Thailand is a popular destination for both tourists and expats. But no matter why you’re in this lush country, you need to use a VPN whenever you go online.
The threats come from all angles: hackers, websites, web trackers and even the government. And their targets are you and your personal data.
Here are the top 10 reasons why every internet user in Thailand needs a VPN.
Top 10 Reasons Why You Need a VPN While in Thailand
1. Thailand Blocks Hundreds of Thousands of Websites
The internet was intended to be a totally free and open source of information. But in Thailand, that ideal is no more than a distant dream.
Many kinds of websites are blocked in Thailand, including sites that contain pornography, gambling sites and torrent sites. But the majority of blocked websites are those that express political dissent or criticize the King of Thailand.
These include sites run by Thai activists as well as news articles from international sources like the BBC which discuss Thai politics.
If you want to access any of these blocked websites, you need to use a VPN. It encrypts your traffic so your requests don’t get caught by Thailand’s web censors.
2. New Laws Suggest Thailand Could Become a Surveillance State
In 2019, a worrying new law passed in Thailand that puts online privacy at risk.
It allows the government to intercept data, monitor internet traffic and seize equipment for national security purposes. No warrant would be needed and a “national security emergency” could be declared for just about any reason.
Don’t leave your data privacy in the hands of the government. Encrypt your web traffic with a VPN to ensure your own security, even when the government threatens it.
3. Thailand Has Purchases Internet Surveillance Software from Abroad
In 2011, Thailand spent over $12 million USD on a “lawful interception system” that can monitor emails, chat rooms, texts and voice calls. Though the government stated that it would only be used in accordance with court orders, there is no way to verify this.
And in 2015, WikiLeaks revealed that the Thai government purchased more surveillance software from an Italian malware company. Though government officials denied purchasing it, the leaked emails tell a very different story.
Dodgy explanations and flimsy excuses suggest that there’s more to Thailand’s surveillance than meets the eye. We recommend encrypting your data with a VPN to keep government spyware at bay.
4. You Could Spend Decades in Prison for Your Online Activity
In Thailand, you need to be very careful about what you say or do online. Slip up and you could spend years or even decades behind bars.
For example, in 2015, a man was arrested and his home raided by Thai police after he liked an “insulting” photo of the King’s dog on Facebook. He faced a sentence of 37 years in prison.
Also in 2015, a man was sentenced to ten years in prison for each of the 6 Facebook posts he made criticizing the Thai monarchy. His 60-year sentence was eventually cut in half — but only after he pled guilty to the charges instead of going to trial.
The government likely uses its surveillance software to track down these types of posts and arrest those who make them. Using a VPN will prevent you from becoming another victim of these practices.
5. ISPs Can Throttle Your Speeds Based on What You Do Online
Thailand doesn’t have net neutrality, which means that ISPs are free to do whatever they want with your web traffic.
In many cases, this means throttling your speeds when you need the bandwidth most. Streaming and gaming are common targets of ISP throttling, as is simply looking at websites the ISP doesn’t like.
But a VPN hides the URLs you visit from your ISP and anyone else who happens to be looking. That way, your ISP can’t throttle you based on your activity.
6. You Can Strengthen Your Streaming Capabilities with a VPN
If you rely on Netflix or other streaming sites for entertainment, you may be disappointed when you arrive in Thailand. These sites geo-restrict their content so it’s only viewable in certain countries.
But you can change your IP address to one from another country easily with a VPN. Just switch servers and regain access to the streaming libraries you’re used to — or explore new ones!
7. VPNs Protect Your Privacy on Public WiFi
The convenience of public WiFi attracts many hackers and identity thieves — and puts you at risk. Hackers can use malicious software to intercept your data and steal your information.
A VPN’s encryption, though, keeps your data safe even if it does get caught in a hacker’s crossfire. The hacker won’t have the key needed to view any of your data, so it’ll just look like gibberish.
8. Lose the Restrictions of Your Workplace WiFi with a VPN
Thailand’s internet is already heavily censored, and workplaces tend to censor it even further. Social media, streaming and online shopping sites are typically blocked on work WiFi.
But if you use a VPN, you can view these sites anyway with ease. Network filters can’t prevent you from visiting blacklisted URLs if you encrypt your traffic with a VPN.
9. A VPN Locks Down Your IP Address When Torrenting
Thailand doesn’t typically prosecute people for torrenting copyrighted material, but that doesn’t mean you’re safe to do so. Private companies and copyright trolls can still hunt you down based on your IP address, then sue you for copyright infringement.
That’s why it’s important to mask your real IP address with a VPN. Without your real IP address, your torrenting can’t be traced — and you can’t be sued.
10. Keep Web Trackers off Your Trail by Using a VPN
Web trackers are everywhere, and they’re some of the most invasive bits of code out there. They log every site you visit and sell that data to the highest bidder — usually advertisers who use it to show you personalized ads.
If you’re tired of being involved in this exploitative scheme, use a VPN to change your IP address regularly. Trackers are less effective when your IP address is constantly changing.