In general, you should never drink the tap water in China, even in five-star hotels. Boiling water makes it safe to drink, but you might still prefer to buy bottled water for the taste or mineral make-up.
Follow these tips to avoid becoming ill:
- Never drink unboiled tap water.
- Water fountains at the major airports are clearly marked if they are safe to drink from.
- Bottled water is generally safe – check that the seal is intact at purchase.
- Avoid ice.
- Avoid fresh juices – they may have been watered down.
- Boiling water is the most efficient method of purifying water.
- At very high altitudes, boil water for an extra minute as water bubbles at a lower temperature.
- The best chemical purifier is iodine. It should not be used by pregnant women or those with thyroid problems.
- Water filters should also filter out viruses. Ensure your filter has a chemical barrier such as iodine and a pore size of less than 4 microns.