Although the street food scene is an exciting part of the culture and your holiday experience, trying Chinese street food comes with its own list of do’s and don’ts. The same caution should apply to drinking tap water while you travel in China, too. In this post, we reveal more about water safety so you can enjoy your trip to China at your healthiest and happiest.
Pollution affects China’s water quality too
It is no secret that China has a pollution problem. While this hasn’t deterred the millions of visitors that travel there every year, knowing how to handle the smog is vital. Without the right protection you can quickly fall victim to the troubling side effects of short term pollution exposure. Headaches and nasal irritation are common among travellers who don’t take the necessary precautions.
It is not just the quality of the air that is affected; pollution can make water just as dangerous as the air you breathe. Greenpeace research has revealed the extent of China’s water pollution problems. Half of the country has also failed to hit their water quality targets, with the water in most Chinese cities unsuitable for drinking.
Think twice before using water
Due to pollution issues, tap water is not safe to drink. You should instead drink bottled water, or use a kettle to boil water before drinking it. This also applies to the water you use for brushing your teeth. Those looking to cook a meal for themselves during their China trip should take care when preparing food. Fruits and vegetables washed in tap water should be peeled and even re-rinsed in bottled or boiled water for added safety.
The majority of hotels provide kettles in their rooms to make preparing safe water simple. Some hotels are even equipped with dispensers to provide both cold and hot potable water on demand.
Drinking water while out and about
It is not just when at your hotel that you should be on your guard if you are looking to enjoy a cool glass of water. Most travellers avoid ice cubes altogether, sticking to bottled or canned drinks. When enjoying bottled water, make sure the seal on the bottle isn’t broken before drinking. There have been instances where vendors have refilled bottles with tap water and sold them on, much to the dismay of the unsuspecting tourists buying them.
Whether you’re enjoying the best Chinese teas at a teahouse, or eating an evening meal at a restaurant, the water, served either hot or cold, is always boiled. There are alternatives though, as Trip Savvy details:
‘Most restaurants will have some bottled water on the menu. In some cases, it might be quite expensive such as Evian or San Pellegrino, and these types of imported mineral waters are considerably pricey even outside restaurants. There are a number of ways you can ask for free water from the establishment.’