Although we are both health professionals and part of that job is to promote healthy lifestyle choices, if the truth be known we have probably not practiced what we preached. Human nature being what it is, all too easily we blame everything else but our own choices for putting on weight, loss of fitness, declining health etc. We, being humans, blamed our remote living for less availability of fresh food and less choices for our poor diet and extreme weather for not maintaining outdoor exercise.
Earlier this year we decided enough was enough and it was time to take extreme measures. Our extreme measures meant taking 2 months off work, flying to Kuala Lumpur, renting a lovely apartment complete with rooftop pool and gym and eating healthily!
While we started of with the best intentions, the lure of the amazing variety of cheap food available in KL was irresistible. To offset our "straying from the straight and narrow" we decided to undertake a complete health check and set out to research what was available. Long story short, we discovered HealthScan Malaysia's web site where you can select from an exhaustive menu of tests and investigations depending on your familial history, lifestyle risk factors or what you actually want!
We made a booking for Jo first to see how it all went and although we had an idea that the business was close to our accomodation it wasn't until we set out on the morning of the appointment to discover it was actually right across the road from where we were staying. The pricing of the package plus any of the optional tests isn't hugely cheaper than Australia. However if you added the cost of a GP consult first then ifyou could convince the GP that the tests were necessary then maybe the specialist appointment before actually having the test done, it is much cheaper. Not just the price factor, but in Australia you may have to wait weeks before being able to have the tests completed and then wait to get the results through another consult with your GP. Here we had them all done in one morning, in the one place, and had the results after having our supplied sandwiches and coffee.
Without going into our personal results, we are still walking around, our experience with the private healthcare facilities in KL were pretty good really. I ended up with an overnight stay in hospital and although perhaps the infection control practices weren't up to our standards the medical staff were certainly qualified and experienced. One thing we noticed that stood out from our Australian system is that specialists in Malaysia are as plentiful as GP's and to get an appointment with one you don't have to wait weeks and the cost in very minimal.
Although we used a private hospital we noted that we were usually the only tourist types about and even though the facility was aimed at local patronage the admin staff as well as medical staff were very pleasant and helpful. There is a definite system used in hospitals here but although it may seem unusual at first it works extremely well.
So really, by accident, we ended up participating in our own form of medical tourism and found it very rewarding and educational. We would recommend it to anyone of a more mature age that wanted to have some more control over their own health management. It can give you a better idea of where your body may be planning to let you down long before any signs or symptoms make themselves known and hopefully before it is too late to do anything about it.
We would recommend HealthScan Malaysia only because we had a good experience with them and not because of any financial reward or discount.
UPDATE- Since this was written we have had a second visit just to follow-up on any changes and all was well. The service has moved to another location near KL Central Station but the service and professional approach is still the same. This time we were able to make a short video about the facility which I will post on our Youtube channel soon. Let us know on the "our story" page contact form if you would like any more details.
See their website ........here
Been planning that early retirement like I have for some time but are worried about the cost. Recently on our trip to Bali I filled in some time by the beach adding up all the non-avoidable costs of just existing in todays society and it was quite a shock. If you add up all your costs associated with owning a house, a car, a mobile phone plan etc then divide it by 52 weeks of the year it gives you a figure that you can factor into any costs of either living or travelling overseas.
OK, without going into details but things like-
Car registration and insurance, house insurance, electricity, internet and phone plans, gas bill, council rates, car maintenance and fuel........
Ours came out to $11,000 per year or $210 per week.
I may be looking at this with a bit of favouritism but $210 per week would pay for a very nice 1 bedroom apartment in Chiang-Mai, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok or most places in Asia if you took a month by month rental agreement. European and North American prices would of course be more expensive but the $210 per week would go a good way towards paying rent.
Also take into account that a lot of monthly rental places come with internet and electricity included in the rent. Don't forget this money is just what you have been spending probably without even realising it. It is not factoring in any of your savings you have accumulated to travel or any income you can generate while travelling.
No matter where you are living you have to eat and drink but in a lot of the more interesting places in the world the cost of food should be lower than what you are used to paying back home.
Although all this number crunching makes sense, to me at least, we still haven't taken our "leap of faith" thrown everything in and just done it. However, my calculations do give me some hope and comfort that there are alternative ways to live your life that may even make economical sense too.
As our time in Bali comes to an end, for now at least, we had a few more places to tick off on our list of accomodation places to revisit. First was the Anvaya which in a previous life had been the Santika Plaza. The old Santika had been completely demolished and over the last few years we had noticed the construction going on for the new Anvaya so wanted to see what they had done.
They have done very well actually, the Anvaya is right on Kuta beach so one side has beach views while along the long driveway you can immerse yourself in all that Kuta is famous for. Shops, bars, restaurants and traffic! To be fair to Kuta we don't find it that bad really and you never have to go far to find pretty much anything you might need. The resort still has a quite new feel to it and although not on a huge plot of land still manages to keep an open feel to it. The breakfast buffet was probably one of the best we've come across and the rooms and common areas were very clean and modern.
Just a sarong's toss down the beach we revisited a place we had stayed at years ago called the Sandi Phala. When we stayed there last time we thought it was just great, it was a more boutique style with just a handful of rooms in a very traditional Balinese style. The pool is small but I can't remember actually having to share it with anyone else. The first time there were sunlounges under the palm trees along the beachfront that were just lovely to spend time on. Management has chosen to move them waaaay back to where the pool is and so there are only a few chairs next to the only bar where you can spend time anywhere near the beach. Ma Joli is the restaurant attached to Sandhi Phala which again used to be top-notch but these days falls a little short of the mark. We had noticed that the tariff was quite cheap for what we remembered so that should have been a tipoff but...really for the money it was quite reasonable and as they say, you should never go back.
However we did go back to the Holiday Inn in Tuban which is very handy to the airport and so suited us for our last night in Bali. Of course Holiday Inn is a bit like the Macca's of hotels as one is pretty much the same as the next and the quality is usually very good. The main attraction at this one is the beachside restaurant called Envy Bar and this place is consistantly great. It has a wonderful position for sunsets, the food is really good and priced well and the staff somehow just manage to be very professional while keeping a friendly approach. The hotel rooms are varied from more traditional Balinese decor to very modern so take your pick. There is one large pool with plenty of sun-lounges to find a place to yourself. The only possible criticism might be that the air conditioned area for breakfast is quite limited, in fact the non A/C area is also a bit limited too but nothing's perfect is it?
See our reviews - HERE