Where to buy cheap water in Thailand. How to use water vending machines
April 24, 2023
In Thailand, tap water is not drunk. I don't know how good (or bad) the quality of tap water is, for example, I use it when washing dishes and as a mouthwash when brushing my teeth. This water is clear and has no odors.
But at the same time, I do not use tap water for drinking and cooking. Everyone here does it and I do it. I can't give any other arguments against drinking tap water.
So, if you do not drink water from the tap, then you need to drink some other water. In stores, you will see an abundance of water in plastic bottles. The most popular is the 1.5 liter container in boxes of 6 bottles.
Also, water is sold in plastic canisters of 6 liters.
There are two types of water in stores:
- obtained by reverse osmosis purification – that is, by the same methods as water in vending machines, which this article is devoted to.
- natural natural water. This water costs about 2 times more. I did not come across such water in 6 liter canisters – only in bottles of 1.5 liters and smaller
See also: Natural mineral water in Thailand
It is most convenient to buy water in the nearest 7-Eleven. You can also order the delivery of any products and goods from this store, including the delivery of water to your home.
Water is not particularly expensive, but you can save on it. On the ground floor of condominiums, as well as just on the street, you can find the following machines:
In them, water costs 1 baht per 1 liter or 1.5 liters. You need to bring your own container. Everything is very simple: you throw coins and press the green button. To stop the water supply, press the red button.
How to use water vending machines
As a container, you can use empty bottles and containers of water that you previously bought in stores.
The machine accepts coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5 and 10 baht. You can throw several coins in a row – the machine will remember how many bahts you deposited.
Open the container door and put your canister or bottle in there.
When you're done, press the green button.
Note: There may be two buttons on the water vending machine: green and red. Green starts the flow of water, red stops it. Also, there may be three buttons on the water vending machine; but in fact, two of these “buttons” are indicators. Red indicator means that the machine is not working; green indicator means that the machine is working. The supply and stop of water is carried out with one button, usually it is also green.
An example of a water vending machine with two buttons:
An example of a water vending machine with one button and two indicators:
And another water machine with one button and two indicators:
If the container is full, then press the red button, change the container and press the green button again.
If you have not spent a few bahts, and your container is already full of water, then you will have to say goodbye to your money – this machine does not give change.
Why does the water vending machine show “Off”. Why does the water machine sometimes not work
You can see the machine's Off status.
The fact is that reverse osmosis is not a particularly fast procedure. The machine continuously performs osmosis of water and stores purified water in a separate tank. When you buy water, the water is taken from this tank. If the purified water is over, the machine displays the message “Off”. That is, the machine is not broken, you just need to wait until it clears the water, since all the previous stocks are sold out.
That is, it makes no sense to complain about a non-working machine in this case, you just need to wait. Or, if this problem occurs regularly, then ask the Management Company of your condominium to install additional vending machines.
What is the quality of water in vending machines?
I have been drinking this water raw for several years and never got sick.
Thais treat this water differently. For example, my first wife's family preferred not to use this water, explaining that it was the same tap water. For the most part, this is true, of course. This is the same tap water, but which was passed through a filter.
With the birth of our first child, we switched to bottled water.
The second wife prefers natural mineral water, although she has to pay for it, and the water purified by osmosis is free at her work, but she usually does not drink it.
I now use water from bottles and containers: I drink natural mineral water, and for making coffee and tea I use 6-liter canisters water from 7-Eleven.
Lots of people, Thais and foreigners, buy water from vending machines. It doesn't cause any problems for them. Yes, and ordinary water in stores is the same tap water that was purified using reverse osmosis. The difference with street water (apart from the much higher price) is that we can be sure that factory filters are serviced regularly.
If the filters in the water vending machine are regularly maintained and replaced, then this water is no worse than store water (more precisely, store water is no better than water from the machine).
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