What to do if you lose your phone in SE Asia

If you do happen to lose your phone in South East Asia, there are a few simple steps you can take to get yourself back on track with a phone in hand.

Alert your phone company!

First thing’s first, cancel that phone! The last thing you want is someone calling international phone numbers and roaming abroad at your expense. The bill you soon go through the roof, so time is of the essence. Make sure you contact your service provider as soon as you know you will not be able to recover the handset. They will then blacklist the phone to all recognized international phone companies so it cannot be used. First job done.


For insurance purposes you should also report the loss at the nearest police station within 24 hours of losing it. To make any claim for loss or stolen items you will need the police incident report number as proof. Also, there is a very small chance that some good Samaritan has handed in the aforementioned phone, but don’t get you hopes up, I didn’t.

Replacing it

If you are unfortunate enough to lose a smart phone, there is the issue of what to temporarily replace it with. In the more popular tourist areas you can generally find cheap and perhaps dodgy/unlocked handsets from street shops, or you can alternately pay a little extra for one from a mall for the guarantee and peace of mind. The pricing is also dependent on whether you require a Wifi-capable handset, as these start a little higher in the pricing chart. I ended up spending about £38 for a touch screen phone with Wifi, which I was willing to part with in order to return to the 21st century.

Sim Card

Finding a sim card is easier than finding a new handset. Most convenience stores such as 7Eleven in Thailand sell them at pretty fixed, low rates. I picked one up in Vietnam for about £2. It did run out pretty quickly mind you, and the balance alerts and updates they sent me were all in Vietnamese so it was really a guessing game and I was fairly clueless.

Losing your phone abroad, whether it’s at the Full Moon Party or left on a Tuk Tuk is nuisance, but don’t let it ruin your trip!

Whether you’re a newbie traveller looking for help or a backpacking veteran with words of wisdom to share, our community is waiting for you.

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