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Thailand’s Journey to Medical Tourism Supremacy


The Kingdom of Thailand is famous for its warm weather, stunning resorts, ease-of-travel, and world-renowned customer friendly services. This allure has added to the quality medical tourism resources that the country offers at astoundingly competitive prices.


Why are people heading to Thailand for healthcare?

Many individuals who live in more advanced countries cannot afford their local private healthcare services and are often stuck with government providers, who have long waiting periods. On the other hand, there are people in developing countries who can afford to pay for medical services but aren’t comfortable paying premium prices, when the same or better standard of care can be found abroad for much less. Then there are the frequent flyers and experience seekers, who would prefer to combine a procedure with a recovery retreat abroad. This “catch 22” predicament has created an opportunity in the market for countries like Thailand, where accredited private healthcare and medical facilities could flourish in developing countries.


How did Thailand enter the Medical Tourism market?

Thailand decided to enter the medical tourism industry to grow its economy and meld medical treatments and surgeries together with it’s already booming tourism sector.

To start, Thailand’s government introduced a strategic plan to become an international medical and wellness hub. This plan included the introduction of new visas that extend medical tourism visits to 90 days. By extending the visas, new lengthier procedures could be offered and the scope of available treatments and surgeries has since been broadened.

In addition, the country also offers a ‘smart visa’ which allows foreign professionals (such as accredited doctors) to work in the country for up to four years. This means that excellent doctors and surgeons from around the world can easily enter the country to offer their services.

And then they obtained JCI accreditation…

Thailand was the first Asian country to obtain JCI accreditation (Joint Commission International) and with this authority behind their name, they are now boastfully home to more than 60 accredited hospitals and facilities. The country proudly flaunts its prestigious qualification, which is considered the ‘Gold Standard’ in medical care. 

At the same time, the medical professionals in these clinics also have international qualifications and access to ultra-modern and up-to-date diagnostic and other equipment.

Several hospitals also have ISO9001:2000 accreditation and a few institutions flaunt an additional CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) accreditation.


Award-Winning Thai Facilities

Did you know?

THREE Thai hospital groups scooped up seven awards between themselves at the 4th annual Global Health and Travel Awards in May 2019. This prestigious event was held in Kuala Lumpur as part of the Asia-Pacific Medical and Tourism Summit.

Well done Thailand!

The hospitals in question include Bangkok Hospital, Samitivej Hospital, and the Bangkok Dusit Medical Services Group (BDMS). Each of these hospitals were honoured for having maintained ‘consistently high standards in delivering quality care’. They were also acknowledged for pushing the boundaries to impress their patients at every stage and at every interaction.

Some of the leading healthcare facilities in Thailand include:

Bumrungrad International Hospital – Arguably the most globally reputable healthcare brand in Thailand, Bumrungrad International is a platinum provider in the medical tourism industry. The hospital serves 1.1 million patients annually from over 190 countries. The majority of the doctors here come from advanced economies with high medical standards, such as the USA, UK, Australia, Japan and others.

The BDMS Hospital Group is the largest private healthcare family in Thailand and manages 6 major hospital groups, including Bangkok Hospital Group and Samitivej Hospitals.

Bangkok Hospital Group provides services in several cities that are specifically aimed at international travellers. Most of the travellers come from the UK, China, Japan, Korea, France, Germany, and Bengal. Their Aesthetic and Anti-aging centres are also world-renowned.

Samitivej Hospitals group consist of 9 hospitals altogether and in 2019 the group won a Women’s Health and Wellness award. Samitivej Hospitals are appreciated for their virtual tours and several specially-designed packages.

Sikarin Hospital are JCI accredited and were established 25 years ago. They feature state-of-the-art medical equipment, first-rate aesthetic and dental centres, and a multidisciplinary hospital specialising in orthopaedics, cardiology, ENT, paediatrics, and internal medicine. You can also have your first consultation with your specialist via telemedicine (from the comfort of your own home)!

KTOP Clinic provides an extensive range of treatments, translation services, aesthetics, and plastic and reconstructive surgeries. This clinic is also the leading facility for Korean-style plastic surgery.

Panpuri Wellness offers programs to restore balance based on an individual’s health. Here you can receive massages and treatments with natural products. Treatments are aimed at reducing stress, pollution exposure, cholesterol, diabetes, and cardiac issues.

When travelling to the beautiful Thailand, your are spoilt for choice and there are many medical tour options and intermediaries available. Most of the clinics and hospitals will go as far as planning every detail of your medical trip for you, so it’s best to check with them directly in the first instance if they have an in-house international patient office. The bigger facilities such as Bumrungrad are also likely to offer direct billing to international insurance companies.

Recuperating in a luxurious Thai resort is definitely the ultimate way to relax while healing. You can surround yourself with breath-taking scenery and enjoy exquisite Thai cuisine before and after your procedure – all at a fraction of the cost you would pay at home.

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