Medical Tourism In Thailand


Thailand, the land of smiles, is one of the top 5 destinations for medical tourism. The country receives over a million medical travelers every year and has more than a thousand hospitals. Most people visit the country for cosmetics and plastic surgery. However, other procedures are offered as well. In fact, the medical infrastructure is undergoing rapid advancement and constantly being improved. The local doctors speak English fluently and many have received their training from abroad.

Thailand is a great place for a traditional vacation as well, due to the following factors: its people and hospitality, culture, architecture, beaches and great infrastructure. Thailand’s aesthetic appeal is above and beyond that of most countries. It’s a great place to visit but an even better place to recover in as the people there are extremely friendly and welcoming.

Why Choose Thailand?

Thailand is blessed with a magnificent landscape. It has beaches, historical sites and great man-made structures as well. The medical procedures in Thailand cost 40% to 70% lower than the cost of medical procedures in the US. This is because Thailand is a developing country with a slower-growing economy than the US and other advanced countries. Also, many packages are offered to foreign patients, which decrease the costs even more. Moreover, the quality of medical treatment is exceptionally high because many hospitals and clinics are JCI accredited.

Even though Thailand’s hospitals deal with thousands of international patients every day, there is no, or little wait time involved. Patients have quicker access to doctors, which increases convenience at their end.

Decades ago governmental leaders began branding the country’s excellent medical facilities as an attempt to attract US medical travelers and foreign patients from other nearby countries. Today, Thailand is a preferable choice for medical tourism, sharing the limelight with Singapore, Malaysia and India.

Patients from America, Canada, Middle East, Vietnam and Cambodia often turn to Phuket or Bangkok to get topnotch medical procedures. Patients in the European region also often head to this Asian country for treatment purposes. Though the flights may be longer from some of these countries, the lower costs are well worth thetrip.

Healthcare and Medical Tourism in Thailand

With an economy that is steadily booming, Thailand is now in the limelight when it comes to medical travel. The first JCI accreditation went to a private hospital in Bangkok, which is unofficially regarded as the top medical tourism destination in the world, due to its relatively more affordable accommodations as well as superior facilities. Today, Thailand boasts of 66 JCI accredited organizations and has the 47th best healthcare system in the world.

Medical tourists can oftentimes save over 70% in treatment cost here, as compared to other medical tourism destinations. International patients flock to Thailand seeking surgical procedures like transgender surgery, cosmetic surgery, cardiology, orthopedics, reproductive medicine, spine surgery, and dentistry.

Cosmetic surgery, especially those related to sexual reassignment and alteration, is performed well and is available at such a low cost in Thailand that it has become somewhat synonymous with gender-related plastic surgery. More than that, however, Thailand also plays host to patients seeking more complicated procedures.

Thailand has a reputation all over the world for having what is highly regarded as perhaps the best cosmetic surgery treatment. While there are some other countries in the region that have long challenged this position, so far, Thailand continues to dominate the market.

Thailand’s main specialty is plastic surgery. In fact, hospitals often offer packages that combine the tours and these procedures together. So basically, each medical plan includes a diagnosis, the procedure itself and a recovery phase during which patients can relax and unwind themselves at some of the world’s most stunning beaches. A wide range of cosmetic procedures is offered, of which 15.8% are breast augmentation and around 14% are related to liposuction. Other popular procedures include eyelid surgery, abdominoplasty and sex change operation.

Dentistry is the second most popular specialty of Thailand, followed by orthopedics.

Lodging and Hotels

Accommodation options in Thailand include budget, mid-range and luxury hotels, guesthouses and AirBNB. Generally, the hotels start from $50 per night and can go over $100 per night, depending on the kind of accommodation chosen. Guesthouses can be rented for as low as $10 per night. Accommodation is available at economical rates, and many 5-star resorts are combined with medical facility centers.

Airlines that fly directly from United States to Thailand

At this time there aren’t any direct flights from the United States to Thailand

Other airlines that fly directly to Thailand

  • Emirates flights Lufthansa
  • Hainan Airlines
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Turkish Airlines
  • AirAsia
  • ANA (All Nippon Airways)            
  • United
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • Thai Airways     
  • Finnair
  • Qatar Airways   
  • Air France           
  • Xiamen Airlines
  • Korean Air          
  • American Airlines            
  • Jin Air
  • EVA Air
  • China Airlines    
  • Royal Jordanian
  • Singapore Airlines           
  • Qantas
  • Sichuan Airlines
  • Japan Airlines    
  • Philippine Airlines           
  • Kuwait Airways
  • Delta flights       
  • SAS        
  • Norwegian

Climate and Weather

Thailand has a tropical climate with three well-defined seasons. During March to mid-May, the days are hot. The monsoon season lies between June and October, after which it turns cool and dry from November onwards.

Entrance Requirements and Visa

Tourist visas in Thailand are for 60 days, but can be increased to another 30 days through a visa run. If the stay will be longer, then the visa will have to be converted into a non-immigrant visa (valid for 90 days), and patients may have to travel to Malaysia or another nearby country. The fee is $30.

Both the US and Canadian citizens should apply for a Thailand visa ONLY if their stay will be more than 30 days. For shorter visits, they will only have to show relevant documents upon arrival.

Check visa requirements of your particular country before you visit Thailand.

Languages and Culture

The culture of Thailand has evolved through times, originating from the King Chulalongkorn era. 94% of the locals follow Buddhism, 4.5% follow Islam and 1%follow Christianity. The remaining minorities include Hindus, Jews and Sikhs. Family is often the first priority. Even cousins are treated just like brothers and sisters, and relatives usually live close by. The nation is happy and friendly and warmly welcomes all the tourists, whether they visit for medical reasons or for general purposes.

Thai cuisine is popular all over the world because of its savory spiciness and sweetness form enchanting flavors. The official language is Thai; the dialects do vary from region to region. All doctors and paramedical staff speak English, so foreign patients usually don’t face any communication barriers or issues.

Overview of Thailand

Capital of Thailand: Bangkok

Languages: Thai, but a lot of healthcare workers speak English. 

Currency: Thai Baht (THB)

Suggested Vaccines: Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid booster

Time Zones: GMT +7 

Country Code for Telephone Calls: +66

Entertainment and Tourist Attractions

Thailand is home to glistening, blue beaches and thick green jungles, offering many attractions to tourists. Erawan Falls in western Thailand features 7 distinguished tiers that resemble an Erawen, a three-headed elephant belonging to Hindu mythology. The site is open around the year. Phi Phi islands, located close to Phuket, are breathtaking and another must-visit attraction. Many activities along the coastline are offered such as scuba diving, snorkeling and kayaking.

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