Health care in Chiang Mai 


The check-in counter entrance of a higher-end local medical center

Thailand is renowned for its excellent healthcare and low cost of living, making Chiang Mai a safe and sensible city to retire in. Visiting a doctor for an ache or pain will no longer burden you with a worrisome bill, and you won’t have to wait weeks to see a doctor to prescribe you a common medicine. Hospitals and dentists in Thailand offer trust-worthy procedures, modern equipment, and a high standard of care. Expats find comfort in affordable medical treatments performed by well-trained doctors, ranking Thailand third on International Living’s Index for Healthcare.

The quality of care is so impressive that foreigners travel to Thailand to receive medical care. These travelers, more commonly known as “medical tourists,” reject the corruption of the pharmaceutical industry and instead seek medical care outside of their home country. They take a trip to Thailand for a two week vacation and medical procedure, which is cheaper than receiving the same procedure in their hometown. The International Medical Travel Journal estimates a 10% growth in revenue in 2019. Thailand’s government appreciates medical tourists as a key tool to drive the economy, reduce poverty, and lower income inequality.


Foreigners are always pleasantly surprised when they go to the hospital for a doctors appointment. Although Thailand has previously been viewed as a developing country, this does not accurately depict Thai culture’s standard of cleanliness. Just as Thai people always maintain a clean appearance, they also maintain tidy spaces - shoes are never worn in the house, cars are always sparkly and polished, and you will commonly see a Thai person sweeping their already pristine home. This is also apparent in Thailand’s medical establishments. Thai medical professionals undergo the same precautions North Americans and Europeans are used to. They always wear gloves and sterilize tools before and after a procedure. The superior quality of care for a fraction of the cost paid in the US will make the average American question how it is even possible.

Private Hospitals | Impressive care, Speedy appointments, Exceptional Equipment

A waiting area at a private hospital in Chiang Mai

The beauty of Thailand can also be seen in their first-class hospitals and medical centers. Chiang Mai’s private hospitals often exceed the standards of Westerners, with fluent English speaking doctors and nurses, speedy appointment times, and state of the art equipment. Most doctors studied in western countries and have an excellent command of the English language.

From my experience, the doctors and nurses are kind and gentle, and embody a presence that is uncommon in the US. Because they primarily cater to foreigners, their standards are exceptional and make the experience comfortable and enjoyable. 


Private hospitals also pride themselves on convenience and affordability for expats. Major surgeries can be performed as early as the next day for half of what it would be in England. A typical doctor’s appointment is much less than western countries. Without insurance, expect to pay a doctor’s fee of 900 baht ($28)! While this is expensive for the average Thai person that already receives free government health care, the convenience and hospitality of private hospitals make them the preferred choice for most retired expats.

Local government-run Hospitals | Dependable care & Inexpensive procedures

A view of Doi Suthep from a hospital room in Chiang Mai


Thai government-run hospitals are equally as trustworthy, although fewer staff members speak English and wait rooms are more crowded. Although local facilities are not as convenient as private hospitals, foreigners often choose government hospitals for simple procedures and routine check ups. The fee to see a doctor is a nominal 200 baht ($6)! For some expats that do not have health insurance, the substantially lower fees outweigh the longer wait times. 

Pharma Choice has a great selection of pharmaceuticals and health care products. Medication is convenient, inexpensive, and easy to access in Chiang Mai.


It is understandable and even encouraged to be skeptical of the medical standards in a foreign country. But when foreigners relocate with us in Chiang Mai, their worries are quickly put to rest and their expectations are blown away. The quality of care is truly impeccable.

Whether you’re thinking of Chiang Mai as a potential place to retire to, or you’ve already made up your mind to make the move, our team will take care of you.

We will discuss the differences in Chiang Mai hospitals and escort you to the hospital of your choice for a general check up so you can experience it for yourself. After we guide you, you will know how to make appointments and visit the doctor with confidence.