Health Tips in Thailand



Thailand has a good healthcare system and one can get good medical treatment at a lower cost than in many other countries. It is no wonder that the country is emerging as a major destination for medical tourism.


Expatriates in Thailand are not covered by the state health insurance. You either have to pay for medical treatment yourself or buy private health insurance. If you are employed with a large corporation, then your company usually provides life insurance and health insurance packages. International schools only provide basic health insurance which does not include maternity costs and prenatal visits to the doctor and birth.


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There are a number of public and private hospitals in the country. However, there is no such thing as "free treatment" available in any of these hospitals. Your health insurance status is critical as most hospitals will not admit you to in-patient care if you cannot prove that you have adequate insurance or money to pay for your treatment. Do not assume that all foreign insurance policies will be accepted in Thailand. If a company has a bad history of paying bills, hospitals are likely to refuse treatment to patients holding insurance policies from such companies.

Besides this, expatriates are not covered by state health insurance, and though they can visit public hospitals, they will have to pay for treatment. Public hospitals are usually poorly equipped and overcrowded. Most expatriates, therefore, choose private hospitals for treatment.


Thailand has a number of well-trained doctors, dentists and opticians. Most doctors are specialists who do not have one specific place of work. It is a common practice for doctors to work at different hospitals and private clinics across a geographical area on account of which you will be treated by a number of specialists for long-term treatments. Usually, doctors and medical staff in larger hospitals understand English.


Thailand has a good network of pharmacies, most of which are well stocked. It is possible to procure most medication without a prescription. This may be illegal, especially in the case of certain drugs like anti-depressants which are strictly prescription drugs but pharmacists rarely insist on a prescription. If you are used to pharmacists advising you on the medication that you need, don't be surprised by the fact that pharmacists in Thailand are mere salesmen. They do not advise customers regarding medication. If you are looking for advice, then head for an in-house pharmacy at a hospital. This may cost a little more than an ordinary pharmacy.

Emergency Numbers

General Emergency Number: 191

In Case of an Emergency

In case of an emergency, it is best that you use your own transport or a cab and head to the nearest hospital. This is because emergency transport within the country is not well developed. Large hospitals have their own mobile intensive care ambulances to dispense treatment to patients in need of emergency care. Besides these, non-profit organisations like World Vision, the Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières provide rescue ambulances across Thailand.

Health Risks

Before moving to Thailand, ensure that you get vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, Japanese Encephalitis, Measles, Mumps, Diphtheria, Rubella, Pertussis (whooping cough), Tetanus and Polio. Most diseases are spread through insect bites due to which use of mosquito nets and insect repellents is advised. Thailand is very hot, and it could take some getting used to. Meanwhile stay hydrated and avoid long hours in the sun. Additionally, avoid the temptation of street food, maintain food and water hygiene and always use clean utensils to keep tropical diseases at bay.