Having chipped my tooth recently, I was seeking out options to fix my teeth. Aside from the options I had in Singapore, I discovered another option, Medical Tourism. As the name implies, it refers to travelling to seek medical treatment. In the past, the people who did this were from less developed countries travelling to more developed countries seeking medical treatment unavailable at home. More recently, this trend has been reversed. People have been travelling from more developed countries to other developed countries or even developing countries to seek more affordable treatment.

Often, people go overseas for surgeries like plastic surgery, dental surgery, different aesthetic services or even fertility treatments. Many tour companies have caught on to this trend and thus have gotten involved in this health tourism industry. It is not hard to find companies that are willing to plan a trip for medical purposes for you. For many, medical tourism is a great way of combining a treatment to a vacation to a new destination.

How popular is Medical Tourism?

In Singapore, this trend has been gaining in popularity due to the high cost of private treatments in the country. In addition, the close proximity of medical tourism hubs in Malaysia and Thailand has made it a more attractive proposition.

Intrigued? This guide will cover all you need to know about medical tourism with regards to dental surgery, aesthetic surgery and eye treatments, the prices and all you should consider before choosing where to go for your medical needs. The info is classified according to which country to go for what treatment along with an approximate cost. We will be covering:

  • Medical Tourism Malaysia
  • Medical Tourism Thailand
  • Korea Medical Tourism
  • Risks Involved

Medical Tourism Malaysia – Dental Treatment in Johor Bahru

Johor Bahru Causeway
Image Credit | Afifi Zulkifle on Unsplash

As there are many treatments not covered by insurance, medical costs can go up. Thankfully, a trip across the causeway can actually be an option and help you save a pretty substantial amount. Due to the strong Singapore dollar, treatments in Malaysia often cost two or even three times less on average. Therefore, some Singaporeans seek dental treatments such as teeth whitening in Johor Bahru.

Johor Bahru Trip & Treatment Costs

For Malaysia, the cost for the bus ride up to Johor Bahru is negligible. Here you can get high quality and affordable dental treatment. To make a comparison, I will be using the standard root canal procedure as a metric.

According to statistics provided by the Ministry of Health, Root Canal Treatment (Anterior Tooth ) will cost anywhere from SGD 400 – 856. In comparison, the same treatment at the T Dental Clinic in Johor Bahru will cost you a mere SGD 159 – 222. Furthermore, a full porcelain crown that can cost anywhere from SGD 700 to SGD 1000 in Singapore costs only SGD 412 in JB. Let that sink in.

With many positive reviews on Dental Departures and their Facebook page, you can consider this clinic as an option if you are thinking about going abroad for dental services. Moreover, the clinic offers amenities such as free WiFi and drinks as well.

Things to do in JB

Once you have recovered, you can consider making your way to Spring Labs Johor Bahru: Undiscovered Gem in JB You Should Visit at Least Once. Here you can find more lovely cafes, restaurants and even take a relaxing bike ride around the area. Additionally, there’s even a construction-themed amusement park run by Diggersite for the young and young at heart.

Medical Tourism Thailand – Bangkok and its services

Bangkok Skyline
Image Credit | Mink Mingle on Unsplash

For Thailand, the go-to place for medical tourism is its capital, Bangkok. Many people flock to renowned private care providers like Bangkok Dusit Medical Services (Bdms), Bumrungrad International, Bangkok Hospital and BNH hospital. In Thailand, you’ll be able to go for surgeries at a fraction of the cost you usually pay in Singapore. In addition, a lot of people flock to Thailand for dental surgery. Here is an estimation of how much it will cost.

Bangkok Flight and Treatment Costs

A scan across the flight aggregators revealed that the average price for a return ticket from Singapore to Bangkok is about SGD 113. As for the cost of treatment, the Root Canal Treatment (Anterior Tooth ) will cost anywhere from SGD 400 – 856 in Singapore. In comparison, the same surgery will cost between SGD 159-198 at a clinic like BFC Dental Bangna. Patients are attracted to these clinics in Bangkok because they provide free consultations, free transport to the hotel or airport, free WiFi, phone calls and more. Furthermore, they can check the credentials of their dentists and the languages they speak as well.

Things to do in Thailand

Once the treatment is done, travellers can enjoy what is immensely popular in Bangkok – Shopping! Bangkok isn’t called a shopping haven for nothing. In the city, it is possible to buy all kinds of products from fashion, accessories for electronic gadgets and of course, souvenirs. This ranges from things like Thai silk, NaRaYa bags, Thai coconut oil, fruit soap, seaweed and more. To save on flights, check out this page that has deals on cheap flights to Bangkok.

Korea Medical Tourism – Lasek in Gangnam

Andong Korea
Image Credit | Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

Another popular medical tourism destination is located in South Korea. Known as the ‘Plastic Surgery Capital of the World,’ the industry has become so competitive in Korea that the price of plastic surgery, aesthetic surgery and eyecare has gone down quite a bit. As a result, getting Lasik (laser eye surgery) done in Korea can cost a lot less if you do in Singapore. Here is an estimation of how much it will cost.

Korea Flight and Treatment Costs

According to the latest flight prices from Scoot, a return ticket from Seoul to Singapore would cost about an average of SGD 400. In general, Lasik surgery in Singapore will cost between SGD 3000 and above even at public institutions like the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) where costs range from $2,996 to $3,531 (LASIK) + around $200 (consultation). In comparison, South Korea most clinics offer up LASEK surgery a newer, more advanced procedure. As LASEK does not make a flap, there is a reduced probability of complications arising from the surgery. The differences between LASEK and Lasik can be found here.

In Korea, LASEK for both eyes will cost around SGD1700 at a clinic like the EyeMedi Lasik Center in Gangnam. In case you opt for visiting Seoul soon, here is what is also possible to enjoy in the city.

Things to Do in Seoul

Visitors can check out these 30 free things you can do in Seoul. From visiting palaces the Gyeongbokgung Palace, trying out the Hanbok for free at the Seoul Global Cultural Center to parks in nature parks in Namsam; there’s a whole lot to see and do. In addition, if you are a fan of the variety show Running Man, you can check out the Seoul Metropolitan Library as the show often films there.

Are there risks involved with Medical Tourism?

As with any surgery or other medical treatment, there is always a certain amount of risks involved and any decision should be made with care. Prices of treatments shouldn’t be your only deciding factor. Before you make your choice, be sure to do more research online, on sites like Dental Departure, forums like Hardwarezone and even Facebook groups and reach out to medical professionals for their opinion.

In general, pursuing these surgeries in reputable clinics in the countries mentioned is rather safe. However, you should always seek for a second opinion and inform yourself about any procedure just to be sure.  Although medical tourism may seem the cheaper alternative, make sure to have an agreement in writing with the health care facility or the group arranging the trip, that clearly defines what treatments, supplies, and aftercare are fully covered by the costs of the trip.

*This article pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion about med­i­cal treatments overseas. The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern; do consult an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or a healthcare worker.

Now that you’ve gotten a better idea of what medical tourism is all about and know your options, you can make a more informed decision.

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