Dentist ● Hospital ● Massage


I had some dental work done in Beijing, including cavity filling, root canal, crown, and cleaning.

At first, I went to a dentist near my apartment — it was a room in a residential apartment. They were alright but I wanted to find a better one. The insurance guy at my company recommended a couple and I ended up going to SDM Dental [ 固瑞齿科 = GùRuìChǐKē ]. It was a bit more expensive than the more local dental clinic I went to, but still much cheaper than what would be charged in North America, especially for the porcelain crown I got. I felt more confident there because they seemed much more professional.

They have a couple of branches in Beijing and Shanghai. I was quite impressed by the equipment, the customer care, and the attention to detail at the China Overseas Plaza Clinic [ 中海口腔诊所 ] near Guomao [ 国贸 = GuóMào ]. The dentist who took care of me was Dr. Wang [ 王琛 ] and I thought he did a really great job. When he wasn't available, I had other dentists but didn't like them as much.

Basically the clinic looks very Western, spotless with very modern equipment. Dr. Wang was gentle and explained everything in detail and wrote down estimate prices for me before I decided to get some work done. After each visit, I got follow-up calls from the receptionist. There's a price list at reception so you can have a look at what you might need to spend.


There doesn't seem to be family doctor clinics so I had to go to a proper hospital a couple of times just to get a sick note for work. The local hospital I went to in the west side of Beijing was quite awful as it didn't seem very sanitary and barely looked like a hospital on the inside.

You walk in to the reception and get a number for the department of your choosing, pay the ridiculously cheap registration fee, then wait for your turn. After a couple of minutes with the doctor, you go downstairs to pick up the prescribed medicine. Usually they prescribe some Western medicine along with Chinese ones in pill or powder form. The counter for Western medicine inside the hospital was separate from the counter for Chinese medicine. The medicine I got was quite inexpensive. For a cold, I got maybe 7 types of medicine, which I eventually decided to throw away because I didn't think it was a good idea to take so many pills for a simple cold, especially since the doctor spent so little time with me.

If you prefer a more Western clinic in Beijing, I also visited Bayley and Jackson Medical Center [ 庇利积臣医疗中心 ] near Sanlitun [ 三里屯 ] once. It was considerably more expensive than a local Chinese hospital. I think they charged 600 RMB for a 10-minute consultation. However, the doctor I got spoke fluent English and was incredibly helpful. The clinic looked very clean and modern and the staff appeared to be much more professional than the other more local Chinese hospitals I had been to.


For non-prescription medicine, there are many pharmacies around. Usually, you ask a clerk for the item since they're mostly kept in glass counters. The clerk will write you a slip for it. You take the slip and pay at the cashier then pick up the item with your receipt.

One time my back hurt probably because I just slept funny. I went to the pharmacy to get some patches for the ache. The clerk (probably not even a pharmacist) suggested that I put more clothes on!! ...maybe based on her version of some Chinese medicine theory? I thought, "Sure, I'll just put a jacket on — that will make my back pain magically disappear!" Not. That same lady was nice enough to sell me the patches I needed and help me put it on though. So, I guess she was not completely insane.
Birth control pills are widely available without a prescription at extremely cheap prices in any pharmacy around town. Although the packaging is in Chinese, if you look at the back of the box, the hormones used and the amount might be written in English and you can compare that with the brand you use back home. So far I haven't had any problems and it's been well over 5 years. Fingers crossed.

The one pictured is triphasic and contains levonorgestrel & ethinyl estradiol. A prescription brand called Ange アンジュ in Japan contains the same hormones/dosage. In Canada, there's a similar prescription one called Alesse.


Want a "relaxing" massage? Be careful of who you go to because many masseuses have the deeply rooted belief of no pain, no gain. Your pain, that is. Despite repeatedly telling multiple masseuses not to press so hard, almost all of them opted to ignore my request and instead told me I had a low threshold of pain — um... if you don't try to hurt me, maybe I wouldn't feel so much pain? They just. won't. listen. Their theory is, it hurts because you're unhealthy. (Oh, excuse me, I didn't know you were also a doctor?! ) One time, I even ended up with a giant bruise all the way down my spine. So, beware. You might end up feeling more stressed afterwards.