Why is Thailand a Popular Medical Tourism Destination? 

Thailand has dominated the medical tourism scene in Southeast Asia for many years, especially in the realm of cosmetic surgery. But how did Thailand become the medical tourism powerhouse that it is today?

Following the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, which began in Thailand, there was a push in Asian countries to encourage foreign investment. In many Asian countries, this included a push to draw visitors with world-renowned centers for medical achievement. Thailand, in particular, began to draw attention as a destination to receive medical work and surgery at a lower cost. The Thai government noticed this and worked to expand the country’s influence in the global medical tourism sphere.

The government’s hard work to market Thailand in the medical tourism industry has paid off. To date, Thailand boasts 66 JCI accredited hospitals, a number that puts them fourth globally and first amongst their fellow Southeast Asian countries! This high level of accreditation along with Thailand’s reputation for being welcoming to visitors has made the country quite popular among medical tourists seeking great prices on medical work and great options for recovery vacations.

Thailand’s medical tourism landscape is dominated by major procedures such as cosmetic surgery and dentistry, gender reassignment surgery, and heart surgery as well as preventative care and alternative medicine. Many medical tourists come to Thailand from other Asian countries. 

If you are a medical tourist looking to travel to an Asian country known for both its hospitality and its medical standard of care, Thailand could be an excellent option to look into for your trip. For medical tourism insurance, we can take care of you. Learn more and get a quote today. 

You might also be interested in: Top 5 Medical Tourism Destinations in Asia

Medical Tourism Destinations in Asia

Top 5 Medical Tourism Destinations in Asia 

The medical tourism industry has been booming in Asia for quite a while now. In fact, some Asian countries are consistently on the lists for the most popular medical tourism destinations! The standard of care is phenomenal and these Asian destinations are beautiful places to recover from a medical procedure. Here are the top five medical tourism destinations in Asia!


The government in Thailand has placed a high focus on fostering their medical tourism market, and the work has certainly paid off. The “Land of Smiles” boasts an impressive medical tourism market, with 66 JCI accredited hospitals in the country. That’s the highest number of any country in Southeast Asia! The JCI, or Joint Commission International, accreditation is important because it indicates that a facility has achieved certain standards for safety and quality of care, two things that put the mind of a medical tourist at ease when choosing a facility for their procedure. The World Health Organization has called Thailand’s healthcare system “world class,” an impressive nod from an important group. Procedures Thailand is known for include breast implants, dental procedures, and gender reassignment surgeries. 


Long known as the best medical tourism destination in Southeast Asia (some say this title has been overtaken by Thailand, however), Singapore is an excellent choice for your medical tourism trip. While the cost of living is known to be quite high, the cost of healthcare in Singapore remains low – especially for those traveling from somewhere like the US. The patient experience in Singapore is unrivaled among Asian countries, with more than 15 hospitals dedicated entirely to medical tourists – staffed with English speaking doctors and well accustomed to foreign patients. Facilities in Singapore boast cutting edge technology and patients report high satisfaction rates. While the costs of procedures may be slightly higher than in surrounding countries like Thailand or Malaysia, patients willing to pay a little more (although still far less than they would at home!) for the best possible standards of care should consider making Singapore their medical tourism destination. Top procedures include hip and knee replacements, cardiac surgeries, fertility treatments, and cancer treatments. 


Along with Thailand and Singapore, India is one of the top three most popular medical tourism destinations in Asia. In fact, these three countries account for roughly 90% of Asia’s medical tourism market. India’s physicians and surgeons are highly trained in their practice and deliver quality care to international patients. Due to foreign investment in the industry, India’s medical tourism market is only going to grow. There are also many agencies that cater to medical tourists, helping to arrange everything from visas to accommodation to sightseeing. Patients traveling to India for medical care can expect to save up to 85% on their procedures. Alternative medicine, cardiac surgeries, bone-marrow transplants, and hip replacements are some of the most common procedures for medical tourists in India. 


An emerging medical tourism destination, Malaysia should be on your list of possible locations to take your medical tourism trip. The health ministry in Malaysia regulates the prices charged by private medical facilities, meaning the cost of care remains reasonable even at the best facilities. Malaysia is one of the top destinations for medical tourists coming from other Asian countries, who often travel there for low-cost routine screenings and checkups. Malaysia is also a popular medical tourism destination for Muslim patients, with physicians and surgeons who are familiar with Muslim customs and facilities offering Halal food and prayer rooms. There are a number of facilities in Malaysia that staff international doctors who speak English and European languages, and these facilities welcome thousands of international medical tourists every year. Cosmetic surgeries, weight loss surgeries, and orthopedic procedures are common for international patients in Malaysia. 

South Korea 

For patients seeking only cosmetic surgeries, South Korea is the perfect choice of medical tourism destination. Home to a robust beauty industry and hundreds of beauty clinics, it should be no surprise that the cosmetic surgery market in South Korea is also among the very best. The South Korean government is very welcoming to medical tourists, having built facilities for international patients and making it easy to obtain visas for visitors coming to receive medical care. The medical technology in South Korea is also internationally regarded as some of the best — robotic surgery technology is currently in development! The most popular procedures for international patients include all kinds of cosmetic and plastic surgery. 

Medical Tourism Insurance 

Whether you are planning to travel to an Asian country or another part of the world for your medical tourism trip, we have insurance products that can help reduce your risk. Reach out today to learn more.

You might also be interested in: Medical Tourism Trends for 2021 

Tropical Medical Tourism Destinations

Tropical Medical Tourism Destinations 

Most medical tourists engage in the practice to save thousands of dollars on medical procedures, but the tourism aspect of medical tourism should not be overlooked! Medical tourists should think hard about what kind of atmosphere they’d like to rest and recover in. If that atmosphere involves tropical beaches and sunshine, here are three countries to check out for your medical tourism trip. 


With beautiful beaches and beautiful people, Brazil is a popular tourism destination on its own. It also has a strong medical tourism market, boasting 6,011 licensed cosmetic surgeons! This puts sunny Brazil second in the global cosmetic surgery market – narrowly topped by the US with 6,900 licensed plastic surgeons. Popular procedures for medical tourists are predominately cosmetic: breast augmentation, dental implants, facelifts, liposuction, and more – all at around half the cost the procedure would be in the US or UK. With 2,095 beaches along a 4,650-mile coastline, Brazil certainly has a lot to offer a medical tourist looking for a tropical recovery spot. 


As an incredibly popular medical tourism destination for decades, Thailand had to make this list! The “Land of Smiles” has the highest number of JCI accredited hospitals in Southeast Asia and is number four worldwide, after Saudi Arabia, China and the UAE. If that isn’t impressive enough, the country’s tropical beaches are also renowned worldwide for their beauty. If the beach is not your scene, Thailand’s ancient ruins and many beautiful temples are another beautiful sight to behold. However, you may not ever have to leave the hospital to experience a relaxing recovery in Thailand. The high standard of care in Thai hospitals and medical facilities means that many host recovery services onsite, such as relaxation therapies, recovery gardens, and massages. Popular procedures for medical tourists include cosmetic surgery, dental work, and dermatology. 

Costa Rica 

With a healthcare system that’s often ranked above the US and Canada in quality, Costa Rica is a medical tourism destination to watch. The majority of medical tourism procedures occur in San Jose, where all the best hospitals are, but the country has much more to offer in the way of tourism. The rainforested country is well known for its beaches, waterfalls, volcanoes, and native biodiversity. Medical tourists who like adventure would do well to choose Costa Rica for their procedures. Like the other destinations on this list, Costa Rica is best known for cosmetic and dental procedures, although it also welcomes patients for weight loss procedures, cancer treatments, and more.

Medical Tourism Insurance 

Whether you’re a medical tourist, a facilitator, employer, or hospital, we have insurance products that can help reduce your risk. Reach out today to learn more.

If  you are looking for tropical medical tourism destinations, you might also be interested in: Medical Tourism in the Caribbean