Thailand is a popular travel destination for its picturesque beaches, diverse culture, and lively street scenes. However, it's important to consider the safety of drinking water while planning a trip to the country. Many travelers wonder whether drinking water in Thailand is safe. This post answers some of the common questions travelers have about Thailand drinking water..

Readers of this blog can get a 10% discount on Water-to-Go bottles. Use coupon code “THAILAND10” at checkout.

Water to Go

Is It Safe to Drink Tap Water in Thailand?

The general rule of thumb is to avoid drinking tap water in Thailand. In Thailand, the quality of tap water varies across different regions. The safety of tap water largely depends on the purification processes in place. While some areas have relatively safe tap water, many parts of the country, particularly rural areas and small towns, have water that is not potable. There are common concerns of contamination from bacteria, parasites, and pollutants. As a result, drinking tap water in Thailand is generally not considered safe.

What Happens If You Drink Tap Water in Thailand?

Tap water in Thailand may contain harmful bacteria, viruses, or parasites, which can lead to various health problems. These health problems may range from mild gastrointestinal discomfort to severe illnesses such as diarrhea, hepatitis, cholera, or typhoid fever. Visitors from other countries, especially those unfamiliar with the local water, may be at a higher risk of getting sick. Common symptoms of waterborne illnesses may include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and dehydration, which can disrupt travel plans.

Water to Go

How Can I Not Get Sick in Thailand?

To ensure you stay healthy during your time in Thailand, here are some essential tips:

  1. Avoid Tap Water: Drink purified water from a reputable water filter bottle or opt for plastic bottles of water.  Ensure the seal on the bottle is intact before consuming.
  2. Use Purified or Bottled Water for Oral Hygiene: Refrain from using tap water when brushing your teeth or rinsing your mouth. Purified water from a water filter bottle or bottled water should be used to prevent accidental ingestion of harmful bacteria.
  3. Be Cautious with Ice: While many establishments use purified ice, it's safer to inquire about the source of the ice or opt for beverages without ice to avoid potential contamination.
  4. Choose Cooked Foods: Stick to cooked or boiled foods, as they are less likely to harbor harmful bacteria than raw or undercooked dishes.
  5. Wash Fruits and Vegetables: If consuming raw fruits or vegetables, thoroughly wash them with clean water or peeled to remove potential contaminants.
  6. Carry Water Filter Bottles: Water filter bottles can treat water from natural sources when traveling to remote areas or engaging in outdoor activities. Water filter bottles are portable and convenient tools for purifying water on the go. Adding it to your travel kit can provide additional protection against waterborne contaminants, allowing you to explore Thailand more confidently and safely.

Water to Go

Can you drink boiled tap water in Thailand?

Boiling tap water can kill some bacteria and parasites, making drinking safer. However, it does not remove chemical pollutants, so it's still advisable to use bottled or purified water form a water filter bottle whenever possible.

Can you brush your teeth with tap water in Thailand?

Purified or bottled water for brushing teeth is recommended to avoid accidentally ingesting harmful bacteria in tap water.

Can Americans drink tap water in Thailand?

Not recommended. Most Thai people recommend against it. American travelers should follow the same precautions as other travelers when drinking tap water in Thailand. Sticking to water filter bottles or bottled water is advisable to avoid potential health risks.

Can you drink water in hotels in Thailand?

Most reputable hotels in Thailand provide guests with bottled water or have water filtration systems in place. Drinking hotel water is generally safe, but always double-check the source.

Water to Go

Can I drink the tap water in Phuket?

It is advisable to refrain from drinking tap water directly, even in areas of Phuket where the water may have undergone treatment. Stick to bottled or purified water to prevent gastrointestinal issues during your stay.

Can I wash my face with tap water in Thailand?

Tap water in Thailand should be fine for external use. However, avoiding tap water in your mouth or eyes is best to minimize the risk of ingestion.

Can I have ice in Thailand?

Ice in Thailand is often made from purified water in reputable establishments. However, if you're unsure about the source of the ice, it's safer to avoid it to prevent potential contamination.

Should you have ice in drinks in Thailand?

It's recommended to skip adding ice to your drinks if you have concerns or doubts about the quality of the ice or the establishment to minimize the potential risk of waterborne illnesses.

In conclusion, while the allure of Thailand's exotic charm is undeniable, ensuring your health and well-being should be a top priority. By following these precautions and opting for safe drinking practices, you can enjoy your journey through Thailand without worrying about the quality of its water. Remember, a healthy traveler is a happy traveler!


Readers of this blog can get a 10% discount on Water-to-Go bottles. Use coupon code “THAILAND10” at checkout.

External Sources:

  • World Health Organization (WHO) - "Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Health: A Primer for Health Professionals in Developing Countries."
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - "Travelers' Health: Food and Water Safety."

For additional information:

  • Lonely Planet Travel Guide: Lonely Planet is a renowned travel guide publisher known for its comprehensive and reliable information on destinations worldwide. Their Thailand travel guide provides valuable insights into various aspects of travel, including tips on staying healthy and safe, as well as water consumption recommendations.
  • Thai Ministry of Public Health: The Thai Ministry of Public Health is the government agency responsible for Thailand's public health policies and initiatives. Their website often provides up-to-date information and guidelines on health-related matters, including water quality and safety standards. Checking their official publications or statements can offer valuable insights into the current state of water safety in different regions of Thailand.
Written by Lalaine Altar

Leave a comment