Samui Wining & Dining
 Bandon International Hospital is here to help.


Holidays are hopefully memorable – in all the right ways. But they can become memorable in other less positive ways too. What to do when medical help is needed? On Samui, there are plenty of solutions if something should go wrong. And that’s where Bandon International Hospital comes in. It’s the oldest-established hospital on Samui, and its doctors and nurses are used to seeing a wide variety of conditions. Holidaymakers who turn up at Bandon most often are experiencing one of a small number of problems. We spoke to hospital doctors to see just how you can keep healthy – and how to proceed if you do start feeling ill for any reason.


Staying Safe on the Roads Getting round on Samui is quite easy thanks to car hire possibilities, taxis and shared public vans or ‘songthaews’. However, many tourists prefer to hire motorbikes. Unsuspecting holidaymakers see traffic that is generally slower than back home and assume it’s fairly safe. They assume too that road regulations are the same as at home. If you wish to ride a bike, wear a helmet (it’s the law for both driver and passenger). Drive at a reasonable speed – that means slowly. If you’re turning or stopping, indicate. Be aware that other bikes can turn quickly into your lane, out of nowhere, and just keep going.

Sudden patches of sand occur, as do potholes – it’s very easy to lose control. Dogs and cats rush into the road from the side. Even if you’re driving at a reasonable speed you may not have time to stop. Bandon Hospital sees the results of many motorbike accidents.P46-2 An astonishing number, in fact, given this is a small island, with its major artery, the ring-road, being just over 50 kilometres in length. Most road accidents involve motorbikes, rather than cars. Due to the fact that few riders wear helmets, head injuries are so common on Samui that Bandon Hospital has a CT scan and X-ray facilities. Motorcycle accidents are the number one reason why patients come to Bandon Hospital.


If you have a motorbike accident, go straight to hospital. Most wounds are of the laceration or abrasion variety and will need daily wound dressing and antibiotics. Infections can start very easily in the tropics. You won’t be able to go swimming for quite some time. You can be dealt with as an out-patient if your situation isn’t too bad, and an in-patient if needs be. Bandon International Hospital also has an operating theatre and skilled surgeons should you have fractures or other problems.


As an out-patient, you will most probably need to pay for your treatment yourself, with the hospital giving you a medical report and a receipt, which you can send to your insurance company and claim back. As an in-patient the international insurance team can approach your insurance company and ask them to pay the hospital directly. You may need to pay an excess.
 Above all, read the small print in your policy. You may not be covered for motorbikes or you may only be covered if you have a valid motorcycle license.


Food Problems Relatively few holidaymakers experience problems with the food in Thailand, but a small percentage will fall prey to stomach upsets. This can be attributed to eating different and maybe spicy food, bacteria, or contaminated water. The condition usually is fairly mild and clears up of its own accord.


Most chemists speak good English and all are thoroughly used to dealing with stomach upsets. Some diarrhoea just doesn’t clear up of its own accord and simply continues. Don’t wait if symptoms persist more than a few hours or are severe. Come straight to hospital; an out-patient visit may be enough but if you have to be admitted, it’s usually just for 24 hours or less. Your diagnosis will probably be acute gastro-enteritis,P46-3 a very common complaint amongst tourists on Samui. There may be a variety of symptoms which may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and fever.


To protect yourself, always wash your hands with soap and water before eating, make sure meat is cooked all the way through, avoid raw food or undercooked food and don’t eat at restaurants where food has been left standing a long time or where you suspect the refrigeration is poor.
It’s important to drink plenty of water while in the tropics. This is even more important should you be trying to re-hydrate yourself after a bout of food poisoning. Sipping from a small bottle of water isn’t going to be enough.


If you’ve been given antibiotics, always finish the course. You may feel tempted not to, simply because you feel better, but that doesn’t mean to say all the bacteria have been dealt with.


Swimming Rip tides and jelly fish can cause problems in the sea. Avoid unknown waters and ask if there are rip currents in the area. Jelly fish tend to be a seasonal problem but always exercise caution. In addition, don’t swim when there are red flags up (but not all beaches have flags).



The hospital sees plenty of cases of Otitis Externa, caused by swimming in pools or the sea. It’s a generally mild infection which may cause ears to become blocked. The hospital can deal with this very easily – you’ll be an outpatient and be given appropriate medication as well as maybe having your ears irrigated.


A potentially more serious problem is when common colds, caught maybe after swimming, or by moving from air-con rooms into the heat of the day, simply refuse to clear up. This may signal the start of pneumonia or bronchitis. If your cold hasn’t cleared up of its own accord after three days, don’t wait, but go to the hospital and have yourself checked out.


Fever Protect yourself from mosquitoes using appropriate repellent which must be able to ward off dengue-bearing mosquitoes. These latter are a daytime problem and may hide in shaded places. It’s common in the tropics to have a fever sometimes. Have yourself checked out at hospital: your fever may turn out to be influenza or even dengue fever. For both,P46-4 you may be able to be treated as an out-patient, but you may need to be admitted, depending on symptoms and test results.


Sexual Health On Samui, many holidaymakers have sex with new partners. Condoms, when used, may not be of such great standard. It’s typical for holidaymakers in their last few days on Koh Samui, to start worrying about sexually transmitted diseases they may have picked up. Bandon Hospital can provide tests and results can even be sent via email. If you believe you’re at risk, don’t wait, but go straight to hospital. Such visits aren’t covered by any travel insurance.


How Much Does it all Cost? As with motorcycle accidents, out-patients are asked to pay by themselves and are given the necessary papers to claim back directly from their insurers, while in-patients’ insurance companies are usually approached by the hospital and asked to pay costs directly. It’s a convenient system, though may take some time.


Keeping Safe Prevention, as everyone correctly says, is indeed better than the cure. And sometimes, being abroad, it’s equally important just to get reassurance rather than to have to spend the rest of a holiday being worried. A visit to Bandon Hospital will give you the low-down on what exactly is wrong, and from there onwards you’ll be in safe hands, should you need treatment of any kind. Bandon International has two facilities on Samui, both on the ring-road in Chaweng, and there’s a third on neighbouring Koh Pha-ngan. Doctors are available 24/7 and there’s also an ambulance service.




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