Thailand Drinking Water – Is it Safe?

Bottled water is safest in Thailand.

Bottled water is safest in Thailand.

I’ve been here a couple years and so far I don’t believe I’ve been sick from drinking Thailand’s water. Impossible to know of course what exactly I’ve had “Montezuma’s revenge” from, but I always attribute it to the Thai food I’ve eaten and not the water being unsafe.

The key to knowing if the Thailand water is safe is to look at the ice. The ice will be a circular ice with a hole in the middle – like a very thick “Lifesaver” if you’re familiar with that candy or same shape as a Lifesaver of styrofoam that is a water flotation device but with a smaller hole and thicker sides – if that makes sense.

Anyway, look at the ice and if it resembles what I tried to describe above then you’re probably safe. A Thai restaurant wouldn’t get this good ice and put it with bad water. They’d have bad ice too.  Even very small restaurants or holes in the wall have this type of ice. It’s very cheap for them and they buy it daily from trucks that drive around and sell it.  You will probably get charged extra for your ice too – but, no matter – it’s good stuff and you won’t get sick from it.

If the ice is round I think I’m safe drinking the water they provide with it.  Most Thais don’t want to drink the water here either and their business would be ruined quickly if they served tap water and many people got sick from it – so they charge for good water and keep everyone happy.

Is it safe to brush my teeth in Thailand with tap water?

When I first arrived in Thailand I brushed with bottled water.  After a couple weeks and talking to some long-term expats I switched to tap water and as I said, I don’t think I’ve had the “runs” as a result of using the tap water for this.

Is Thai bottled water safe?

If you stay for any length of time you’ll probably start getting delivered bottled water to your door. These are 5 gallon plastic bottles that a number of companies make and fill with filtered and drinkable water for 8 to 12 baht at the present time.

Problem is that the bottles are used over and over in Thailand for this type of water. I have found green stains in the bottom of my bottle. Now, whether this is from the cleaning agent used for getting rid of the fungus that might build up – or whether it was fungus itself I haven’t a clue. What I do know is that I no longer used that company.

I always check the inside of the bottle now – after I buy it and open it. Even though it’s bottled, doesn’t mean it’s safe. On the other hand, the store bough 1 – 1.5 liter bottles of Thailand’s Nestle or Singha water are always clean.

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2 thoughts on “Thailand Drinking Water – Is it Safe?

  1. I plan on stockpiling filters from US. and if there is problem building system to filter our water. I am concerned soon more valuable than oil! Be prepared now!

  2. We fill large bottles from the local reverse-cycle vending machines – 5 to 10 baht per 5 litre bottle. No problems. We were told by locals that it’s safe. Have been cooking pasta with tap water, washing salad veggies with it also. No problems. We will have a filter installed in our house in due course.

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