Because I don’t have insurance in the U.S., I decided to get my malaria medication once arrived in Asia. I had briefly looked online prior to departure and read that you could even get medication over the counter.
I debated whether or not to take anti-malarials. Most infected areas are rural, and my sister and I would be going through very well traveled routes. After all, there is a lower chance of contracting malaria than other illnesses such as Dengue Fever. However, I considered that a stint in a hospital was not something I wanted to be part of our trip. Although the risk is low inThailand and Vietnam, parts of Laos and Cambodia are danger zones. Playing it safe, I got the medication. If you aren’t sure whether you’ll need it or not, see maps of infected areas and read Travelfish.com‘s article on different types of medication, preventative advice and nasty side effects.
I found a very helpful post on the blog All Things Go that guided my search and directed me to the Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Bangkok. It was an easy, stress-fee process that I highly recommend if you need to get any medication while traveling Southeast Asia. Luckily, mostly everyone spoke English and extremely kind. The facilities were very nice.
I got a 100 baht ($3 USD) tuk tuk to the clinic. Upon arrival, you’ll need to show your passport and fill out forms. You then get a registration card (great souvenir!). Going up to the third floor, I only waited around 10 minutes before being seen. The doctor did his best to sway me from getting anti-malarials; however, I insisted. I didn’t have much time to travel and I would have put my sister’s experience at risk as well.
He did encourage me to get the Japanese Encephalitis vaccination, which I declined (I’m the worst patient ever). Unlike Lauren from All Things Go, my doctor did not prescribe malarone tablets as a “cure rather than prevention.”
He prescribed me 60 tablets of 100mg of Doxycycline, taking one per day. This medication has the potential to cause bad side effects, but to my knowledge it was the cause of any discomfort on my trip.
I was able to drop of my prescription at the pharmacy on the first floor and within minutes had my medicine. In total, I paid 300 baht (around $9 USD) for the consultation and all of the medication. I have not contracted malaria, only a few bouts of food poisoning…just working on toughening up my stomach.