Don’t want this to be you in China? Well, I don’t either.

stomach ache in China

Hopefully, this image evokes some uneasy feelings of something you ate or drank in the past that didn’t sit too well with your system. You probably vowed to avoid that something for a very long time. Well, tap water is what you’ll want to avoid in China.

Many hotels provide a complementary bottle of water or two each day, so use that for your drinking water and for brushing your teeth. I’m told that the bacteria in the tap water in China will make a westerner very sick if swallowed.

Some hotels even provide filtered water in the room, but I still prefer to consume bottled water. If you have a fourteen hour flight the next day, I truly doubt you’ll want to do that after drinking the tap water! Fortunately, it is very easy to find bottled water for sale (at least it was in every place I’ve visited in China), and it’s very inexpensive. And I always, always try to keep an extra bottle in my backpack.

The lesson here: Don’t drink the tap water.

Send in your stories. I’d love to hear your experiences!


Learn more in my book Lessons from China: A Westerner’s Cultural Education