Drinking Water in China?

Hey all, going to China soon for a couple of weeks and was wondering about the water situation there. From what I've read the tap water isn't really drinkable and the bottled water is a bit suss as well. I looked at some of those portable drinking straw filters but they don't seem to filter out heavy metals which is a major source of contamination over there. So if anyone who has travelled or lived in China has any tips to help us avoid any water issues that would be great.

('Only drink coke' isn't an option either as we don't drink fizzy any more. :) )



  • +1

    Just boil water then drink tea or coffee, they can cover most of the bad smell, also, for short stay, purchase the filtering bottle from Chemist or Supermarket here, as long as you are not stay too long there, should be no problem, but air pollution will be harder to avoid.

  • +5

    No Ganten water?? (like AO imported for the past two years from China)

  • Anyone else decant the top part and leave the bottom part in blind hope that it makes a difference?

  • +2

    Do not drink the tap water anywhere in China and that includes rivers and lakes. Make sure you bring bottled water or make sure you have access to somewhere you can buy it.

    • +3

      and don't ask for ice in drinks either

  • +1

    Hotels typically provide free bottled water. Convenience stores are also a good place to buy bottled water, though you will pay more for imported brands over local.

  • What you've read is right.

    To echo what Clear said above: Depending on your stomach, do not drink any tap water. This includes from the hotel tap, shower, while brushing teeth etc. Some of the bottled water is suss as some "sellers" rebottle the water from the tap. Only pick up bottled water from the hotel or buy it from the supermarket/convenience store.

  • -2

    Buy distilled water not mineral or spring.

    • +2

      Quick way to lose your minerals.

      • You pickup more salts and mineral from the food you eat.

  • +1

    The bottled water is fine. Don't drink the tap water.

  • The bottled water is fine. Just buy and open it yourself from a store so you can hear and feel the factory seal being broken.

  • +4

    when i was in china 2 years ago i avoided all water and just drank beer.

    stay safe, stay hydrated

  • +2

    I go to Beijing & Shanghai semi-frequently. Bottled water is fine and there are vending machines all over the place selling it for like 30 cents. Heaps of convenient stores too. Most hotels also supply a few bottles every day. Unless you're travelling to rural areas, you'll be fine. China isn't a 3rd world country. No need to think of it as such.

    • I think the worm filters on Xiaomi toilet seats are enough to scare people.

      • What? WHAT?

    • +2

      2nd world isn't much of a difference, and they certainly treat human rights like it's 3rd world.

      • +2

        Why does this have to become a political discussion? We're talking about water ffs.

        • Why so defensive? Adonael was merely talking about the definition and differences between "second", "third" world (replying to a topic that YOU bought up).

          You mention a statement "China isn't a third world country", and then get angry when someone else disagrees and challenges this view with an example.

          While we're here, water supply quality and safety can be a very political topic. Imagine if the water supply Sydney is not drinkable/safe for consumption from the tap, it would be a much bigger topic of discussion compared with stadiums in the uping NSW elections.

          PS I did not neg you

  • If you are really paranoid you can always buy bottled water and then boil the water again before drinking it

  • Went there last year. Just about everyone in the more urbanised areas just drank bottled water (I've had no issue with drinking their bottled water) and occasionally boiling it. But yeah, definitely DO NOT drink straight from the tap. Go for boiled or bottled.

    Also, bottled water there can be really cheap depending on where you get it from. There'll be corner marts almost next to each other selling the same stuff at different prices, so walk around a bit to find a nice price.

  • +1

    Bottled water is fine. Buy from chain supermarkets e.g. Carrefour, you can be fairly confident it's not be tampered with.

    A bigger concern in China is alcohol. Be careful where and what you buy. There's a huge black market for fake booze.

    • +1

      There's a huge black market for fake booze everything.


    • I saw a raid on a fake prawn factory, filling old prawn heads with gelatine.

  • also, at a lot of the larger cities, you'll find that most of the shopping malls/convenience stores have boiling water available

    • For what, tea or two minute noodles?

      • yes

  • If you are on holidays, just buy the local beers.

  • Thanks all. We'll go for bottled water wherever we can. :)

  • Boiling water to reduce heavy metals will not work, in fact it can increase the concentration. If you are concerned about the bottled water, I would look for a portable jug or water bottle with filter that removes a percentage of heavy metals and contaminants to pour the bottled water in to for a secondary filtration, I'm not sure about any that guarantee to remove all heavy metals, without effecting the minerals in the water (in which case best to add a pinch of good quality Himalayan or Celtic salt to water) . Prevention is always better than cure, Activated Charcoal is good to carry while traveling if you have consumed suspect food/drinks or have gastro symptoms. If it all seems to difficult then go with Altomic's suggestion and just drink Beer! Enjoy

  • Bottled water a bit sus, Don't tell all those poor bastards at the tennis who could only buy Chinese bottled water.

    • Yeah that was my concern. I don't mind buying water but will I be buying rebottled tap water?

      • You mean like in Australia?

        • Maybe, not sure. We filter our own tank water and drink that. :)

  • Scotch whiskey is probably the only thing thats not radioactive there and even then watch it's not fake. Don't even brush your teeth with their water.

  • +1

    Or check from any Walmart nearby and buy the imported water such as Evian there. When buy from Walmart can make sure there are not the copy.

  • Thanks

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