Health issues are one of the top concerns of a traveler when visiting or moving to a new country. As Vietnam is one of the developing countries in the tropical area, it is necessary that you know what to eat and drink safely to avoid epidemics in this hot and humid weather. Our article will guide you on whether you can use water in Vietnam depending on where you are located and what you use it for.
Can I Drink Water in Vietnam? No, you cannot drink water straight from water sources without boiling or filtering. Bottled Water, Filtered Water, or Green Tea are the main sources of drinking water in Vietnam. You should never drink water straight from the tap or ground source to avoid contamination.
Vietnam’s Water Supply
Water supply and sanitation is still a huge challenge for Vietnam’s government. Besides urban areas, there is limited access to pipe water systems in rural areas. The local people there still have to use groundwater, river water, and rain water for daily activities. Even in major cities, during dry seasons, there can also be a shortage of water due to poor operation and management.
“Can I Drink Water In Vietnam?” is one of the most frequently asked questions of travelers first coming to Vietnam. This is natural as many countries are lucky that they have the infrastructure to drink straight from the well or tap.
Can I Drink Tap Water in Vietnam?
Water is vital for everyone. In developed countries, people can drink water right from the tap. Unfortunately, you must not do that in Vietnam. Tap water is considered to be suitable for only basic use like watering trees and washing. Though the government has announced that water supply system in urban areas are under strict surveillance and censorship, it is uncertain that the water filtration systems can purify water from the river.
Instead of drinking water directly from the tap, local people boil the water for at least one minute to kill bacteria and viruses. Then they store it in their own pitchers. Water is used within the day only. The remaining boiled water will be poured away to ensure the quality of water. Some local people also use bottled water from reputable firms with a water purifier. Some popular bottled water suppliers you can consider in Vietnam market are Lavie, Nestle, Aquafina from Suntory Pepsico, Dasani from Coca Cola, etc.
But if you travel during a few days in Vietnam only, portable bottled water in small bottles of 350ml to 1500ml, ranging from $0.2 to $1, is the most convenient choice for you. You can buy them at any convenience stores, supermarkets, and local markets throughout Vietnam. In some rural areas where there are almost no facilities like in the cities, you can ask the local where the nearest mom-and-pop stores are and pick up some bottles there.
Can I Eat Vegetables Washed in Water?
If you were to avoid eating fresh vegetables in Vietnam because they were washed in tap or well water, I believe you would be missing out on a ton of great food in Vietnam that depends on fresh herbs and vegetables. We use a common sense approach for this in Vietnam, it is okay to eat vegetables washed in tap water as long as you don’t consume a lot of water.
The most important factor here will be the food safety of the actual restaurant. If there are a lot of locals eating here and the restaurant or vendor looks and feels safe to you, you will be okay. I would not stress about it.
Can I use tap water to brush my teeth in Vietnam?
Yes, you can brush your teeth with the water in Vietnam. You can be sure that the tap water in urban areas is safe to brush your teeth and bathe. In most rural areas, the water is going to be safe as well for bathing and brushing your teeth.
If you are in a very poor village with no infrastructure, brushing your teeth and taking a bath with bottled water will be better for you. Though it is a bit costly, it can prevent you from using the dirty water and getting sick.
What else can I drink in Vietnam?
Green Tea is by far the #1 drink that is consumed on a daily basis in Vietnam. Coffee must be a close second. As a country located in the tropical area, Vietnam is well-known for a lot of fruits which you can’t find or are too expensive to buy in your own country. There are a variety of smoothies and fruit juices made with these fruits.
One favorite drink that many tourists love to drink is fresh coconut water. You can order this drink almost everywhere in Vietnam, even street food stalls. This can be drunk directly from the coconut with a straw and you can be sure that it is safe for your health.
You will regret traveling to Vietnam without trying Vietnamese traditional iced coffee. It is regarded as one of the strongest coffee’s in the world. But the way we make coffee is special and a large part of our Culture. Coarsely ground beans go into a French drip filter (called a phin), which sits on top of the cup. The beans are pushed down with a thin lid, hot water is added to the phin, and then the water slowly trickles through into the cup. You can drink coffee with sugar or condensed milk. You can also drink with or without ice. A cup of coffee costs you from $0.5 if you drink in local cafeteria to $4 if you drink in luxurious coffee shops and restaurants. If you want to know if drinking coffee is safe in Vietnam, go ahead and check out our blog post.
If you love drinking beer, there are a variety for you to choose from. While local beer such as Saigon Beer, Huda, Ha Noi Beer is quite affordable for those who are on a budget, costing you around $0.5 per can. If you prefer international brand name, you can consider Heineken, Budweiser, Beck’s, costing you from $0.8 per can. Drinking beer on ice is very common in Vietnam, we recommend you check out our blog post about “Is Ice Safe to Drink in Vietnam?”, if you want to learn more.
Where to go if you get sick from drinking water in Vietnam?
Sad but true, however careful you are when you choose where to eat and drink, you may suffer from some incidents. If your stomach is not strong enough, keep in mind some ways to get medication. You can ask the locals to guide you to reliable drugstore to buy medicine if it seems to you that the illness is not serious. Otherwise, it is highly recommended that you go to the doctor or the hospital. If you travel around Ho Chi Minh city, you can go to Vinmec International Hospital, which has branches spreading all over Vietnam with good customer service and modern facilities.
Vinmec International Hospital
- Website: https://vinmec.com/
- Address: 458 Minh Khai Street, Hai Ba Trung, Ha Noi
- 30 Thang 4 Street, Residential Area 4, Hai Chau District, Da Nang City
- 208 Nguyen Huu Canh Street, Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City
- Hotline: Ha Noi: (+84) 2439743556
- Da Nang: (+84) 2363711111
- Ho Chi Minh: (+84) 2836221166
Besides, there are other prestigious hospitals in Vietnam. In Ho Chi Minh City, FV Hospital, City International Hospital are considered to have the best and fastest service for foreigners. In Ha Noi, HFH is known as the first International hospital in Hanoi. Thu Cuc International General Hospital is also a reliable address if you have health problems when staying in Ha Noi. If you travel to Hoi An or Da Nang City, you can bear in mind hospitals such as Hoan My Hospital, Gia Dinh Hospital.
FV Hospital (Ho Chi Minh City)
- Website: http://www.fvhospital.com
- Address: 6 Nguyen Luong Bang Street, Southern Sai Gon (Phu My Hung), District 7, Ho Chi Minh City
- Hotline: (+84) 2854113333
City International Hospital (Ho Chi Minh City)
- Website: https://cih.com.vn/
- Address: No. 3, 17A Street, Binh Tri Dong B Ward, Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City
- Hotline: (+84) 862803333
HFH (Ha Noi)
- Website: https://www.hfh.com.vn
- Address: 1 Phuong Mai, Dong Da, Ha Noi
- Hotline: (+84) 2435741111
Thu Cuc International General Hospital (Ha Noi)
- Website: https://benhvienthucuc.vn/
- Address: 286 Thuy Khe, Tay Ho, Ha Noi
- Hotline: (+84) 904970909
Hoan My Hospital (Da Nang)
- Website: https://www.hoanmydanang.com/
- Address: 291 Nguyen Van Linh, Thanh Khe District, Da Nang City
- Hotline: (+84) 2363650676
Gia Dinh Hospital (Da Nang)
- Address: 73 Nguyen Huu Tho, Hai Chau District, Da Nang City
- Hotline: (+84) 236363233
In brief, drinking water in Vietnam isn’t as serious of an issue as some travelers may think. With the rapid development of tourism, food services in Vietnam are gradually improving in recent years. Like going to any other Southeast Asian countries, being prepared and choosing wisely will help you prevent unfortunate incidents so you can enjoy your trip. We hope that our guide in this blog will help you understand how and where to choose potable water when you travel to Vietnam and have a safe and memorable journey here.