Writing about the flossing monkeys of Lopburi and brief reference to my own dental hygiene, are a reminder that for me, my family and many of our hotel guests, a holiday in Koh Samui is not complete without a visit to the dentist.
Thai dentists are renowned as being some of the best in the World, with Bangkok increasingly celebrated as a full service destination for medical/dental tourism. I was astounded to learn that in 2006 1.32 million 'patient tourists' paid for an exotic Asian holiday with the saving on medical or dental treatments. In the same year, 1.2 million foreigners sought treatment in Thailand, with quality of care and cost cited as the principle reasons for their choice of destination.
Back to Samui and dentists: so uniformly good are the dentists and reasonable their prices that we've actually had our own medical tourists stay at Baan Bophut. Two guests, over the past two years, have vacationed in Samui just to receive extensive dental treatment locally at a fraction of the European cost. We may well have had more, but the two mentioned made no secret of why they chose Samui.
Samui's four major international hospitals each have dental departments, but there are numerous other excellent dental clinics to choose from, usually at lower cost. All conduct restorative or general dentistry from a basic inspection, clean and polish, routine fillings, extractions and root canal work, but several specialise in much more complex oral issues, including a broad spectrum of cosmetic treatments for the vain. I note that laser whitening is on offer at several dentists locally for around Bt 8000 (US$ 220), but this may come down as the recession bites (sorry).
Lucy, the memsahib, me and other family members each have our favourite dentist. My own first choice, Dr Tee at Dental Design, just 5 minutes from the hotel, is a gentle and considerate practitioner that I've used for years. Olwen's favourite is a lady dentist who's clinic is even closer to the hotel. Lucy, I think, favours yet another.
Here's a list of the hospitals that have dental departments and this, an incomplete listing of independent clinics, just those that have advertised in the Koh Samui Directory - there are many more.
Visitors can make their own appointments and prospective hotel guests can ask Mia on reception to book for them. Mia will also arrange for Pee Moo, the hotel's maintenance man/taxi driver to take you and pick you up when the clinic calls to say you're done.