Online and mobile applications have changed the way we travel today. Not too many years ago, we would travel to foreign countries with paper maps, books, and a folder full of photocopied information. Even then, we would still get lost or confused. Fast forward to 2020, and modern technology is showing us the way.
Thanks to Thailand’s excellent communications infrastructure, you will have access to high-speed internet WiFi routers and mobile 3G / 4G / 5G services for your laptop, tablet, and smartphones. This means that you will be able to utilize one of the many applications available in Thailand to make your journey smoother and more comfortable.
In this guide, we have listed the 10 best travel apps available in Thailand that are in the English language. With the help of these apps, you can book taxis and accommodation, navigate through public transport systems, use local food delivery services, stay up to date with local and world news, and much more.
1. Grab Cab and Food Delivery App
The Grab application is certainly worth downloading during your visit to Thailand, as it allows you to book a taxi with a preset price or price guidance from almost anywhere in the country. Even though Grab is in its infancy, it has been designed so well that even Uber could not compete, and eventually exited the Thai market.
In addition to the taxi service, you can order food from local restaurants and fast-food chains, coffee from outlets such as Starbucks, and send or receive parcels.
During your vacation, you will likely use the Grab taxi service more often than the other services that Grab offers. You can book luxury cars, metered taxis, long-distance journeys, a large taxi for the family, and taxis in advance. All you need to do is tell the app your location, and it will search for a taxi.
Once a taxi request is accepted, the driver’s name pops up, along with their license plate number, type of vehicle and color, and how long it will take the driver to arrive.
There is a real-time map that shows exactly where the driver is, so you can see when the taxi will arrive. Furthermore, the messaging app within the application will translate your message (you can also use any of the preset messages in English) and send it to the driver in Thai.
You will need a mobile phone and a Thai SIM card with internet access to download the app. Once you have it installed and activated, the world is your oyster.
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2. Google Maps
Google Maps is the obvious application to download and install before you travel, as you probably use it in your home country, too. You can use the app to avoid traffic; this is incredibly useful in places like Bangkok and Phuket.
Google Maps in Thailand is just as useful as it would be at home. It has the entirety of Thailand mapped out with street view and satellite images.
Some of Bangkok’s streets can be quite confusing, but if you use Google Maps for directions and street views, you can follow the exact route and spot landmarks or recognizable places that will guide you to your destination.
Google Maps is not only great for guiding you to restaurants, bars, clubs, and shops, but also hotels, children’s playgrounds, and so on. Moreover, many of the places you visit will have reviews and star ratings from other tourists as well as locals.
Additionally, Google Maps includes all public transport options. Over the years, the app has been developed to include local bus routes; for short distance journeys, however, you are better off getting a taxi.
Navigating the bus system can often be quite confusing even with the help of Google Maps. The usual MRT and BTS routes, bus times to other regions in Thailand, and train times are also available on Google Maps.
3. Bangkok Post Epaper App
The Bangkok Post Epaper is a free application released by an English-speaking news provider in Thailand. With events such as the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, which has caused chaos within the travel industry, the Bangkok Post Epaper app was one of the main sources of information for foreigners who were either living or traveling in Thailand at the time.
Bangkok Post Epaper’s news team has direct contact with government officials. When anything newsworthy is reported in Thailand, the Bangkok Post Epaper publishes it in English. Via this app, you will have direct access to all the information provided to the newspaper by the government.
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4. Google Translate
Although there are many translation apps, the most highly favored one continues to be Google Translate. Not every sentence translated from English to Thai or vice versa is accurate, but it is still incredibly useful.
It is easy to download and use; however, if you do not want to download the app, you can use the web-based version and save it as a shortcut on your phone’s home screen for quick access.
VPNs are handy for accessing servers back at home. While using Netflix in Thailand, you will get the Thai catalog of movies. You will still be able to watch English movies and Thai movies that are not available on your local version of Netflix.
However, if you want to watch series available in your country, which may not be available in Thailand, you will need a VPN.There are many VPN applications available today, but VyperVPN seems to work best in Thailand.
If you already have a VPN, it will almost certainly work in Thailand, but if you do not have one, try VyperVPN. With Vyper, you will be able to access servers that are often geo-locked in your own country, such as your local TV news stations, which could include the online versions of CNN, BBC, BBC iPlayer, HBO, and online cable or satellite TV network.
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6. LINE Messaging and Delivery App
LINE app is a messaging service much like WhatsApp or Facebook messenger. Thais often do not use WhatsApp, Telegram, Skype, and other similar apps popular in the US and Europe.
Instead, they predominantly use LINE for private encrypted personal messaging, voice calls, and video calls. The app comes with huge collection of emojis and gifs that are free to use, and if you want, you can pay for extra emojis.
If you meet Thais that you want to stay in contact with, then LINE is the best way to do so. It is also useful for speaking with tour operators, travel companies, and even some hotels, which will have the business version of LINE.
Much like Facebook, these businesses will have a home page on the LINE app with advertisements for services and goods offered.
Another use for LINE is for sending and receiving parcels. Additionally, as with the Grab app, there is also a food delivery service available for local restaurants. You can even ask the LINE man to go shopping for you. Supermarkets, 7-11, or local stores are all available on the app.
If you fancy a bit of adventure, try using Thailand’s bus system. The ViaBus app works in places like Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Phuket, and far-off regions such as Nakhon Si Thammarat.
It is worth installing and checking at every destination on your travels through Thailand. This application is not just limited to buses; you can use it for ferry services, MRT, BRT, and airport bus services.
Although there are easier ways to get around, traveling by bus is cheap and an experience in itself. The app gives you live map updates, so you know exactly when the bus will arrive, and which bus to take to reach your destination.
ViaBus is popular among Thais and is available in English, which means that foreign visitors can take advantage of it too.
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8. XE Currency
The XE Currency app is perfect for keeping an eye on exchange rates so you can compare them with those of local banks and currency exchange booths.
The app is widely regarded as the most accurate global currency exchange rate tracker. It lists all major and minor currencies, so regardless of the country you are traveling from, you will be able to convert your currency to and from Thai Baht.
Skyscanner is an excellent application if you are traveling to Thailand and planning to just go with the flow. It is the best application for finding last-minute domestic and international flights.
It searches multiple carriers and lists every flight for your specified dates. You can sort flights from cheapest to most expensive and find out which airlines offer flights to the destination you plan to visit.
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Even if you do not have a VPN, you can still use Netflix in Thailand — you just won’t get your local version. However, you will still be able to watch movies in English and get English subtitles on the Netflix mobile app, which is available for Windows, Android, and iOS devices.
If you want to watch your local version of Netflix, the VyperVPN service recommended above also has a mobile app download.
Since 3G / 4G / 5G network coverage spans the entirety of Thailand (except high up in the mountains of Chiang Mai), Netflix runs smoothly even when you are on the move.
There are few blackspots, and as Netflix buffers well, you probably won’t even notice when you do hit a blackspot.
The Netflix mobile app allows you to download some series and movies directly to your mobile device, which is perfect for when you are on a plane with no WiFi.
Armed with a full suite of movies and series, long journeys across Thailand become much less daunting. Just make sure you carry a power bank so that you can keep your device charged.
Most 7-11 stores and shopping centers, as well as airports in Thailand, sell power banks just in case you forget to pack yours.
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