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tokyomike Bangkok Metropolis - A travel report by Mike
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Bangkok Metropolis,  Thailand - flag Thailand -  Krung Thep Mahanakhon
3874 readers

tokyomike's travel reports

Health Tourism in Thailand

  15 votes
You've seen the trip reports of temples and beaches, and you know how much it costs to fly to Chiang Mai. How about a look into the heart of Thailand? My heart, that is.

As somebody who lives in Asia, I'm lucky to be close to places where Health Tourism is an option. Here in Japan, although medical care is quite good, the waits to get even the simplest of tests done are HUGE. And your time with a doctor will likely be just the 30 seconds he needs to tell you to go pick up your medicines from the counter. So after turning 40, my first choice of places to get a comprehensive health check was not Japan.

Favourite spots:
Enter Thailand. I'd been to Bumrungrad Hospital before for food poisoning and was surprise to find it was as nice as any high class hotel. It has restaurants, Starbucks and other services downstairs, and the hospital itself is clean and new. The doctors all speak at least two languages, and they have interpreters for most other languages available for free.

I chose the full-Monty: The comprehensive health check for men, at about US$350. You pay your bill up front, then you move from room to room following the cute nurses who beckon you to follow them. The rooms go from Room A, where you get the standard blood pressure check and so on, to Room G, where I met with a doctor for a lengthy consultation.

What's really great:
You get blood drawn, X-rayed, a complete look-over from a doctor to make sure you have 10 fingers and 10 toes, you pee in a cup and poop on a scoop (don't get the scoop mixed up with your Haagen Daz scoop), you jog on a treadmill for up to 12 minutes, and then you have hot jelly rubbed on your back and tummy as they do a complete ultrasound to check your internal organs (check for kidney stones, liver size, prostate size, etc).

The next day you meet with a doctor to get your results. In my case, I had only one abnormal result: He said there was a problem with my heart response when I first broke into a jog. He said it was either just a problem with the test, OR I had a serious oxygen deficiency to my heart as a result of a blocked coronary artery. Hmm… I didn't sleep so well that night.

To clarify the problem, the doctor asked me to have a coronary CT scan done. This is where you get filled with radioactive contrast dye, and they stick you in a huge donut shaped machine that twirls around like the portal from the movie Stargate. The results were good. Zero blockage or narrowing of the arteries, and no calcification (*pats himself on back for having never smoked cigs*).

The cost for the CT scan? $625. Expensive? Yes. Necessary? I'm not sure. Worth the peace of mind? Absolutely! And the best part of all this: They give you all of your results in a nicely printed form, and all the CT scan data on a CD ROM. So unlike Japan, where the doctors pride themselves in not telling you anything about your condition, in Bumrungrad they give you results that are so comprehensive, you can take them to any doctor in the world.

Bangkok Metropolis travelogue picture
And now I give you my heart:

My impure, but healthy heart.

I almost feel guilty ignoring the subtitles of this report format. I suppose that accommodations, nightlife (lack thereof) and hangouts come close, but this is certainly not a standard trip report. But if travel to Thailand is a part of your itinerary, then a trip to Bumrungrad, Samitivej, or any other of the top hospitals for a look into your soul might allow you to travel a few years longer than you'd planned.

That's definitely worth the price!

Other recommendations:
Bangkok Metropolis travelogue picture
OK, just ONE photo of the beach, to make sure that people knew I was actually in Thailand :)

Published on Sunday January 21th, 2007

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Mon, Mar 26 2007 - 09:05 AM rating by biya67

a well written and informative article. what could be better than getting a complete physical and enjoying a great vacation while saving hundreds or thousands of dollars!

Sat, Jan 27 2007 - 01:09 PM rating by marianne

Unusual report and great info an medical tourism which is getting more and more popular.

Fri, Jan 26 2007 - 12:06 AM rating by eirekay

Mike, great to get a first hand view of Medical Tourism! Love the idea of Starbucks in the hospital!

Wed, Jan 24 2007 - 06:23 AM rating by downundergal

I thought this report was very original and also interesting and it still works, it was a good read - good for you!

Mon, Jan 22 2007 - 07:43 AM rating by rangutan

A very different but interesting report and advice. Top class checkup and treatment in the Philippines or Hungary also for a fraction the costs here in Germany. Worth travelling there and spending the savings on a good relaxing vacation :-)

Sun, Jan 21 2007 - 12:04 PM rating by davidx

I like some unconventional reports, in spite of not liking private medicine. Very informative.

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