8 Apps for Travel in Thailand
Updated: Nov 9, 2022
A guide to the most helpful apps on my trip to Thailand in 2019.
Here are some of the apps I had on my phone when I traveled to Thailand that we found very helpful. My dad and I both brought our iPhones, but we didn’t unlock them to use with a SIM card. Instead we brought an old iPhone that was unlocked and still worked. We bought a SIM in Thailand for that, but ended up barely using the phone.
The few times we used it for was to call a tour company that we were using on whatever given day. We ended up just using maps.me for navigation on my iPhone (which was in airplane mode) and occasionally would use the iPhone with the SIM for that, but once I discovered I could see where we were without needed cellular data I just used my phone. I’m glad we had a phone with a SIM for the few times we really needed to use it, but we definitely didn’t use it as much as I thought we were going to.
*We bought the SIM card at MBK Mall in Bangkok. We got a 30-day SIM with 15GB of data for 400 baht ($12.97). We didn’t even come close to using all of that.
Maps.me was a life saver app! It’s free and can be used without cellular data or Wi-Fi. It was great for navigating to places we wanted to go and finding places to eat. We used it for navigating on our motorbike, finding our Airbnb from the back of a taxi, and when we were walking to different places. We could pin places we wanted to go to or went to. We could just follow by moving the map as we went or plug in a location and have it guide us to it. There was a blue dot that would show us where we were. All you have to do is download the app and download the map for the country you are going to. We didn’t have to pay for anything. This was the most valuable resource we had. It was very easy to use once I got the hang of it.
Currency – Simple Converter
I liked this currency app because it’s inexpensive, fairly accurate and can be used without Wi-Fi or cellular data. It’s very easy to use. It won’t be exact to the currency rate for the exact minute in time since that fluctuates constantly. But I like how easy and straight forward it is to use and for not being connected to the internet, it’s very accurate. I have no complaints with it.
I used WhatsApp to stay in touch with my mom and sister at home. When we were connected to Wi-Fi we were able to text, audio call, and video call. It worked really well. I was very impressed with how easy it was to use. This app does require Wi-Fi to be used.
Learn Thai & Thai by Nemo
I downloaded both of these apps before I left for my trip. They are both free to download.
Some of the basic words I learned in Thai were: hello, thank you, yes and no. I ended up not using Thai in conversation very much. The two that I used the most were hello and thank you. But I definitely used thank you the most.
Learn Thai – this app is great for learning words by selecting ones you want to know. This was my favorite app because you can change whether you’re a male/female speaker, tap on the word and it will tell you how to say it, and you can even hear phrases or words that you will use frequently so they are saved. The one thing that really makes this app stand out to me was that I could select the snail symbol and it would say the word slower so it was easier to pick up on the pronunciation of the word. The basic things I wanted to know were free in the app, but there is the option to buy more categories of phrases. Learn Thai (OS)
Thai by Nemo – this app is great for quizzing and learning words. It wasn’t very user friendly for trying to find words I wanted to know how to say. Thai by Nemo (OS)
When I was connected to Wi-Fi, I would use Google Maps to find places to eat. It was nice because it would show the places nearby and there were usually reviews on them. But I always used maps.me to navigate to the restaurants since Google Maps didn’t work for me without Wi-Fi.
This is a more general category, but I had the specific airline apps we were going to use downloaded on my phone in case I needed them for any reason. The only other app that would fall under this category would be the Lomprayah app which was the company we used for boats between different islands. They have an app, but we never used it so I can’t speak from personal experience as to how it works.
Google Drive and/or Apple Books
I had Google Drive and iBooks downloaded on my iPhone because that is where I kept the pdf copies of our flights, important documents, and other things like that. I’d highly recommend using one or both of these apps. One time this was very useful was when we were taking the shuttle between the two airports in Bangkok and needed proof of our next flight. I had the pdf of our flight itinerary in my Apple Books app and was able to pull it up and show them so we could use the free shuttle.
Bonus: Banking Apps
If your bank has a banking app I’d recommend downloading it for convenient access to your funds. I occasionally used mine to look at my checking account balance.
I opened up an account at Charles Schwab and got a debit card. They have no ATM fees and no foreign transaction fees. At the end of the month they reimburse the ATM fees I was charged. It’s a really easy way to save money when traveling abroad. We used my debit card to get money out at ATM’s since we used cash to purchase things a majority of the time. When we booked something online we used my Dad’s credit card which also had no foreign transaction fees. It’s the one through Costco.
Finding a debit and credit card without foreign transaction fees or ATM fees I feel is really important when traveling if you’re trying to be budget conscious. Plus really, who wants to be giving their money to an ATM.
Above I listed apps that were useful for our experience, navigation, or communication. I didn’t include entertainment in that.
Here’s an idea of some different entertainment apps that I used:
Kindle (I actually own a Kindle Paperwhite so I brought that on the trip)
Audible (I used this a lot!)
Simple Habit (meditation app I use)
What I would add on to that now: Disney+ and Amazon Music (since that’s what I use now).
Note: all of the entertainment apps listed above have the ability to download things to listen/read/watch offline. Most require purchases or subscriptions.
Random, fun app: been
been is probably one of the most random and fun apps I own. Plus, it’s free! It’s an app where you can keep track of the countries you’ve visited throughout the world. It has really cool visuals. It has a map, as well as a list, and shows the country percentages for the different areas of the world you’ve been to. It can also keep track of the states in the United States you’ve visited. It was just fun to be able to mark a new country off the list and see everywhere I’ve been.
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