Being the capital, and the largest city in Thailand, Bangkok is of course the country’s hub for medical tourism. Boosting with a large international hospital, and an immensely popular tourism region; the southern town Phuket comes in on a definite second place. Other places with a high concentration of foreign tourists are now rising as options, such as Pattaya, Hua Hin, Chiang Mai, and the island Koh Samui.
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In comparison to India, the prices are about 20% higher in Thailand. But many international patients still choose the latter due to the fact that Thailand is considered to be a better tourist experience overall. While India has more specialized medical centres, Thailand offers mega-centres (such as Bumrungrad Hospital or Bangkok Hospital) with full in-house service. Many medical tourists have found this to be an advantage, and fly in to Thailand regularly for dental work, comprehensive physical exams along with minor healthcare procedures. Popular treatments range from organ transplants, orthopaedic treatments, cardiac surgeries, to cosmetic surgeries and dental treatments.
For medical tourists, Thai hospitals are very customer friendly. Many Thai physicians hold UK or US professional certification, and the hospitals offer interpreters in many of the most common languages spoken by their patients.
Thailand also offers a wide range of accommodation in all service levels, pristine beaches and plentiful good and affordable restaurants. For medical tourists searching for a number of smaller procedures, Thailand is a safe alternative. However, those who are searching for specific major surgeries should carefully weigh the benefits between Thailand and India.
In 2002 Thailand became home to Asia’s first JCI-Accredited hospital, the above-mentioned Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok. Today, Thailand offers six additional JCI-accredited facilities to medical travellers, all of them are found in our extensive directory.
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According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the main visitors coming to Thailand with the primary motive of healthcare comes from the following countries: U.A.E, Quatar, Oman, Japan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, the U.S, the U.K, Germany, France and Australia. However, with more hospitals opening up in the Middle East, there might be a decrease of patients from this region in the future.
As a visitor in “the land of smiles”, the superior service and gracious hospitality can’t be overlooked by anyone. For instance, patients are treated as guests, and made to feel at home even in a hospital or a clinic. This unparalleled service mindset becomes clear when visiting a Thai spa. Thailand’s spa sector has had a phenomenal growth in the past years, resulting in a wide range of alternatives in regards to types of spas, price range, and treatments offered.
For long, Thailand has also been a centre for ancient healing traditions based on herbal medicine and holistic treatments. Thai style therapy, or traditional Thai medicine has been practiced in the country for over 2,000 years. It is best described as a blending of the Western style therapy and relaxation, and the Thai approach to natural and holistic medicine. Most foreign visitors to Thailand make sure to enjoy at least one Thai massage or foot reflexology during their stay, and massage parlours are as common as Seven-Elevens on the streets of Bangkok.
Thailand’s political turmoil, ending in bloody demonstrations in Bangkok in the spring of 2010, has not been beneficial for the country’s reputation as an attractive tourism destination. However, with 15,5 million visitors expected in 2010, Thailand will still keep its strong position as one of the most popular destinations for healthcare tourism.