Can I Drink Tap Water In Thailand? Alternatives And Safety Tips 2020

Can I Drink Tap Water In Thailand? Alternatives And Safety Tips 2020
April 8, 2019 Sandis Mukans
Can I Drink Tap Water In Thailand

Thailand drinking water quality is not the best you could wish for, and it is something that could ruin your trip to Thailand easily.

So, can I drink Tap water in Thailand? It is not recommended to drink tap water in Thailand because of the old and often damaged pipes that deliver water from the water treatment plants. As drinking tap water in Thailand is not safe locals choose to drink water from the water refill dispensers. It is a good option although the best alternative to it is bottled water.

Drinking tap water is one of the things to avoid in Thailand. Keep reading to find out what are the best tap water alternatives in Thailand.

 

Is It Safe To Drink Tap Water In Thailand?

No, drinking tap water in Thailand is not safe, and you should avoid it by any means. If there are no other options than to drink tap water, it is recommended to boil it.

Although the overall tap water quality in Thailand is improving it still could be better. Current water treatment plants in Thailand produce clean water, but the problem is its delivery to clients.

Here is what other people have to say about drinking tap water in Thailand.

I don’t drink tap water but have no worries using it to brush my teeth. The only time I didn’t was in Mae Sai where the water in the taps was the same brown and smelt the same as the Mekong.

— westwood, Lonely Planet

You’ll notice the Thais themselves usually don’t drink tap water, and cheap drinking water is always available. But still, it finds a way to you, e.g., your food may be served on a wet plate.

— alibass, Lonely Planet

I am always more worried about eye infections from shower than a stomach problem from tap water.

— Somluck101, Tripadvisor

Bangkok tap water is treated before entering the system. Unfortunately, the system has plenty of breaches. Depending on the route the water takes, there could be anything in it.

— OctoberSix, Tripadvisor

I use bottled water to brush my teeth and to clean my toothbrush after. I don’t rinse it under the tap. Some places I’ve stayed in have special brown water.

— Andytc, Tripadvisor

One contributing factor is that people like to tap into supply pipes and fail to use backflow valves, allowing contaminants to reenter the supply lines. If you’re on a main that’s not been tapped, the water is fine.

— SpikeSiam, Reddit

 

Is It Safe To Brush Teeth With Tap Water In Thailand?

Just like with decision either to drink tap water or not there are two types of people. One would say that it is totally fine, but the rest wouldn’t suggest brushing teeth with tap water.

Regarding this question, I have only my own experience to share, and that is what my doctor suggested before my first trip to Thailand. She advised to buy bottled water also for brushing my teeth, and I have always followed that advice and have stayed healthy.

 

What Are Tap Water Alternatives In Thailand?

Here is a list of best tap water alternatives in Thailand:

  • Bottled water
  • Boiled water
  • Water vending machines

Locals and foreigners who live in Thailand for many years say that bottled water is for tourists only. Their stomachs are used to foods and drinks that should be avoided by first-time travelers to Thailand. And it is totally fine because why risk getting sick.

 

Is Bottled Water Safe In Thailand?

Yes. Bottled water is the best choice for tourists who visit Thailand. It is clean and safe to drink.

Here is a list of most popular bottled water brands in Thailand:

  • Chang
  • Singha
  • Aura
  • Crystal
  • Minere
  • Pure Life
  • Namthip

Bottled water is available everywhere, and it is cheap to buy.

 

Can You Drink Boiled Water In Thailand?

Yes, drinking boiled water is better than to drink water straight from the tap. Of course, the downside to this is that you have to wait until it cools off.

Note that there is no need to boil tap water longer than one minute because all the possible bacteria and viruses will be inactivated in less time than that.

Those are the myths that tap water has to be boiled for 5, 10 or even more minutes to inactivate all the bacteria.

Luckily to all tourists, most hotels and Airbnb’s in Thailand have electric kettles available.

 

Use Of Water Vending Machines In Thailand

I added water refill dispensers as the last alternative to drinking water in Thailand because it is the less safest.

According to Bangkok Post, the Department of Health in 2016 did a study  on the quality of water by taking samples from about 900 water vending machines across Thailand, and it revealed some unpleasant facts:

  • More than 3/4 of water refill dispensers were located in inappropriate areas
  • More than 50% of dispensers were dirty
  • More than 40% had unclean valves
  • Only more than 40% were inspected and cleaned

So if there are no other options than to drink the water from the vending machines in Thailand, you can do it, but be cautious.

To avoid drinking bad quality water, I recommend paying attention to these few things:

  • Check if the vending machine is located in a clean and safe environment
  • Check for its technical condition just by looking at it
  • Check if there is a sticker with the last inspection date on it

And of course, take a look a the water as well. If it looks dirty and smells, you should not drink it.

Some might smile about my last comment, but as it appears people fall into two camps. Some say that these water refill dispensers are used by both locals and tourists for decades and that the water is safe to drink. Other refer to recent studies and avoid drinking water from dispensers by any means.

 

What Is Tap Water Quality Standard In Thailand

Thai Ministry of Health holds the responsibility to monitor drinking water quality in Thailand. They run regular tests of water samples from both rural and urban areas to check either they meet the requirements of national standards for drinking water quality.

Here is the list of things that has a negative impact on the water quality in Thailand:

  • untreated domestic sewage
  • increasing population
  • urbanization
  • agricultural and industrial expansion

 

Does Thailand Have Clean Water?

In the past few years, the tap water quality in Thailand has improved. There have been several studies that have revealed facts about drinking water quality in different regions of Thailand.

Water quality studies reveal that the best tap water quality in Thailand is in western Thailand where the tap water is produced from Mae Klong River.

By the way, the main water sources for tap water and drinking water in Thailand are both surface water and groundwater. It means that to get the full picture of water quality in Thailand samples are taken from:

  • tap water
  • bottled drinking water
  • surface waters
  • groundwaters
  • commercial ice cubes

I know that people sometimes worry about using ice cubes in their drinks as well, but as the ice is produced from good quality water and in hygienic conditions, it is safe.

An exception could be some street vendors who make ice themselves although it is a rare thing because it is too expensive for them to do it on their own.

By the way, if you’re swimming with cuts or abrasions on your body, it is also easy to get an infection.

 

Related Questions

How much is a bottle of water in Thailand? One liter of bottled water will cost you about 10 Baht (0.32 USD, 0.28 EUR, 0.24 GBP). Cheapest will cost you 6 Baht. Such convenience stores as 7-Eleven, FamilyMart, Mini Big C are the cheapest places where to buy bottled water in Thailand.

How Much Water Should I Drink In Thailand? To stay hydrated in Thailand, it is recommended to drink about 2.3 liters of water per day. That is equivalent of ten 8-ounce glasses. And, of course, this amount depends on body size as for smaller bodies it might be enough with six glasses, but bigger bodies might need more.

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