The WiFi Situation: Indochina Trip

It was my first time to travel outside of the Philippines. My wife and I decided to spend our first wedding anniversary traveling Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia. Our itinerary was planned carefully making sure that we covered all things we needed. Except that we didn’t have any idea about the wifi situation. I would like to share to you that part of our trip, mostly in bullet form.

  1. Hanoi, Vietnam
    :: The hotel and airbnb where we stayed had decent connections. Fast enough to post social media content like videos and insta stories. But not too fast when streaming videos from netflix.
    :: Old Quarter has a lot of cafes that let’s you connect to their wifi which is a lifesaver when you need to order a Grab car.

2. Bangkok, Thailand
:: We had no problems with the internet from where we stayed. 
 :: The problem is when you go outside. Most cafe and restaurants are reluctant to connect you to their wifi. That includes malls and museums. Save for the airport that let’s you connect for a few hours.
 :: The biggest downside to Bangkok’s wifi situation is the fact that you need to have a registered thai phone number to connect to a wifi both public and inside establishments. Food deliveries are almost impossible since you also need a thai phone number and who knows where to get one.

3. Siem Reap, Cambodia
:: Of the three cities, Siem Reap was the most tourist friendly in terms of internet connectivity.
:: Establishments let’s you connect to their wifi
:: And this: at the airport arrival exit, there is a booth where you can buy a prepaid SIM card. We got the one with 20GB consumable data that is valid for 1 week. It didn’t even cost that much. Since I already have a pocketwifi, I didn’t have to use my phone for hotspot. Most of the time we didn’t bother connecting to an establishment’s wifi since the one we bought was fast enough to be used by two or more people.

Conclusion:

When traveling, internet connectivity is really a necessity. It’s a big help that you can just order a Grab car, and at the same time track your travel through a maps app. It’s the convenience that comes with it.

If I were to rank these three cities objectively in terms of internet connectivity, Siem Reap would be first followed by Hanoi, and Bangkok last. This would be the other way around if it were a ranking in terms of a progressive city.

What’s happening here? Why is it opposite instead? May it be because Siem Reap and Hanoi are trying to appeal more to tourists while Bangkok became complacent? To be fair, Bangkok is a big city compared to the other two. Which may mean that similar approach would not be ideal. But it doesn’t mean that Bangkok can’t think of another way like how Siem Reap did.

I should say that it didn’t ruined our trip. It was kind of refreshing to just go places and not worry about the online world. The point of this post was to share the experience, and compare the wifi situation of the cities we visited.