In many parts of the world, healthcare is often highly expensive or not of a good standard. This often pushes people to travel abroad in search of affordable and quality medical care. This has led to the growth of the medical tourism industry, in which Thailand is often considered a world leader. 

Before the pandemic, Thailand would welcome over 3 million medical tourists every year, looking for some form of general, cosmetic or dental treatment. There are several reasons why Thailand has been a top choice for many for these treatments. Let us look at why this industry continues to thrive and why you should consider seeking medical care here if in need. 

1. Affordability

The most common reason people travel abroad for medical treatment is lack of affordability. There is often some form of quality healthcare to be found anywhere in the world you are. However, in many countries, this is typically found within the private sector where patients and their families have to foot the bill out-of-pocket if they lack sufficient insurance.

So, for expensive treatments, especially those that involve surgery, it can make more financial sense to travel where you will end up spending less. Medical treatment in Thailand is estimated to be anywhere between 30-70% cheaper than in western nations like the US. This means your limited funds can stretch much further here than by opting for the same treatment back home. Even when you include the cost of travel and accommodation for accompanying family members, it is a far more affordable option

It is partially due to the affordability of healthcare in Thailand that many westerners will apply for a retirement visa here. Seniors, who are more prone to health problems, appreciate being able to easily and affordably access medical care at a time when their earning potential has likely declined or stagnated. The good weather, friendly people, and lower cost of living are other top reasons why people will choose to relocate here in their sunset years.  

2. Vacation time

It is easy to combine your medical treatment with vacation time in Thailand. Getting outpatient treatment is easy as such services can often be provided even without an appointment. You can simply spare a few hours during your trip to see the doctor. 

For anything that requires inpatient care, you can even arrange with the hospital for transfers to hotels by the beach where you can recuperate in tropical paradise after treatment. 

Many hospitals have even been built to high hospitality standards so they can better cater to medical tourists looking for both good healthcare and a vacation experience. They come equipped with all the amenities and facilities you would find at any 4- or 5-star hotel resort. 

3. Short waiting time

In many countries, there can often be a delay in securing treatment due to a lack of facilities or expertise. Specialities like neurosurgery and oncology often have long wait times in many parts of the world due to the few specialist doctors and treatment facilities. Unfortunately, such delays can even become life-threatening situations, hence the reason many sufferers will travel abroad. 

Many well-equipped hospitals in Thailand can accommodate such patients, with surgeries often taking place within a few days of the patients’ arrival in the kingdom. There are also many well-trained and qualified specialists in various fields that can quickly attend to patients, improving their chances of successful recovery. 

Many are highly experienced and have acquired skills from various locations around the world like the US, Germany and Japan. When they return home, their combined international expertise and exposure make them better qualified to provide the best and most innovative treatment to patients. Even the medical associations and councils that govern practitioners are considered some of the best in the world. Practitioners are required to be licensed and accredited to offer medical services. 

4. Bundled services

Besides the fact that you can combine your trip for medical treatment with a vacation, there are also bundled services in terms of medical care. With money stretching much further here, often, those that travel here for cosmetic procedures can seek to have several procedures done during the same trip. 

Many hospitals that cater to the medical tourism market will have medical specialists in different niches under the same roof. So, for example, if you want a tummy tuck, you can likely also get cosmetic dental procedures done at the same hospital and possibly at some discount price. 

5. Ease of travel

Thailand is a major international and regional trade hub in Asia. Many global airlines fly to its airports daily, making it easy to quickly travel to Bangkok and get to whatever hospital you need to for treatment, wherever in the world you are travelling from. 

The simple visa process is also helpful in encouraging people to travel here for medical treatment. There are many countries from which people can travel and apply for a visa upon arrival. In many cases, a tourist visa is sufficient, with those that require extensions often easily accommodated by the authorities. Alternatively, you can apply for a medical tourist visa which is valid for about 30 days longer and still get an extension, if warranted. 

6. Insurance

The quality of healthcare in Thailand is one of the best in the world. The affordability of treatments has also been widely regarded, even by foreign insurance companies. It is not uncommon for foreigners to find that their insurance companies are willing to cover the cost of their treatment in Thailand as it is often less than if they opt to pursue treatment back home. 

This cover can extend to even flight costs and catering to the accompanying family member or guardian. You simply need to make enquiries from your health insurance provider to find out if you are eligible.


Thailand is an excellent option if you are looking for affordable and quality healthcare that will attend to your needs promptly. Not only will you find highly trained medical personnel and state-of-the-art medical technology at your disposal, but you can also combine your trip with some vacation time, ensuring that when returning home, you will have majorly recuperated from your treatment. 



45 days Exempt visa stamp is no longer offered which was implemented on October 1st last year 2022 as an effort to help stimulate the Thai Tourism Industry. All the countries that eligible for Exempt Visa stamp will now get only 30 days upon arrival.

For those who want to stay longer for tourism purpose, travelers can also apply for a 60 days Tourist Visa head of time, which is of course, more costly and requires uploading a variety of documents as most embassies have moved to the E-Visa application system.

Either way, the Exempt Visa stamp for 30 days and Tourist Visa for 60 days can extend their stay for another 30 days at the cost of 1900 THB at a local Thai Immigration in Thailand. However, some nationalities may receive extension not more than 7 days on a Tourist Visa (if not eligible for Exempt Visa stamp)