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China: Best Tourist eSIMs Reviewed (2024)

China is a popular travel destination in Asia because it has a lot to offer.

And it is rather affordable too… as long as you behave.

What you should not do, in many cases, is roam internationally in China.

International roaming can be expensive, which is why using local and travel eSIMs is recommended to save money.

And if you get a travel eSIM, you do not have to deal with the SIM card registration bureaucracy and skip the queues in China.

How much will a (travel) eSIM for China cost you?

You can get an eSIM for China for as low as 4 USD and up to 99 USD from Airalo, Alosim, Holafly, Nomad & SimOptions offering between 1 GB and unlimited data to be used locally, in Asia, or globally.

Buying an eSIM for China Guide (logos of SimOptions, Nomad, Asialink, Discover+, Chinacom, Holafly, Alosim & Airalo)

Original publication: 20th of September 2022. Last updated: 7th of March 2024.


Table of Contents

An Introduction to eSIMs for China (+Discount Codes)

China is lucky because it has numerous eSIM providers that have eSIMs for China specifically, regional Asia eSIMs that cover China & global eSIMs that cover the country and at least 100 more across multiple continents.

The eSIM providers I have used extensively and have eSIMs for China are Airalo, Alosim, Holafly, Nomad & SimOptions.

Airalo Logo
© Airalo

Airalo has three types of eSIMs for China:

  • Airalo Chinacom eSIM for China: five eSIMs between 1 GB (seven days @ 5 USD) and 10 GB (30 days @ 28 USD)
  • Airalo Asialink eSIM for China and 13 other East- and Southeast Asian countries: six eSIMs between 1 GB (seven days @ 5 USD) and 100 GB (180 days @ 185 USD)
  • Airalo Discover(+) eSIM for China and 129 other countries: 12 eSIMs between 1 GB (seven days @ 9 USD/15 USD (+10 minutes/10 SMS)) and 20 GB (1 year @ 69 USD/89 USD (+200 minutes/200 SMS))

Discount code NEWMAY15 is available for 15% off if you have never purchased an Airalo eSIM. Existing Airalo customers can use code AIRALOMAY10 instead for 10% off (both codes are valid until the 31st of March – only the first 3000 users can redeem either discount code).

Alosim Logo
© Alosim

Alosim has competitively priced eSIMs for Asian destinations, including China. It also has 5G NR access in countries where Airalo eSIMs do not have such access (with roughly the same prices). Alosim has only one eSIM for China:

  • Alosim China eSIM: five eSIMs between 1 GB (seven days @ 5 USD) and 20 GB (30 days @ 40 USD)

You can use code PTW for 5% off any Alosim purchase (as many times as you wish for as many eSIMs as you want).

Holafly Logo
© Holafly

Holafly is known for having unlimited data plans. This is also the case for many Asian countries, including China. It has only one eSIM for China:

  • Holafly China eSIM: eight eSIMs with unlimited data for five days (19 USD) to unlimited data for 90 days (99 USD)

Be sure to use code PHONETRAVELWIZ to get 5% off your order (as many times as you wish for as many eSIMs as you want).

Nomad eSIMs Logo
© Nomad

Nomad often has the lowest-priced eSIMs ($:GB ratio) for (popular) Asian destinations, which also applies to China. It has three types of eSIMs for China:

  • Nomad China eSIM: nine eSIMs between 1 GB (seven days @ 4 USD) and 50 GB (30 days @ 49 USD (on sale))
  • Nomad APAC eSIM for China and 14/19 other Asian and Oceanian countries: 11 eSIMs between 1 GB (seven days @ 8 USD/10 USD) and 20 GB (30 days @ 29 USD (on sale)/62 USD)
  • Nomad Global eSIM for China and 108/138 other countries: six eSIMs between 1 GB (seven days @ 19/25 USD) and 5 GB (30 days @ 45 USD/57 USD)

You can use code ADU123 for 3 USD/2.70 EUR/2.40 GBP/4.05 CAD off your first Nomad order.

SimOptions Logo
© SimOptions
AIS Thailand Logo
© AIS Thailand

Lastly, we have SimOptions with AIS eSIM2FLY Asia. It is the most comprehensive Asia eSIM I know of (not limited to East- and Southeast Asia, as the others mentioned so far, but also Central Asia, South Asia & the Middle East and South Asia). It also has 5G NR access in numerous countries. However, only one AIS eSIM2FLY Asia eSIM exists:

Now that you have an overview of the eSIM providers I will write about, we will go through them alphabetically and cover all their options for China.

But if you already have an eSIM store in mind, click on the links next to jump to the respective sections: Airalo, Alosim, Holafly, Nomad & SimOptions.


Airalo eSIMs for China (Chinacom, Asialink & Discover+)

Airalo Logo
© Airalo

Airalo has three types of eSIMs that can be used in China only or include China:

  • Chinacom – China only
  • Asialink – China and 13 other East- and Southeast Asian countries
  • Discover(+) – China and 129 other countries worldwide with 5G NR access in China (+calls and SMS (up to 200 minutes/SMS) for global use if you choose the “+” variant, regardless of the selected eSIM)
China Chinacom eSIM Airalo
© Airalo
Asialink Asia eSIM Airalo
© Airalo
Airalo Discover+ eSIM
© Airalo

Remember that discount code NEWMAY15 is available for 15% off if you have never purchased an Airalo eSIM. Existing Airalo customers can use code AIRALOMAY10 instead for 10% off (both codes are valid until the 31st of March – only the first 3000 users can redeem either discount code).

Airalo does not need an introduction because it is the largest eSIM store out there.

It also claims to be the first store, which is probably true but not something I could confirm (but it does not matter anyway).

With eSIMs for almost all countries and territories, Airalo practically has a global reach with its offering.

In the case of China, Airalo has three eSIMs covering the country: Chinacom, Asialink & Discover(+).

Chinacom is Airalo's China-only eSIM.

China Chinacom eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

Whereas Asialink can be used in China and 13 other East- and Southeast Asian countries.

Get the Asialink eSIM if you visit two or more destinations supported by the eSIM – it will be more cost-effective.

Asialink Asia eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

Finally, we have the Discover and Discover+ eSIMs, which support 125+ countries worldwide, including China (and the Discover+ variants offer a phone number, something the Chinacom eSIM does not have, and up to 200 minutes and 200 SMS).

Airalo Discover eSIM
© Airalo
Airalo Discover+ eSIM
© Airalo

Let's go over the six Airalo Chinacom eSIM options we have:

  1. China/Chinacom 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 5 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  2. China/Chinacom 2 GB eSIM for 15 days, costing 8.50 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  3. China/Chinacom 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 11.50 USD
  4. China/Chinacom 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 16.50 USD
  5. China/Chinacom 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 28 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  6. China/Chinacom 20 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 49 USD

Note: Phone Travel Wiz reader popularity ranking was updated in December based on data up to the 30th of December (2023 data only). The (promotional) prices were updated on the 31st of January.

Airalo China Chinacom eSIM with Prices
See the list above for up-to-date prices and allowances. The figures in this image may be outdated.

You can use the following Chinese mobile network with the Chinacom eSIM:

Airalo Chinacom eSIM Supported Network (China Unicom)

Check out my China SIM card buying guide for more information on how Chinese mobile operators perform.

Buying a SIM Card in China Guide (logos of China Mobile, China Telecom & China unicom)

Next, we have the Airalo Asialink eSIM, which can be used in 14 East- and Southeast Asian countries, including China.

Asialink Asia eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

It is Airalo's second-most popular regional eSIM (behind Europe (review) – it has seven regional eSIM, including Asia), based on what Phone Travel Wiz readers use.

This makes sense, as flights within East- and Southeast Asia can be incredibly cheap with the rise of low-cost carriers and relatively favorable visa policies.

The old version of Airalo's Asia eSIM came with unlimited data, although you only got 4 GB of high-speed data before your speeds got reduced to 128 Kbps (embarrassingly slow).

Asia Unicom eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

Worry not; the new offering is significantly better. Let's go over the Airalo Asialink eSIM options now:

  1. Asia/Asialink 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 5 USD
  2. Asia/Asialink 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 13 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  3. Asia/Asialink 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 20 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  4. Asia/Asialink 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 37 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  5. Asia/Asialink 50 GB eSIM for 90 days, costing 100 USD
  6. Asia/Asialink 100 GB eSIM for 180 days, costing 185 USD

Note: Phone Travel Wiz reader popularity ranking was updated in December based on data up to the 30th of December (2023 data only). The (promotional) prices were updated on the 31st of January.

Airalo Asialink Asia eSIM with Prices
See the list above for up-to-date prices and allowances. The figures in this image may be outdated.

You can use the following Chinese network with the Asialink eSIM:

Airalo Asialink eSIM Supported Network in China (China Unicom)

As mentioned earlier, the Airalo Asialink can be used in 14 countries, which includes China and (some) neighboring countries.

You can find a country breakdown in my ongoing Airalo Asialink review or the map below.

Airalo Asialink Asia eSIM Eligible Countries Map Infographic by Phone Travel Wiz (October 2023 Version).png

I aim to use the Asialink eSIM in all supported countries by the end of 2025 (perhaps 2024, but I want to explore other continents in 2024), giving you insights into how the eSIM performs in each destination.

I have tested the eSIM in eight countries so far – you should check my Airalo Asialink eSIM review if you are interested in getting it for yourself.

Airalo Asialink eSIM Review by Phone Travel Wiz

Finally, we have Airalo's Discover and Discover+ eSIMs.

Airalo Discover eSIM
© Airalo
Airalo Discover+ eSIM
© Airalo

Its global offering used to be called Discover Global, to be used in 84 countries (87 was its peak).

    Discover Global eSIM Airalo
    © Airalo

I have had decent to good experiences with that eSIM, but I felt it could improve.

Such as extending the validity of most plans (the maximum used to be 180 days) and having 5G NR access in popular destinations.

Well, my concerns were heard (which is why I love working with Airalo) because Airalo revamped its global eSIM to Discover(+), covering 125+ countries (including China), having 5G NR access in 30+ countries & giving you the option to purchase plans with minutes and SMS.

You get an Austrian (+43) phone number if you buy any Airalo Discover+ eSIMs, so you do not have to deal with excessive international call rates with your primary/home SIM card or eSIM (this does not apply to the normal Discover eSIM).

Although Airalo improved its global eSIM significantly, it did not increase the prices for its eSIM.

In fact, you get a “discount” of up to 20 USD if you use the Discover eSIM (the one without a phone number, minutes, & texts).

Anyway, 12 variants of the Airalo Discover(+) eSIMs are available:

  1. Discover 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 9 USD
  2. Discover+ 1 GB (with 10 minutes and 10 SMS) eSIM for 7 days, costing 15 USD
  3. Discover 2 GB eSIM for 15 days, costing 17 USD
  4. Discover+ 2 GB (with 20 minutes and 20 SMS) eSIM for 15 days, costing 27 USD
  5. Discover 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 24 USD
  6. Discover+ 3 GB (with 30 minutes and 30 SMS) eSIM for 30 days, costing 36 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  7. Discover 5 GB eSIM for 60 days, costing 35 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  8. Discover+ 5 GB (with 50 minutes and 50 SMS) eSIM for 60 days, costing 50 USD
  9. Discover 10 GB eSIM for 180 days, costing 59 USD
  10. Discover+ 10 GB (with 100 minutes and 100 SMS) eSIM for 180 days, costing 79 USD
  11. Discover 20 GB eSIM for 365 days, costing 69 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  12. Discover+ 20 GB (with 200 minutes and 200 SMS) eSIM for 365 days, costing 89 USD

Note: Phone Travel Wiz reader popularity ranking was updated in December based on data up to the 30th of December (2023 data only). The (promotional) prices were updated on the 31st of January.

Airalo Discover+ eSIM with Prices
See the list above for up-to-date prices and allowances. The figures in this image may be outdated.

The image below shows you the Chinese mobile networks that can be used with the Airalo Discover(+) eSIMs.

Airalo Discover+ eSIM Supported Networks in China (China Mobile & China Unicom)

For a full country list of where the eSIM can be used, you should check out my ongoing Airalo Discover+ eSIM review.

Airalo Discover+ eSIM Review by Phone Travel Wiz

Although the map below may be useful if you know your world map well.

Airalo Discover Global eSIM Eligible Countries Map Infographic by Phone Travel Wiz (October 2023 Version)

In every country I visit where I test country-specific Airalo eSIMs, I also try out its Discover+ eSIM (if it can be used there).

So you better check it out every now and then to see if I wrote about the country/countries you plan to visit and read about the eSIM's performance in said country, as it is not always perfect.

Before Airalo updated its global eSIM, I used the old version (Discover Global) in 15+ countries. From August 2023, I will only test the Discover+ eSIM. This is why some country-specific reviews (like Japan) still refer to Discover Global and show the old eSIM image instead of Discover+.

Airalo Discover+ eSIM Review by Phone Travel Wiz

So to recap: get the Chinacom eSIM if you only stay in China, the Asialink eSIM in two or more supported countries to save $$$, or the Discover(+) eSIM if you visit multiple countries on multiple continents within a year and do not wish to install multiple eSIMs.

China Chinacom eSIM Airalo
© Airalo
Asialink Asia eSIM Airalo
© Airalo
Airalo Discover+ eSIM
© Airalo

Whatever Airalo eSIM you choose, you will have a smooth experience with any in China.


Alosim eSIMs for China

Alosim Logo
© Alosim

Alosim has various eSIM variants that can be used in China:

  • China – local use only with 5G NR access

Remember to use code PTW for 5% off any Alosim purchase (as many times as you wish for as many eSIMs as you want).

Alosim, backed by AffinityClick, is an eSIM provider gaining ground in 2023.

AffinityClick Logo
© AffinityClick

Mostly because it has been expanding its eSIM coverage in a good direction.

You probably have never heard of AffinityClick, but you may have heard of the Hushed app with more than 8 000 000 (8 million) downloads: Temporary & Second Phone Number App for Wifi, Data Calling & Texting.

Hushed Screenshot

Because of this, you may get a phone number for calls and SMS with any Alosim eSIM in the near future… as that is the logical step right, AffinityClick? 😏.

At the moment, you have only one eSIM option for China with Alosim: one for China only.

You have the following six Alosim China eSIMs:

  1. China 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 5 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  2. China 2 GB eSIM for 15 days, costing 8.50 USD
  3. China 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 11.50 USD
  4. China 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 16.50 USD
  5. China 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 28 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  6. China 20 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 49 USD

Note: Phone Travel Wiz reader popularity ranking was updated in October based on data up to the 11th of October (2023 data only).

Alosim China eSIMs
See the list above for up-to-date prices and allowances. The figures in this image may be outdated.

You can use the following Chinese mobile network with your Alosim China eSIM:

Alosim China eSIM Supported Network (China Unicom)

For more information on how these mobile operators perform, check out my China SIM card buying guide, where I discuss the performance of each SIM card (in terms of coverage and speed).

Buying a SIM Card in China Guide (logos of China Mobile, China Telecom & China unicom)

Holafly eSIMs for China

Holafly Logo
© Holafly

Holafly has one eSIM that can be used in China (only).

Remember to use code PHONETRAVELWIZ for 5% off any Holafly purchase (as many times as you wish for as many eSIMs as you want).

Holafly is, together with Airalo, one of the most popular eSIM providers.

Holafly made a name for itself by introducing unlimited data plans in June 2022, which was uncommon back then.

While more eSIM providers have unlimited data eSIMs nowadays, Holafly has been expanding its unlimited data offering from the initial 45 countries to about 100 nations in 2023 (and still counting in October 2023).

To prevent abuse, you cannot tether (mobile hotspot) with any Holafly eSIM with unlimited data.

The Holafly China eSIM, which gives you unlimited data between five days and 90 days:

  1. China unlimited data eSIM for 5 days, costing 19 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  2. China unlimited data eSIM for 7 days, costing 27 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  3. China unlimited data eSIM for 10 days, costing 34 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  4. China unlimited data eSIM for 15 days, costing 47 USD
  5. China unlimited data eSIM for 20 days, costing 54 USD
  6. China unlimited data eSIM for 30 days, costing 64 USD
  7. China unlimited data eSIM for 60 days, costing 84 USD
  8. China unlimited data eSIM for 90 days, costing 99 USD

Note: Phone Travel Wiz reader popularity ranking was updated in December based on data up to the 30th of December (2023 data only).

Holafly China eSIMs
See the list above for up-to-date prices and allowances. The figures in this image may be outdated.

Compared to Airalo's and Alosim's eSIMs (and Nomad and SimOptions mentioned later), these eSIMs are pricey.

But unlike them, Holafly gives you unlimited data for up to 90 days.

But there is a catch: as of August 2023, Holafly eSIMs are throttled @ 18 Mbps (even if you have 5G NR access), except for its Europe eSIMs (review).

This was not the case before that month (I even extensively used the Europe eSIM in July 2023, where I had normal/fast speeds until I headed to North America in August 2023 and noticed that its speeds were throttled in every country I visited after that).

While 18 Mbps is not terrible, it is also not amazing – especially knowing I have had download speeds of up to 160 Mbps before in various European countries.

But if you do not care about the fastest speeds, you do not have to worry about this speed restriction.


Nomad eSIMs for China

Nomad eSIMs Logo
© Nomad

Nomad has three types of eSIMs that can be used in China only or include China:

  • China – local use only
  • APAC – China and 14 or 19 other countries, depending on the eSIM, in Asia and Oceania
  • Global – China and 109 or 138 other countries, depending on the eSIM, worldwide

Be sure to use code ADU123 for 3 USD/2.70 EUR/2.40 GBP/4.05 CAD off your first Nomad order (new customers only).

Nomad, on average, has the cheapest eSIMs for Asian countries.

It also often has the most generous data allowances (up to 50 GB and even up to 100 GB at a time).

And some destinations even have unlimited data plans.

Yeah… I really recommend Nomad eSIMs for most Asian destinations.

In China's case, you have the Nomad China eSIM.

The Nomad APAC eSIM can be used in Asia Pacific (Oceania), including China.

Finally, the Nomad Global eSIM can be used in more than 100 countries, including China.

Let's start with the Nomad China eSIM with 11 options:

  1. China 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 4 USD
  2. China 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 7 USD
  3. China 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 7 USD (on sale) – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  4. China 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 10 USD (on sale)
  5. China 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 15 USD (on sale) – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  6. China 15 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 21 USD (on sale) – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  7. China 20 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 27 USD (on sale)
  8. China 30 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 35 USD (on sale)
  9. China 40 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 40 USD (on sale
  10. China 50 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 49 USD (on sale)
  11. China 60 GB eSIM for 60 days, costing 60 USD
  12. China 90 GB eSIM for 90 days, costing 90 USD

Note: Phone Travel Wiz reader popularity ranking was updated in December based on data up to the 30th of December (2023 data only).

Nomad China eSIMs
See the list above for up-to-date prices and allowances. The figures in this image may be outdated.

The Nomad China eSIM uses the Chunghwa Telecom network.

If you want to know whether this network is any good or not, check out my China SIM card buying guide, where I go much more in-depth about Chinese mobile operators.

Buying a SIM Card in China Guide (logos of China Mobile, China Telecom & China unicom)

You should know that the Nomad China eSIM is powered by JoyTelecom (a sub-brand of Hong Kong Telecom (HKT) and CSL Mobile).

That is not an interesting fact (except for nerds like me 🤓), but eSIMs powered by JoyTelecom are throttled @ 42 Mbps or @82 Mbps, depending on the country (even on 5G NR).

While this is significantly faster than Holafly's eSIMs (@ 18 Mbps), I still wanted you to know about this speed restriction.

Some speed devils like myself do care 🐆.

If you plan to visit neighboring countries, you may be interested in Nomad's regional eSIM covering China: Nomad APAC eSIM.

By getting the Nomad APAC eSIM, you only have to purchase one eSIM instead of multiple country-specific ones, saving you money.

You have two variants: the 15 Countries Plan and the 20 Countries Plan.

JoyTelecom powers the 15 Countries Plan (and is also speed-restricted), while the 20 Countries Plan is powered by eSIM Go (which we remember from Airalo's Discover(+) eSIMs, right)?

JoyTelecom eSIMs, while covering more countries (20), are consistently cheaper than eSIM Go eSIMs (15 countries).

Nomad APAC eSIM Eligible Countries Map Infographic by Phone Travel Wiz (October 2023 Version).png

I go much more in-depth about the difference between the two providers in my ongoing Nomad APAC eSIM review, but this is what you need to know for now.

Nomad APAC eSIM Review by Phone Travel Wiz

Both the 15 Countries Plan and 20 Countries Plan eSIMs work in China.

And you have these 11 Nomad APAC eSIMs:

  1. APAC (20 Countries Plan) 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 8 USD
  2. APAC (15 Countries Plan) 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 10 USD
  3. APAC (20 Countries Plan) 3 GB eSIM for 15 days, costing 13 USD
  4. APAC (15 Countries Plan) 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 17 USD
  5. APAC (15 Countries Plan) 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 23 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  6. APAC (20 Countries Plan) 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 12 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  7. APAC (20 Countries Plan) 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 28 23 USD (on sale) – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  8. APAC (15 Countries Plan) 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 37 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  9. APAC (20 Countries Plan) 20 GB eSIM for 45 days, costing 38 29 USD (on sale) – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  10. APAC (15 Countries Plan) 20 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 62 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  11. APAC (20 Countries Plan) 30 GB eSIM for 60 days, costing 65 USD

Note: Phone Travel Wiz reader popularity ranking was updated in December based on data up to the 30th of December (2023 data only).

Nomad APAC 15 Countries eSIM with Prices
See the list above for up-to-date prices and allowances. The figures in this image may be outdated.
Nomad APAC 20 Countries eSIM with Prices

For a full list of countries the Nomad APAC eSIM can be used in (for both the 15 Countries Plan and the 20 Countries Plan), check out my ongoing review.

Nomad APAC eSIM Review by Phone Travel Wiz

As I said earlier, getting a Nomad APAC eSIM will be the cheapest way to stay connected in the APAC region if you plan to visit two or more supported destinations.

Finally, we have Nomad's Global eSIM, which can be used in China.

Personally, I have never been a fan of this eSIM because of how expensive it is.

Sure, I understand an eSIM covering more than 100 countries will be expensive, but cheaper alternatives exist (especially Airalo's Global eSIMs).

This is why I do not use this eSIM at all – it is too pricey.

But why do I even include it in this guide?

Because some Phone Travel Wiz readers do love this eSIM and actively purchase/use it.

This was mostly when Airalo's global offering covered 84 countries, while Nomad's global eSIM covered 110 countries instead.

Since June (Nomad) and July (Airalo) partnered with eSIM Go for their global offering, both cover 130+ countries with their eSIMs – but Airalo's is somehow (significantly) cheaper than Nomad's… AND had the call and text feature.

If Nomad introduces this (soon), I do not know.

However, I suspect the popularity of Nomad's global eSIM will drop because of Airalo's improved offering.

Enough doomer talk, there are three eSIMs per provider (Truphone – 109 Countries Plan and eSIM Go – 139 Countries Plan):

  1. Global (109 Countries Plan) 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 25 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  2. Global (139 Countries Plan) 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 19 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  3. Global (109 Countries Plan) 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 40 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  4. Global (139 Countries Plan) 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 40 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  5. Global (109 Countries Plan) 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 45 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  6. Global (139 Countries Plan) 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 57 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers

Note: Phone Travel Wiz reader popularity ranking was updated in December based on data up to the 30th of December (2023 data only).

Nomad Global eSIM 109 Countries Plan with Prices (Truphone)
See the list above for up-to-date prices and allowances. The figures in this image may be outdated.
Nomad Global eSIM 139 Countries Plan with Prices (eSIM Go)

The Nomad Global eSIM can be used in the following 109 (Truphone)/139 (eSIM Go) countries:

  • Åland Islands 2, 3
  • Albania
  • Algeria 2
  • Andorra 2
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan 2
  • Bahrain 2, 3
  • Bangladesh 2
  • Barbados 1
  • Belarus 2
  • Belgium
  • Bermuda 1
  • Bolivia 2
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina 2
  • Botswana 2
  • Brazil
  • Brunei 2
  • Bulgaria
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon 2
  • Canada 2, 3
  • Central African Republic 2
  • Chad 2
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Congo, Democratic Republic of the 2
  • Congo, Republic of the
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Dominican Republic 2
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt 2
  • El Salvador
  • Estonia
  • Eswatini 2, 3
  • Faroe Islands 1
  • Fiji 1
  • Finland
  • France
  • French Guiana 1
  • French Southern Territories 2
  • Gabon 2
  • Georgia 2
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Greenland 2
  • Grenada 1
  • Guadeloupe 1
  • Guam 2
  • Guatemala
  • Guernsey
  • Guinea-Bissau 2
  • Guyana 1
  • Holy See (Vatican City) 1
  • Honduras 1
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India 2
  • Indonesia
  • Iraq 2
  • Ireland
  • Isle of Man
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Ivory Coast 2
  • Jamaica 1
  • Japan
  • Jersey
  • Jordan 2
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya 2
  • Kosovo 2
  • Kuwait 2, 3
  • Kyrgyzstan 2
  • Laos 2
  • Latvia
  • Liberia 2
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macau 2
  • Madagascar 2
  • Malawi 2
  • Malaysia
  • Mali 2
  • Malta
  • Martinique 1
  • Mayotte 1
  • Mexico
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Montserrat 1
  • Morocco 2
  • Mozambique 1
  • Myanmar 2
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Niger 2
  • Nigeria 2
  • North Macedonia
  • Norway
  • Oman 2
  • Pakistan 2
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico 1
  • Qatar
  • Réunion
  • Romania
  • Russia 2
  • Saint Kitts & Nevis 1
  • Saint Lucia 1
  • Samoa 1
  • San Marino 1
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal 2
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles 2
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Solomon Islands 1
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Suriname 1
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Tajikistan 2
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Trinidad & Tobago 1
  • Tunisia 2
  • Turkey
  • Turks & Caicos 1
  • Uganda 2
  • Ukraine 2
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States 2, 3
  • Uruguay
  • Uzbekistan 2
  • Vanuatu 1
  • Vietnam
  • Yemen 2
  • Zambia 2

1 109 Countries Plan (Truphone) only
2 139 Countries Plan (eSIM Go) only
3 5G NR access (if you have the 139 Countries Plan (eSIM GO) – does not apply to the 109 Countries Plan (Truphone)

Nomad Global eSIM Eligible Countries Map Infographic by Phone Travel Wiz (October 2023 Version).png

To summarize: get the Nomad China eSIM if you only stay in China and the Nomad APAC eSIM in two or more supported countries to save money (get the eSIM Go variant for 5G NR access in variant countries).

You can get the Nomad Global eSIM, which can be used in at least 108 other countries besides China, but Airalo's updated offering made Nomad's uncompetitive (for now).


SimOptions eSIMs for China

SimOptions Logo
© SimOptions

SimOptions has one (recommended) eSIM that can be used in China and various other Asian countries:

SimOptions has been a SIM card reseller since at least 2016.

In 2021, it started selling eSIMs, now its primary focus.

So, SimOptions has eSIMs specifically for China; as the screenshot below shows, why am I talking about the AIS eSIM2FLY eSIM?

SimOptions Taiwan eSIMs

The SimOptions China eSIMs are powered by JoyTelecom, a partner Nomad primarily works with in Asia.

JoyTelecom Logo
© JoyTelecom

The SimOptions Smart Traveler eSIM is powered by Dtac Thailand. It is a mobile operator I strongly dislike – mostly because of deceptive marketing and lousy service. You can read my Dtac Thailand review if you want, but it specifically focused on its performance in Thailand.

The eSIMs offered by SimOptions are not as affordable as Nomad's… and I do not want you to waste your money when cheaper options are available, especially when the same partner is used.

But the AIS eSIM2FLY eSIM is different – it is by AIS Thailand, formerly Thailand's largest mobile operator (until TrueMove H and Dtac Thailand merged into True Corp).

AIS Thailand Logo
© AIS Thailand

The eSIM covers 32 primarily Asia countries (not limited to East- and Southeast Asia, like most regional eSIMs, but also the Middle East and Oceania).

In fact, here is the country list:

  • Australia 1
  • Bahrain 1
  • Bangladesh
  • Brunei
  • Cambodia
  • China 1
  • Georgia
  • Guam
  • Hong Kong 1
  • India
  • Indonesia 1
  • Israel 1
  • Japan 1
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kuwait 1
  • Laos
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Mongolia
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • Oman 1
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines 1
  • Qatar 1
  • Singapore 1
  • South Korea 1
  • Sri Lanka
  • Taiwan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vietnam 1

1 with 5G NR access

SimOptions AIS eSIM2fly Asia eSIM Eligible Countries Map Infographic by Phone Travel Wiz (October 2023 Version).png

Not only that – you also get 5G NR access in countries where most other eSIM providers do not have such access yet, and a Thai phone number (+66) for free incoming calls and text messages.

All for just 19.90 USD.

But what is the catch? Well… you only get 6 GB of data for eight days.

So, the AIS eSIM2FLY eSIM is not for those who want to tour around Asia for a prolonged period because the validity is too short (but other eSIMs mentioned in this guide will do well).

In fact, the eSIM is best used in only one country – two at most if you do not use a lot of data.

I have used the AIS eSIM2FLY eSIM in numerous countries (my review is on its way), but not in all supported countries I visit because it will become too expensive.

But if you were to use the eSIM in China and a (covered) neighboring country, care about 5G NR access, do not use a lot of data & want a phone number for incoming calls and SMS, the eSIM can be a good alternative from the others mentioned so far.


Overview of the Best eSIMs for China

That was quite a journey! There are so many eSIM options for China or options that cover it.

And this was not even an exhaustive list! Many more eSIM providers have eSIMs for China.

But the five I listed in this guide have good reviews. Moreover, I have tested them extensively in multiple countries on multiple continents and had (consistently) good experiences with them.

I will give you a quick recap of each eSIMs mentioned in this guide and link to their product pages in case you need more info or are ready to purchase an eSIM already (take note of the activation policy of Nomad (Truphone) eSIMs – do not buy those eSIMs too early).

China-only eSIMs:

Asia eSIMs (mainly East- and Southeast Asia + Australia and New Zealand), which include China:

Global eSIMs, which include China:

And do not forget to use one of these discount codes for extra savings:

  • Airalo: NEWMAY15 for 15% off if you have never purchased an Airalo eSIM. If you have, use AIRALOMAY10 for 10% off (each code can be used 3000 times among all Airalo customers, so better redeem it quickly!
  • Alosim: PTW for 5% off (the code can be used by anyone, including existing customers, as many times as you wish – no redemption limit)
  • Holafly: PHONETRAVELWIZ for 5% off (the code can be used by anyone, including existing customers, as many times as you wish – no redemption limit)
  • Nomad: ADU123 for 3 USD (or your currency's equivalent) if you have never purchased a Nomad eSIM

Buying a SIM Card in China

Want to just use a SIM card but not your current one because roaming will be criminally expensive?

Consider getting a Chinese SIM card instead – local SIM cards are the cheapest way to stay connected abroad.

Buying a SIM Card in China Guide (logos of China Mobile, China Telecom & China unicom)