getting online in paradise city ...
Up until quite recently (5-6 years ago) the only way to access the internet from Hua Hin was with a dialup connection or expensive satellite technology. Things have moved on since then however getting online can still be a frustrating experience.
There are now a number of methods of accessing the internet in Hua Hin including ADSL (broadband), WiFi (wireless), Satellite, 3G, and GPRS/EDGE. As a general rule of thumb internet connections tend to be better and more stable the closer you are to the center of town, satellite being the exception.
Methods requiring a telephone line rely on the two primary providers TOT (Telephone Organization of Thailand) and TT&T (Thailand Telephone & Telegraph), these are where many of the problems lie - antiquated telecommunication systems. Another problem lies with the international bandwidth limitations of the Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT) which often make accessing international websites painfully slow at times.
Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) is also loosely termed "broadband" meaning high bandwidth connection, it has improved immensely in Hua Hin over the past year or so however can be very slow at peak times (usually late afternoon when the schools finish). It is a service that can be enabled on your existing telephone line (providing you are in the catchment area) or on a new dedicated line supplied by the provider for a monthly fee. It requires a special ADSL modem or router (which is a little more stable) and can be left connected permanently.
Local providers have a number of different packages however it should be noted that the cheaper ones are often over subscribed (too many users sharing the connection) resulting in slower than the advertised connection speed. Below is a general summary of local services, approximate monthly prices and estimated connection speed (speeds quoted download/upload Mbps):
|Typical Package||Advertised Speed Down/Up||Approx Monthy
|Actual Speed||Estimated Subscribers||Typical Useage|
|home ADSL||10M/1M||700||3-4M/500k||40 - 50||light|
|premium ADSL||20M/2M||1500||7-8M/500k||20 - 30||heavy|
|corporate ADSL||30M/2M||3000+||10M/1M||5 - 10||small office|
It should also be noted that this is just a rough guide to indicate what you should spend on a package and how to find one that suits your needs. The actual speeds quoted are also very general will vary depending on proximity to town center, condition of phone lines, state of computer software, time of day, bandwidth throttling by the provider, and other factors that influence internet speed.
At peak usage times, 4-7pm, all connections will slow down considerably as hoards of kids clog the net with online video games. At 2am connection speeds may run close to their advertised speed.
You will only get the full unshared bandwidth with a leased line connection however as you can see they are not cheap. You will also see faster connection packages quoted such as 30 or 40 Mbit but will rarely achieve anywhere near these speeds.
Most internet packages can be purchased through the main three providers in Hua Hin - TOT (032-519000-1), TT&T otherwise called 3BB (032-532018), and True. They all work with a number of independent Internet Service Providers (ISP's) such as Ji-net, KSC, Pacific, CS Loxinfo, and True who are expanding their coverage of service in Hua Hin. The internet map for Thailand can be found here:
This is the option for those that cannot get a telephone line as they live too far away from the center of town. Setup and hardware is a little more expensive however you are saving the cost of a telephone line installation. Satellite connections are often unreliable when there is heavy cloud cover so be prepared for rainy season! CS Loxinfo are the primary provider of satellite internet connections with their ipStar system, full details can be found here:
Wifi in Hua Hin has been available for a couple of years now with a number of coffee shops jumping onto the trend. Home use is very dependent on location to the signal and proximity to town. One local internet cafe called Sunshine has started their own wireless internet service for customers with monthly subscriptions, they are in the process of expanding their wireless network to cover most of Hua Hin and eventually its surrounds.
A new company called Hua Hin City Wide is offering free Wifi in Hua Hin but the service is extremely slow (max 100Kbps) and unreliable at times unless you are right on top of the antenna.
Mobile wireless devices can also be purchased locally for those that need to be online while on the move. The Hutch USB modem is becoming quite popular however connection speeds can also vary dramatically, more information can be found here:
3G, GPRS and EDGE
You can also connect to the internet via mobile phones using GPRS or EDGE which is slightly faster, but only running at a maximum of 256Kb. The closer you are to the signal tower the better your connection will be.
True Corp and AIS are now offering 3G in Hua Hin which can be purchased on a monthly basis for enabled devices. Signal varies depending on proximity to town centre, more info on True internet services in Hua Hin can be found here:
If you want to test your connection speed remember to use an international server such as the one suggested below. The Thai technicians will test your connection on a local internet speed test server which of course will read higher.
Unfortunately reports of internet censorship in Thailand have been on the increase recently so you may find some website frustratingly slow to access. Thailand is currently working on a China-style firewall to filter all web traffic and censor what they deem inappropriate. This causes slow service, DNS errors, and frequent time-outs. Many of the providers have also blocked P2P file sharing networks such as Bit Torrent.
In an effort to reduce spam they have also blocked SMTP port 25 which will only affect you if you use your own domain name for email. You will not be able to send mail unless you use the SMTP server of your provider, those that use Hotmail, Yahoo!, Aol, Gmail or any other web based email will not be affected.
CAT and TOT mail servers often get blacklisted by Spamhaus and other global spam monitors so try to avoid sending email using them. You will need to contact your hosting provider to enable sending email using your own domain and ports other than the standard ones.
A full list of ISP SMTP mail servers can be found here, the ones available in Hua Hin have been highlighted bold:
|Provider||DNS||SMTP (Out going mail servers)|
|Data Line Thai||mail.linethai.co.th|
|Far East Internet||mail.fareast.net.th|
|Internet Thailand|| 188.8.131.52
|True Internet|| roamai.asianet.co.th
|Pacific Internet|| 184.108.40.206
Please be aware that providers often change their mail servers with no warning to their customers so if it doesnt work for you be sure to contact them.
For more information on getting connected in Hua Hin please read the Hua Hin Technlogy Forum.