Planning on visiting Laos soon and thinking about if you can drink the water in Laos. Laos is making some improvements to its water infrastructure but Laos is not a rich country and is really a developing country.
You should NOT drink the tap water in Laos, most water sources have been either polluted from chemical waste to human waste, poor sanitation infrastructure, or old pipes. You should only drink bottled or purified water and avoid drinking anything with ice in it.
In this post, we will go through whether you can drink tap water in Laos. So let’s get started!
Learn More About Laos
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- How Much Does Beer Cost In Laos?
- Is Laos Worth Visiting?
- What Adapter Do I Need For Laos?
- Do You Need A Visa For Laos?
Is It Safe To Drink Tap Water In Laos?
You Should NOT drink the water from the tap in Laos. The water sources in Laos are affected by a wide range of issues from human waste, to pollution by chemicals, old water pipes, and water treatment facilities.
The Laos locals, in general, don’t drink water straight out of a tap. The ones that do will have no ill effect on them because they would have a build-up of tolerance.
In Laos, you should only drink bottled or purified water and if no water is available then you can boil the water before drinking but only as a last resort. And avoid drinking anything with ice in it.
Especially outside of Vientiane, you need to be more careful about drinking tap water even ice cubes in restaurants, and hotels.
Does Laos Have Clean Water?
Simply, Laos does not have clean water. The problem is the lack of infrastructure. Laos as a country has plenty of rivers and lakes but lacks the infrastructure to make that water clean and accessible.
Vientiane has water pipe infrastructure but it is aging and in need of huge upgrades.
Apart from Vientiane, a lot of the locals get their water from wells, rivers, and lakes. There is an extremely high risk of agricultural waste, human waste, pollution from chemicals, and even weather-related events like flooding.
What Are The Alternatives To Tap Water In Laos?
Again, it is NOT advised to drink tap water in Laos. This applies to locals and foreigners who visit and live in Laos.
One sure way to get sick in Laos is to drink tap water but it is not worth the risk of getting sick while on holiday and could easily ruin your trip to Laos.
Here is a list of the tap water alternatives in Laos.
- Bottled water.
- Filtered water.
- Boil the water as a last resort.
Can You Brush Your Teeth With Tap Water In Laos?
No, it is safer to use bottled water or boiled water before using the water to brush your teeth. Generally, the water in Laos fails to meet the required standards.
In Vientiane, tap water is safe to brush your teeth with but don’t drink it. If possible boil the water first before using it for brushing your teeth.
Is It OK To Drink Boiled Water In Laos?
You should avoid tap water completely that including boiling the water. Boiling the water kills the bacteria but after boiling the water it can taste very industrial.
It is safer to just stick to bottled water. It is available everywhere and cheap.
Is Bottled Water Safe In Laos?
Yes. Bottled water is the best choice for visitors to Laos. It is clean and safe to drink.
Here is a list of the popular bottled water in Laos.
- Tigerhead Water
1l bottled water can cost around KIP 7,000. The price depends on the brand with the local water brands being the cheapest.
What Is Wrong With The Tap Water In Laos?
The problem with tap water in Laos is mainly the water infrastructure. Outside of Vientiane, there is little water infrastructure to make that water clean and accessible.
In Vientiane, the main problem is the pipes are getting older every year and are overdue for an upgrade and improvements.
Outside of the main cities, there is no water infrastructure or sewage infrastructure. So local businesses and the locals get their water supply from wells, lakes, and rivers.
These water sources get polluted by human/animal waste, waste from agriculture, and other chemicals. There are also vulnerable to weather-related events such as flooding.
I recommend playing safe and drinking bottled water.
Finally, it is strongly recommended NOT to drink tap water in Laos. Remember getting food poisoning is a should way of ruining your trip to Laos. Also, the locals don’t drink directly from the tap they drink bottled water if the locals don’t do it, well then you shouldn’t.
And that’s it for now! I’d love to know if this guide on the can you drink tap water in Laos has helped you. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if there is more to add.