Leading Asian Countries for Medical Tourism

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Leading Asian Countries for Medical Tourism

Among the countries that have catered medical tourists, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, India and South Korea are on the top of the list.


Many people in the world have started travelling to different parts of the world spending huge amount of money for medical treatment. These people will be accompanied by their family and friends who, apart from taking care of their near and dear, also visit the touristic destinations. This segment of tourism in popular parlance is known as medical tourism. In this segment, Asia countries have edge over other countries because of their latest medical technologies, affordable price, hospitality and tourism. Asia has become the much-sought-after medical tourism destination for people from all over the world. It is because of affordable price coupled with various tourism attractions and their hospitality.

It is estimated that in 2017, one million medical tourists visited Malaysia and 3.3 million medical tourists visited Thailand. India received 495,056 medical tourists in 2017. Among the countries that have catered medical tourists, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, India and South Korea are on the top of the list.

Thailand  receives huge number of tourists for medical tourism and it is considered the number one destination for breast implants and gender reassignment surgeries. Thailand embarked this journey in medial tourism almost 19 years ago in 2003. Since then, it has become a Mecca for medical tourism due to its State of the Art medical facilities and Thai Hospitality. It has more than 37 Joint Commission International (JCI) accredited hospitals. A WHO study reveals that most of the medical tourists were from middle income countries including South and South East Asia.

Singapore is an obvious choice for Medical Tourism even for the politicians and business men of Nepal. It is because of its world class medical facilities, well-trained doctors, and hygiene. It even handles complicated cases. In the past, operation of conjoined twins of Nepal–Ganga and Jamuna– was successfully carried out.

According to the data from a medical tourism index, Singapore was ranked the most attractive among seven Asian countries in terms of “patient experience”, but was also one of the least attractive in terms of cost-effectiveness.

Malaysia is slowly gearing up to cater the medical tourists correcting its frontier formalities and upgrading  its medical facilities. Most of the medical tourists coming to Malaysia for treatment are from Indonesia.

Health ministry regulates the prices that private hospitals charge in Malaysia. It means foreign patients are fully confident that they are not overcharged. Since Malaysia has many places to visit and has also adopted the Second Home Policy, it attracts medical tourists for long-term stay.

South Korea
South Korea is specialised in cosmetic surgery and beauty clinics. Its beauty products are famous all over the world. In 2016,  it was reported that about 364,000 foreign medical tourists visited South Korean and many of them were from Canada, US, UAE, China and Japan.

With latest technology in hand, South Korea is leading in providing healthcare to its citizens and other tourists. Apart from offering special visa to medical tourists, it also provides insurance in case of death or injury in course of medical treatment in South Korea.

India is the favoured destination of medical travellers from Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and other Asian countries. Because of  its cutting-edge technology, world-class surgeons and cost-effective treatments, India has become a hub for medical tourists . Besides, India’s National Health Policy, 2002, specifies that the government supports medical tourism and issues MX visas to the accompanying spouse of the patient. 

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