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  1. The number one reason that discourages a traveler from going to a new exotic city half way across the world is most likely to do with language barrier. It just does not seem like a good idea to find yourself in the middle of Bangkok and realize that you don’t speak a word of Thai language. Don’t worry, you don’t need to learn all the words in Thai Language to have a great experience while you are here. In fact, you actually only need these 12 words. * Tips 1: at the end of the word or a sentence, don’t forget to add ‘Krub’ if you are a man and ‘Ka’ if you are a woman. That goes for all the words here. * Tips 2: Thai People are friendly and are smiling 95% of the time, so don’t forget to have a big smile while you are talking. It is pretty much a none-verbal custom to be smiling in Thai Language. These are basic Thai language that will make your life in Bangkok (and Thailand) easier 1. Sawasdee (สวัสดี) | Hello/greetings This is the only word you need to start off a conversation.’Sawasdee’ is probably one of the first words you need to learn in Thai language, since you can use it for all occasions. The best thing about it, is the fact that you can exchange for ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ as well. So whether you are on the phone, in the club or in a cab, you can say ‘Sawasdee’ to anyone. 2. Chai/mai (ใช่/ไม่) | Yes/no Chai=Yes and Mai=No. In some occasions these two terms get complicated and you have to say them together eg. To say ‘not’ you have to say ‘Mai Chai’ (no and yes). Just remember that if someone says ‘Mai Chai’ together they are not trying to confuse you, they are trying to say ‘not’. 3. Mai kao jai, kao jai (ไม่เข้าใจ, เข้าใจ) | dont understand, understand Since you learned that ‘mai’ means ‘no’, Mai kao jai simply means ‘don’t understand’. So whether you are reading an instruction, or talking to a Thai person who is clearly speaking too fast. Just put on your best confused look and repeatedly say ‘Mai Kao Jai’. 4. Korb khun (ขอบคุณ) | thank you You should be saying this everywhere, from buying food to asking for directions. Thai culture put a lot of emphasis on politeness and humility, so it would make sense that in Thai language, you should learn to smile and say ‘Thank you’ in all occasions. 5. Tao Rai? (เท่าไหร่?) | how much? This comes in handy when asking for price. Most shopping malls would understand ‘How much’, but if you find yourself in a suburban areas, this is how you ask for price. In some occasions, you can bargain. You will read more into situations where you can do that in another article. 6. Kor Tode (ขอโทษ) | Sorry As strange as it may sound, you should be smiling when you are saying sorry. While in the western world, smiling while you are apologizing conveys that you are not serious and deserves to be smacked across the face. In Thailand Language however, smiling can and will diffuse any tension in a relatively stressful situation. * Tips: Kor Tode can be used interchangeably as ‘Excuse me’ 7. Yu Tee nai? (อยู่ที่ไหน?) | Where is…? Put a place or a location in front of the phrase ‘Yu Tee Nai’ to get where you want to go eg. ‘BTS Yu Tee nai?’ It is of course better if you have the name of the place written down in Thai or English. In Bangkok, places such as hotels and shopping malls are not hard to find. Taxi drivers know the city like the back of their hands and they are trained to talk to foreigners on a daily basis. 8. Chuay Duay (ช่วยด้วย) | Help Remember the earlier tips about smiling being an integral part of Thai language? Well that doesn’t apply here, even Thai people don’t smile when they have their wallets stolen from them for obvious reasons and you shouldn’t either. 9. Mai Phed (ไม่เผ็ด) | not spicy Knowing the word ‘Help’ is as important, if not more important than learning how to say ‘Not spicy’. I’m not even kidding, if you have never tried authentic Thai food before, you will find yourself gasping for air after a few bites. Your stomach is simply not conditioned for the overwhelming flavors and spice, hence there is no reasons not to ask for a toned down version. So don’t forget to look at the shop owner in the eyes when you say, with very assertive voice, ‘Mai phed’, unless of course you want to find yourself 15 minutes later gasping and asking for water. 10. Tsai/Kwa (ซ้าย/ขวา) | Left/Right This is pretty much self-explanatory. It would also be helpful to know that the word ‘liaw’ means turn. So ‘Turn Right’ would be ‘liaw Kwa’ etc. 11. Kmoay (ขโมย) | Thief This is also one of those rare cases where the ‘always smile’ rule does not apply. When you go up to the police station and try to tell them all your clothes, phone, wallet and passport has been stolen, DO NOT SMILE. Also, the word Kmoay can be used in many ways. It actually translates to not only ‘thief’ but also ‘stealing’, or ‘stolen’ as well. Just remember that nothing good comes with the word ‘kmoay’. 12. Pood Thai Mai dai (พูดไทยไม่ได้) | Can’t speak Thai Chances are after the words came out of your mouth, whichever Thai person you are talking to would be able to tell that you do not have a very good command of Thai language. It is fine and is often better to tell them straight up that you can’t speak Thai (hopefully, with the exceptions of these 12 words). They would try to be more understanding with you, so go ahead and tell them that you do in fact need help (Chuay Duay!). So these are basic Thai language that would make your life easier when you are in Bangkok. Let us know what other Thai languages that are crucial to basic survival in Bangkok and leave your thoughts below! Have a great day!
  2. Bangkok is well-known as a world-class shopping destination. Whatever you’re looking for, you could certainly find it in one of many shopping places available in Bangkok. This City of Angels hosts all types of shopping places from small community markets (talad nud) to high-end shopping centers. Siam Paragon Shopping Center is one of the most famous shopping centers in the city where you will find both local and international visitors enjoying their retail therapy. Siam Paragon Shopping Center is located on Rama I Road, the heart of Bangkok. It is easily accessed via BTS Station Siam. With a total gross area of 300,000 square meters, it is paradise for visitors from all walks of life, from fashionistas, families, movie and show goers, souvenir hunters and food lovers. The first time you visit the place, you will certainly say “wow”, being stunned by this gigantic and amazing shopping center! Taking you to Siam Paragon shopping center Fashionistas Siam Paragon Shopping Center showcases some of the largest and most luxurious selection of designer collection in the men and women’s fashion world. Some of the luxurious brands the shopping center offers include Gucci, Chanel, Valentino, Hermes, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Emporio Armani, Kenzo and many more. The diverse fashion ranges from casual American through European luxury to fun and funky Asian trends. It also has one of the largest shoes and bag departments in Bangkok with wide selection of over 100 top designer brands. If haute couture is not your thing, I recommend you to look around the Thai designer zone that offers unique and trend-setting collections which is sure to excite all shoppers. Thai fashion has now become more and more well-known worldwide. Even some Hollywood celebrities wear it. Some of the major local brands that are famous among Bangkokians and tourists are Disaya, Flynow, Greyhound, Stretsis, Senada and It’s Happened to be a Closet. Be prepared to spend some major money when you set foot into these international and local shops! Moreover, the shopping center has one of the largest beauty departments in the city. With 5,000 sqm. area, you could find many international cosmetic and beauty product brands from around the world. You will also be pampered by the talented and skilled make-up artists who will help you look your best! Families Families with children could enjoy various types of activities at Siam Paragon Shopping Center. Children would definitely have fun in a child-size replica of a real city, Kidzania. It is an edutainment center for children from 4 to 15 years old where they could experience and learn about many types of jobs, including dentists, firefighters, pilots, doctors, nurses, mechanics etc. This almost real-life experience will definitely impress both the children and their parents. Better than that, Kidzania has a large lobby offering snacks and drinks for parents while their children enjoy themselves. Apart from that, it also offers one of the largest aquarium in Southeast Asia, Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World. Children will be amazed by the world-class exhibits of over 30,000 marine creatures from across the world. Some of the highlights of the Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World are the Shark walk and the Ocean tunnel where you will have a chance to encounter sharks just behind the glass walls! Movie and Concert Goers For those who love all kinds of entertainment, Siam Paragon has one of the best movie theater complexes in Bangkok. With a total area of 25,000 square meters, the Cineplex comprises a 15-screen multiplex cinema, including smaller Ultra Screen cinemas with reclining seats and the Enigma members-only lounge, as well as the Krungsri IMAX theater and the Nokia VIP Ultrascreen. Located on top floor of the amazing shopping center, this is the perfect spot where everyone could enjoy the latest movie releases. On the same floor, you will also find the Royal Paragon Hall, a 12,000 square meter event facility. It is where many international and local artists perform and organize their concerts. Some of the famous international artists who have performed here include Diana Krall, Andrea Bocelli and several K-Pop stars. Souvenir Hunters Exotic Thai, located on the fourth floor of the shopping center, is the Thai art and craft department of Siam Paragon Shopping Center. Here, you will find many types of souvenirs to bring back home. It’s a great place for tourists, offering all kinds of Thai design products, from clothing, handicrafts, jewelry, aromatherapy oils and products. If you don’t want to go shopping in Bangkok street markets, Exotic Thai is the place you will find what you are looking for. The price might be high but it surely is a convenient place to get higher quality Thai products. Food Lovers As a food lover, I consider Siam Paragon Shopping Center one of the culinary wonderlands for Thai and international visitors! Siam Paragon has several zones in their shopping center dedicated to the culinary world. Gourmet Market, Food Hall and Food Court The Gourmet Market showcases epicurean delicacies and an amazing variety of premium food products and groceries from around Thailand and around the world. The Food Hall and the Food Court offer a wide selection of Thai and foreign delights and street food stalls. Every time I visit there, I’m always blown away by the wide selections that this food department has to officer. If you are hungry, come to the Ground Floor of Siam Paragon Shopping Center. Whatever you’re craving for, whether it’s international/local savories or sweet dishes, you can find almost everything there. Foreign and Foreign-Oriented Restaurants The Ground Floor of Siam Paragon Shopping Center also hosts many popular international restaurants and food outlets, including Crystal Jade, McDonald’s Haagen-Dazs, Signor Sassi and Piri-Piri. It also has popular locally run foreign-oriented restaurants like Fuji, Kabuki, Scala shark’s fin, Vanilla brasserie and many others. Food Passage Siam Paragon Shopping Center had been so successful with their food services that they opened another food zone on the 4th floor of their shopping center, “Food Passage”. It offers a wide array of restaurants and cafes, for example Laem Charoen Seafood, Saboten, Viet Cuisine, Scoozi Pizza and Baan Ice. With a huge variety of restaurants and cafes for people with different taste, I have tried many restaurants in Siam Paragon. These are my top 5 favorite ones and I recommend you to try them too! Café Chili This modern Thai restaurant serves many interesting Thai dishes with emphasis on “Isaan” (the northeastern region of Thailand) food. Their dishes are excellent with their unique use of spices, herbs and high quality ingredients. Once you try Café Chili, I guarantee that you will want to come back for more! Four Seasons Four Seasons originates from London and it has been so popular among Thai people that it now has a number of branches in Bangkok. Their signature dish is “Roast Duck” with succulent meat and crispy skin. The price could be relatively high but it is worth the price for trying what many Thai people named “The best roast duck in the world”! Vanilla Brasserie Vanilla Brasserie serves simple yet delicious international menu such as soup, salads, pastas and crepes at reasonable prices. I particularly enjoy their “bacon spinach and egg crepe” “black spaghetti with garlic river prawns” and “banoffee caramel crepe”. Taling Pling Taling Pling is the restaurant I always think of when I crave for authentic Thai food. The restaurant takes pride in creating many Thai dishes not easily found elsewhere. With their homely, full-flavored southern and central Thai food, Taling Pling is famous among locals and tourists. Harrods Tea Room Harrods Tea Room is a beautiful two-storey English tea room serving all-day dining. Their popular dishes include truffle cappuccino soup, deluxe foie gras benedict, banger and mash, fish and chips, roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and many more. Their lavishing traditional high tea is a great indulgence after your shopping spree! Siam Paragon Shopping Center also hosts many other restaurants and cafes that are very popular among local and international visitors. This includes famous dessert cafes like After You and Swensen’s, fashion cafes like Another Hound by Greyhound Cafe, restaurants with international and local favorites like Coffee bean by Dao, Japanese restaurants like AOI and Honmono Sushi and tea shop like TWG. These places are so famous that you may need to wait in the queue during weekends! You may want to check these Bangkok brunch spots and these great dessert cafes that Bangkokians love visiting as well Siam Paragon Shopping Center is truly a world-class destination for all types of visitors. This shopping center can cater for all kinds of preferences and lifestyles. Whether you are a fashionista, a parent with a kid, a moviegoer, a tourist looking for some souvenirs to bring back home or a culinary explorer, you could spend your whole day enjoying yourself in this massive and remarkable shopping center. This is a great place that everyone visiting Bangkok could ever miss!
  3. Every once in a while (or for some of us every day) we go on a shopping spree and as the country’s capital, there is no better place to do it than Bangkok. But the city is big, it’s busy, it’s hot, it can be intimidating at times and sometimes the very thought of searching desperately for the latest designer bag can tire you out before you’ve set foot out the front door. But fear no more. We’re here to help. We want to provide you with a unique insight into some of the city’s top shopping haunts. From Gucci to wholesale knock-offs, Fendi to flower markets, Bangkok is a true shopper’s haven where you can get your hands on just about anything and everything! We’ll break it down for you in order to make your experience as stress-free as possible. The Designers Let’s start from the top of the ‘shopping-chain’ – the designer goodies. If you feel like splashing the cash and treating yourself (or a lucky friend), these are our top 5 luxury malls dotted around Bangkok. Siam Paragon Central World Plaza Amarin Plaza Emporium Central Embassy EmQuartier Escape the sticky humidity of the streets and browse the beautiful, shining stores within the comfort of air-con. These gleaming malls also contain an array of food courts should you need to refuel during your trip. The Gourmet Market at Siam Paragon is a particular favourite providing an abundance of delicious treats from all around the world. One particular thing to bear in mind with designer products though is that haggling is not possible and you will be paying a similar price for your goods as you would from the West. That being said, we all deserve to pamper ourselves every once in a while! The Knock-Offs Bangkok is one of the best places in the world to get your hands on some of the top ‘knock-offs’ out there. And of course this is where you can barter the prices right down. You can track down faux designer products all over the city on almost every street corner but Platinum Fashion Mall and MBK are two of the best-known places to browse shoe after shoe, bag after bag and scarf after scarf. The choices are endless. And if you’re umm-ing and ahh-ing over two particular goodies, buy them both because it’s likely the vendor will bring the price down once you’re taking the plunge to purchase multiple goods. Think of it as doing yourself a favour (kind of)! A Taste of Thailand Perhaps you’ve overdone the Western shopping sprees and want to experience something more cultural. Bangkok still has the answer and the prices will be even cheaper. The Thai Craft Market on the third floor of Amarin Plaza contains a collection of stores, where you can buy all sorts of trinkets; souvenirs to send home, woven bags, sarongs, silverware, magnets, silks, the list is endless. Chatuchak Weekend Market (often referred to as ‘JJ Market’ by locals) is the largest outdoor market in South-East Asia (27 acres to be exact) and is full of traditional goodies along with pretty much everything else! The Floating Market is also a completely different experience for you and packed full of cheap Thai goods. When you’re shopping Thai-style, it’s easy to barter the prices down plus if you throw in a little Thai, “tao-rai-ka/kap” [“how much is this?”] they’ll warm to you immediately. Miscellaneous Bangkok is a huge city full of secrets and doesn’t limit itself to specialising in just the obvious bits and pieces. Did you know that Chinatown, for example, is famous for its abundance of gold? It’s where vendors travel from all over the world to carefully select what they’ll take home with them to sell themselves. Little India is known for its textiles, where you can purchase the most beautiful fabrics for next-to-no money. Not far from here is the sensational flower market, where a bouquet of around 40 roses will cost you between 50-100B – an absolute bargain! Auud Baan Krau Thai Silk transports you back in time, where you find yourself in the house of Uncle Auud surrounded by the most beautiful selection of hand looms, silks and scarves in a range of wonderful colours. It’s a tricky one to find though. The closest BTS station is National Stadium and it can be found on Soi Kasmsan 3 - walk toward the end of the soi, over the bridge, turn left and look out for the sign. Kinokuniya Book Store on the third floor of Siam Paragon is a must-visit to track down all the latest bestsellers, fictions, art books, academic books, guidebooks, maps, magazines etc. There are two more branches within Emporium Mall and Isetan but Siam Paragon hosts the largest of the three. The array of shops, stores and goods in Bangkok is endless and the list could go on and on. Perhaps you already have a particular shopping haunt that we haven’t mentioned… We’d love to hear your secrets. Share it with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and be sure to insert the hashtag #WhyILoveBangkok so we don’t miss it! In the meantime though, grab your purse and get shopping!
  4. No matter what country they find themselves in, expats have some code name for this temporarily disabling condition. Montezuma's Revenge in Mexico or Delhi Belly in India. It became Bangkok Belly and the Thailand Trots here. Travellers often encounter brief bouts of diarrhoea that cause them to miss trains and planes and to stay close to toilets rather than be able to tour around sightseeing. Many people avoid street vendors' offerings, but it is just as easy to pick up diarrhoea-causing type bugs from meals served in a swank restaurant or one you dish up yourself from buffet selections. It's generally a matter of normal cleanliness and thorough cooking, but bad weather is more apt to upset your system, and there's not much you can do to avoid impure water. Even in first-class hotel's, the help may refill their 'pure' water jugs from a tap. Bottles of so-called treated and filtered water may well become contaminated at any time during the production process, or in your table glass. Polaris brand or other locally bottled waters are usually recommended. There are also imported brands. Frankly, I have drunk the tap water in Bangkok for more than thirty years. But when newcomers here that, they often stare at me as if I might be the walking dead. The thing I object to in the water from the tap is the strong chlorine taste, and that if you let it sit for some time in a glass or look at the filter, you'll see it has a lot of sediment. Then, too, there is the high lead content from the old piping systems, Maybe I've developed a cast-iron digestive system from all of that. It is the same with ice. You may take all the precautions with your drinking water, but after the ice you put in mets, you may easily discern dust and dirt particles. To be on the safe side, boil your drinking water - for ten minutes at boiling point - and filter it. The one gets most of the bugs; the other removes most of the particulates. Then use your boiled and filtered water to make your own ice cubes. One reassuring thing to remember is that the longer you live here, the more immunity your body builds to the local germs and bugs. So don't despair and become fearful of everything about to pass your lips. Some sufferers of loose, watery stools misunderstand their diarrhoea and call it dysentery, which is a more serious condition involving discharges of mucus and blood, as well. One source of these problems lies in eating seafood, particularly raw seafood, which can lead to days of retching and hours on the toilet. While you're in Thailand, avoid raw meat and seafood dishes. Most expats from somewhere other than Asia, Africa, and Latin America may have little immunity to these bacteria, viruses, and parasites, and can find themselves hospitalized with saline drips in their arms.
  5. Bangkok has been well-known to have an excellent set of healthcare providers with world-class hospitals, US and European trained physicians, and nursing professionals who are the envy of international healthcare providers. Having certain medical procedures performed in Bangkok can save you 60-80% - after factoring in travel and lodging expenses! With any medical procedure safety and quality should both weigh heavier than cost. Before deciding to have any surgery, do your research. Our website provides a comprehensive starting point, but can not answer all the answers unique to each prospective patient’s situation. For each procedure you will need to weigh benefits versus risks. You will need to research both the physician and clinic/hospital before making a final decision. For the provider, make sure they are board certified in their specialty in the country in which you are having the procedure performed. Keep in mind that some country’s certification laws may be less stringent than those in the United States or Europe and you may want a surgeon with a western or international certification. Ideally would want to find a surgeon who certified in the United States using the American Board of Medical Specialties website. A great resource for patients seeking cosmetic procedures abroad is the International Society of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery their website can provide information on internationally certified surgeons and other useful information. Lastly, ask to speak with former patients, ask to speak to several people having undergone the same procedure, with the same physician at the same clinic or hospital. Why seek medical care abroad in Bangkok? The reasons why people travel to Bangkok for medical care is as diverse as the people themselves. However, there are three reasons that seem to come up more frequently than others: (1) Great quality medical care in may be accessible at a substantially lower cost outside of ones country of residence. The cost of many types of medical care has skyrocketed in some areas of the world, in particular in the United States and in some countries in Europe. Residents of these countries can potentially pay 50-90% less for the same procedures or treatments in Bangkok. Best of all, the care available in these hospitals can be comparable or even better than the care available at hospitals and clinics in the United States and Europe. All this while travel has gotten cheaper and faster. (2) As with any other product or service there are hospitals and doctors that have a reputation for being in a class by themselves. This has for a long time led people to travel, sometimes very long distances, to seek out the best of the best to treat anything from a life threatening condition to have minor cosmetic procedures performed. (3) The advance of technology continuously leads to the discovery of new or improved methods for treating disease or performing medical procedures. For reasons ranging from a new treatment option not yet having gained government approval to the availability of resources such as specialists and equipment people sometimes miss out on treatment options that could have offered them a better outcome if not looking outside of ones local hospital. A broad spectrum of people choose to receive medical care abroad. The procedures chosen obviously vary. For segments of the population with comprehensive medical insurance cosmetic procedures are often chosen, both because these procedures are not covered by insurance and because a short vacation in conjunction with these types of procedures allow for some necessary recovery time before returning to normal life. Most common places for these procedures: Asia, Eastern Europe and Spain. Also, laser eye surgery (Canada) and dental work (Eastern Europe), both not covered by insurance are popular reasons for this segment to go abroad. For people without health insurance there are significant amounts of money to be saved on virtually any procedure. For both segments, access to procedures and treatments not accessible, or widely accessible, in their home country can be a motivating factor for going abroad for treatment. E.g. treatment options desperately needed by patients in the United States are delayed because many medical equipment and drug manufacturers bring state of the art technology to Europe years before introducing it in the U.S. because of the, sometime, excessive bureaucracy with bringing medical technology to market here. For quite a number of years, Thailand’s major private hospitals have led the creation of a new tourism segment, that has taken off and is now bringing big rewards: medical tourism. Hospitals such as the Bangkok Hospital and Bumrungrad Hospital have led the way, drawing wealthy clients from the Middle East, Japan and the United States seeking a high standard of care at affordable prices. Now, marketing systems are in place to bring such clients to Bangkok and Pattaya as well. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and individual tour operators have taken the lead to develop this important segment. For example, tour operators in the State of Qatar see positive signs in Thailand’s medical tourism industry, thanks to competitive prices and the international standards of many medical facilities. Overall, Qatari tourist numbers have increased 58% in the 2007-2010 period alone—and many of those visitors are seeking medical care. Farooq Siddiqui, manager of Regency Travel & Tours in Qatar, said the medical tourism industry in Thailand has much room to grow with Middle Eastern patients. “Medical treatment in Thailand costs about 50% less than in Europe,” Mr Siddiqui said. Current numbers show about a third of Qataris looking for medical care abroad are coming to Thailand, with the rest going to Germany, the Czech Republic and elsewhere in Europe. Mr Siddiqui added that rich Qataris like to have a medical check-up in Bangkok and stay at the JW Marriott Hotel, which offers a special rate for medical tourism clients. For its part, Bumrungrad International Hospital, also in Bangkok, reported 125,000 Arab patients last year alone.
  6. Under pressure from regional competition, the Thai government is targeting affluent markets in the region where demand is rising for better quality health care. Although Thailand's medial tourism industry has grown tremendously in the past two decades, it is coming under increasing pressure from stiffer competition and weaker economic conditions in its key source regions, such as Russia and the Middle East. These source countries are not only experiencing a reduction in the number of outbound medical tourists but are also boosting their own inbound medical tourism sectors. In response, the Thai government has begun shifting its promotional focus towards newer markets with growing affluence and rising demand for professional health care, such as China, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. To encourage health tourism from these nations, the government has introduced new visa rules that triple the length of stay for medical tourists from 30 to 90 days, which will allow overseas patients to undergo move extensive procedures. The Ministry of Public Health also unveiled a new series of packages as park of its "Visit Thailand Enhance Your Healthy Life" programme in early September 2016 in conjunction with state agencies and private healthcare providers. Aimed at increasing the number of medical and wellness tourism patients to Thailand, the new initiatives allow medical tourists to have standard health checks at up to 70 internationally certified hospitals and clinics, enabling visitors to combine a regular medical assessment with their vacation. Additionally, the ministry is also introducing a wider range of dental and reproductive health services for overseas patients. Thailand is increasingly dependent on medical tourism to expand its private hospital business according to research by the Kasikorn Research Centre. Thailand is one of the most sought after medical destinations in Asia, But for its private hospitals to improve business and stay competitive, successfully promoting its medical tourism industry will be key, according to the Kasikorn Research Centre. Business prospects at Thailand's private hospitals remain promising due to their ability to maintain double-digit growth rates in recent years. One of the bright spots has been that revenue from overseas patients as a percentage of total revenue increased to 27% in 2015 from 25% in 2011. That figure is expected to rise to 30% in 2018, thanks to the growing number of international patients visiting the country's private hospitals. Although Thai patients account for around 70% of overall revenue the private hospitals rising medical costs and the improvement in the quality and scope of services offered at public hospitals has made it challenging for private hospitals to increase their market share. As a result, private hospitals are increasingly seeking out other sources of patient revenue beyond the local market. Thailand's private hospitals are now looking at Myanmar and the Middle East as markets with attractive and promising potential. Other emerging markets include China, Vietnam and Indonesia. Despite medical tourism being a promising market, private hospitals still face fierce competition from neighbouring countries such as Malaysia. To be successful, Thai hospitals will need to adopt and engage in creative marketing strategies while offering services catering to the needs of patients from different countries. Research shows that hospitals with successful medical tourism strategies will outshine their competitors. For example, the overall revenue of private hospitals targeting international patients is estimated to rise between 10% to 12% this year compared to revenue growth of only 7% to 9% for hospitals treating only Thai patients.
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