Visit To Chiang Mai Ram Hospital Thailand

We had done everything we could to avoid going to a doctor, let alone stepping foot inside an actual hospital, but there was nothing else we could do….we had to go. We asked around Chiang Mai and most pharmacies told us to go to Chiang Mai Ram Hospital, also known to locals as the private expensive hospital.

Your probably wondering, OH NO, WHAT’S WRONG?!? We’ll get to that in a minute. We did some research and discovered we knew exactly right were Chiang Mai Ram hospital once, we have walked by it several times as it is across the street from the moat. After putting it off we finally decided to go one morning before hitting the gym.

We walk through the sliding doors and see table lined up with paper signs above each one. Internal medicine here, pediatrician there, etc. I head over to internal medicine, and explain why I am here. Adam and I have been going into every pharmacy we see here in Chiang Mai asking for Mefloquin, the malaria medication we need for our upcoming African safari. All the pharmacies have other malaria medicines, but not mefloquin. We need this specific type because it’s one of the only malaria med’s that will work in all the countries on our safari. Every pharmacy has said we must go hospital, so here we are.

I walk over to internal medicine, and try to explain that I just need a doctor to prescribe me mefloquin and have it filled here at the hospital. Once they google it, they all look at me with huge eyes “YOU HAVE MALARIA??” They assume this because if you have malaria you take the same medicine (but higher dose) to cure it. I try and explain that I don’t have Malaria, but I am going to Africa and need the medicine to prevent it. They finally look like they understood, as we are pointed over to a registration area.

“Passport please.” Crap, once again you need that stupid passport. Lucky for me the nice nurse let me show her my driver’s license as ID. I filled out a quick patient form, said I would pay cash (only option unless insurance) and had my picture taken. I was given a queue number and told to go to the waiting room.20140408_120908

I expected the Dr. waiting room to be like any other one I have been to, which is 15-90 minute wait. WRONG! About 5 minutes later I was in the vitals room. “What are you symptoms?” Once again, explain I am not sick. Got my blood pressure taken, yep still low. I got weighed, pleasantly surprised  that I weighed the same I did 10 months ago when we left. Got my temp taken, no fever. Yep I was healthy.

Related Article: Other Cool Things To Do In Chiang Mai

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Go back out to the waiting room. Only 3 minutes later and I was in front of the doctor, who was behind his apple computer. I explained where I was going, what pills I wanted and how many. He was surprised to hear that I had taken mefloquine before and didn’t have any side effects, apparently it is not uncommon to have some pretty bad side effects (see picture below).  Thankfully, Adam and I have taken mefloquine on/off this entire RTW trip, and have been totally fine. We actually had side effects from the other malaria pills Doxycycline that we got in Cambodia (Mefloquine doesn’t work in Cambodia).

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Got my prescription and was told to go to the cashier. I still had no clue what this was going to cost me, no one every mentioned amounts. Adam headed to the ATM and took out 6,000Baht ($185). I had to wait until my # was on the LCD, which was my cue to go up to the cashier to get my bill.

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What does it cost to see a doctor at Chiang Mai Ram Hospital:

  • Doctor’s fee was 400 Baht ($12)
  • 30 Mefloquine pills 2,040 Baht($64) about $2 a pill
  • Nursing Service Charge 60Baht ($2)
  • Service Charge 60Baht($2)
  • Total bill: 2560Baht exactly $80USD  

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I know for a fact that many of my friends & family cannot see the doctor for $15, many of them have copayments much higher than that. When I had great insurance in the USA I had to pay $15 for 4 mefloquine pills and that was my copay, I know several people whose insurance won’t cover that at all.

If you are wondering where to get malaria pills in Thailand, specifically Mefloquine, you need to head to the hospital. It’s not commonly available because malaria is not present for the most part in Thailand, therefore its a bit harder to come by. Also, note it is sold under the name brand Lariam, and more people will know it as this here.

So to wrap it up, my first overseas doctor appointment went good. I had great service, the hospital was clean, staff was friendly, doctor spoke English (nurse’s not so much), there was more than enough staff running around, wait time was almost non-existent, the “stations” could have been better marked and seemed a little dated, but no real complaints.

If you find yourself in Chiang Mai and in need of a doctor, don’t be afraid to visit “the most expensive” hospital. I don’t think it can really set you back that much. Now let’s knock on wood we don’t end up in anymore hospitals!

Stay healthy everyone, and travel safe.

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16 thoughts on “Visit To Chiang Mai Ram Hospital Thailand”

  1. Wow, i saw a documentary on my way to Chiang Mai about Mefloquin and it was really eye opening. It creates severe side effects and those affected by it are still recovering years later. It is banned in the UK or on the way to be banned. Before taking it do some research and watch some videos. There are countless support groups helping those affected by it. STAY SAFE!

    • We have taken Mefloquine for several different trips (both safaris’ and in a few countries) and Adam and I both prefer it other the other common option (slipping my mind). We know about the side effects but since we have each taken it multiple times and never had the side effects we know it works for us. It is the what we asked for. Everyone is different and should take a malaria pill that works for them.

  2. This is very helpful. I am flying to Chiang Mai tomorrow and have symptoms of malaria (diarrhea for a week, abdominal pain, headache). So as soon as I arrive, I am going to RAM to get tested (and to figure out what is wrong with me). Glad to know this shouldn’t cost me a lot of money as it would in an American hospital.

    • Oh no, hope you don’t have malaria. And if you do they will def help you at Chiang Mai Ram hospital. Let us know if you have any other Chiang Mai questions we’ve lived there on two occasions, love the city. Get well soon.

  3. Hi !
    Currently in Chiang Mai and looking for pills to prevent malaria for our upcoming trip to Indonesia, I found your really helpful post ! Just a little question : did you ask the prescription (30 pills) for yourself only or for yourself and your husband (in order to pay only one consultation) ?
    Thank you !

    • Audrey,

      I just asked for a longer supply that would cover us both and then confirmed we both would have the same dosage. Hope that helps and have a good trip to Chiang Mai Ram hospital.Safe travels.

  4. Hi Hannah! Great to find your post. My family of four is in the first month of an 8 month RTW trip, and we’re currently here in delightful Chiang Mai, wondering about going to the hospital. Nothing major, my 8 year old son gets badly motion sick, and it’s pretty clear we’re going to run out of the prescription med that seems to work best for him, so I thought I would see if we could stock up. Same as you, pharmacies explained I needed to “go to hospital,” and perhaps I will — I’m sure the people sitting next to us on long haul bus rides would appreciate us dealing with the problem, as the options are otherwise not pretty… Anyway, your post is super helpful. Check us out on fourintheworld.com ! And perhaps we’ll see you somewhere on this big earth.

    • The hospital in Chiang Mai is nice. Make sure you go to Chiang Mai Ram hospital, there is a public hospital but it’s not as nice. We have found the cost to be seen and for prescription is less that what you’d pay for you co-pays in the US. I hope you find what you need! Let us know if you have any Chiang Mai questions! Enjoy your trip!

  5. It’s pretty cool that you were able to get in and out of the hospital so quickly. Not to mention the awesome price on everything you needed. I’m going to Africa in March and I’m thinking I’ll stick to Diocycycline. I’ve taken them before without side effects – except for the time I took them on an empty stomach! I was warned not to, tried it anyway and things weren’t pretty! LOL! My fiance is going to Africa for the first time, so I’m curious abou which pills his insurance will recommend and how he’ll take to them. I’ll keep this pill in mind for an alternative option. Happy travels!

  6. Thanks for the post; I like these practical nomad posts. I am starting my nomad life in Chiang Mai right now.

    I agree with the wisdom of escaping Wisconsin winters too. Though missing Badger basketball is a heavy price to pay to do so.

  7. Thank you so much for this info!
    I was really wondering where i could get malaria pills in Chiang Mai!

    Have fun at your trip!!

    Kind regards,

    Jasmijn (Holland)

  8. Hannah,
    So glad your “hospital visit” went well and was affordable! We got our lifetime ATW shots before we left for Africa. Was there a reason you didn’t do that before you left? Just wondering. Anyway, I saw your dad at my sister’s funeral last week. It was good to see him even though it was for a sad reason. Take care and I know you will enjoy Tanzania (the hospitals are in need of so much help there!)
    Love,
    Sandy

    • Sandy- We did get all of our shots before leaving home, as my insurance paid for them all (hep a/b, yellow fever, typhoid, rabies, tetanus, etc) and stocked up on malaria meds. But now the meds are a year old and we are running low…So we had to go get new prescription for Africa, not taking any chances there with malaria. Glad you had a run in with my dad, sorry it was in that setting. I am sure we are going to LOVE Africa, we leave in 20 hours!

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