Water Quality, Bangkok
It's about water and ice. If you're not sure about your stomach condition and you are new to SEA, you'll probably stick to a bottled water. Some people told me they got diarrhea from drinking water with ice at some shops on the street. It's never been a problem for me.
Be sure to drink only bottled water and to use bottled water for brushing your teeth. I goofed on the second part a couple of times and am still here, but it's still good advice:)
Also don't order anything with ice in it outside the main hotels and restaurants where they have taken appropriate precautions with their water.
The previous thread is so hypersensitive it makes me sick.
If you want to live in a bubble along with the bubble boy be my guest - DON"T TRAVEL!!!
I've been in SE Asia for longer than I can remember and I've never had or known anyone that has gotten sick from the water / ice in Bangkok.
I really can't believe that people are too paranoid to brush their teeth with the stuff...
No wonder there are so many new SuperBugs out there.. people's immune systems have all but disappeared. I would love to snatch away every bottle of anti-bacterial hand lotion I see, these people would probably have to check into a hospital for a full anti-bacterial treatment. Maybe an anti-bacterial enema...
OK - be cautious in rural areas...but for gods sake, if your body can't handle brushing your teeth with 'dirty' water then stay at home with bubble boy!!!
It's all in your minds people...the mind is a powerful thing!!! Bottled water in Bangkok is a PLACEBO!!!
calm as a Hindu cow...
As with the whole of Thailand, only drink bottled water and use it when you're cleaning your teeth. I kept a bottle with a bit of water in it beside the sink so as to remind myself to use it. Also, avoid ice and salads as they will probably have been washed in dodgy water. Its all common sense really but if you stick to it, you limit the chances of getting ill. A half-litre bottle of water only costs from between 7-10 baht so its cheap and available everywhere.
The water safety question is more complicated than first glance. Tyler, sorry, you're just wrong. Water safety improvements have saved BILLIONS of lives in the last century so the idea that we should return to drinking water that is most often contaminated by E-coli or cholera is ludicrous. The quantity of contaminated water digested is of little relevance to getting sick. Therefore, you should NOT brush your teeth in questionable tap water. However, a new and very real problem is created by the "bottled craze." Recycling is just not routine in places like Thailand, Nepal, Peru....... So little bottles of water take up vast space in landfills. Portable water filters sold at REI and other outdoor stores are excellent in filtering microbes. One last somewhat tangential thought- Drinking bottled water in the USA, Europe and other developed nations is out of control creating similar plastic disposal problems. The idea that this water is somehow more safe has been very well and objectively studied and is of no relevance to your health.
Be careful with whatever you choose to consume, particularly if you are going to remote villages. Remember, dont drink the water!!!
There is a risk of developing food poisoning and other nasties.
My girlfriend was rather unlucky, ending up with food poisoning and due to dehydration was on a drip for a week!!!
Dont forget travel insurance. Our little visit to the Dr cost $160. Keep in mind, you wont see your money for several weeks after you arrive home :(
I agree completely with Tyler, and think you are the one who is wrong, Irvindan. I haven't read or heard of cholera in the cities of Thailand, and I read much more about E-coli in hamburgers in the USA than in street food in Thaland. I have been in Bangkok for four years, and drink the water in every restaurant and sidewalk food stand. Most of it comes from filter machines anyway, but the Bangkok city water is very safe. I have never heard of anyone getting sick from Bangkok water. In the country, I drink bottled water outside the major cities. Ice is safe if it is the circular shape with a hole in the middle -- that comes from filtered ice machines. The crushed ice is probably filtered water, also. It is delivered regularly from the ice companies, not made in the restaurants.
The water in Thailand is not like the water in India. The food is safe if it is cooked. They don't refrigerate the meat on the streets, but they do cook it (more than I prefer) to kill the bugs. I have had diarrhea occasionally from food, but it only last an hour or so. I have only gotten sick from mussels once, and they were in a pancake and not cooked thoroughly. You have an immune system for a reason, let it do it's job. It needs to meet the local germs and get used to them. If you protect yourself too much, you won't be able to fight off the dangerous ones when you do meet them.
They burn the plastic bottles here, in Bangkok and in the country side. Millions of plastic bottles are used daily, and just like in the USA there is no guarantee that bottled water is anything other than tap water in a bottle. There is no regulation of it. Studies of bottled water in Thailand by the local newspaper showed the water didn't taste any better than tap water.
You are supposed to spit out the toothpaste and the water you brush your teeth with. Don't be too paranoid about the tiny amount that stays in your mouth. You can always gargle a bit of mouthwash afterwards, the alcohol will likely kill anything potentially dangerous.
Yes; Bangkok's water is treated at the facility. And, when sampled, at the facility, it will pass all the tests. The problem is contamination from the delivery system.
The pipes that carry the water,to the public, are often old, broken, and in a state of disrepair. Cleaning out the mother-in-law's holding tank, besides all the mud, we have found cellophane wrappers and other debris.
If this stuff can get into the system, one might be able to believe microbes can also enter!
Build an immune system lol. I lived in India for five months and drank the water everywhere. Mainly when I stayed in Bangalore, but also when I travelled to rural areas of southern India. Unless your only staying in the area for a short period of time, I recommend drinking the water. Less of a hassle, makes you feel like less of a tourist. Besides, brushing your teeth with a water bottle is pretty lame. I plan on studying in Asia again this semester, and will drink the water everywhere I go.
I knew not to drink the tap water but that included spitting water out from showering and brushing your teeth with bottle water.
Pharmacies will hand over medication to stop you up if you point to your stomach and their stores have a red cross out front
Go on, drink the water. Cant believe theres even one reviewer suggesting drinking tap water
here. Thailand may be nice but i'm sure it's no more sanitary than places like Turkey. With the greatest of care I still managed to get ill in Turkey so when you go abroad dont risk it.
To say 'get immune' is nonsence, would you risk spending your holiday on a toilet?
Buy a bottle. If the country produces poor quality water then the country will have to deal with plastic bottles, maybe using some of the revenue made from tourists!
IS THE WATER TO DRINK?
Generally, DO NOT drink the tap water in Thailand. Washing your face, taking a shower and brushing your teeth with it is fine. Other than that, DO buy lots and lots of bottled water during your stay in Thailand. This is what I've always done. Depending on the bottle size and brand, expect to pay between 6 and 25 bahts for it. Most Thais (as far as I know) don't drink the tap water themselves... So, you can be sure that the water you've just drunk at the local restaurants is from a bottle and not from the tap. It's always good to be on the safe side than be sorry later (when you suffer from tummy ache). :-))
Photo Below: Don't forget to visit a woodcarving factory to see how some of these amazing artwork is done.
The major thing here is to ensure, whatever you do...do not consume the tap water...that includes brushing your teeth. My friend and I were very lucky to get away with brushing our teeth in the water...neither of us were sick (I'm not sure what this says about my stomach??)...however I have had other friends who have been violently ill for 3 days for doing exactly the same thing.
1. I am a scientist working at Metropolitan Waterworks Authority in Bangkok, with 30 years experiences in the field. If you may have any questions in related to the quality of water in Bangkok, please e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Since 1999, Mahidol University assured that MWA tap water quality fully meets the World Health Organization criterias and standards. This results in the official announcement of potable tap water in all service areas of MWA.
3. Tap water in Bangkok is safe to drink directly from tap. Please visit our website: MWA Clean Water Clinic
for more information on water quality issues
4. In Bangkok / Tap water service Metropolitan Waterworks Authority-MWA / MWA provides Real-time Tap Water Quality Monitoring System and allowed public access to observe water quality. And it is the first website in the world provides real-time public tap water quality to public. You may visit at
5. Monthly tap water quality reports are also avaliable in internet (English version) at
6. In blind taste tests, most people cannot tell the difference between chilled bottled water and chilled MWA tap water.
In conclusion MWA is the first public waterworks utilities provided real time tap water quality information for consumers and safe to drink fom tap.
Please be sure when you drink in Bangkok, please drink MWA tap water.
29 April 2011
19.00 h local time in Bangkok
Water is safe to drink in the hotels, but it's best not to get ice cubes in drinks bought off the street. Overall, the dangers in Bangkok are more likely to involve your wallet than your health.