid for 5 Days with hotspot included
Another eSIM plan for Southeast Asia is Bytesim which gives you lower package plans starting at 500MB. Bytesim has two Southeast Asia plans covering 21 countries and 13 countries, with 500 MB plan starting at € 5,95 Euros or $6.5 USD
How to Set Up and Use Your eSIM in Southeast Asia
Setting up your eSIM is a straightforward process on eSIM-compatible devices. Follow these simple steps to activate and use your eSIM in Southeast Asia:
- Ensure your device is eSIM compatible.
- Choose a suitable eSIM provider and purchase a data plan.
- You will receive a QR code or activation code from the provider.
- On your device, navigate to Settings > Mobile Data > Add Data Plan.
- Scan the QR code or enter the activation code provided.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup.
- Once activated, your eSIM will automatically connect to the local network in the country you’re visiting.
Best eSIM for Southeast Asia: Our Final Thoughts and Recommendations
We recommend Airalo for the most affordable Southeast Asia eSIM plan.
When selecting the best eSIM for Southeast Asia, it’s crucial to consider various factors such as coverage, cost, data plans, and additional features. Your choice largely depends on your specific needs, such as the length of your stay, the countries you plan to visit, and your data requirements.
Our Top Picks Summarized
- Airalo: Best for Affordability
- Offers the most cost-effective plans, ideal for budget-conscious travelers.
- Extensive coverage across major Southeast Asian countries.
- Plans range from $5 for 1GB (7 days) to $185 for 100GB (180 days).
- Holafly: Best for Unlimited Data
- Tailored for those who need unlimited data without worrying about overages.
- Country-specific and regional plans available, though tethering is restricted on unlimited plans.
- Plans range from $19 for 5 days to $64 for 30 days.
- BNESIM: Best for Diverse Packages and Deals
- Offers a mix of short-term and high-data plans.
- Coverage includes a wide range of countries within and outside Southeast Asia.
- Plans start at $5.99 for 500MB/day over 3 days.
- Nomad: Best for Regional Coverage
- Ideal for travelers visiting multiple countries within Southeast Asia.
- Offers plans covering up to 15 countries with competitive pricing.
- Plans range from $13 for 3GB (30 days) to $38 for 20GB (30 days).
- Maya Mobile and ByteSIM: Emerging Options
- Newer contenders offering competitive plans.
- Maya Mobile provides unlimited data options, while ByteSIM caters to lower data needs.
- Various plans available catering to different travel durations and data requirements.
Making the Right Choice
To determine the best eSIM for your Southeast Asian adventure, consider the following:
- Travel Itinerary: If you’re visiting multiple countries, choose an eSIM with broad regional coverage like Nomad or Holafly’s regional plan.
- Data Usage: For heavy data users, unlimited plans from Holafly or high-data plans from BNESIM are suitable. Budget travelers may prefer Airalo for its cost-effectiveness.
- Length of Stay: Short-term travelers can benefit from flexible, short-duration plans, while long-term travelers might prefer plans with larger data allowances over extended periods.
- Device Compatibility: Ensure your device is eSIM compatible and check the activation process for your chosen provider.
While each eSIM provider offers unique advantages, our top recommendation for most travelers to Southeast Asia is Airalo, given its combination of affordability, coverage, and flexible data options. It caters to a wide range of travel styles and budgets, making it a versatile choice for various travel needs.
Stay Connected with Confidence
With the right eSIM, you can enjoy seamless connectivity throughout your Southeast Asian journey, enhancing your travel experience while keeping costs in check. Choose the eSIM that aligns with your travel needs and enjoy the convenience and connectivity it offers.
Updated FAQs – Best eSIM for Southeast Asia
Q: Have there been any significant changes in eSIM providers for Southeast Asia in 2023? A: Yes, in 2023, providers like Airalo, Holafly, Nomad, and SimOptions have updated their offerings with more flexible data plans and competitive pricing. Coverage has also expanded, with some providers covering over 100 countries globally.
Q: Can I use unlimited data plans with Holafly eSIM in Southeast Asia? A: Holafly offers unlimited data plans in many Southeast Asian countries. However, note that tethering and mobile hotspot usage are not allowed on these unlimited plans.
Q: Are there affordable eSIM options available for short trips? A: Yes, providers like SimOptions offer affordable eSIM options such as the Smart Traveller eSIM, providing 6GB over 10 days for $18, valid in multiple countries with some exclusions.
Q: Can I purchase additional data easily if I run out? A: Yes, providers like Nomad offer the flexibility to purchase additional data easily. However, it’s advisable to check the specific policies and procedures of your chosen eSIM provider.
Q: Do eSIM plans include phone numbers or SMS options? A: Most eSIM plans are data-only and do not provide phone numbers or SMS options. Some providers may offer SMS plans, but they are typically limited to specific regions.