No doubt it’s going to be an amazing trip when you visit Thailand and you won’t be able to stop yourself from posting it all over your social media.
Plus, Thailand has one of the fastest internet speeds in Asia. The downside? Your cybersecurity might be compromised.
When you’re going to another country, your safety on the Internet is as important as your physical safety. One of the best ways to keep your data secure on the internet is to use a VPN.
The good thing is, using a VPN is legal in Thailand. Given that it’s not used for illegal purposes of course.
Do you need a VPN in Thailand?
Not everyone uses a VPN religiously because they might think that it’s an unnecessary hassle.
But there are a lot of reasons why you should use one and in Thailand, it is an absolute necessity to download a VPN.
Let’s break it down on why you need a VPN in Thailand:
– You’re most likely to use public WiFi
Thailand has an extensive map of free and paid WiFi hotspots all over their cities, so Internet connection won’t be a worry for you.
But, using public WiFi means that you’re more prone to security breaches. Yes, that includes your hotel Internet.
Usually, you would immediately connect to a public WiFi without a second thought and not think about the safeness of the network.
You wouldn’t know about who’s watching the traffic on that connection and whether there is a thief who is after your personal data. Or if even the connection available to the public is a legitimate one.
Just imagine your personal passwords, banking and credit card information, and sensitive data on your devices being used without your knowledge.
This is why doing that extra step of activating your VPN can go for a long mile.
If you’re using a VPN, no one on that network can see your data — even the operators of that network.
– You don’t want the Thai government to track and store your data
Even if you’re visiting Thailand for just a week, your Internet history and data will remain stored for at least 90 days.
In the 2019 update of the Computer Crimes Act of Thailand, the government required all restaurant and café owners who provide public WiFi to store the data of its users for at least 90 days just in case the officials may need to request that information.
Social media monitoring is common in Thailand, and a lot of people are getting arrested over it.
So even if you’re not doing anything that might go against the country’s laws, it’s best to take a page out of Thai citizens’ books and use a VPN so you can take a form of self-censorship and not have your data stored by strangers.
– You might want to access websites that are available in your country but not in Thailand
There are a couple of sites that are inaccessible to Thailand. Overall, it is estimated that over 110,000 websites and URLs are blocked. That includes pornographic sites, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Cable News Network (CNN), and other news websites and forums.
There are even web pages from Yahoo! News and Wikipedia articles that are banned.
If you’re not using a VPN, and you try to access one of the banned websites in Thailand, you’re only going to see a message that reads “The page was prohibited because of the court order. It could have an effect on or be against the security of the Kingdom, public order, or good morals.”
Is Facebook banned in Thailand?
Speaking of banned websites, it’s good to know that Thailand doesn’t block social media websites.
You can still access your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social media sites.
But as we said, there are a lot of Thai citizens claiming that the government is closely monitoring social media.
So do try to not post anything that might get you in the crosshairs even if you’re using a VPN.
Will my Netflix work in Thailand?
You can still watch Netflix while you’re in Thailand. Just log in to your Netflix account and binge away.
But you can only watch content that is available in Netflix Thailand. Fair warning, the Netflix library in Thailand is incredibly limited compared to Netflix in the United States.
There are only 178 TV shows and 515 movies available in Netflix Thailand while there are more than one thousand TV shows and four thousand movies available in Netflix USA.
Although the films and shows available in Thailand are surely entertaining, you might want to have a little bit more options.
So if the current TV show you’re watching is not available in Netflix Thailand, you can access your original country’s Netflix via VPN.
This might be challenging considering that Netflix is upping their game when it comes to combatting VPN accesses.
So not all VPNs work when it comes to overseas access. Just make sure that you test your VPN if it’s reliable and working.
Is YouTube blocked in Thailand?
YouTube is one of the most popular websites around the world so it’s a shocker to see that Thailand previously blocked YouTube.
It started back in 2006 when Thailand blocked access to YouTube for users with Thai IP addresses because of 20 identified videos that were marked offensive by their officials.
Then in 2007, YouTube was blocked again for three different months because of political reasons.
The good thing is, YouTube is now accessible to Thailand and it doesn’t look like its getting blocked anytime soon.
Does Google Maps work in Thailand?
Google Maps is accessible in Thailand, but a lot of foreign tourists have a problem with it.
Usually, Google Maps are unreliable and inaccurate so if you’re using it, make sure that it’s only for general orientation and not a major directions source.
A couple of street and highway names are in Thai and Roman script. English translation is not always a guarantee.
Plus, the way Thai people write their address is different from the English version. So it’s better if you have an address written in Thai and English so you can enlist the help of a local for directions if you get confused.
An erratic GPS signal is pretty common so it’s better if you have an offline map on your phone or a physical copy of it.
For a substitute for Google Maps, you can use the built-in map in iOS devices, or download HERE WeGo where you can plan your trip ahead of time so you can download the map and use the app in offline mode.
Thailand Internet Safety Tips
All of it might be overwhelming to understand and remember but the general rule is, try your best to use a reliable VPN.
This is not just when you’re visiting in Thailand but whenever and wherever you are connecting to a public WiFi.
Here are more safety Internet tips to remember to keep your data secured.
– Think Twice Before Connecting.
Make sure that the public WiFi you’re connecting to is a legitimate one.
Maybe that “McDonalds_WiFi” or “Starbucks_Wifi” are ploys to data phishing since it’s common for cafes and restaurants to ask for your information before letting you connect.
If your budget permits, try to get yourself a data connection. If not, then make sure that the WiFi connection is legitimate and you use a VPN to protect your data.
– Don’t use any banking services using public WiFi.
This includes online shopping via credit/debit card and most importantly, signing into your online bank account.
You could easily fall victim to hackers as they can access your credentials and information especially if the network you’re using is not secure.
– Visit Secure Websites Only.
If possible, only visit websites with URLs that start with “https” instead of “http”.
The main reason for this is that https websites are more secure because they use an encrypted protocol to send your information.
One way to easily check this is the presence of a padlock symbol beside the URL on your browser.