Medical tourism: Travel vaccinations in Malaysia

Medical tourism: Travel vaccinations in Malaysia

We spent a few hundred dollars on travel vaccinations at a Malaysian medical clinic for upcoming travels around Southeast Asia. That’s a bargain: it would have cost us three times as much back in the U.S.

The actual travel vaccinations in a container before being injected into patients.
Travel vaccinations for Earth Vagabonds at the Twin Towers Medical Clinic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

A medical clinic in Kuala Lumpur offers travel vaccinations at what we believe are reasonable prices, especially when compared to prices in the U.S. and Canada.

The shots we got:

  • tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough (all in one shot)
  • typhoid
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • meningitis
  • hepatitis A (a booster is needed in six months.)
The total cost of those vaccinations for both of us was about $275.
It would have been well over $1,000 for those travel vaccinations in the U.S.

Rabies and hepatitis B vaccines are also recommended for some travelers in this part of the world (and other parts), but we opted against these. With rabies, even if you get the vaccine, you still have to have two (out of four) shots if you are bitten by a rabid animal. And neither of us is shooting drugs or having high risk sex, so we skipped the hepatitis B vaccine. (Hepatitis A comes from fecal matter in food or water; hepatitis B is blood-born through needle sharing or high risk sex.)

Our Malaysian medical clinic experience

the twin towers medical clinic sign inside a mall
The Twin Towers Medical Clinic is on the fourth floor of the Suria Mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Twin Towers Medical Clinic is on the fourth floor of a large shopping mall. The mall is connected to the lower flowers of the famous Petronas Towers.

We sent an email to ask about pricing and scheduling. A representative told us we did not need an appointment, but if we wanted to save on our wait time once we arrived, we could simply send the office a message on WhatsApp the day we wanted to go. And so that is what we did. (Any doctors offices or clinics in the U.S. use WhatsApp yet? I haven’t been to a U.S. doctor’s office since February 2015.)

The mall is clean and modern, and so are the offices and patient rooms in the clinic.

Aside from travelers, the Twin Towers Medical Clinic also sees Malaysian citizens with various illnesses or people who need routine testing, such as mammograms. We took a number and sat in the main waiting room, where a TV had some American reality show about liposuction on the TLC channel.

the waiting room in a malaysian clinic where we got travel vaccinations
The main waiting room at Twin Towers Medical Clinic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

While we waited a few minutes, a man became ill. He vomited into a large yellow plastic bag several chairs from us. Tedly said that was the most entertaining thing about our experience, but I wasn’t laughing – the poor man was really sick. A nurse was next to the sick man until he finished heaving, and then he was taken into a side room.

We were seen right after that episode. The doctor was kind and patient, and listened to our plans for upcoming travel.

He made his recommendations on the vaccinations we needed, and we selected which shots to take. Then a nurse prepared the shots while I asked some questions about mosquito-borne viruses (I’m a mosquito magnet).

The vaccinations all had to go in my right arm because I had breast cancer, and I had a sentinel lymph node removed on my left side during a bilateral mastectomy, which puts me at risk for lymphedema.

The doctor joked he’d never given anyone five travel vaccinations in one arm before me, but if survived breast cancer, well, five needles jabbed into the same area would be nothing. I joked maybe I could have a shot or two in my butt. He said no.

a doctor who gives travel vaccinations at a clinic in kuala lumpur, malayasia
Earth Vagabonds and Dr. S. Gopi Nath at the Twin Towers Medical Clinic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, early December 2018.

Shots taken, we thanked the doctor and nurse, and the nurse took a picture of us. Thank you, Dr. S. Gopi Nath! We appreciate your wry humor and your professionalism!

We actually spent a little more money – another $15 – for a blood test to determine if I’d ever had the Dengue virus. It’s been nagging me since 2015, so I gladly paid another $15 for an answer in the form of IgG antibodies. And that answer is no, I’ve never had Dengue. Now I know it really was chikungunya that put me down for some days, and affected me some months, after Thanksgiving 2015 in Tulum, Mexico.

That test was done in the lab down the hall from the doctor’s office. We returned for the results about an hour after the technician drew blood.

And that was our experience with vaccinations and a blood test at a medical clinic in Kuala Lumpur. I would definitely recommend this place to any traveler who needs basic medical care. (And a reminder – this is an independent travel blog – we get nothing for any reviews, ever.)

Related posts on health care overseas:

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Ellen

Early retired budget traveler. Earthy Goddess. Former journalist. For humanity. Breast cancer warrior, now living flat. Loves chocolate, coffee, stories, puppies.
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