Access to the internet is heavily restricted and under tight control by the Thai government, especially since the revision of the Computer Crime Act.
Internet Service Providers are asked to collect user data and more than 100,000 websites are blocked in Thailand. Just this year, the Thai government passed a controversial bill which gives authorities the ability to access telephone records, computer data, emails, and even postal mail without court approval, with lawbreakers facing fines and even jail time.
What is the Top VPN Thailand can provide you with?
The only way to remain secure on the internet in Thailand is with a VPN. This online technology will reroute your internet data through an encrypted tunnel to a server on the other side of the world. This means ISPs, government officials and third parties will be unaware of your online activities.
Here are your most reliable VPN solutions in Thailand:
ExpressVPN has jurisdiction in the British Virgin Islands, an intentional choice as the BVI doesn’t have any laws regarding data retention. With more than 3,000 servers in 94 countries and 160 locations, you can be sure that finding a server to connect to will not be a problem.
Compatible with the likes of Windows, Android, Mac, iOS, and routers, you can have as many as five simultaneous connections at one time.
When it comes to your online security, ExpressVPN has military-grade encryption as well as DNS/IPv6 leak protection, split tunneling, and a Network Lock which acts as a kill switch. This is explained more on the ExpressVPN website which states,
“Besides hiding your IP address and mixing your traffic with that of other users, ExpressVPN also encrypts your traffic between secure VPN servers and your computer, so that it can’t be read by third parties in between, such as your internet service provider or your local wifi operator.
ExpressVPN uses AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) with 256-bit keys. It’s the same encryption standard adopted by the US government and used by security experts worldwide to protect classified information.”
When it comes to logging data, ExpressVPN will never log your IP address or the VPN IP address, browsing history, traffic destination or metadata and DNS queries.
A highlight is the on-hand customer service which you can access any time of the day just by heading to the ExpressVPN website. You can email the customer service, submit a ticket or chat with them and get your issues sorted out instantly.
CyberGhost is based in Romania, and with around 6,000 servers to choose from, it is one of the richest VPN companies in terms of servers. There is compatibility for Windows, Mac, Android, Linux, iOS, Fire TV, as well as extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
Like ExpressVPN, CyberGhost has 24/7 online customer assistance as well as thorough how-to guides to get you started. Installation is simple and will only take a few minutes, with the interface easy to use, making it a great option for beginners.
Powerful protection comes in the form of military-grade encryption as well as IKEv2, L2TP, and OpenVPN protocols.
There are transparency reports on the CyberGhost website where you can see how many DMCA complains, police requests or malware activity flags the company has had.
Surfshark, like ExpressVPN, is based in the British Virgin Islands and has around 1,000 servers in 61 countries. It is adamant to protect your privacy and guarantees that it will not “collect IP addresses, browsing history, session information, used bandwidth, connection time stamps, network traffic, and other similar data.”
As one of the safest VPNs on the market, it offers military-grade encryption, leak protection, secure protocols, and a kill switch ensuring that all your online activity ends should your VPN connection falter. Recently, Surfshark has also added Shadowstock protocol within its Windows and Android apps, however, this is still in the beta testing phase.
An added feature from Surfshark is MultiHop which allows you to connect to servers in multiple countries. This might slightly affect your speed, but due to Surfshark having blazing fast speeds, it shouldn’t be too noticeable at all.
CleanWeb is another built-in feature that blocks malware, trackers, and ads. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee which allows you to get a refund of your money with no questions asked.
Customer service is on par with CyberGhost and ExpressVPN, having 24/7 online chat assistance available.
ZenMate offers hundreds of servers in 35 countries, in addition to a simple to use app for your Thai VPN. There is a seven-day trial so you can get used to ZenMate before committing, as well as a free version, which has a 2MB bandwidth restriction.
Available on all major platforms, you can use as many as five simultaneous connections. There are security features to keep you protected which include OpenVPN and the Identity Shield.
If you wish to stream, you can do so with optimized servers as well as a streaming guarantee. Unlike the above-mentioned VPNs, there is no online chat available at the moment.
This VPN company is new to the game but already has more than 500 servers in 42 countries. Based in Switzerland, ProtonVPN promises not to “log user activity or share data with third parties. Our anonymous VPN service enables Internet without surveillance.”
When it comes to security protocols ProtonVPN uses military-grade encryption as well as IKEv2/IPSec and OpenVPN and none of the ProtonVPN servers use the less secure PPTP or IPSec.
ProtonVPN also owns its own servers which means it connects to the internet via its own network.
The great thing about ProtonVPN is that it also comes with a freemium offer for one device with servers in the Netherlands, Japan and the US and absolutely no bandwidth restrictions.
Thailand Internet Restrictions and Regulations
Did you know that all of your online movements can be tracked by the government in Thailand? With a bill that was passed this year, the Thai government now has sweeping access to user data, without any court approval whatsoever.
Surveillance, it seems is one of the biggest factors when it comes to using the internet in Thailand, according to freedomhouse.org,
“There were new troubling developments during the reporting period affecting anonymity and surveillance. In July 2017, the NRSA endorsed a set of policies that would systematize and increase the efficiency of government surveillance and its censorship apparatuses. The proposed measures included three new updates to government surveillance.
First, a centralized social media watch center would review and determine whether social media content is “inappropriate.” Second, telecommunication technology would be upgraded in order to more efficiently surveil internet communications. Finally, anonymity would be restricted by mandating the collection of biometric data when registering new SIM cards.”
In October 2019, the Digital Economy and Society Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta made an announcement that cafes were obliged to keep wifi user traffic data on file for a minimum of 90 days.
In a recent report, Privacy International stated,
“Privacy International has conducted previous investigations into the Thai government’s surveillance of social media as a tool of intimidation. This report demonstrates how the practice is not only expanding, but the government is also experimenting with other forms of surveillance.
Privacy International is concerned about the increased monitoring of social media and other internet-based communications.”
While the Thai government has denied all of these allegations, this report found that the only way to safely use the internet in Thailand is with the help of a VPN.
There is also information that the NSA is conducting a big brother-like project in Thailand, gathering information and investigating user online activity in Thailand according to the Bangkok Post,
“The US National Security Agency uses computer servers in Thailand to help run a massive collection of information about internet users, and to store and analyze the data.”
There are also concerns when it comes to free speech in Thailand, particularly after a law student received a five-year sentence for sharing a documentary in 2016 which was thought to be unflattering towards the royal family.
A year later, the former Prime Ministers’ nephew received an eight-year prison sentence for commenting the documentary on Facebook. This social media platform seems to be a breeding ground for prison sentences.
“In June 2017, a man named Wichai was sentenced to 35 years62 in jail under the lèse majesté law for posting ten messages on a fraudulent Facebook account with another individual’s name and photo.”
Thai Streaming Services
For those of you who want to keep in touch with the latest news from home, you can do so just by activating your VPN and connecting to a Thai server. Here is a list of some of the best television and news channels from Thailand:
- BBTV Channel 7
- Thai TV 3
- Lao Star Channel
- Joo Music
- Thai TV Global Network (TGN)
- Yateem TV
- Thai Chaiyo TV
- T-News TV
- Bluesky Channel
- RS Channel – Sabaidee TV
- Gen C Channel
- Cartoon Club
- MCOT – Modernine TV
- H Plus Channel
- ASTV News1
- MVTV – 5MVTV
- Royal Thai Army Radio and Television Channel 5
- Gang Cartoon Channel
- Workpoint Creative TV
- Buriram Channel
- Thai PBS
- KELIVE TV
- VLIKE Channel
- Fan TV
- SMM TV
- TNN 24
As you can see, from the above-mentioned regulations on the use of the internet, Thailand is a country which has a long way to go in terms of internet freedom. Until then, if you find yourself visiting, or live in Thailand, you will need to invest in a VPN. This is the only way to remain safe from the extreme monitoring that goes on in the country.
With laws and regulations changing constantly in Thailand, there is no predicting as to how far the Thai government will go to curb online freedom. ExpressVPN is our choice for the top VPN due to strict logging policies, excellent security features, and five-star customer service.