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Roaming in Asia: compare portable and free wifi, SIM Card and eSIM | April 2024

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Last update: April 1, 2024
Roams UK
Author: Roams UK
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In a nutshell

Staying connected to the internet in Asia while enjoying your trip around the continent can be very useful and make your journey easier and worry-free. The eSIM cards, SIM cards, roaming in Asia or portable wifi are some of the options you can hire, so you won't be without internet at any time during your trip.

Buy an eSIM for Asia.

Best options for internet in Asia

The use of mobile phones has been increasing in recent times, so looking for options to have internet while travelling in Asia is one of the questions we ask ourselves when we are planning our getaway. The best options are the eSIM card, SIM card or portable wifi.

Here is the summary of our analysis of the different alternatives for internet in Asia:

How much does Internet cost in Asia?
Service Price/Days Data
Holafly eSIM for Asia
  • From £39/10 Days
  • 6GB
Asia SIM Card
  • From £8
  • 6GB
Wifi in Asia:
  • Portable
  • Public

  • From £6/Day
  • Free

  • 500MB/Day
  • Unlimited
Roaming in Asia
  • From £6
  • From 1MB

Best eSIM for Asia: travel with connectivity

An eSIM is a virtual card that works thanks to a microchip that is installed in your smartphone and allows you to have internet in Asia without the need for roaming. Thanks to eSIM Holafly, you can keep the same mobile phone number with all the benefits that this entails, or share data with your travel companions.

Holafly's tariffs allow you to enjoy 3G and 4G speeds in more than 12 Asian countries, which makes the Holafly Asia eSIM ideal for tourists who want to backpack through different countries or digital nomads who decide to telecommute from Thailand or Bali.

Not all mobile phones are compatible with this card, so we recommend that you check that the smartphone you use during your trip in Asia has eSIM technology available.

The Asia eSIM card allows you to connect your mobile phone to the internet in several countries such as Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Cambodia... among others, allowing you to connect to the internet in almost all parts of the continent.

There are many advantages of the Holafly Asia eSIM some of them are:

  • Activating the card is very simple, you will receive an email the moment you sign up, which means you will never be without internet connection.
  • Installing the eSIM card is very easy, thanks to a QR code that you receive immediately.
  • It is activated automatically when you connect to a mobile network.
  • Share data with your travel companions so that no one is ever left without an internet connection.

Signing up and activating the Holafly card is very simple and with just a few simple steps you can enjoy internet on your mobile without any problems:

  1. Choose your Holafly tariff Depending on the days and GB you want.
  2. Download the QR code When you sign up for the tariff, you will receive an email with a QR code.
  3. Install the data plan On the screen, you will see a series of steps that you must follow to enjoy the contracted data plan.
  4. Activate the Holafly eSIM card Once the card is activated, enjoy your trip to Asia.

The Holafly eSIM has contract options depending on the number of days of your stay and the GB you want to have, so you can choose from:

Holafly Asia eSIM plans
Plan Price Data
15 Days
  • £34
  • 6GB
30 Days
  • £49
  • 10GB

It is important that before signing up for eSIM you check the compatibility of the mobile phone you are using, as not all devices are compatible with this technology.

What is an eSim card?

If the virtual card technology appeals to you, but Holafly's rates don't suit your travel needs, there are other companies you can check out to buy the best eSIM for Asia:

Asia SIM Card

Another option available to enjoy internet connectivity is a SIM card for Asia, which works in the same way as the regular SIM card we have in our mobile phone. Nowadays, almost all SIM cards are available in various sizes so that you can purchase the one that fits your smartphone.

There are several sizes of SIM card that fit all mobile phones, these are: miniSIM, microSIM and nanoSIM card. You need to check which card your smartphone uses.

Buying a SIM card before arriving in your destination country avoids having to look for places to buy one and allows you to use the internet from the first moment you set foot in the Asian country. Buying a SIM card is very easy, with free home delivery in many cases. On the other hand, if you decide to buy a SIM card once you are on the mainland, you can buy it at the companies' sales points or at the airport.

If you have decided to buy a SIM card before your trip to Asia, you can purchase it from one of the many online outlets, such as SimpOptions, which offers a variety of rates, so you can choose the budget, time and GB you need. Another option is Travel Sim, where you can choose zones, price and data.

Some of the best prepaid SIM card tariffs you can count on for travelling in Asia are:

  • Sim 2 Fly: offers one of the best-selling tariffs that includes data, but not calls, with nationwide coverage and top-up options.
  • Asia 12 Days: offered by China Unicom with data, APN settings and nationwide coverage.
  • Travel Sim Asia: from True Move H, offers various SIM card sizes, top-up option and a SIM number of its own.

If you have decided to buy the SIM card in the country itself, you can go to a point of sale of one of the companies that operate best on the Asian continent: China Mobile, NTT or SK Telecom.

Pocket wifi Asia or free wifi

Asia is one of the most visited continents for long trips, backpacking or digital nomads. Being able to connect to the internet in Asia in these cases is an essential requirement, and wifi is one of the first options we think of when we are organising the trip. There are several alternatives:

  • Pocket wifi: private and secure connection to be able to connect several devices.
  • Public wifi: public and not very secure connection that can be found at different points along the route.

Using portable wifi in Asia

This type of secure private wifi connection is also known as pocket wifi, due to its small size we can easily carry it during the trip. This portable internet option allows us to connect several devices at the same time, regardless of where we are during our stay in Asia.

The portable wifi is purchased on a rental basis, meaning that at the end of the stay or when the trip is over, the device must be returned. Generally, the companies that offer this service usually make it easy to pick it up and return it, so that the client does not have any problems.

Before hiring this service you should know that you are renting the portable router, that is, at the end of the trip you will have to return it, but don't worry, as the companies offer many options for pick-up and return of the device. Some of the options you have, if you decide to rent a portable wifi, are:

  • WifiVox: one of the cheapest, it allows you to connect up to five devices at once so you can share the connection between your travel companions.
  • Travelers Wifi: they offer several pick-up and drop-off options, you can connect up to five devices and the data overage is included at reduced speed.

Public wifi in Asia

More and more countries are trying to encourage tourism by offering free wifi, and Asia is not far behind. Large Asian countries have wifi hotspots in tourist spots, transport stations or cultural areas. Normally, to access this wifi you have to register at the tourist offices located at airports.

Hotels are also places that usually have a wifi network, although it is usually private, if you are staying at the hotel you can enjoy internet connection on all your devices.

Be aware that public networks can make your device vulnerable to cybersecurity issues, so if you can, we recommend you avoid connecting to them to avoid potential hacks or unexpected surprises while travelling in Asia.

Roaming in Asia: a viable option?

Asia does not have free roaming, so you need to be careful about using the same tariff when you travel to the continent. You can turn your phone's roaming on and off whenever you want, so there are no surprises on your tariff. You can also sign up for one of the options that allow you to use the internet in Asia, such as an eSIM card, SIM card or portable wifi.

The default prices applied by the companies, if you use the usual tariffs for the Asia trip, range from £6 to £13 per MB. That's why you should keep an eye on the Holafly eSIM for Asia.

Buy your eSIM for Asia card with a 5% discount with the code ROAMS.

Internet coverage in Asia

Asia has one of the best internet connection speeds, with large countries such as South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan having the best speeds. Countries such as Mongolia, Laos or Bangladesh are at the bottom, being one of the countries with the worst internet connection.

In Asia, 5G speeds are advancing considerably, especially in China and South Korea, where more and more policies are being implemented to encourage its development. Standalone 5G networks, i.e. networks that do not need 4G networks to operate, are gradually being deployed.

If you are going to travel to different countries in Asia and you need to know what the internet is like in one of these countries, here are a few:

Advantages of having internet in Asia

Being able to use a mobile phone and have an internet connection in Asia is almost one of the essential requirements when organising a trip to the country. We are used to using our mobile phones to carry out almost any task, from looking for a point on the map so that we don't get lost, to consulting a question at the moment it arises or being able to call at the moment to make an enquiry.

For this reason, it is essential to continue to have these advantages during our travels. The advantages of having internet in Asia are many and varied, but some of them may be:

  • Being able to tell your friends where you are on your trip and show them the wonders of the country.
  • If you are working in one of the Asian countries, an internet connection is a must. Being able to attend meetings or check email is important to get the job done.
  • Getting to the Taj Mahal, Borobudur or visiting one of Thailand's beaches and not getting lost.
  • Consult the translator to be able to ask questions or check a location.

Tips for your trip to Asia

Asia is a continent that attracts and invites you to stay, with an explosion of flavours, colours and textures that invite you to explore. Some of the places you can visit are: the Taj Mahal in India, a walk on the Great Wall of China, a balloon flight over Bagan in Myanmar or a swim in the Maldives.

The best time to travel to Asia is between November and April, as this is usually the dry season. However, depending on the area, some months may be better than others, so we recommend you check the climate by month for the countries you want to visit.

Another aspect to consider is travel insurance in Asia, which is a policy that covers several countries in Southeast Asia. Travel insurance is mandatory when travelling to this part of the world.

Holafly internet Asia's eSIM tariff helps you enjoy your trip without worrying about running out of data or not being able to contact your family or travel companions, just choose the duration of your trip.

Buy your eSIM for Asia with a 5% discount with the code ROAMS.


What is the internet like in Asia?

Asia has one of the best internet connections in the world. Asian countries such as Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan have some of the best connections.

How can I get internet if I am travelling in Asia?

You can opt for a SIM card from your own country, an eSIM card like the one from Holafly or a pocket wifi.

What browser do you use in Asia?

The most used mobile browser is UC Browser, its logo is in shades of orange with a squirrel, followed by Baidu, with Google Chrome being the least used.

Our methodology
Roams offers a free information and comparison service, which tries to help anyone find the product that best suits their needs. To ensure that the data presented is correct, extensive market research and product analysis is carried out. Our database of mobile phone and internet rates is updated every day. The content is frequently reviewed by a team of writers with previous experience and/or specific training in telephony.

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Laura Burón
Edited and revised por Laura Burón