Medical treatment in Thailand

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First published 28th July, 2006

Need a new pair of glasses? Got a mole you want removed? Have you been putting off seeing the dentist? If you'll be in Thailand anyway, why not consider scheduling a doctor's appointment or two during your vacation?

Thailand isn't just about the exotic culture, sparkling beaches and fantastic food. Expats and frequent visitors alike know that you can get world-class medical treatment in Bangkok for a fraction of what it would cost elsewhere.

This isn't to suggest getting lasik, plastic, or major surgery (although some folks travel to Thailand to do just that). But if your health insurance wouldn't normally cover minor services, or if you've been on the road for awhile, it makes sense to mix in a little health care with your holiday.

Several international-standard hospitals in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Ko Samui have programs that cater to expats and visitors. They offer a full slate of services, including allergy, dental, eye and preventative medicine clinics, just to name a few.

One Kuwait-based teacher friend of mine recommends Bamrungrad Hospital in Bangkok, and makes it a point to stop by whenever he is in town. On his last trip, he purchased a new pair of eyeglasses and had a mole removed by a dermatologist. The total cost was 3,000B, far less than the hundreds of dollars he would have paid back home. Plus, he says the docs were all first rate and spoke good English.

Samitivej Hospital is a very popular option -- both for its not quite as expensive rates as Bumrungrad and its reputation as Bangkok's "baby-friendly" hospital. Here at Travelfish we're pretty familiar with Samitivej, having had one appendix removed already and booked in for a baby this coming December! We wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.

Making an appointment is easier than you think. Recently, I logged onto the Bamrungrad Hospital's website to get started. After using their online directory to select a doctor, I requested a convenient appointment time via the online form. Their appointment coordinator got back to me within a few days, confirming the appointment and providing me with instructions and a hospital patient number. I opted for the comprehensive health screening, but a standard physical exam, including blood and urine lab work and a chest X-ray, starts at as little as 2,500B.

Other Thai hospitals have similar programs at equally competitive prices. Try the following links to see if there is something that meets your needs:

Bumrungrad Hospital
A favorite with Bangkok expats, located on Sukhumvit Soi 3, near the shopping district.

Samitivej Hospital
On Sukhumvit Soi 49, not far from "The Emporium." Additional branches in Sri Nakarin and Sri Racha.

BNH Hospital
On Convent Road, just off Silom in Bangkok's banking and entertainment district.

Chiang Mai Ram Hospital
Just outside the city center on the way to Chiang Mai University.

story by Mark Foley, aka exacto

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Read 7 comment(s)

  • Hi, thanks for the info. I am planning to have double eyelids surgery in Yanhee Hospital, Bangkok. Do you have any advice on that? Is it a good hospital?

    I am also wondering about the best place to stay, somewhere near Yanhee Hospital and the tourist area. Thanks a lot!

    Posted by Yani on 24th January, 2009

  • In Vientiane, Laos, there's a drop-in medical clinic attached to the French Embassy. It provides excellent medical and dental care.

    Posted by Mike Bradley on 31st January, 2009

  • While in Chiang Mai I had root canal treatment and a bridge made while my daughter had 4 impacted wisdom teeth removed. This was done at Grace Dental and we had excellent care and professional work done for way less than half price of Australia. The Thai are very gentle people and make you feel relaxed with their pleasant and courteous manners. Can't speak highly enough of their expertise and care.

    Posted by Cathy King on 10th July, 2010

  • Good info. Can you, please advise where I can find more up-to-date info re medical treatments, esp. knee replacement, in Asia?

    Posted by amark on 29th October, 2010

  • dear...
    i need some information of counterpain balm, if it's registration or not
    and where can i find it?
    thanks a lot
    and best wishes

    Posted by khaled ghallab on 25th January, 2012

  • I heard dental work is cheap. We plan to go this Feb and though maybe we have are crown work done. Would anyone know how many days to plan for that kind of work. We though have it started in the beginning and than have it finished up right before we leave.

    Posted by Mary on 10th February, 2012

  • Absolute tosh the hospitals are very expensive. i paid six thousand pounds for surgery and a two night stay.

    be warned!

    Posted by charlie on 15th June, 2012

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