If you are visiting Thailand, you might wonder if tap water in Thailand is safe to drink. Can you drink the tap water all across the country, or are there certain cities or regions of the country where tap water is safe? Is tap water in Thailand safe to drink?
The answer is no… Tap water is definitely not safe to drink in Thailand. The tap water in Thailand can contain harmful bacteria and contaminants, and can be dangerous to consume. It is not uncommon for travelers to get ill from drinking tap water in Thailand, so it is best to avoid it at all costs.
But are there scenarios where the tap water in Thailand is potable? What if you boil it or filter it? In this article, you’ll find out everything you need to know about Thailand’s tap water!
Is It Safe To Drink Tap Water In Thailand?
As we mentioned above, it is not safe to drink tap water in Thailand. Most of the tap water comes from surface water and groundwater sources, which are then filtered, purified and added with chlorine at water treatment plants.
Though this might make the water potable, many of the pipes that transfer the water to your tap are old and leaky, which could contaminate the water. And if you are somewhere with a water storage tank, you’ll also need to be sure that it is clean as well.
There have been reports from the Thai government saying that the tap water is safe, but the majority of the locals do not trust the government or the procedure involved in testing. That is why you are unlikely to find any Thai locals drinking tap water. They usually go for bottled water or use a water filter at home.
As travelers, it is always better to be on the safe side. Drinking tap water in Thailand can be risky and is not recommended. If the locals don’t do it, then you definitely should not be doing it as well. Always stick with bottled water when you are in Thailand, since filtered water might have a filter that needed to be changed.
Related Reading: Does Thai Iced Tea Have Caffeine?
Is It Safe To Brush Teeth With Tap Water In Thailand?
Even though the tap water in Thailand could be contaminated, it is typically safe to brush your teeth with tap water. When you brush your teeth with tap water, you are only ingesting a tiny amount of the water into your npdy, and that amount is not enough to make you sick or have any stomach issues.
However, it is still important to take precaution when brushing your teeth with tap water in Thailand. If you are in a remote place in Thailand, perhaps one of the more remote islands, and the infrastructure isn’t that developed, the water might be more dirty than usual.
In that case, if you don’t trust the tap water, then stick with bottled water. You can use bottled water to wet your toothbrush and rinse your mouth after brushing.
Is it Safe to Have Ice in Drinks In Thailand?
The ice in drinks in Thailand is usually safe, as long as they are made with filtered water or bottled water. If ice is made with tap water, then it could be contaminated and should not be consumed.
Most restaurants or cafes in Thailand will use filtered water or bottled water when making ice for drinks, and even if they don’t explicitly say that the ice is made from filtered or bottled water, you can usually tell just by looking at it.
Store-bought ice is typically circular with a hole in it, and that is a sign that the ice is safe. However, you might find locals making their own ice at home, and its hard to tell whether the ice is safe or not in that scenario.
But given the fact that most Thai locals are aware of the dangers of unsafe tap water, most ice in drinks are safe in Thailand. We’ve had countless amounts of ice in our drinks in Thailand and none of us have gotten sick…yet (knock on wood).
Related Reading: Does Thai Food Have MSG?
Can You Drink Boiled Water In Thailand?
Boiled water is safe to drink in Thailand, but travelers might find the taste a little bit off-putting. Boiling water is a great way to remove bacteria and other microorganisms, but you will still have small traces of chemical pollutants and sediments that are found in tap water like fluoride or lead.
Unless the boiled water is also filtered, it is hard to remove the sediments. In that case, even though the boiled water is safe to drink, you might not want to.
Is it Safe to Drink Tap Water in Bangkok?
The quality of tap water in Bangkok is one of the most controversial topics in Thailand. The Provincial Waterworks Authority of Bangkok has stated that the tap water is safe through research, but locals and travelers often express their doubts about it.
A study was done and it showed that nearly none of the locals in Bangkok drink tap water, even though the government insists that it is safe. Another factor to consider is the piping in Bangkok. If you have old and contaminated piping, clean water can become unpotable by the time it reaches the faucet.
From our experiences, we have gotten sick several times in Bangkok, but we cannot say that tap water was the culprit. Because of the uncertainty, we highly recommend that you stick with bottled water or filtered water when traveling in Bangkok. In fact, this should apply to all of Thailand.
Water Refill Dispensers In Thailand
If you have been in Thailand for some time, you might notice that there are a lot of water refill dispensers available. The Thai government has installed these around the country to provide clean water to locals and travelers.
However, the maintenance and cleanliness of these machines are uncertain. A study was done in 2016 and found that 40 percent of the water dispensers failed to meet acceptable water quality standards.
Nowadays, the water quality from these dispensers are much better, and you’ll often see locals using them to refill their water bottle. For 1 Thai baht, you can have 2 liters of drinking water that is cleaned with reverse osmosis and ultraviolet purification.
We have personally tried them and have not gotten sick from them.
Is Bottled Water Safe In Thailand?
Yes, bottled water is usually safe in Thailand. All brands of bottled water sold in Thai stores and supermarkets are generally of higher quality than tap water. We don’t recommend drinking bottled water due to the environmental impact of plastic bottles, but it is a reliable safe option when traveling in Thailand. If this is your first time in Thailand, bottled water is your best bet.
If you could, travel with a water filter bottle or your own purchased water bottle and refill it from the water refill dispensers or filtered taps in Thailand. This way, you can still have clean and safe drinking water without having to worry about environmental damage or cost.
Tap Water In Thailand FAQs
What If You Get Sick From Tap Water in Thailand?
If you get sick from drinking contaminated water in Thailand, it is important to stay hydrated and rest. If you experience severe vomiting or diarrhea where you cannot stay hydrated, it is important that you seek medical attention right away. There are numerous health clinics and hospitals throughout Thailand where you can go to get treatment.
Can I Brush My Teeth With Tap Water In Thailand?
Generally speaking, it is safe to brush your teeth with tap water in Thailand. That is because you are only ingesting a trace amount of tap water into your body when you brush your teeth. Of course, if the water looks exceptionally dirty, then it is best to stick with bottled water.
Conclusion: Is Tap Water Safe to Drink in Thailand?
If you have made it to the end of the article, you’ll know that tap water is generally not safe to drink in Thailand. While the quality of the water is considered potable in Bangkok, locals still avoid tap water just to be on the safe side. And as tourists, it is recommended that you do the same. For places in Thailand other than Bangkok, we recommend sticking with bottled water or filtered water.