07 May 2013

Lured by the widespread availability of many cosmetic treatments, and hence lower prices than are offered by its domestic surgeons, Singaporeans are heading to nearby countries to have procedures carried out. South Korea, Thailand and Malaysia are among their favourite destinations, with the first of these having seen the number of visitors becoming 'medical tourists' double between 2010 and 2011. Women in their 20s and 30s were keenest to head to South Korea, reports The Star newspaper of Malaysia. Its own country attracts the largest numbers of visitors for cosmetic surgery and dermatology treatments � 5,900 in 2011, a rise of more than 40 per cent since 2009. And the top private hospital in Thailand, Bumrungrad International, reported seeing more than one-third more patients from Singapore in 2012 compared with in 2010. A hospital spokesman said the chance to save a third on the cost of many procedures was the main attraction, but he added: "They might seek more privacy by coming here." In Malaysia, common treatments such as Botox can be as much as 75 per cent cheaper than in Singapore, The Star found.