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Thailand – Healthcare

Thailand is hot and humid and the heat can be taxing, notably around the ‘summer’ month of April. Heat exhaustion and dehydration is common, but can be prevented with the intake of salt and by drinking lots of water. However, tap water is not recommended for drinking; bottled water, which is readily available, is the safest alternative.

In Thailand, government-funded health care is provided through the Ministry of Public Health. The Ministry is in charge of public health services, government hospitals, and medical services. Public health facilities in Thailand offer good medical services, but at the same time government hospitals are often crowded, which means waiting times can be long. In addition, facilities in public hospitals will generally not be as good as those in private hospitals in Thailand.

Internationally, Thailand has become known as a major medical tourism destination due to the availability of World class medical treatment and facilities with the many private hospitals. While these private hospitals are expensive if paying out of one’s own pocket, with insurance coverage, they provide reassurance of excellent treatment and professional care.

Bumrungrad, Samitivej and BNH hospitals are the main international hospitals used by the expatriate community in Bangkok. There are, of course, quite a few other hospitals. It is worth noting that, in Thailand, when people need to visit a doctor in Bangkok, they generally visit one of the major hospitals where they will immediately be referred to the relevant department/specialist rather than a general practitioner.

NB: The International SOS Helpline (Tel: +66 (0) 2205-7777) is a worldwide network which provides 24hrs assistance for evacuation and medical emergencies.

Health insurance is highly recommended for all expatriates relocating to Thailand.


Following below are three recommended insurance agencies located in Thailand:

There are no vaccinations required for entrance into Thailand, but it is advisable to consider the following vaccinations: typhoid, tetanus, tuberculosis, rabies, Japanese encephalitis, and hepatitis A and B.

The major international hospitals can advise and provide a vaccination programme.

The emergency number in Thailand is “191”. Unfortunately, emergency transport facilities in Thailand are rather lacking. Although large hospitals in Thailand do have mobile intensive care units, it is not common to see an ambulance racing through the streets of Bangkok. The main obstacle in terms of emergency transport is the notoriously heavy traffic in Bangkok, while cars also do not generally move out of the way of an ambulance.

Throughout the country pharmacies are abundantly present and a (surprising array) of medicines readily available – even without prescriptions. Common drugs, antibiotics, antidepressant medication, and Viagra alike can easily be obtained. However, some pharmacists use ‘commercially aggressive’ sales techniques to sell medications while offering little or no advice, so caution is advisable if visiting small pharmacies; consulting a hospital pharmacy for the right medication for any ailment is recommended.

Last update: 27 February 2020

Pacific Orientation Relocation Services has provided specialized relocation services in Thailand for nearly 20 years. We are an owner/managed company but our clients range among the largest international corporations with the presence in Thailand. As a trusted supplier we naturally comply with all of their regulations and requirements, including regular training and learning sessions.

Welcome to Thailand!