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Which rules should be obeyed when drinking tap water in Vietnam to avoid infectious diseases?
Is it safe to drink tap water in big cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh?

In case it is not recommended - can I at least rinse my mouth after I brush my teeth?

  • 10
    Exploding butt syndrome. – Nean Der Thal Jan 4 '16 at 16:53
  • Use bottled filtered water (with the sealed plastic caps) to rinse your mouth after brushing your teeth. Also to wet your toothbrush. Why risk ruining days of your trip (and your health) when bottled water is available? – Zach Lipton Jan 4 '16 at 17:55
  • So far the answers are either a) generic or b) do not link to sources. The "You might get sick there" answers would be just as useful to a question asking about tap water in North America. Alexey's answer at least does list some specifics but doesn't back them up. – hippietrail Jan 6 '16 at 9:38
  • I will comment only, because I can't provide any sources, just going to say that we drank the tap water on the first day; my friend had diarrhea for the whole week even having switched to bottled water, but I drank the tap the entire week with no problems. – Mikey Feb 29 '16 at 17:43
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Tap water in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh cities has been treated, flourinated. But the infrastructure is old, so contaminants can seep back in through cracks in the pipes as the clean water makes its way to your hotel.

Better hotels may have their own reverse osmosis filter system, you will need to ask if they filter the tap water in your room.

You will see some blogs, especially expat oriented ones, that say it is OK, but as a visitor using bottled water for everything is the best course of action.

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It's not safe to drink water directly from tap as there's a great chance the water is contaminated, you're most likely to get traveller's diarrhea by drinking that and least likely to get Cholera with a host of other lovely infections in between, some you can vaccinate against before leaving.

Just make sure to always boil the water you intend to drink (at least a minute will kill and deactivate bacterias and viruses) and never drink anything that's been opened, ditch the ice cubes and be suspicious of anything washed or uncooked. I'll quote the Canadian travel advisory for Vietnam on this, the US one goes in the same sense.

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in Southeast Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southeast Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

  • Ha! I've had food poisoning in Canada and the US among other places but I can't recall having had it in Southeast Asia yet. I wonder if there was a nice generic advisory about "In some areas of North America" that I should've read first ... – hippietrail Jan 6 '16 at 9:34
  • @hippietrail I know right ? I had no problem in Mexico but got some horrible thing in NY once, go figure – blackbird Jan 6 '16 at 12:45
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    @hippietrail I wonder if the fact that you travel (regularly) through less developed countries, if your body has stronger immunities than someone who has spent their life in a large city in Europe or America and never traveled... – CGCampbell Mar 17 '16 at 13:11
  • @CGCampbell: I often wonder that too. The last time I had food poisoning was in Turkey four or so years ago. That one was so severe that I fainted! – hippietrail Mar 19 '16 at 11:21
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Hepatical and gastral infections, including a lethal outcome. Also liver damage because of iron remainders or chemicals after war possible dissolved in it

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