Mixing business with health in Asia

Nov 05,2015

Asia has a booming medical tourism sector, so after checking-in for your next business trip, have a check-up as well.

After a long day of back-to-back meetings, your last stop is a space with state-of-the-art facilities, impeccable service, and reasonable prices to boot.

Don’t be mistaken though – we’re not talking about luxury spa treatments, but medical services overseas. From cosmetic surgery to regular full body check-ups, and niche procedures to dental treatments; medical tourism is increasingly gaining popularity, especially in Asia.


How much the continuously growing medical tourism industry is worth, according to the Medical Tourism Association.

And for good reason too. If the exchange rate is in your favour, hospital fees can be more reasonable, especially with packages accommodating tourists. Booking in advance – with your itinerary in mind – helps you avoid insane waiting lines. And for the more self-conscious, there’s also a little more privacy afforded in a foreign country.

However, choosing a destination for medical services goes beyond scanning a couple of online reviews. A fair amount of research and investigation is always recommended to make a well-informed decision.

To start, here are some countries to consider and what you should look out for.

  • Malaysia

From finding the right accommodation to providing information about treatments, Malaysia will welcome you with warm assuring arms the moment you touch down.

In 2013, the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) set up the MHTC Concierge at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. It answers all medical and healthcare service enquiries, while providing information about transport, accommodation, and travel in the country. Found in the same space is the MHTC Lounge, which facilitates these arrivals to the recommended medical provider that suits your needs.


Malaysia was crowned Medical Travel Destination of the Year at the International Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ) Medical Travel Awards 2015.

Also recommended by the MHTC is a healthy list of accommodations provided by the Malaysian Association of Hotels. For a smooth transition between your check-up and work, the Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur is at the centre of it all. Located in the heart of the city’s commercial and business precinct, it is also just a stone’s throw away from the shopping and F&B belt.

  • Singapore

Known as a global hub for healthcare research and innovation, Singapore is a go-to spot for specialist treatments like cardiology, neurology, orthopaedics, and more.

Ranked number one

Singapore’s rank for most efficient healthcare system out of 51 countries in 2014, according to Bloomberg.

You’re assured of quality medical care in an environment that is safe and welcoming – many will agree that the island has had little to worry about when it comes to political instability, social unrest or poor health safety. In fact, a total of 21 hospitals, medical centres and medical organisations in Singapore have obtained Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation.

But don’t take our word for it – the Singapore Tourism Board itself highlights that medical expenditure generated from travellers was almost US$600 million in 2013.

  • Thailand

There’s more to the Land of Smiles than tasty eats and cheap shopping.

With attentive English-speaking staff, stay-in facilities and membership privileges, Thailand’s healthcare puts the “hospital” in hospitality.

To say that it’s a burgeoning industry would be an understatement – a study published by the World Health Organization in 2011 found that medical tourists increased from almost none to 450,000 a year in less than a decade.

The Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok alone attracts quite a bit of this traffic. Founded in 1980, it’s one of the largest private hospitals in Southeast Asia, with 580 beds and over 30 specialty centres. And did we mention that it has a sky lobby on the 10th floor, with business services provided?


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