How Long Does It Take to Buy a Phone in Thailand?

How Long Does It Take to Buy a Phone in Thailand?

After being in total silence in a meditation retreat, when I came back, I wanted to reconnect. It was time to buy a phone.

When I taught in Colombia, buying a phone was a huge ordeal. Even though I spoke a decent amount of Spanish, and went with a liaison, it took about 2 hours and was expensive. I think around $150 USD. Based on my Colombian experience, and the fact that I can only speak a few words of Thai, I anticipated this taking a few hours. How long did it take? How much did it cost? Take a guess…

Here’s how it went:

I got a massage from a woman who spoke a bit of English so I asked her where I could get a phone, expecting to have to go to some big shopping center or something. We were on a soi (little street) in the old city of Chiang Mai, and she told me it was just up the street. I walked about 100 meters and there was the little phone/electronics shop.

I bought a second-hand LG phone for 400 baht and my sim card was 50 baht. This took about 3 minutes. Then to activate the phone, for the guy to change the language preference to English and to put on 100 baht of minutes took another 2 minutes.

I know I know, how much is that in USD?  Roughly 30 baht = 1 USD, As of today the phone = $13.14 the sim card = $1.64 Grand total: $14.78 for the phone and sim card, it took 5 minutes, and I even got to choose from a variety of different phone numbers. I didn’t have an interpreter, or any help and it was EASY! How different is that than the Colombian experience? Things are inexpensive and simple here in Thailand. I absolutely love it here!

Part II: About 2 weeks later and not being able to receive all my calls, I took the phone back to the guy and said it didn’t work. He showed me a second-hand, blue, Nokia phone, complete with a puffy sticker of an effeminate cloud wearing a red bow on her head. The guy said, “This phone better, 600 baht.”

“But I just paid 450 for this one.”

“Trade in, 150 baht more.” Good as new.

How long does it take to buy a phone in Thailand?

The answer is about 5 minutes.


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