One of the things I like most about Thailand is how cheap it is to keep yourself in good shape here. I used to spend a fortune on health insurance (thanks America) but here it’s easy to get cheap medical insurance for just over a hundred dollars a month. All in all, I spend about 30% of what I did back home for medical care and insurance here.

One of the reasons it’s so cheap is that hospitals here are damn cheap overall. It only costs the equivalent of $20 to go to the doctor for a check up if you’re feeling a little under the weather, and this is the price for an international hospital and whatever prescription medicine you’re given after your meeting with the doctor. Very nice compared to hundreds of dollars anywhere else.

I’ve put together a list of the best hospitals and clinics (general medical and dental) in Bangkok for you to use if you’re ever feeling under the weather or in need of medical care. I’ve visited all of the places listed here and they’re only a few of the options available, but they’re the ones I can vouch for as being really high quality and well priced.

  • Bumrungrad Hospital (this is the most popular international hospital in Bangkok for Western tourists)
  • Samitivej Hospital (this hospital is on Sukhumvit Soi 49 and seems popular with Japanese expats and tourists – it’s a little less expensive than Bumrungrad and in a better area)
  • BNH Hosptial (Bangkok Nursing Home Hospital – convenient if you live on the Silom side of town)
  • Inno-Dent (General dental clinic that’s a 20-30 minute drive from central Bangkok, great for things like whitening and general dentistry)
  • Veneers Bangkok (Company that offers cosmetic dental services to foreigners and medical tourists – they work directly with several clinics in Bangkok)

If all the lights in Bangkok were switched off except for those on Soi Cowboy, the entire city would probably still be totally illuminated. Soi Cowboy is a small strip of road near Asoke BTS that’s home to a selection of go-go bars. It’s probably Bangkok’s most famous red light district, and while it’s less seedy than Nana Plaza it has a great variety of bars.

Getting to Soi Cowboy is pretty easy, since it’s located at one of Bangkok’s busiest public transport interchanges. You can either take the BTS to Asoke or use the MRT to go to Sukhumvit Station. Soi Cowboy is located a short walk down Sukhumvit Soi 21 from Asoke Station. You can also get there from Soi 23.

The best bars on Soi Cowboy change frequently, but my favs are Suzie Wongs and Baccarra. The prices on Soi Cowboy are a little higher than Nana Plaza, both for drinks and barfines, but you get a much cleaner environment and better maintained bars for the money. I usually bring friends to Soi Cowboy when they visit since it’s much more “civilized” than Nana and a fun tourist attraction at the same time.

Some tips:

  • Book into a guest friendly hotel nearby Soi Cowboy if you plan on visiting more than once during your time in Bangkok. Since you’re close to Asoke station, this is a great place to stay anyway.
  • Don’t buy any trinkets or souvenirs from the vendors on Soi Cowboy, since they’re overpriced and usually break shortly after you buy them.
  • Ignore the touts trying to draw you into empty bars. Visit the bars that have big crowds, since they usually have the best shows and value for money drinks.

Have fun!

So, you’re going to Nana Plaza. Nana Plaza is one of those places you just have to visit if you’re a single guy going to Bangkok, even if it’s just for one night. The plaza is a total circus, with more neon lights and nudity than anywhere else I can think of in the world (aside from maybe Soi Cowboy just a little further down Sukhumvit Road).

My recommendations for visiting Nana Plaza:

  • Arrive early if you want to barfine any of the girls there, since the best ones will be gone by 10 or 11pm.
  • Book a guest friendly hotel close to Nana Plaza if you want to quickly bounce from the plaza to and from your room. Staying nearby means you’ll be close to Nana BTS station, which is great for getting around the city.
  • Avoid the kathoey (ladyboy) bars, of which there are now several. It’s easy to tell which are for ladyboys and which are for women from viewing the people standing outside each bar.
  • Don’t pressure girls to take off their clothes in the bars. The law in Thailand is that nudity is banned, even in a setting like this. Most girls wear bikinis or nipple covers to get around this rule while still looking presentable.
  • Don’t let touts guide you into certain bars. Spankys and Rainbow 4 are my favorites, but there are lots of good choices there and none of them have pushy staff outside.
  • Don’t drink too much while you’re there. It’s fun to get drunk, especially with some beautiful girls, but getting wasted increases the chances of you taking someone questionable home or getting in trouble because of a bad decision. I get 3-4 drinks and then take it easy with water after.

Nana is undoubtedly a circus, but it’s also a lot of fun. Have a good time exploring one of Bangkok’s last remaining neon nightlife hubs.