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Exploring Malaysia: Beyond the skyscrapers, a rising destination for healthcare and education |

Travel and Tourism

Exploring Malaysia: Beyond the skyscrapers, a rising destination for healthcare and education

Jap Tobias -
for Tourism Malaysia
Exploring Malaysia: Beyond the skyscrapers, a rising destination for healthcare and education
Amidst the bustling urban landscape, the Southeast Asian country has been emerging as a hotspot for healthcare services and educational opportunities, drawing visitors from around the world. / Composite photo by Jap Tobias

MANILA, Philippines — Malaysia, with its rich culture and iconic architectural marvels like the Petronas Towers and Merdeka 118, has long been a tourist favorite. Yet, beyond these towering landmarks lies a Malaysia that offers much more than meets the eye.

Amidst the bustling urban landscape, the Southeast Asian country has been emerging as a hotspot for healthcare services and educational opportunities, drawing visitors from around the world. 

With its close proximity to the Philippines, just a four-hour flight from Manila, Malaysia becomes an even more attractive and convenient option for Filipinos in search of top-notch healthcare and educational opportunities abroad.

In a recent trip hosted by Tourism Malaysia, had the opportunity to visit and witness Malaysia’s high-caliber hospitals and educational institutions, gaining firsthand insight into the country's growing appeal in these sectors.

The Malaysian brand of healthcare

Malaysia Healthcare Lounge at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 1 Tobias

Travelers from abroad come to Malaysia for medical treatments for good reason. Its globally recognized medical tourism industry is renowned for its world-class facilities, internationally trained health professionals and cost-effective healthcare services.

The Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC), an agency under the country’s health ministry that aims to boost medical tourism, has noted a recovery to pre-pandemic level with 850,000 healthcare travelers recorded in 2022. 

MHTC currently has 97 Member Facilities accredited by international bodies, committed to delivering high-quality healthcare services, especially in the areas of cardiology, fertility, cancer care, premium wellness screenings and dental treatments. 

Seamless experience for medical travelers

But as one may ask, how do I get to enjoy Malaysia if all that I get to experience are hospitals? 

This is where Malaysia's holistic approach to medical tourism truly shines. With a commitment to delivering peace of mind and a seamless end-to-end experience, the country ensures that medical tourists have ample opportunities to explore the country’s wonders and urban landscapes. 

Upon arrival at the airport, a dedicated immigration lane for medical tourists streamlines the entry process, ensuring a hassle-free arrival.

At Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) 1, KLIA 2 and Penang International Airport, a warm and welcoming Meet and Greet Service awaits medical tourists. Here, they receive personalized assistance, making their journey to world-class healthcare facilities as smooth as possible.

Sunway Medical Center
Photo Release, Tobias

Sunway Medical Center (SMC) in Sunway City, KL, for example, stands as Malaysia's largest quaternary and regional tertiary care private hospital, welcoming over 60,000 international patients from 170 countries. 

Located within an integrated township, SMC boasts proximity to various amenities, including Sunway Lagoon theme park, Sunway Hotels & Resorts, Sunway Pyramid shopping mall and Sunway University, making it an attractive option for foreign tourists seeking a rewarding Malaysian experience.

Likewise, Pantai Hospital in KL is also conveniently situated near local attractions, and offers state-of-the-art technologies and one-stop centers, eliminating the need for patients to navigate multiple departments. 

Pantai Hospital, Kuala Lumpur Tobias

They also simplify travel arrangements for medical tourists, including airport transfers and comprehensive three-day, two-night medical travel packages. With a dedicated International Patient Centre, Pantai Hospital assists patients with quotations, billing and language translation.

As one of the top medical tourism, Malaysia has a plethora of options for healthcare travelers, allowing tourists to tailor their medical experience to their preferences and needs. Also, minimal wait times allow for efficient scheduling, leaving ample room to explore Malaysia's beauty, either through guided tours or at their own pace. 

A prime destination for education

Besides healthcare, Malaysia is emerging as a preferred destination for international students, including Filipinos, seeking quality education. 

With more than 160 private higher education institutions and 20 public universities, Malaysia offers a wealth of opportunities for students looking to pursue academic studies abroad or advance their education through postgraduate programs. 

Per the latest data from the Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS), international student applications received from Southeast Asian countries are rising, from 7,706 in 2020 to 2021, to 8,788 in 2022 to June 2023. 

Popular study programs among Filipino students, EMGS said, are Mobility and Exchange programs, Business and Administration, Health, as well as Journalism and Information programs. 


A post shared by @jpeg.tobias

Compared to popular choices for education destinations, like Australia, Canada or United States, one of the compelling advantages Malaysia offers to Filipinos is its proximity to the country. This means it's easier and cheaper for students to easily travel back to and from their hometowns during semester breaks, or for their families to visit them. 

Secondly, the process of applying for a student visa and pass is relatively easy, and the entire process, right from submission of the application to obtaining the visa, takes around four to five weeks. It will only take 14 days for the visa approval letter to get processed. 

Of course, quality and credibility are also assured as Malaysian educational instutions go through rigorous assessments. Most of these schools also have international linkages from various educational institutions from the United Kingdom and Australia among others. 

Globally competitive universities

The campus and facilities of Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation Tobias

The Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU), for instance, is ranked #1 for international students in Malaysia and #16 in the world by the QS World University Rankings 2024. 

Apart from being a premier private institution in Technology, Computing, Engineering and Business Management, APU can allow students to double their advantage through a dual degree program with De Montfort University, United Kingdom. 

Campus of Sunway University Tobias

Also, Sunway University (SU) is also in close partnership with Lancaster University, UK, which enables students taking many of its degree programs to obtain a dual degree from Lancaster in addition to their SU degree. Per QS World University Ranking, SU ranks among top universities globally for Hospitality & Leisure Management (#101-150), Art and Design (#201-240) and Business and Management Studies (#401-450)

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), also known as The National University of Malaysia is also among the world’s best. Ranked 159th in the QS World University Rankings, UKM is a comprehensive institution with 13 faculties and 12 research institutes. It offers 49 international programs that draw global students.

Buildings at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Tobias

Malaysian universities are highly multicultural and offer students a friendly community. Language barriers also won’t be an issue as English is widely spoken and it is one of the requirements for students’ admission in higher education institutions. 

What’s more is that compared to other nations, Malaysia is affordable in many areas, from food, transportation and even tuition fees. In fact, according to Numbeo’s cost-of-living Index 2023, Malaysia is among the countries with low cost-of-living index in Southeast Asia. 

Educational opportunities in Malaysia provide Filipino students with a balance of quality, cultural familiarity and cost-effectiveness. As the world of education continues to evolve, Malaysia remains a steadfast partner in nurturing the educational dreams of Filipino students, offering them a holistic experience that extends beyond textbooks and classrooms. 

Malaysia: Wellness, wisdom and wonders

Just last Sept.16 to 17, Tourism Malaysia in the Philippines hosted Malaysia Week in Makati City, providing Filipinos with a captivating glimpse of the diverse Malaysian experiences. 

This event underscores their strong commitment to inviting Filipinos to explore the rich offerings that Malaysia has in store.

As a destination that seamlessly combines world-class medical services, top-tier education and breathtaking attractions, Malaysia remains a symbol of opportunity and well-rounded experiences for all who venture here.

Whether you're seeking wellness, pursuing education or simply craving adventure, Malaysia truly beckons!


Editor's Note: This story was produced from a trip to Malaysia hosted by Tourism Malaysia. It is produced by the Creative Content Team that is independent from our Editorial Newsroom. 


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