Last fact-checked: 26 January 2020
Looking at your options for more affordable plastic surgery abroad? Then look no further than Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, a modern city that boasts high-quality medical facilities and experienced doctors.
Find out about what to expect with this Medical Departures destination guide—and book your treatment through our site to save up to 70%.
Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia. Skyscrapers and tall modern buildings dominate the skyline, although you’ll still find some old and more traditional pockets among the glass and steel. As well as popular cultural and historical attractions, visitors can take refuge from the humidity in the city’s huge shopping malls, restaurants, bars and lounges.
As a medical tourism destination, KL (as it’s commonly referred to) is becoming increasingly popular. This is thanks to an influx of new, contemporary facilities, as well as heightened awareness about the wide availability of skilled surgeons, doctors and clinicians.
Of course, price plays an integral role when prospective patients are looking at would-be destinations for their treatment, and costs here for certain procedures are around 70% less than in Australia, for example.
Kuala Lumpur is situated on the central west coast of Malaysia, a country in the heart of Southeast Asia that shares major borders with Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. KL is the financial, commercial and political capital of Malaysia.
Cosmetic surgery and other age-defying treatments have become increasingly popular all around the world thanks to the emphasis on looking younger and better. Both men and women are no longer shying away (as much) from surgery and treatments to achieve their physical goals.
For instance, after childbirth, many women seek “mommy makeovers”, which comprise a combination of procedures carried out in one session, to get their old bodies back. Likewise, more men than ever are getting hair transplants, which can be obtained for thousands less when performed abroad. Other popular treatments for both men and women include body and face contouring, liposuction and wrinkle-busting treatments like Botox.
In developed countries, these procedures are almost never covered by medical insurance and can be quite expensive, which is why so many are taking the step of going abroad for treatment—or getting work done while on holiday or business.
Here are some examples of the cost savings for plastic surgery in Kuala Lumpur:
Breast enlargement in Kuala Lumpur: average cost AUD 5,000, compared to AUD 15,000 in Australia.
Eyelid enhancement/Eye bag removal surgery in Kuala Lumpur: average cost AUD 1,200, compared to AUD 7,000 in Australia.
Facelift in Kuala Lumpur: average cost AUD 2,000, compared to AUD $20,000 in Australia.
Healthcare comes under the purview of MS ISO9002 certification and hospitals and clinics are accredited by the Malaysian Medical Society for Quality. The government is keen to promote medical tourism to overseas patients, and takes a great interest in ensuring its facilities and services are top-notch.
Medical schools select only the best and brightest students as education here is highly competitive. The aspiring medical student has to sit for pre-admission tests or fulfill certain educational criteria (including science subjects) to be admitted. It takes five to six years for students to obtain an M.B.B.S. degree. After receiving their medical degree, students then have to work at a government or government-notified facility for three years before they can be fully registered. After that, many opt to undertake further study to become specialists in specific fields, such as plastic surgery.
Kuala Lumpur is one of the top tourist locations in Asia. As such, it caters to all kinds of travelers, ranging from budget-backpackers to the highly affluent who can afford the best of everything.
As a modern city, you’ll find most accommodation options provide everything you need for a speedy recovery—something which you should bear in mind for both you and any family or friends traveling with you.
There are hundreds of good accommodation options available in Kuala Lumpur, no matter what your budget (or how late you leave it before flying). Some medical tourists choose to stay close to the hospital/clinic in which they receive treatment while others who rely more on taxis book their stay near tourist attractions or other amenities.
For those who like the convenience and familiarity of chain hotels, KL has the Marriott, Traders Hotel, Shangri La, Hyatt, Intercontinental, Sheraton and many more international names. Other hotels also offer good-quality amenities and many in-house entertainment options including different restaurants, spas, gyms and more. The serviced apartments here can feel like a home away from home with kitchens, laundry facilities and working space.
You can pay as little as AUD 18 per night for small place with basic amenities; this price can go all the way up to AUD 750 or more for a luxury hotel suite—but obviously you have a huge choice of options in between these extreme price points.
Despite its large population, Kuala Lumpur is considered a safe city. That said, you should always be careful when in an unfamiliar place and not wear expensive jewelry or carry wallets full of cash and credit cards. When using public transport, such as buses and crowded monorails, be aware of your bag as there are always random pickpocketing and mugging incidents. Avoid going alone in the night and traversing deserted areas (as you probably would at home).
In Malaysia, you have to be a little careful when you use your credit or debit card or withdraw money from an ATM. Try to use a machine that is in your hotel or attached to the bank as there have been some instances of credit card skimming. Even when you are in a hotel, keep all of your valuables in your room’s safe, under lock and key.
While surgical and cosmetic treatments carry a certain degree of risk wherever you are in the world, you may understandably be more apprehensive when it is carried out abroad. To maximise your safety, always tell your chosen surgeon your entire medical history, the medications you take on a regular basis (even if they are only vitamins or supplements) and if you have any chronic disorder or you have ever had any adverse reaction to any medicine.
It’s wise to book at a facility that has good credentials, but that’s not always easy to check when you are unfamiliar with a new place, like Kuala Lumpur.
This is why booking through us simplifies things. When you book through Medical Departures, you can be sure that we have background checked each and every one of the facilities you see listed on our site; we also investigate the qualifications, experience and accreditations; pay personal visits to clinics and take the time to collect and publish real patient reviews.
Get started now by browsing through three of our most popular medical facilities in Kuala Lumpur for cosmetic surgery:
In the extremely rare event that you face any post-surgery or treatment problems, Medical Departures will be on your side to help you get it sorted. The providers we partner with all provide warranties on the work they perform, as well as the materials used. However, this will not pay for any additional flight or accommodation costs in the even-more-unlikely event that you have to return to Kuala Lumpur to rectify your problem. This is why we advise taking additional insurance in case of medical complications when going for major procedures (rather than say, Botox). This is a small price to pay for your own peace-of-mind.
In Malaysia, most people speak English so you should not face any communication problem. All of the surgeons and doctors we work with all speak English well.
You can use your international credit and debit cards easily in KL. You can also use wire transfer or bank transfer methods for large payments.
You should get some Malaysian Ringgit for local payments as many small shops, hawker stalls, flea markets, and local transport operators will not accept cards. This can be done at home, at the airport upon arrival or at an exchange shop in the city (which normally offer the best rates, although the actual difference is very small).
Our partner clinics and hospitals are open all year round, so the choice is really up to you.
It is worth bearing in mind that Kuala Lumpur has a tropical climate: hot and humid throughout the year with occasional rain at any time. From June to August it is relatively rain-free.
When you travel abroad, especially to Southeast Asia, you may be somewhat apprehensive as you probably won’t be familiar with the country, its culture, people and, above all, where to go for medical treatment. This may result in some anxiety. To put your fears at rest, you should put your research in place and also try to take someone with you for support.
You can take your partner, a close friend, an adult child, a sibling or a parent. Make sure that your companion knows your medical history and is there for you during your hospital or clinic visits and thereafter. If you face any complication during surgery or even during recuperation, that person should be able to help you out emotionally and even physically if required.
Even if you go for minor treatments, it is good if you are not alone and there is someone with you for company. After any serious surgery, you may require rehabilitation before you can fly back and you should also check about special needs or requirements, if any.
If this is a problem, our team can still facilitate your trip by helping you to book transport to and from the clinic before and after undergoing surgery, or find a private care provider to help with anything else.
You may need to take some precautions after surgery or treatment like taking care of your skin, going for repeated dressings or follow up appointments, dietary restrictions and others. Make sure that you adhere to medical advice.
When in Kuala Lumpur, there is no shortage of things to do and experience. You can take the Hop On Hop Off Bus to get a glimpse into some of the major tourist attractions around the city (40 attractions / 22 stops), particularly if you don’t want to spend too much time and money going to different places. As part of this budget-friendly tour, you can see:
The National Art Gallery
Petronas Twin Towers
National Palace... and a host of other places!
You can get off anywhere you want, spend the time seeing the sights and then “hop on” another bus to your next point of interest.
Since some of the major pastimes of Malaysians include eating and shopping, KL is a delight for the foodies out there, as well as shopaholics looking for a good bargain. With major malls like Suria KLCC, Pavilion, Mid Valley Megamall, The Garden, Berjaya Times Square, Sungei Wang Plaza and Low Yat Plaza (only for electronics, gadgets and gizmos) and many others, you can always spend your time shopping, browsing and even eating at the malls.
You can also find all kinds of restaurants and food markets, restaurants, bars, lounges and cafes, hawker stalls, food courts and other eateries. As a multicultural destination, Kuala Lumpur is known for its Malaysian, Chinese and Indian foods, as well as fusion cuisines and restaurants offering the best of British and American cuisines.
For a fancy night out, check out these rather swish rooftop bars in KL with sky-high views.
Kuala Lumpur is serviced by three airports. Kuala Lumpur International Airport serves as the main entry and exit point for major international airlines. There is also the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) that sees short-haul domestic flights (mostly low frills) that you may use if you want to fly around in Malaysia or to nearby countries, like Thailand or Singapore. Another airport is Subang Airport, which is used by the low-cost carrier Firefly to some local and a few international destinations.
Kuala Lumpur has the monorail, the Light Rail Transit (LRT), local buses and taxis that make for easy commuting. You can hail taxis off the road almost any time, but there is always a chance that the taxis will refuse to go by meter. It is always better and safer to take taxis that will take you by meter. You can also use app-based taxi services like Uber and MyTeksi (GrabTaxi). There is also the free GO KL city bus.
Flight times can vary and depend on whether there are stopovers involved. These are some approximate flight times:
Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur – 8 hours 20 minutes
Sydney to Kuala Lumpur – 8 hours 45 minutes
Brisbane to Kuala Lumpur – 10 hours 20 minutes
London to Kuala Lumpur – 12 hours 50 minutes
Perth to Kuala Lumpur – 5 hours 40 minutes
Auckland to Kuala Lumpur – 11 hours 25 minutes
New York to Kuala Lumpur – 22 hours
Residents of many countries including Australia, U.S., E.U., U.K. Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan, Turkey, and South Korea don’t need to obtain a visa before flying (as long as they have a passport with at least six months’ validity remaining).
For other nationalities, do check online whether you need a visa for Malaysia or not.
Complete your booking with Medical Departures at one of our quality checked clinics in Kuala Lumpur and make savings of up to 70%. See below for convenient ways to contact us.
Malaysia. Lonely Planet. Website accessed: 26 January 2020.
Go KL Bus. Malaysia Site. Website accessed: 26 January 2020
Muhoro, Nicholas. What Is the ISO 9002 International Certificate? Chron. 4 June 2019.
Cosmetic surgery is on the rise, new data reveal. Medical News Today. 17 March 2019.
14 best rooftop bars in Kuala Lumpur. The Rooftop Guide. 7 January 2020.
Top 10 Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur. Hotels.com. 2019.
20 Must-Visit Attractions in Kuala Lumpur. The Culture Trip. 15 July 2019.
Checklist for Malaysia Visa. Musafir. 2019.
Everything There Is to Know About Medical Tourism in Malaysia. Wonderful Malaysia. Website accessed: 26 January 2020.