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Arguably the leading Asian country in the rankings of medical tourism, Thailand, also known as the Land of the Smiles, has a booming health culture. Asian countries have long been known to lead the medical tourism industry, with an astounding 89 percent of medical tourists traveling to just three countries in 2010: Thailand, India, and Singapore. After the floods that ravaged Thailand in 2011, at least 500 thousand people still traveled to Thailand for medical treatment, with the numbers increasing around 16 percent yearly, and feeding the country billions of baht (the Thai currency) per year. Indeed, Thailand is the kingdom of medical tourism.

The type of medical services sought in Thailand varies and nearly anything is offered at a fraction of the cost compared to the United States. Some popular procedures, however, include elective surgeries, like cosmetic surgeries and dentistry, and weight loss surgeries, while non-elective treatments include cardiac procedures, orthopedic surgeries, eye surgeries, and fertility treatments.

Thailand is known as the Land of the Smiles, and has some of the most gracious, friendly, and attentive service in the world. Medical tourists flock to Bangkok, the country’s capital, because of the multitude of hospitals and medical centers available, as well as the dizzying array of tourist attributes Bangkok offers. Plus, the treatment and hotel rooms are drastically less expensive in Bangkok than other Asian country’s cities, making it the most visited medical tourism city in the world. Other medical tourism hubs in Thailand include: the bustling beach-side city of Phuket, the world-known party and fun city of Pattaya, the temple-packed historical city of Chiang Mai, the island-getaway city of Koh Samui, and the laid-back seaside city of Hua Hin.

Just because the health care is inexpensive does not mean it is cheaply done. No, in fact, especially in Bangkok, the hospitals and centers offer some of the highest quality health care in the world. Thailand takes care in expanding its medical tourism industry, and doctors make sure their reputation is withheld by meeting, and often exceeding, American health care standards.

Traveling to Thailand may seem a daunting challenge for the novice traveler, but there are numerous facilitators available that coordinates the details for medical tourists. These companies act as liaisons between you and the medical facility they associate with. With one package price, the agents can coordinate your trip for you, letting you sit back and easily plan your trip. Planning through a facilitator is worth it; they do the work for you and verify the hospital or center’s certification and doctor’s care.

If you so decide to make a vacation out of your trip to Thailand, we suggest immersing in the Thai culture, which is rich, exotic, and historic. Throughout history, tourists have traveled to far and distant lands in order to receive some sort of medical treatment, whether it was the Greeks traveling for hot baths, or tourists looking for a great deal and experience in Thailand.

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