Questions + Answers

How Much Is A Bottle Of Water In Thailand?

Coming to Thailand? It’s good to have an idea of prices before you get here. And the water quality is sketchy in this country, so you will be drinking bottled water.

So how much is a bottle of water in Thailand?

The prices are cheapest at grocery stores and 7/11’s. For a 500ml bottle of water, you can expect to pay 7฿ (18p or $0.20) for the cheapest options and up to 10-12฿ (30p or $0.35) for premium options.

In restaurants and bars, the price depends on how nice the place is. A bottle of water at a Thai restaurant will cost 15-20฿, a typical bar or Western restaurant may cost 20-50฿ and at high-end bars or hotel restaurants, you’re looking at 80-100฿.

That’s not all there is to it, of course. So I’ll spend the rest of the article answering a few of the main questions about bottled water here as well as giving you a couple of tips from my time living and working here.

Is Bottled Water Widely Available?

Thailand’s climate is subtropical, which means the words you use to describe the weather here is hot, very hot and not quite as hot. It’s also very humid which pushes the heat index into uncomfortable territory. So it’s essential to stay hydrated and ensure you always have access to drinking water.

In Bangkok and other cities, you are always a short walk from a 7/11. You will see the green, red and orange of their signs everywhere. Sometimes two right next to each other! I recommend getting a data plan so, among other things, you can search for the nearest one. Here’s my searching in the area where I live.

[pic coming soon :)]

Like to speak a bit of the language? You can also ask someone seh waehn tee nai which translates as “Where is the nearest 7/11?”

Thai people are a friendly bunch and you’ll be met by a happy face and a finger pointing to the nearest one.

Outside of towns and cities is trickier. On the islands or other tourist hotspots, there’s always local shops around to sell you some. If you wanna trek up a mountain unaccompanied then plan ahead. Common sense, as usual, prevails.

Will My Hotel Provide Bottled Water?

When you check in to a hotel or hostel in Thailand, you are always given a ‘starter’ bottle of water or two. It’s the standard here. I can’t think of a single time where this didn’t happen.

Hotels typically have two bottles of water waiting for you in your room. Don’t confuse this with the drinks in the fridge/minibar that you have to pay for. The free bottles of water are usually not chilled, though. Maybe that’s where they get you.

On the other hand, if you’re an Airbnb kinda traveller then don’t expect the same luxury.

Hostels, by which I mean the 20-beds a dorm mega hostels, may give you a bottle of water when you check in. I’m not speaking with great authority there as I stopped staying in those places a long time ago.

What Is The Cost Of Other Drinks/Sodas?

Thailand with its year round 35-40°C weather is a great place to enjoy a chilled drink. The grocery shops and minimarts and 7/11’s are lined with wall-to-wall fridges filled with drinks of all kinds.

Like anywhere, bottled water is the cheapest. But drinks in general are affordable. Both the average income and cost of living in Thailand is low. So you can enjoy prices that are astonishing when compared to other countries.

Here’s a list of some of the popular drinks with their prices at a 7/11 or similar groceries shop.

330ml Can of Coca Cola – 14฿
600ml Bottle of Domestic Beer – 65฿
250ml carton of almond milk – 25฿
330ml bottle of sparkling/fizzy water – 9฿
250ml carton of orange juice – 20฿
440ml bottle of chocolate milk – 27฿

Which Brand Of Bottled Water Is The Best?

When you buy bottled water in Thailand, you are not short on choice. The cheapest options cost 7฿ and are all much of a muchness, tasting similar to good (safe) tap water.

[pic coming soon :)]

Three of these options are Singha, Chang and Leo. While they all offer bottled still and sparkling water, you’ll also see the names on bottles of beer as well. At least part of this is because it’s illegal to advertise alcohol in Thailand, so you find these companies promote their water and sparkling water range as a way of indirectly building brand awareness for their beer.

Next up in price are the brands of water that cost 10-12฿. One I like is Purra. I see television adverts for this frequently with a movie actress who really enjoys her bottled water to the point where she has hallucinations about being near a cold mountain spring. Either way, this one tastes pretty decent.

[pic coming soon :)]

Another that I can vouch for is ‘Mont Fleur’ bottled water. This French-sounding brand costs even more than the Purra water at a wallet-busting 12 baht฿. Like the Purra, this definitely tastes better than the cheap stuff. I’ve done (highly unscientific) taste tests. I’m unsure as to whether these premium bottled waters are mineral waters, but I suspect not.

[pic coming soon :)]

Is It Safe To Drink Water From The Tap?

In Bangkok, the answer to this question is yes if you go by official sources. Since 1999, the water in Bangkok has met the standards set by the World Health Organisation, which means it is of similar quality to the drinkable water in New York or London or other major cities.

Personally, I drink tap water from the faucet of my Sukhumvit apartment on a daily basis and I have had zero problems. And in terms of the taste, I find it far more appealing than the tap water in London.

Despite this, many expats and Thais do not drink tap water. For various reasons, there is a certain lack of trust in public services and governmental organisations. So just because the Metropolitan Waterworks Authority declares it to be safe, doesn’t mean everyone believes them. Their quote:

MWA’s water supply at presently (2011), almost 100% of Bangkok’s population receives reliable, safe tap water through the state-run utility.

I wrote a more lengthy explanation of all this here.

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