Where to go
Public hospitals offer good care at a low price and most doctors and assistants will speak (at least basic) English, but they are always very crowded and have long waiting times.
Premium clinics are classed as public facilities, but they offer higher-quality care and generally have shorter waiting times than public hospitals. Treatment is more expensive than in public hospitals but is cheaper than in private facilities.
In the larger cities (Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, Chiang Mai and Samui), there are private hospitals that are aimed at expats. The doctors are highly trained and speak English (and sometimes more languages). These hospitals also have modern medical equipment and provide top-quality care.
Like private hospitals, private clinics have english-speaking doctors and provide high-quality care. As they are smaller than private hospitals, you can often arrange to see the same GP at every appointment.
Making an appointment
You will have to register at a public facility in person before you can visit a doctor there. After registering, you can make an appointment to see a GP, but queues are typically very long so it's best to come early in the morning to guarantee you see a doctor.
At private hospitals and clinics, you don’t need to wait in line for hours. Appointments can usually be made online and some private clinics also offer walk-in hours.
Costs and payment
Expats aren’t covered by state health insurance so you will have to pay the consultation fee and additional costs yourself in public facilities. For an appointment with a GP, this can range from 500 THB to 1000 THB and costs of treatment and medication are excluded. Most expats choose to take out private health insurance and visit a doctor in a private facility. A broker can help you find the right expat medical insurance plan for you and your family.