I’ve become quite the medical tourist in the last few months. First with dental work and now with travel vaccinations. Before I left for Budapest to get dental work I had a number of well meaning friends warn me against the dangers of dental work abroad. Then similarly when I mentioned to a UK travel nurse my plans to get a certain vaccination abroad, she also warned me to be careful.
On both occasions the experience has been more than satisfactory, and hence I’ve felt compelled to share the stories. Its not that these people were wrong to caution me, in fact I’d much rather they did. But it’s because the treatment was so counter to popular perceptions that I want others to be able to share in this.
Before leaving the UK to visit SE Asia I was told about the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine. A nasty virus carried by a specific mosquito that usually resides in rural areas. Pigs are good hosts of this virus and therefore proximity to these animals increases your risk. The chance of infection is low, but it’s there, and infections are serious.
Anyway, the doctor wanted to charge £180 for two doses of the vaccination spaced 4 weeks apart. Probably a reasonable price considering their cost price, but more than I wanted to pay (of course!). But the main issue was that I didn’t have time before my flight. Woops!
After a bit of googling I came across a thread suggesting it was possible to get affordable vaccinations in Bangkok. So it sounded worth a further look.
So a few days ago, having arrived in Bangkok I went to check the place out. It’s called the Thai Travel Clinic and it’s located at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases at the Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University.
It was a pleasant surprise arriving there to find an incredibly modern building. The building was very clean, all the staff were friendly, many with good English, they paid good attention to you, and it was a great experience. I would compare it to private medical care in England, and it certainly didn’t feel anything like the NHS experience.
I ended up getting both the JE vaccination and Yellow Fever (for an upcoming trip to South America) for 1600 baht. At current exchange rates that’s about £30. So a huge saving. Not to mention my clinic in England didn’t have the yellow fever vaccination due to an apparent supplier shortage.
It was possible to arrive there, register, get a consultation with the doctor AND get both vaccinations in about 1 hour. Can’t fault that. If you’re reading this and thinking of going, it’s important you bring your passport.
At this point it’s probably worth me saying that I’m just sharing my personal experience and of course your milage may vary. Exercise your own judgement and common sense and you should be fine.
So that’s it really. A pleasant experience in Bangkok that I really didn’t anticipate.