Medical tourists traveling from Australia to Thailand have been increasing over the past twenty years. Not only is it much less expensive to undergo most types of surgeries in Thailand, tourists also have the opportunity to undergo surgery within a shorter window of time, as Australia has categories of necessity for elective surgeries, which may delay a procedure for close to a year. In this article, we will focus on Australians who have discovered, and continue to discover, that traveling to Thailand offers a wide array of medical treatments, including surgical interventions to correct any disease or injury, and aesthetic and reconstructive surgeries, which can be quite expensive at home.
When traveling to another country for medical treatments, one must confirm the necessary requirements and comply with the laws and regulations of the host country. These requirements must be observed in their entirety.
What are the requirements for medical tourism from Australia to Thailand?
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Thailand and Australia both had strict regulations upon entering and exiting their countries. To enter Thailand, travelers were required to obtain a negative RT-PCR test, taken within 72 hours of departure, an insurance policy of no less than $100,000 that covers stay, approval to enter the country, called Thai Pass, and testing upon arrival. To enter Australia, travelers were required to quarantine upon arrival for 14 days, complete a Digital Passenger or Maritime Travel Declaration, and prove status of vaccination.
As of 1 July 2022, Thailand no longer requires permission to enter the country (Thai Pass) or insurance for COVID-19. They do require proof of fully completed vaccinations or negative test results. Australia no longer requires proof of vaccination nor the completion of the Digital Passenger Declaration.
Since the requirements and conditions may vary as the pandemic evolves, it is necessary for travelers to stay abreast of regulations from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, World Health Organization, and social networks such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Things to consider when traveling to Thailand
Australians are not mandated to acquire a visa upon entry to Thailand and can stay for a period of 30 days without a visa. They can renew their stay for another period of the same duration, with communication and assistance through the Immigration office. Flights are very affordable as well. Flying from Australia to Thailand round trip costs an average of $400 USD or $500 AUD.
One of the most important aspects to take into account is the time of year in which you plan to travel to Thailand. November through April offers little rain and seasonable temperatures. Monsoon, or rainy, season is between July and October and if you can handle the heat, travelling between March to June is for you.
Why do Australians travel to Thailand for medical tourism?
The influx of foreigners to Thailand for medical tourism is increasing rapidly. Every year, this country receives hundreds of thousands of patients from abroad, according to the Ministry of Public Health.
In 2019, 15,000 Australians traveled to Thailand for medical tourism. Approximately 90% of clients seen by Thai doctors are Australian. Some of those reasons Australians are flocking to Thailand for medical tourism are
- having the ability to schedule a procedure sooner as the waitlists are long in Australia;
- nurse to patient ratio is 1:4;
- the Thai government has taken several measures to promote the healthcare industry and are ranked 6th best in the world as of 2019;
- luxury amenities offered at Thai hospitals including private rooms, bathrooms and gardens, restaurants, separate living room and patient room in a suite, refrigerator and dining table; free Wi-Fi, etc.;
- saving up to 90% on the cost of most surgeries.
Thailand is also a country that has a lot to offer tourists, with its natural beauties and the symbolic sites, the country is truly a magnet for travelers to visit.
Places of major tourist attraction in Thailand
Among the most popular tourist attractions in Thailand, we can mention the following:
- Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, has some the best tourist attractions. You can visit the Grand Palace, Temple of the Reclining Buddha, Wat Arun (for unforgettable sunsets), The Giant Swing, along with a multitude of markets for souvenirs and food. Thailand also offers a wide variety of street food stalls and restaurants.
- Chiang Rai is a small Thai city that does not exceed 60,000 inhabitants, but has an unparalleled attractions. You can visit the Blue Temple, the White Temple, and the Clock Tower. The Clock Tower offers a light and sound show every hour.
- Hin Daeng, located on the west coast, is the ideal place for diving. Whale sharks and manta rays are regulars along with spots for night diving in a cavern known as “Twin Cathedrals”.
- Koh Chang Island, or Elephant Island in Thai, is the largest island in Eastern Thailand, but is far less touristy and well-known. You can avoid the crowds and still enjoy immaculate beaches, trekking through the jungle, treetop adventure parks, elephant trekking, and over 300 hotels and resort options.
- Railay Beach offers white sand, turquoise blue water, ocean rafting and kayaking, as well as snorkeling, scuba diving, and rock climbing.
Please check your travel insurance policy if travelling for medical care. Most have an exclusion for this type of travel so a specific policy may be needed to cover travel related injuries or illnesses and can include complications coverage whilst you are away and up to 6 months after you return home.
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