WELL, I AM NOW IN BANGKOK FOR THAILAND'S FIRST WELLNESS TRADE FAIR AND I AM FEELING VERY WELL THANK YOU!
The Governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) welcoming the delegates at Centara Grand Convention Centre in Bangkok on 11 September 2012
Mrs Vilaiwan Twichasri, Deputy Governor of Tourism Business and Products, TAT
Kee Hua Chee, right, headed the Malaysian contingent
Daniel Fraser, emcee and director of Smiling Albino (yes, this is the name of his company, just Google smilingalbino.com!) and Kee Hua Chee waiting for the arrival of the Governor of TAT
The Governor of TAT and VIPs at the ribbon cutting ceremony flanked by an ogre and the Goddess of the Sea who are dancers from Siam Niramit Theatre
Cut and congratulations on the inaugural Medical and Wellness Trade FAM 2012!
Mrs Vilaiwan Twichasri, Deputy Governor of TAT for Tourism Business and Products and Wiboon Ninmitrwanich, Director of TAT Malaysia
Kee Hua Chee joins in with his camouflage bag painted with his face
Kee Hua Chee and Thanyaporn Sujareerat, general manager of DNA Skin Clinic
Thanyaporn Sujareerat has had Gold Thread Lift done on her face and she certainly does not look her age which is 43! She is certainly the best walking advertisement for DNA!
This pair of nurses are also the best walking advertisement for Thailand Medical and Wellness Tourism FAM Trip 2012! But they are so young and beautiful they are also probably models.
My more savvy readers will know Thailand is NUMBER 1 in Southeast Asia when it comes to medical tourism as it is a trillion baht industry! By 2014 it is expected to reach a staggering 2 trillion baht!
Tourists come to Thailand each year to fix themselves and get into top gear again. Thailand has 18 hospitals that have received JCI accreditation which is not only the highest in ASEAN but in all Asia which is a major accomplishment!
Of course Thailand is so far ahead of its competitors that it reigns supreme in solitary splendour. So many wealthy and middle class patients come to Bangkok to be treated for almost every disease mankind is heir to that medical tourism has become a huge contributor to the tourism industry.
The Thai government has taken the initiative and recognised the trillions of baht flowing in as a result of its skilled healthcare specialists it has organised a forum and sort of trade fair (if you can call it that) where sellers and buyers meet to talk shop and connect.
The second biggest player in medical tourism is Singapore and do you know Malaysia is third, albeit a very, very distant third. But with the recent opening of Beverly Wilshire Medical Centre at Dijaya Plaza on Jalan Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur, things are looking up.
Yesterday I visited Vejthani Hospital in the morning and Piyavate Hospital in the afternoon. I did not breakfast as I was told not to eat after midnight the evening earlier so I could get a more accurate reading for my Live Blood Analysis at Vejthani Hospital.
After lunch at Golden Tulip hotel, we went to Piyavate Hospital for a look-see.
Both hospitals are pretty impressive and treat every disease using the latest equipment in the most salubrious settings. So after the operation, recovery is a speedy affair and most patients make time to enjoy the rest of their holiday by going sightseeing, shopping and quite often flying off to Phuket or Koh Samui for some bigtime Rest, Relaxation and Recovery!
Of course any Malaysian can check into Beverly Wilshire Medical Centre or jet off to New York or other parts of USA and Europe for equally good treatment. The main appeal is of course the costs!
Cases in point; A Malaysian going to USA to remove an appendicitis will pay RM 50,000 due to extra expenses as a non-American citizen. However any Malaysian can fly to Bangkok within two and half hours and get it removed for RM 5,000! That is ten times cheaper as Thai hospitals charge the same amount for locals and foreigners.
Another important comparison is tummy tuck which so many of us need but not me, thanks to Buddha and Jesus Christ for keeping me slim. Anyway in USA you will need to pay RM 45,000 since you are not American and there are heaps of taxes and full rates to pay as you cannot be subsidized and cannot claim from insurance. In good old Bangkok at Vejthani Hospital, it is all of RM 15,000 which includes the surgery, room and food for 2 nights!
Vejthani Hospital is one of the Top 5 hospitals in Thailand and among the most famous in the world. The Top 5 are Bumrungrad, Bangkok Hospital, Samitivej, Vejthani and Piyavate and they are also rated in terms of cost with the internationally acclaimed Bumrungrad the most expensive.
Still, westerners think Bangkok hospitals are ridiculously cheap compared to what they have to pay in western Europe and USA. Hospitals in China are not considered the safest in the world and they are not dirt cheap either. Japanese hospitals are as expensive as American or European ones but they make no allowances for English speaking medical tourists and often solve the problem by not admitting non-Japanese patients!
Hong Kong hospitals are excellent but if you are going to Hong Kong you might as well take a bus down to Singapore. Both are equally expensive but Singapore doctors speak not only English, but Hokkien and Mandarin and a few also speak Cantonese.
So if you are not checking into Beverly Wilshire Medical Centre, the best option is to check into the nearest Malaysia Airlines, Air Asia and Firefly counter and go to Bangkok.
In America, it is a truism for the amount you must pay for American treatment, you can fly to Bangkok, get your illness fixed, stay in hospital for the necessary period and enjoy up to 2 weeks of holiday in amazing Thailand!