Can You Drink the Water in Thailand?

If you’re planning a trip to the Land of Smiles, you find yourself wondering if you can drink the water in Thailand. In this article you’ll get all the facts and practical information you need about drinking tap water in Thailand, the drinking water quality in Thailand, filtered water, bottled water, drinking water when showering, swimming, and brushing your teeth, so that you can have a safe trip to this fascinating country.

Where Does Thailand’s Drinking Water Come From?

The majority of Thailand’s drinking water comes from two primary sources: surface water and groundwater. About 70% of Thailand’s water supply is made up of surface water.

Most of the water is collected from rivers, particularly the Chao Phraya and Mekong Rivers, which are the most important. The water is stored in almost 1000 dams across the country. The biggest is the Bhumibol Dam on the Ping River which is part of the Chao Phraya River system.

Water hydraulic turbine with cycling power for water treatment at an urban park in Bangkok, Thailand
Water hydraulic turbine with cycling power for water treatment at Benjakitti Park in Thailand

Groundwater makes up the other 30% of Thailand’s water supply, extracted from wells and springs. Groundwater is used most in the Central Plains and Northeast regions, tapping into the large aquifers there. There are at least 20,000 registered wells in Thailand.

Thailand’s Metropolitan Waterworks Authority serves over 11 million people in and around Bangkok, It’s water treatment plants use sedimentation, filtration, and disinfection processes, which aligns with World Health Organization standards.

In metropolitan areas like Bangkok, the Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA) supplies water, which is treated and chlorinated to eliminate bacteria and parasites. The MWA conducts over 300,000 water quality tests annually to ensure safety standards.

So now you know where Thailand’s water comes from and how it’s treated, but will you get sick if you drink it? Let’s answer that question next.

So is it Safe to Drink Tap Water in Thailand?

The quality of water that comes out of the tap across the different parts of Thailand varies considerably.

And while it is safe to drink tap water in Bangkok because it meets Thai FDA standards, the tap water contains traces of heavy metals like lead, but within limits legal in Thailand.

Taps in a Thailand School
Taps in a Thailand School

I don’t like the lead content in Thailand’s drinking water and neither do the locals. That’s why they drink more than 45 billion liters of bottled water each year.

Bottled water in a convenience store in  Thailand
Bottled water in a convenience store in Thailand

In more rural areas, water quality might not be as high as in Bangkok because of a less rigorous treatment process and/or because of old outdated pipe systems and I certainly don’t drink tap water in rural areas.

If you drink tap water that isn’t clean, it can lead to contracting illnesses such as travelers’ diarrhea, typhoid, and Hepatitis A, especially for travellers who aren’t used to the local microbes.

The bottom line – if you aren’t used to the food and water in Southeast Asia, it’s much safer to use bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth to avoid tummy upsets.

Can I brush my teeth with Thailand tap water?

Little boy brushing his teeth in Phuket Town, Thailand
Little boy brushing his teeth in Phuket Town, Thailand

Technically, the tap water in major cities, which undergoes rigorous treatment, should be safe for brushing teeth. However, if you’re in more rural areas where water purification standards may not be as high, you could be at risk.

To err on the side of caution, many seasoned travelers and health experts recommend using bottled water for brushing your teeth.

Alternatively, you can boil tap water for at least a minute, which should kill most bacteria and parasites, or use water purification tablets or portable purifiers.

I have always brushed my teeth in Thailand with boiled water, but these days I used a water bottle with a purifier.

You will find almost all hotels supply a couple of bottles of water in the bathroom to use when brushing your teeth. These are generally replenished daily.

The bottom line is – while it’s possible to use tap water for brushing teeth in Thailand, it’s safer to avoid doing so, especially if you’re outside of the major cities.

Public Filtered Drinking Water Dispensers

Thailand has made significant strides in improving access to clean water, with initiatives such as public drinking fountains that provide free filtered tap water.

Public filtered drinking water fountain, Bangkok. Thailand
Public filtered drinking water fountain, Bangkok. Thailand

These filtered water stations, found throughout public spaces such as parks and squares, provide a free and safe source of drinking water.

They are frequently maintained and monitored for quality. So, whether you’re visiting a park, museum, or any public space, you can fill up your water bottle for free and know you’re drinking safe and clean water.

Should I drink Bottled Water in Thailand

As a traveler, it’s always safer to drink bottled water in Thailand. BUT, buy reputable brands that you are familiar with.

Bottled water and ice by the beach in Koh Samui, Thailand
Bottled water in a glass bottle and ice by the beach in Koh Samui, Thailand

Bottled water is readily available throughout the country, and it’s inexpensive. With a wide variety of international brands readily available in stores across the city, you can choose from still or sparkling, mineral-enriched, or pure spring water.

Always ensure that the seal is intact before you drink to avoid any possible contamination.

Suvarnabhumi Airport Filtered Water Dispenser, Bangkok, Thailand
Suvarnabhumi Airport Filtered Water Dispenser, Bangkok, Thailand

However, it’s worth noting the environmental implications of consuming bottled water. The production and disposal of plastic bottles contribute to pollution and resource depletion.

You might instead want to consider drinking tap water in Thailand that you have filtered before drinking, rather than buying bottled drinking water.

Reusable Filter Water Bottles

Alternatively, consider bringing along a reusable water bottle with a built-in filter. This can be a more eco-friendly choice, and you’ll also avoid the potential health risks associated with disposable plastic bottles.

This strategy minimizes your environmental impact, providing a balance between personal comfort and ecological responsibility.

Reusable water bottle with filter
Reusable water bottle with filter

The built-in filters usually utilize activated carbon or more advanced technology like microfiltration or UV sterilization to remove contaminants, reduce chlorine taste, and in some cases, eliminate harmful bacteria and protozoa.

This means that not only can you safely use tap water for brushing your teeth and as drinking water, but you’re also equipped for adventures off the beaten path where water safety might be a concern.

These water filter bottles offer an excellent solution for the eco-conscious traveler. They reduce reliance on single-use plastic bottles, leading to less environmental pollution and waste.

You will also save money over time, especially in locations where bottled water is pricey. So whether you’re sipping water in a cafe or hiking in the mountains around Chiang Mai, filtered water bottles keep you hydrated and responsible.

Frequently Asked Questions about Tap Water in Thailand

Can Australians drink water in Thailand?

Australians can generally drink water in Thailand, however, the quality varies from place to place. In larger cities, such as Bangkok, tap water undergoes rigorous treatment processes to ensure safety before it reaches you.
Conversely, in more remote areas, there may be less infrastructure to support a clean water supply. It is always best to use bottled water for drinking.

Can I brush my teeth with tap water in Thailand?

Brushing your teeth with tap water in Thailand is generally safe. The water is treated and is generally free of bacteria and other contaminants. However, it’s best to use bottled water if you have a sensitive stomach or are not accustomed to tap water in Thailand.

Can you drink the water in Phuket?

Drinking water in Phuket is generally safe in the sense that it is treated and is generally free of bacteria and other contaminants. However, some people may experience stomach discomfort if they are not used to the local water. It’s best to use bottled water if you have a sensitive stomach or are not accustomed to the water.

Can you have ice in Phuket?


In Phuket, you can use ice in your drinks if it is made from purified or bottled drinking water, in which case, it’s safe to consume. Ice is produced commercially using treated water. However, if you have a sensitive stomach, you may want to avoid using ice in your drinks.

Can I wash my face with water in Thailand?

Yes, you can wash your face with water in Thailand. The tap water in most regions, especially in urban areas, is treated and generally safe for non-consumptive uses like washing, bathing, and laundry.
Try not to get water in your mouth.

Is shower water safe in Thailand?

Absolutely, shower water in Thailand is safe. The water supply in urban and tourist areas is treated to remove harmful contaminants, making it safe for bathing and showering.
However, it’s always wise to avoid swallowing shower water, especially if you’re not accustomed to the local water supply.
If you’re staying in rural areas with less advanced water treatment, try to keep your mouth closed during the shower to minimize risk.

Do Thai people drink their own tap water?

Thai people generally drink tap water, but it is usually boiled first to kill any potential bacteria.
However, many Thai people also drink bottled water, especially in more remote areas where the quality of the tap water may not be as high.

Can you drink the water in Thailand?


While tap water in Thailand’s urban areas, such as Bangkok, is treated to meet local health standards, its taste, mineral content, and treatment process may differ from what travelers are accustomed to.
In more rural areas, water treatment can vary.
Therefore, for safety and to avoid potential stomach discomfort, most visitors opt for drinking bottled water, which is widely available and inexpensive across the country.

Is iced coffee safe in Thailand?

Iced coffee is generally safe to consume in Thailand, especially when purchased from reputable cafes or restaurants, which typically have commercially produced ice delivered each day.
Street vendors are also largely safe, as Thailand has strict regulations about ice production. However, if you’re unsure or have a sensitive stomach, it’s always wise to ask if the ice is made with purified water.

Should I bring a reusable water bottle to Thailand?


Bringing a reusable water bottle to Thailand is a great idea. Not only will it help you stay hydrated, but it will also reduce the amount of plastic waste you produce.
Plus, you can refill it with purified water from the many filtered water stations found throughout the country.

Keep Planning Your Trip to Thailand