Bumrungrad International Hospital and Bangkok Hospital, both located in the capital – are among the more than 600 hospitals around the world to have received Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation.
Resembling 5-star hotels more than hospitals, both of these market-leaders have made a big impression on overseas patients. Bumrungrad treated more than a million people in 2013, 40% of whom were international patients.
At AD Asia Group and AD Asia Consulting, we’ve been watching the medical tourism phenomenon develop in Thailand since it first began here as a survival strategy in 1998 in the wake of the Asian financial crisis. The 9/11 attacks in New York were the turning point, as Middle Eastern patients who once travelled to the States for surgery found it harder to get a visa and turned to Thailand, and that is when Bumrungrad went from treating 10,000 Middle Eastern patients a year to the more than 120,000 who pass through its doors today.
Today, Bumrungrad offers lounge areas with complimentary soft drinks, check-in desks that resemble bank tellers, in-house travel agents to handle visa extensions and an entire wing of interpreters offering translation services.
Not far from Bumrungrad, Bangkok Hospital has created dedicated centers specifically designed for its Japanese, Arab and western patients, complete with a team of interpreters with specializations in 26 languages, thereby eliminating any potential barriers to communication.
“A trip to the dentist for a filling in Australia will set you back around AUD150, in Thailand it’s AUD 30,” says Australia’s news.com. “Breast implants will cost at least AUD 8,000 at home, compared to around AUD 3,000-4,000 in Thailand. It is this reality that is changing the medical landscape, as Australians and travellers worldwide are lured by cheaper costs, no wait lists and technology often better than what they’d find at home”.
With savings being the primary motivation for the great majority of medical tourists, the destination can become a non-issue, often taking a back seat to other matters. As far as many people are concerned, a hospital is a hospital, and a beach is a beach. Being well informed about the available choices of medical tourism destinations is the key to choosing the best location for your treatment. Here are a few facts about one destination:
Thailand is the undisputed world leader in medical tourism, for which reason you are assured an excellent and healthy experience. Many procedures – life saving, necessary ones – can be performed for approximately one-tenth of the cost in Europe or America.
Nearly every kind of medical procedure is available in Thailand at world-class standards for a nearly unbeatable price. Thailand’s medical tourism sector doesn’t cater only to westerners – the country is a very popular medical destination for Asians as well.
Thailand has also been a relaxation-seeker’s paradise for decades. Receiving enormous numbers of travellers every year, the country knows how to treat westerners. English-speaking locals are the rule, not the exception, comfort is one of the biggest industries in the country, and the food is world-renowned.
Colorful, cultural, friendly and always looking to outshine itself, Thailand is one of Asia’s premier tourist destinations. Luxurious health spas, numerous world heritage sites, beautiful temples and breathtaking islands await. In fact, the only reason not to choose Thailand is if you have another “dream destination”.
After the Hospital
With the SkyTrain around the corner from Bangkok’s major hospitals and the surrounding neighborhood packed with hotels of every category and price range, your post-procedure holiday is off to a good start. As the political, economic, cultural, culinary and spiritual capital of Thailand, Bangkok features both eastern charm and western convenience that is occasionally served up in an addictively chaotic fashion, but always with a smile. From the spectacular temples to the glistening malls and vibrant markets, the street life and the nightlife, it will take a world-class beach resort to lure you away, and there are plenty of those.
Hua Hin, one of Thailand’s premier beach resort towns on the Gulf of Thailand, is less than 200km south, making it one of the most popular weekend getaway destinations for city-dwellers. Equally popular among young couples and families, tourists and locals, Hua Hin offers a beautiful beach, lots to do, numerous seaside restaurants, a lively night market, and some of Thailand’s most renowned golf courses.
On the Andaman side is the quintessential sun, sea and sand resort island of Phuket with an abundance of accommodation choices and every imaginable resort facility and activity, from world-class diving, to snorkelling, wind surfing and sailing.
Koh Samui, 700km south of Bangkok, is the premier island destination in the Gulf of Thailand and the second most popular island destination after Phuket. It is easily accessible with a one-hour flight, offers beautiful beaches and a variety of activities, and caters to visitors on every budget.
No matter where you travel, you’ll be greeted by the world-famous Thai hospitality and friendliness, mouth-watering Thai cuisine at unbelievably low prices, recuperative Thai massages for just a few dollars, and elaborate spa treatments at a fraction of the cost back home.
AD Asia Group and AD Asia Consulting have been operating in Thailand since the early days of medical tourism here, and would be happy to advise you on any aspects of your planned visit to one of the country’s world-class medical facilities – and afterwards, to one of our renowned resort destinations.