Internet freedoms have declined drastically in Thailand thanks to a series of laws that censor content and increase surveillance powers for local authorities. For this reason alone, we recommend you use a VPN while browsing the web in Thailand. Short for Virtual Private Network, a VPN encrypts all the internet traffic flowing to and from your device and routes it via a server outside your current location.
It’s a handy tool to maintain privacy and anonymity on the internet and makes it difficult for hackers to spy on your activity, for example, if you need to connect to a wifi hotspot. A VPN is also an excellent choice for foreign expatriates living in Thailand as it allows them to view blocked content from their homeland via streaming websites such as BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Hulu, ESPN, or BeIN Sports.
You can find more information about these below, but here’s an at-a-glance look at the best Thailand VPNs:
- ExpressVPN: A fast and secure provider with great unblocking capabilities.
- NordVPN: A budget-friendly option that values privacy and can access multiple streaming channels.
- CyberGhost: A beginner-friendly VPN, ideal for accessing streaming services.
- VyprVPN: A reliable VPN service that offers users access to lots of streaming websites over a highly secure connection.
- IPVanish: A fast, secure VPN service that includes allowance for 10 simultaneous connections.
Choosing a Thailand VPN
It can be difficult to decide on a Thailand VPN service, as there are many available and not all are of the same caliber. Our picks for the best VPN for Thailand are based on the following factors:
- Speed and reliability of service
- Strong encryption parameters and additional security features
- No usage logs
- Unblocks geo-restricted content with ease
- Vast choice of server locations, including some in Thailand
- Apps for Android and iOS
Best VPN for Thailand
Here are our picks for the best VPN for Thailand:
ExpressVPN operates more than 2,000 servers spread across 94 countries, including options in Thailand. That means if you’re a Thai resident traveling abroad it’ll be possible to access local television such as Truevision. The service evades the Netflix war on VPNs without breaking a sweat. It’s similarly compatible with both Hulu and BBC iPlayer and supports torrenting. Customer support is available 24/7 via live chat if needed.
ExpressVPN stores no logs that can identify you, such as real IP addresses. It uses 256-bit AES-CBC protocols as well as HMAC authentication and perfect forward secrecy. There’s an internet kill switch included, referred to as a ‘network lock’, which means it’ll freeze all traffic if the connection drops, keeping it secure.
There’s a mobile app for both Android and iOS, or you can download desktop clients for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
- Fast, reliable connection
- Strong security
- Keeps no identifying logs
- Easy-to-use apps
- Slightly more pricey than some rivals
BEST VPN FOR THAILAND:ExpressVPN is our first choice It offers military-grade encryption protocols coupled with a neat design and fast speeds. It works instantly and reliably and is suitable for beginners and advanced users alike. Plans include a 30-day no-quibbles money-back guarantee so you can try it risk-free.
Here’s our in-depth review of ExpressVPN.
NordVPN operates more than 5,000 servers in 63 countries, including seven in Thailand. You have options to connect depending on your exact requirements, such as stringent privacy, video streaming, anonymity, dedicated IP, and more. The service works with many streaming service providers, including Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer without any problems.
This is another provider with a no-logs policy, enabling you to browse with complete privacy. Security standards are amongst the best in the business – NordVPN uses the 256-bit AES protocol encryption standard by default and provides a kill switch and DNS leak protection.
There are desktop clients for Windows and MacOS, and you can download a mobile app for iOS or Android.
- Great for unblocking
- Very secure
- Huge server network
- Desktop app is a bit cumbersome
BUDGET-FRIENDLY:NordVPN offers great value for money, with a large server network, fast speeds, and great unblocking capabilities. This provider offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Here’s our full review of NordVPN.
CyberGhost offers an easy-to-use interface and a fast, reliable service. It has more than 3,000 servers in 60 countries, including 10 in Thailand. The service works with multiple streaming platforms, including Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
When it comes to encryption standards, the company uses some of the toughest out there. Specifically, it leverages 256-bit AES encryption on the OpenVPN protocol by default along with 2,048-bit RSA keys and MD5 HMAC authentication. These are considered to be top-tier standards. There’s also an internet kill switch included, which means web traffic will be halted if the connection drops unexpectedly. DNS leak protection is built in and the service maintains no logs of online activities or user data.
You can download an app for both Android and iOS, and there are desktop clients for Windows and MacOS.
- Fast speeds
- Keeps no logs
- User-friendly apps
- Doesn’t have many advanced features
GREAT FOR STREAMING:CyberGhost provides access to lots of geo-restricted content and its easy-to-use apps are ideal for beginners. Plans come with a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of CyberGhost.
VyprVPN has more than 700 servers in 64 countries, including options in Thailand. It can unblock content on US Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer, and is one of the few services that is able to circumvent China’s Great Firewall.
Internet traffic is secured by the OpenVPN protocol, 256-bit AES encryption, 2,048-bit RSA keys, and SHA256 authentication. VyprVPN includes an internet kill switch by default which means internet traffic will be halted temporarily if the connection drops. Although VyprVPN was the subject of privacy concerns in the past, it has updated its policy and no longer records real user IP addresses.
VyprVPN owns and manages entire data centers which means it’s in control of all the traffic flowing through its servers. This helps guard against attacks and ensures a speedy and stable connection.
There are apps for Android, iOS, Windows, and MacOS.
- Servers in Thailand
- Fast, secure connection
- Owns its own servers
- Doesn’t accept bitcoin
SECURE AND PRIVATE:VyprVPN scores well on security, speed, and streaming abilities, and is worth a second look. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available for PayPal users and a 3-day trial for others.
Read our full review of VyprVPN.
IPVanish servers are optimized for speed, stability, and security, with over 1,100 of them spread across more than 60 countries. Unfortunately, there are no servers in Thailand for users looking to access Thai content from abroad. However, this provider can unblock multiple streaming platforms, including the notoriously difficult BBC iPlayer.
This is one of the few VPN providers out there which are completely logless, so there’s no tracking of online activities or retention of any user data at all. Encryption protocols are tough. The company leverages 256-bit encryption on the OpenVPN protocol by default, SHA512 authentication, and a DHE-RSA 2,048-bit key exchange with perfect forward secrecy. IPVanish includes an internet kill switch, which means traffic will be temporarily halted if the connection drops out of the blue.
IPVanish is popular with Kodi users because it allows them to download the Android APK directly to their device. The interface is also remote control-friendly for Kodi devices that lack a keyboard and mouse.
There are apps for both iOS and Android, and there’s desktop support for Windows and MacOS. A bonus with this provider is that 10 simultaneous connections are allowed, as opposed to the typical offering of five.
- Allows 10 connections at once
- Operates a broad server network
- Keeps no logs
- No Thai servers
- Doesn’t accept Bitcoin
FAST AND SECURE:IPVanish gives you solid security in a speedy package. It offers a 7-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of IPVanish.
Should I use a free VPN?
Cash-strapped users or those who don’t think VPNs are worth the money might opt for a free VPN service. There are many of them available and they may seem like tempting options.
However, several free VPN providers have been caught mining and selling user data. Even if that doesn’t happen to you, be prepared for download caps, bandwidth throttling, and a poor selection of servers. Encryption protocols are far from ideal, so if you use a free VPN for too long, you run the risk of being exposed.
It’s important to understand that such services aren’t charities. They’re looking to monetize, and they’ll do so by making you the product. Our recommendation is to stay safe on the internet and cough up a few dollars each month rather than run a huge risk.
How to use a VPN to access geo-restricted services
Many streaming service providers, such as Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video geo-restrict some or all of their content, meaning you can only access it in certain locations. Netflix will give access to users in Thailand, but the library of shows and movies will be far different to the ones you would get in the US, the Uk, or Canada.
Using a VPN to spoof your location, you can access content as if you were located in another country. Getting started with a VPN app is easy. Just follow these simple steps:
- Sign up to your chosen provider (we recommend ExpressVPN).
- Download the appropriate VPN app for your device.
- Connect to a server in the streaming source region. For example, for US Netflix, you’d connect to a US VPN server.
- Navigate to the stream and you should have unrestricted access.
Note that if you’re hoping to catch a live stream, for example of a sports event, it’s best to test the connection ahead of time. This way, you’ll have time to troubleshoot any issues that may arise.
How do I access porn in Thailand?
Both pornography and gambling are explicitly forbidden under Thai law with the country’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technology especially concerned about blocking pornographic websites.
Having said that, like most places these laws aren’t enforced very regularly. There haven’t been any documented cases of people being arrested and jailed for accessing porn that we know of. To remain on the safe side, you could use a VPN to access said material whilst in Thailand. We do, however, recommend our readers exercise caution and fully understand what they’re getting into before deciding to embark on such a course of action.
How do I blog anonymously in Thailand?
Criticism of the royal family is harshly forbidden under Thai law, with the government taking a stern stance against anyone who partakes in such discussions, both online and offline. Media luminaries like the BBC have faced troubles in the past and even Facebook is complicit in censoring content on behalf of the Thai government.
Notable dissidents have been arrested for daring to speak out. One way to overcome this problem is by using a VPN to help maintain your privacy. We’ve put together a guide on how to do this best if that’s what you’re looking to access the internet for.
Please note that this should not be construed as legal advice. At Comparitech we don’t condone carrying out illegal acts and masking the activity via a VPN. Remain guarded at all times and understand what you’re getting into before proceeding. If you’re unsure, it’s best to speak with a lawyer who can provide expert guidance.
What’s the future of the internet in Thailand?
Thailand is a hotspot for travelers, expats, digital nomads, and more. However, advocacy body Freedom House emphatically states that the country’s cyber landscape is ranked as “not free” with the arrest of bloggers and content blockage pointed as the main concerns.
2016 saw the arrest of social media users for controversial posts and harsh sentences handed down to bloggers for things like insulting the government and public officials. A newly inducted law recommended 10-year prison sentences for vague offenses like “influencing voters”, which was used to silence online discussion for proposed constitutional changes. 2017 saw the start of a renewed internet censorship campaign.
Freedom House notes that the history of military coups in the country has something to do with this censorship. Since the last coup, journalists, academics, and other activists have been subjected to greater surveillance and hundreds of people have been harshly interrogated. The government has also attempted to procure sophisticated surveillance tech and tried to develop plans for a single national internet gateway similar to China’s Great Firewall.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation notes that changes to cybercrime laws in Thailand are ambiguous, vague, and lack accountability. There’s a real attempt to stifle freedom of expression, especially on digital platforms, and to maintain control of Thai society.
For these reasons, we recommend you use a VPN to surf the web safely in Thailand.