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:
A favorite with Bangkok expats, located on Sukhumvit Soi 3, near the shopping district.
On Sukhumvit Soi 49, not far from "The Emporium." Additional branches in Sri Nakarin and Sri Racha.
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