I finally got out into the bust streets of Bangkok this morning before finding an air-conditioned building stop in. The first thing in the building that hit me was the smell. It smelled nice. The lobby was stylish with vibrant colors and tasteful decor. I might say it was a bit on the trendier side of hip. Common rooms had complimentary Internet and water. The atmosphere felt calm and easy. There was a full-service spa in case I needed really relax. I am also told that upon ocassion they really know how to offer bedside manner.

Sounds like a nice resort, right?

Actually, I spent the morning at Phyathai 2 in Bangkok, a hospital. Don’t worry, I’m fine. Phyathai Hospital Group has been in business for the last 31 years and is certified by Harvard Medical International and has all the latest in medical instruments and top notch personel.

So why should you care, and why am I telling you this? With many without medical insurance in the US and health care costs going through the roof — I know mine are — medical tourism is one of the fastest growing phenomenons in travel. The idea is that top tier hospitals in Asia can offer treatments for nearly everything (cosmetics to cancer) with shorter wait times, better service, more compassion (perhaps), in a comfortable non-hospital environment, for less money (sometimes up to 1/10th the cost).

Here are some of the highlights that might draw someone to hospitals like Phyathai and medical tourism.

* Stem cells treatments are legal
* Pharmacogenomic research for (drug testing to establish the right medicine dosage for the individual based upon their own genes)
* Almost one-to-one nurse care
* Some patients have paid one-tenth of the price and in general significantly cheaper than health care costs in the US
* Patients can have loved ones stay in-room for the duration of the treatment
* And more, but much of the medical terminology was over my head

I am not a doctor and I am healthy (knock on wood), so what the heck do I know. But after walking through the facility, I was impressed. It doesn’t look, or smell, like a hospital. For those interested in medical tourism, I suggest thoroghly exploring all options and speaking directly with hospital staff to get as much information as possible before making any decision for health care needs.