15

I didn't want to insult my hosts here in Taipei by asking if it's safe to drink the water since it's very developed here. On the other hand you can't flush toilet paper, so not everything we think of as "developed" applies here.

My hostel actually has a tap in the kitchen for filling water bottles that I'm pretty sure is coming through a filter. But when I'm out and about I don't want to always buy water when I see a tap (faucet) available.

In any case the hostel where I work in Australia also has a filtered water tap but all tapwater is fine to drink - the filter just improves the taste of the water.

So what's the story with tapwater in Taiwan, especially once I leave Taipei and venture to less busy areas like the east coast?

  • Australians tend to think anyone asking this in Australia are condescending. I've noticed some other countries going through recent development booms can be a bit touchy about questions involving their country's state of advancement. I know somebody in Vietnam reacted to an innocent question of mine on my last trip. Anyway an answer here will inform many and nobody will suffer any loss of face (-: – hippietrail Aug 10 '16 at 16:25
13

Here's my understanding from reading this reddit thread (how much more authoritative can you get?), looking at the Taipei Water Department website, and talking to an Airbnb host in the city:

Tap water is safe in Taipei on the city's side, but most people boil or filter to be sure, since old buildings may have dirty or faulty pipes.

I don't know about outside of Taipei.

  • 6
    By "most people" do you mean most tourists or most people including local residents? – user35890 Aug 10 '16 at 8:26
  • If "dirty" means anything analogous to "rusty" then boiling won't do much. But if it means "contaminated" then it can help but it would be very beneficial to know what organisms it's typically contaminated with. – hippietrail Aug 10 '16 at 16:28
4

There's heaps of chlorine in the tap water so certainly no living organism left. Boiling will only remove the chlorine, hence enhance the taste. So will filtering or letting the water sit for a night in an open container, with filtering adding the risk that a poorly maintained filter introduces pollution rather than removing it.

As long as you don't draw your water from an overhead tank that has just been cleaned by a dodgy guy you'll end up with perfectly safe water, although maybe not the most tasty one.

I filter mine with an activated carbon filter and drink it. No mushrooms on my head yet...

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