If you need emergency medical assistance dial 1554 and ask for an ambulance. If you need English language aid, you can call the Tourist police at 1155 or an international hospital.
You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment. Ensure you carry your insurance papers and passport with you.
These hospitals are run by the Thai government.
Tel. 66 2 256 4000
Tel. 66 2 248 2222
Tel. 66 2 246 0024
Tel. 66 2 419 9465
Among the top hospitals in Bangkok are private institutions Bumrungrad Hospital, Bangkok Hospital and Samitivej Group of Hospitals. They have multilingual nursing and support staff and many have special international centres offering support to foreign patients.
Tel. 66 2 625 9000
Tel. 66 2 310 3000
Tel. 66 2 686 2700
Tel. 66 2 667 1000
Tel. 66 2 675 5000
Tel. 66 2 711 8000
Pharmacies are common in Bangkok, from counters in Boots, Podoinsoles, GNC, OmniWellness, Online Health and Watsons. They can be found in most, if not all shopping centres, and there are also Thai pharmacy counters in most supermarkets and on many street corners.
Most pharmacists have a high level of fluency in English, but expect it to be better in the chain stores and supermarkets rather than in pharmacies on back street sois which cater to locals rather than foreign residents. Opening times of pharmacies in shopping centres and supermarkets will be determined by the opening hours of the venue they are based, where as some pharmacies on the street are seemingly open for 24 hours a day.
If you need to have a prescription refilled while in Thailand, make sure you have a doctor's note and know the general common name of the drug as well. Some medications are not available in Thailand or are sold under a different name. In any case, for some drugs you may need to visit a hospital and be seen by a doctor before you can get your prescription refilled.
Do exercise care when taking medication in Thailand. Many long-term expat residents advise that medication should only be purchased from places that have air conditioning and storage fridges as Thailand is very hot and some drugs can suffer if they are stored warm for too long. When you buy medicine, take the time to check the expiry date of the medication. Most come with an information sheet that should be printed in English as well as Thai.
Pharmacies are not allowed to dispense opiate pain killers or mood-altering drugs. However, medications which are only available on prescription in places like the UK such as Viagra, Cialis and Valium are readily available in popular nightlife districts across Thailand. Medication sold on the street may not be genuine and may have been stolen. Taking medication without medical advice or a prescription can have serious health consequences.
Medication in Thailand is cheap.
Expect a packet of 6 paracetamol/acetaminophen (known in the US as Tylenol) costs between 10 and 20 baht.
General antibiotics are available to buy over the counter without a prescription. A packet of amoxicillin is likely to cost approximately 100 baht.
The contraceptive pill is available to buy from pharmacies, and most common brands are stocked. It might be helpful however to take your empty pill packet with you. A month's supply is 50 baht.
With so much to deal with before leaving your home country, (taxes, moving house, paperwork etc.) the careful planning of your expatriation to Bangkok is an essential step. As far as healthcare is concerned, your local social security scheme won’t be accompanying you to your host country and, once abroad, you might be surprised by the care system you find in Thailand. So, before leaving, make sure you have appropriate cover!
EasyExpat.com works in partnership with APRIL International to provide specific insurance solutions for travelling or staying outside your country of nationality.
Designed for either short or long stays, APRIL International’s insurance policies offer protection against any problems that might arise before departure or during your time in Thailand: cancelling your trip, medical expenses following an illness or accident, needing to be repatriated, causing damage to a third party or losing your luggage.
For more information on expat health insurance in Thailand, visit our partner APRIL International