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International Living magazine’s Annual Global Retirement Index voted Malaysia as the “Best Country in the World for Healthcare” in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019.

In 2018 Malaysia received 1.2 million medical tourists, up 14% from the year prior.

Pic via:Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council

Hospitals here are known for being excellent at cardiology, oncology, fertility, orthopedics and cosmetic surgery.

While some may head to the capital city of Kuala Lumpur for treatment and recovery, 60% went directly to Penang.

Below are 7 reasons why.

Pic Credit: Malay Mail

1. Cost

Patients Without Borders says international medical tourists seeking treatment in Malaysia can save between 65% to 80% on their medical costs, with only India coming in cheaper at 65% to 90%.

Other countries that are more expensive include Thailand, Turkey, Mexico, Costa Rica, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, and Brazil.

Graphic Credit: iMoney

Currently, Indonesians make up about 60% of medical tourists in Malaysia, with the rest mainly from China and the Middle East.

This all shows that the cost of treatment in Malaysia is very very affordable.

However, even among local private medical institutions, the price of treatment at Georgetown Specialist Hospital is 10% to 20% lower.


2. High-tech facilities and wide-range of advanced treatments

While the cost of medical tourism in Malaysia might be lower than many countries, hospitals here still use cutting-edge technology and state-of-the-art facilities.

Georgetown Specialist Hospital already has facilities for Internal medicine, Nephrology, Orthopaedics and spine treatment, Gastroenterology, Hepatology, general surgery as well as Endoscopy and Urology.


3. Accessibility

Coming to Malaysia for medical tourism does not require a special Medical Visa so if you’re one of the few countries that require a Visa to visit Malaysia, a normal Tourist Visa will do.

Furthermore, Penang has an International Airport (IATA code PEN) in Bayan Lepas with 7.3 million visitors passing through in 2017.

Pic Credit: Malay Mail

Cathay Pacific, China Southern Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, Wings Air and Thai Airways International are just some of the carriers fly in and out of Penang.

You can catch flights to and from Medan, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Jakarta or Guangzhou among others.

Once you land in Penang, there are taxis and 3 bus routes into George Town which is just 16km (or 9.9 miles) away and, depending on traffic.

Also, the Georgetown Specialist Hospital is just 20 minutes to an hour from the terminal.


4. Hospitality

Most Malaysians are bilingual with English being a commonly used language among locals.

Many Malaysians are even multilingual and are able to converse in Hokkien, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka, or Tamil, along with English and Bahasa Malaysia.

This means there’s a good chance you, your doctors and your nurses, will be able to communicate with each other easily.

Pic Credit: Georgetown Specialist Hospital

5. Experienced and professional medical personnel

As of 2018 there were some 50,000 medical doctors in Malaysia, around 6,000 of them Specialists and 1,000 more specialising every year.

Most of them are working in the private sector.

For example, Georgetown Specialist Hospital has a Urologist, Nephrologist, Physician, Orthopaedic Doctor, Trauma Surgeon, Surgeon, Women’s Wellness Doctor, Anaeasthesiologist, Radiologist, Vascular Doctor, Oncologist, Radiotherapist, Chest Physician, and Cardiologist.


6. Medical tourism in Penang is booming

While Penang has already made great strides in developing and promoting medical tourism in the state, stakeholders aren’t sitting on their laurels.

Georgetown Specialist Hospital has 20 beds with plans to expand even further over the next four years already in the pipeline.

In Phase 2 and 3 of the expansion there will be 300 beds for patients and another 100 rooms being added to accommodate patient family members wanting to stay close by.

Hospital chairman Datuk Dr Liong Men Long says the overall investment is roughly RM350 million.


7. Penang is already a significant tourist destination

Penang is a coastal state with a large tropical island which means many beautiful beaches to relax on as well as hiking trails and shopping malls for fitness buffs and shopaholics.

Pic Credit: Zsofia Daranyi from Pixabay

For the culturally inclined, there is also an active art-scene and murals hidden all around for you to discover and has a rich history due to 500 years of trade between the East and West.

Pic Credit: onyva from Pixabay

And last but not least, Penang is also world-famous for its food and food culture, and is known as the Pearl of the Orient because of this.


So for those of you seeking comprehensive and quality healthcare services including preventive care, diagnostics and therapeutic care, Penang is clearly a great destination.

You can visit the Georgetown Specialist Hospital website to learn more about the services they offer.

We would also like to thank to their Management Team for giving us the opportunity to learn about the Hospital’s offerings and medical tourism scene in Penang.

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(Singapore Vs Malaysia: Who Reigns Supreme In Medical Tourism?)
(Melaka and George Town, Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca)
(Melting pot: Getting to know Penang's food culture)
(Georgetown Specialist Hospital offers services at affordable price)
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