Thailand Bangkok 2001.12.22 - 2002.01.19

Temporary Home

Wes' friend in Bangkok, Tos, generously offered us free accommodation for an extended period of time. We accepted the offer and made Bangkok our base for 5 months. Our first visit before traveling to Nepal, Tibet, and India was brief. Between Nepal and Myanmar, we stayed one month. During the month, we were awarded some web business and completed some medical procedures at Bumrungrad Hospital.

Bumrungrad Hospital in downtown Bangkok is the cleanest, most helpful, and advanced hospital we've ever seen. Bumrungrad deserves its reputation as "the 5-star hotel" of hospitals. It feels more like a "center for well-being" rather than a "place of disease" that pervades most medical facilities. Many doctors, nurses, and specialists speak English. Translators are available 24-hours per day for a wide array of other languages. Relative to North America, Japan, and Europe, prices are low. It's no wonder patients at Bumrungrad come from Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia for treatment.

We contacted Bumrungrad for cranial MRIs as recommended by the doctor in Pheriche, Nepal, due to symptoms we experienced on our Lobuje East Expedition. Securing an appointment with an English speaking neurologist was easy. Because our cases weren't emergencies, our scans were scheduled 12 days later. 2 hours after the scans, the neurologist reviewed the images with us. Both brains were normal and Wes' MRA showed clear blood flow through the neck and brain. We are cleared for future high altitude climbs.

The total cost for 4 neurology consultations, a 3-month supply of vitamin B1/B6/B12 Neurobion, 2 MRIs, and 1 MRA was 29,890 Baht (about US$692) for the two of us. In relative terms, a neurology consultation and MRI at Bumrungrad is US$300 while the same in the US is about $1800. For $1800, a MRI at Bumrungrad, airfare, and a vacation in Thailand are possible.

During our first Bumrungrad visit, Masami also asked about LASIK laser eye surgery to correct her vision. In the US, the procedure costs $1500 or more per eye. At Bumrungrad, the same is under $500.

Masami interviewed the ophthalmologist with a list of questions found on the Internet: how many LASIK surgeries performed, years practicing, number of surgeries in Masami's eyesight error range, % achieving 20/20, % achieving 20/40 or better, frequency of post-operation eye exams, costs. The answers seemed honest. She scheduled the operation.

The entire Bumrungrad experience was positive. The hospital is efficient, service-oriented, and has excellent doctors and equipment. We confirmed we have brains, and Masami can discard her glasses.

Bumrungrad Hospital
33 Sukhumvit 3 (Soi Nana Nua)
Wattana, Bangkok 10110
Tel: +66-2-667-1000
Fax: +66-2-667-2525

We were awarded the third account for our web business Heiser Tamura Management Limited (HTML) by a Thai exporter, Kept. See our newest web site creation at Little by little, we find ways to keep our minds engaged. Occasional work sustains the enjoyment derived from travel.

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