3 Best VPNs for Thailand in 2019
History, natural beauty, incredible beaches, and chaotic cities – Thailand has it all, so it’s little wonder the Tourism Authority of Thailand is predicting an influx of around 40 million visitors this year.
If you’re planning a trip to Thailand, you should keep in mind that the internet security laws are much stricter than those of most of the Western World. However , you can still enjoy unrestricted access to the internet, you just need a VPN.
Top Four VPNs for Thailand
#1 ExpressVPN – The Best VPN for Thailand
Fast and furious, ExpressVPN has servers all over the world, ensuring that its subscribers can enjoy the best browsing experience imaginable from the most far-flung corners of our world. Not only is ExpressVPN a market leader in terms of its encryption levels and security protocols, but it’s also at the forefront of new initiatives to increase transparency and reliability of VPNs across the board.
As one of the world’s leading VPN providers, ExpressVPN has apps available that are compatible with almost every device imaginable, bar your food processor. With apps available for everyone from the traditional Windows user to the proud owner of the cutting-edge Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, ExpressVPN is fully versatile and as safe as houses.
All ExpessVPN apps benefit from the company’s continual commitment to investigating and preventing DNS leaks and feature an automatic kill switch that will ensure that all your data is safe in the event of a lost connection.
There are very few if any drawbacks to using ExpressVPN, although it does limit simultaneous connections to just three devices and falls in the upper tier when it comes to pricing. Having said that, when it comes to value for money, ExpressVPN is as competitive as they come.
Read our full review of ExpressVPN here.
#2 NordVPN – The Best for Security
Another VPN that has chosen its headquarter location according to data retention legislation, NordVPN operates out of Panama, making the most of its citizen-friendly privacy laws. There are few top VPN lists that don’t include this security giant and it’s hardly surprising, given NordVPN’s reputation for reliable connections and cutting-edge encryption.
Not only is NordVPN known for its top of the range security and powerful DoubleVPN feature, but it also has an automatic connection option which will protect you from the moment you power up until you switch off. NordVPN also has a default kill-switch and a function known as CyberSec that blocks adverts and potential malware threats.
One feature that makes NordVPN a particularly good choice for anyone visiting or living in Thailand is its network of obfuscated servers. These servers have been specifically designed to connect in countries where stringent internet restrictions are in place. By using a complex technological solution, NordVPN’s obfuscated servers operate as an alternative method of connection for those occasions when the normal form of VPN is unavailable as a result of government restriction.
Although NordVPN doesn’t always manage the lightning-fast speeds of its top rivals, its commitment to security and user privacy makes it an excellent choice for those looking for a comprehensive cybersecurity solution for Thailand.
Read our full review of NordVPN here.
#3 Surfshark – The Best for Mulitple Devices
Like our number one VPN for Thailand, Surshark is based in the British Virgin Islands, which is a huge advantage when it comes to data security. The British Virgin Islands fall outside both the five and 14 eyes alliances, meaning that they have no obligation to adhere to those data retention laws. This adds a welcome layer of security that can ensure information regarding your online activities remains safely out of reach for Thai authorities.
Compared to both ExpressVPN and NordVPN, Surfshark has a very limited server network but somehow manages to produce excellent scores in terms of both connectivity and speed. Although fairly new on the VPN scene, Surfshark provides all the features you could possibly need from a VPN in Thailand, including ad blocking, split tunneling, zero-knowledge DNS servers, and a double VPN enhanced security option.
Surfshark has also managed to provide consistent access to the notoriously difficult Netflix library, faultlessly negotiating its geoblocks from nearly all its international servers. It’s an impressive service, made all the more notable by its unlimited simultaneous connections and competitive pricing.
Although Surfshark lacks a little of the sophistication its rivals exhibit in terms of their user interface designs, it provides a solid service with plenty of customizable settings and reliable speeds.
Read our full review of Surfshark here.
#4 CyberGhost – A Solid All-Rounder
With a perfectly proportioned combination of speed, reliability, and security, CyberGhost is a consistent all-rounder that will keep you safe and connected even if you’re headed to the distant climes of Khao Kho National Park in North Thailand.
Like our other top VPNs for Thailand, CyberGhost’s headquarters are based outside the international data-sharing alliances. Situated in Romania, CyberGhost VPN is committed to user security and privacy so benefits from Romania’s lack of any data retention legislation.
Unfortunately, CyberGhost’s reliability has been brought into question following Kape Technologies acquisition of this VPN service. Formerly known as Crossrider, Kape Technologies has around since 2011 but changed its emphasis from ad technology to cybersecurity just last year. Crossrider was most commonly known for its malware which casts something of a shadow over CyberGhost’s reliability, although this isn’t reflected in the VPN provider’s growing popularity.
With five simultaneous connections and cross-platform compatibility, CyberGhost remains a versatile and effective cybersecurity solution that has a proven track record of navigating geographical restrictions and government censors to provide international users with an anonymous browsing experience despite any doubts about its parent company’s online activities.
Read our full review of CyberGhost here.
What a Top VPN Can Do for You in Thailand
In 2016, the Thai government introduced the controversial Computer-Related Crime Act (CCA) which gave them the power to enforce internet surveillance and the censorship of sites deemed in contravention of other national laws. The Act used such broad definitions that almost any activity or site could be deemed offensive. Clauses within the legislation indicated that data that was liable to “cause public panic” or detrimental to national security could be banned.
This act already placed severe restrictions on Thai residents’ and visitors’ access to the internet and also forced social media platforms like Google and Facebook to delete content found to be violating local lèse-majesté regulations. The 2016 ruling also impacted on the privacy of online activities, expanding data collection and giving the government far-reaching powers to monitor all online traffic.
Although the 2018 Freedom House report indicated some improvements to internet access, it also noted that internet users and journalists continued to be prosecuted under the CCA. The report when on to acknowledge “troubling developments” in the government’s surveillance strategies and technologies, which included a centralized center for monitoring social media.
Late last year, Freedom House’s concerns became a reality when news of Thailand’s proposed National Cybersecurity Committee (NCSC) became public. This new government authority would have the right to access digital devices, belonging to both companies and individuals, and make copies of any data found, without requiring any legal intervention or court orders.
According to civil rights advocates, this new law could easily facilitate censorship and would give the new committee license to screen and restrict content “without being subject to check and balance, control, or regulation.
What a Top VPN Can Do for You Outside Thailand
So you spent a few years in Thailand and now you can’t live without your daily fix of Ab Ruk Online but streaming Thai TV from the US just isn’t possible… or is it? Top VPN providers like NordVPN and ExpressPVN have servers in Thailand, meaning that you can connect to that server, get a Thai IP address and watch whatever Thai streaming services you like, even if you’re not in the country at the time.
The top three Thai streaming services are:
Iflix – based in Malaysia, this service gives you access to original content, live sports, and shows from companies such as MGM, Paramount and Warner Bros.
Viu – focuses on Asian dramas, entertainments news, and variety programs
HooqTV – a versatile app that gives users access to a range of local and international titles.
Pushing the Boundary: How to Dodge Thai’s Cyber Censorship
Even if you’re not a big fan of technology, you need to embrace certain developments if you want to get online and enjoy the same freedom of access in Thailand as you do at home. Fortunately, the technology you need to get to grips with has been designed to make free and anonymous browsing as easy as pie. Virtual Private Networks have been around for over 20 years and, as their security and encryption have improved, so they are able to contravene government restrictions and give users access to the entire virtual experience, no matter where they are in the world.
By creating a secure tunnel through which you can access the internet, a VPN can give you the freedom to circumvent government and geographical restrictions so you can view whatever content your heart desires. A reliable VPN can also allocate you a fake IP address so that, although you’re actually connecting to the internet from your bed in Bangkok’s famous Bumrungrad International hospital, your VPN can make it appear as though you’re watching Netflix from the comfort of your own home.
While there have been some concerns regarding the legality of using a VPN in Thailand, the current law states that a VPN itself is legal as long as it’s not used for illegal activity or to circumvent government blocks. Although this may leave a few issues unresolved, there has been no history of anyone being arrested for using a VPN in Thailand, while the Thai authorities’ track record of inflicting harsh sentences on those that contravene their lèse-majesté laws online is enough to convince us that a VPN is the way to go.
How to Choose the Best VPN for Thailand
Although it is possible to install a VPN while in Thailand, we recommend doing your research and subscription before you travel, simply to make your life easier and so that you know you’re protected from the minute you touch down in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.
There are literally hundreds of VPN providers out there for you to choose from, but many fail to provide the speeds, connection consistency, and encryption levels you need to browse both freely and securely while in Thailand.
If you’re going diving in Phuket or visiting the historical sites of Ayutthaya, these are some of the top features to look out for when selecting the best VPN for Thailand:
Compromising on security could land you in a lot of hot water in Thailand so selecting a VPN that has military-grade encryption, using the industry standard of AES 256-bit over OpenVPN protocol is a must so any VPN with not offering this can be disregarded immediately.
We all know how it feels to lose connectivity, especially in the middle of a download, but if your VPN connection drops without you knowing it, it could leave you exposed to the draconian Thai authorities. This is why it’s crucial that you select a VPN with a track record for reliable and consistent global connections.
It’s all very well being able to connect to YouTube or Facebook, but if the speeds are so slow that you can make and drink a cup of coffee while waiting for a page to load, you’ll probably not bother. This is why finding a reputable VPN that can provide consistent speeds across their international server network is a must.
Disregard any VPN that doesn’t have a server in Thailand or network coverage across the US and Europe. Limited server locations can curb your access by giving you limited options for the allocation of fake IP addresses, while limited server numbers can also throttle your bandwidth and heavily impact on speed. For example, a VPN like ProVPN, which had servers in just seven international locations and none in Asia, is unlikely to give you a workable service in Thailand, whereas a service like that offered by NordVPN, with its international network of over 5,000 servers, has a much better chance of giving you a fast and reliable connection.
With Thai authorities more than happy to crack the whip and impose harsh sentences on those breaking their cybersecurity laws, having a VPN provider that’s going to keep your online activities confidential is essential. Although nearly every VPN out there claims to have a no-logging policy, some still store sufficient amounts of data to incriminate you should the Thai authorities subpoena their records.
Bearing these important features in mind, we’ve surveyed the top VPN services around to assess which are going to give you the best support and coverage in Thailand so you can forget about researching the capabilities of all the different VPNs out there and just opt for one of our top four recommended VPNs for Thailand.
No matter how careful or conscientious you are about your online activities, if you’re heading to Thailand, it’s a good idea to invest in a VPN before you go as even a visit to the most innocuous of sites could alert the authorities and leave you struggling to defend your innocence.
Whether you’re moving to Thailand on a permanent basis or just heading over for a medical procedure, utilizing one of our recommended VPN provider’s services will give you the freedom to explore the virtual world without the government breathing down your neck.
As Thai legislation seeks to implement further restrictions on its residents’ virtual freedoms, so the need for complete cybersecurity protection becomes increasingly urgent. A top VPN can hide your IP address, navigate geographical restrictions, and create a secret tunnel through which you can access the internet without anyone tracking your movements.
Not only will a VPN give you access to blocked sites while you’re in Thailand, but it can also give you the freedom to access sites that are geographically restricted to people situated in Thailand. By creating a fake Thai IP address, you can access all your favorite Thai TV programs from overseas – all thanks to innovative VPN technology.