Health Care in Thailand : Hospitals in Bangkok, catering to expat community
Entrance to Bumrungrad Hospital. Very popular with foreigners. The hospital is accessible through soi 1 and soi 3 on Sukhumvit Road.
About Hospitals in Bangkok
The technical equipment and expertise is all there. For instance, it is not difficult to get an MRI of your brain or limbs if necessary, while at least in some countries in Europe, this is not always possible (you are referred to another hospital).
We had some surgery, requiring epidural anesthesia on two occasions. The procedures involved are very well organized, and you will feel in good hands altogether. You may not see the doctor as often as in Europe or the U.S., but the nursing staff will give you ample attention, so much so that it might be difficult to get a good sleep in hospital, because they seem to turn up around the clock to check on your condition.
The price of treatment seems to be well fixed, and not at random. You will be told before treatment how much it will costs, and pay (part) in advance. Small additional costs or reimbursements are handled before discharge. The doctor's fees are not particularly low, although less than what you would pay in Europe and certainly the U.S.
Prices have gone up the last few years, and this applies to doctors' fees, medication costs, room charges, examinations.
Room and nursing costs until like 10 years ago could be considered as being low altogether. They were actually below costs of staying in a 4-star or 5-star hotel, and were like between 3,000 and 6,000 baht at internationally oriented hospitals. Those days are gone.
We checked room rates at year end 2019. What is called a Standard Ward room at Bangkok Hospital costs 11,300 Thai baht (5,600 baht for room and food ; 3,900 for nursing services ; 1,800 hospital service charge). At this rate you get a TV, refrigerator, microwave and wifi internet, in the room. A Superior room is priced at 22,300 Thai baht ; a Deluxe room will set you back 16,800 baht).
Bumrungrad Hospital seems to offer more types of accommodation, and is more expensive than Bangkok Hospital. The cheapest room for single occupancy is calles 'Single Room' and charges 426 USDollar per day (room price 256 USD ; service charges and meals 170 USD). This would be around 12,780 baht at end 2019. There are many other types of rooms, most are suites with both a sitting area and a sleeping area. The largest accommodation offers 146 square meters of space at a price of 1,274 USD per day. For your information, we remember staying in one of the cheaper rooms, and they are food enough with enough amenities for the 'regular' people among us.
Now you do not know from these data how much a stay in hospital will costs you, since doctors' fees and surgeons' fees are not covered. However room rates can offer guidancel here. What is important is to check your INSURANCE POLICY. You may notice that there is a limit to what insurance policies may pay out per day for room rates. Even expensive policies will limit at around 10,000 Thai baht or so. But sometimes you may be only covered up to 4,000 Thai baht or so. Please check out this page : Mandatory Health Insurance for Long Stays.
What this means is that with most insurance policies, you will have to pay the bulk of the room rates yourself, if you stay at Bangkok's more reputed hospitals.
Outpatient treatment is also well organized in the well reputed hospitals mentioned above. At least here you will not have to pay in advance. The doctor's fee is in the 700-1000 baht range (and rising). There is an additional fee (somewhere between 100 and 200 baht) for using the facilities and the nursing care. Coming from Europe, we find this a bit unusual, probably just another way for increasing fees.
Bumrungrad prides itself on having quite a few food and drinks outlets on its mezzanine floor. You will find an Au Bon Pain outlet (good bagels), a Starbucks, but unfortunately also a McDonald's. We seriously think a hospital should not house a fast food chain like McDonald's. McDonald's likely is the world's biggest retail distributor of trans fatty acids, directly contributing to heart disease. It is always a bit painful to see families with young children 'enjoy' hamburgers and French fries during their visit to Bamrungrad. I do not mind so much the adults having a hamburger, it is their free choice. But certainly, it is irresponsible for a hospital to make this kind of food easily available to youngsters. McDonald's should not want to associate itself with anything related to 'health' either.
Samitivej Hospital (part of the Bangkok General Hospital Group) is upmarket and is another health care provider for foreign residents of Thailand. It is located about 3 km into soi 49, Sukhumvit Road.
Though having otherwise up-to-date facilities and offering a pleasant environment, Bumrungrad Hospital clearly fails in 'access and transportation'. Getting to the hospital from either Soi 1 or Soi 3 on Sukhumvit Road can be a slow process. Some staff seem to work as traffic police helping people entering our exiting the hospital at Soi 3. However, they do not attempt to provide any service for pedestrians (and there are quite a few visitors to the hospital who actually walk there) wanting to cross the road.
Annoying is also that reaching certain floors of Bumrungrad can be a bit difficult. Possibly in an attempt to entice doctors, patients and visitors to exercise, it looks like the slowest available elevator service has been installed in the hospital. We have been there quite a few times, mostly as a visitor, and it not uncommon to have to wait a full 10 minutes before an elevator arrives, and then to take a ride with the elevator stopping on the way down or up, on every single floor. Not even the simplest computer-guided aide to provide a more convenient service seems to be installed.
A separate building, Bumrungrad International Clinic has been officially opened in August 2008. The building has 22 floors and offers a capacity of 6,000 outpatient visits a day.
At the new facility a spacious sky lobby is available with separate space for Thai and resident expatriates on the one hand, and international visitors on the other hand. At first this seems like an odd arrangement, but possibly the hospital management wants to keep local and Western patients separate from mostly Middle Eastern (international) patients.
We have also experience with Bangkok Christian Hospital on Silom Road. This is a smaller hospital, but the standard doctor's fees are much lower than mentioned above. We have no recent info, but as a general rule doctos's fees will be around 50 to 65 % of what you pay at the famous hospitals mentioned earlier. So if you have minor ailments, like a persistent cold, stomach upset, skin rash etc. this much cheaper facility can be recommended. A very good thing about Bangkok Christian Hospital is also that the doctors do not shy away from using generic drugs. They usually costs only a fraction (sometimes as little as 10%) of the original drugs, and in our opinion (and international reviews), are as effective. Major savings here!
Begin 2009 Bangkok Christian Hospital opened a new wing, a completely new building with close to 20 floors. The place still looks new and clean, is functional and very spacious. However, it does not look fancy like some of the other hospitals in Bangkok. AThere is an outlet of Au Bon Pain on the ground floor of the new building, so you enjoy a decent snack, after or before your visit to the doctor. At Bangkok Christian Hospital we usually manage to get tests done as such without seeing a physician, although we would not recommend this option if you do not know how to interpret the results yourself. Of course, if all results are within normal range, maybe a physician evaluation is not quite necessary. When compared to other hospitals, the prices at Bangkok Christian are competitive.
BNH Hospital is part of the Bangkok Hospital Group. It is located in Convent road. Facilities do not closely look as new or flashy as the facilities at Bumrungrad Hospital or Bangkok General Hospital. Prices for outpatient services though seem to be at similar levels. Since it is affiliated with Bangkok General, its medical facilities more likely than not are quite up-to-date, but we never were an inpatient or had intensive investigations there
What is good about this smaller hospital is that it is not too far from the Silom BTS station and Silom subway station. Bumrungrad Hospital (although one could walk from Nana or Phloenchit BTS skytrain station) and certainly Bangkok Hospital kind of necessitate a taxi ride.
We had a look at their advertised room rates. The lowest rates seem to be slightly more reasonable than at Bumrungrad Hospital and Bangkok Hospital.
A Regent Suite goes for 8,800 to 9,100 Thai baht (depending on food choice). Ambassador Suite at 14,400 to 14,700 Thai baht. President Suites : add another 10,000 Thai baht. Unfortunately the dedicated web page only offers pictures and prizes, no lists of amenities.
One other hospital (we have no personal experience here) often used by foreigners and in the upper price range bracket is Samitivej Hospital, located in Sukhumvit Soi 49.
Personally, at present we would recommend Sukumvit Hospital, and we have attributed a separate page covering this hospital. The hospital is easily reached by BTS on Sukhumvit Road.
List of hospital-websites | List of Cosmetic Surgery providers
BNH Hospital (formerly knows as Bangkok Nursing Home) is part of the Bangkok General Hospital Group. It is located in Convent Road (connecting road between Silom Road and Sathorn Road, Bangkok)