Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Drinking water in Jakarta

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT ever put a drop of the local water in your mouth unless it comes in a bottle. The water in Jakarta is incredibly polluted. OK, I learnt this the hard way. I thought that the tap water in the hotel would be safe enough to brush my teeth with. Somehow, I never made the connection between using tap water to brush my teeth with the tummy upsets I was getting. So I'm a bit stupid sometimes. :))

If you are not local, you are likely to have problems with the local water. I was lucky enough to escape with just minor tummy upsets. Dear Hubby used to come home to KL from his Jakarta trips 4lbs lighter and looking sick as a dog. You can shower in it as long as you keep your mouth shut and do not sing in the shower, but do not brush your teeth with it, do not wash your vegetables with it and do not drink it unless you fancy colonic cleansing on a major scale.

Houses and hotels are all equipped with a water cooler and water vendors sell the 15lt bottles everywhere for those coolers and that's the water you use for drinking, washing and brushing. If you're thirsty, get yourself a bottle of water, it's very cheap. I paid Rp1,000 (30 sen) for a small bottle of water that would normally cost me RM1.20 back home.

I can't believe I'll have to put up with this for next few years!


  1. I am a new Malaysian expat and got 'poisoned' on my second day in Jakarta.....and all I had before I got 'poisoned' was food from the executive lounge of a 5 star hotel! I have 2 days of stomach cramps and toilet runs!
    I cannot imagine that by gargling using the tap water gets you 'poisoned'. As I travel extensively, wherever I go, I have always drank bottled water..... apart from UK.

  2. Oh come one.. tap water in jakarta is not that bad. Yes you cannot drink it, but you can brush your teeth and gargle with it. I have so many expat friends who do that and have never had any problems. You might have eaten something bad before-hand. But the water is not that bad, especially in hotels.

  3. Perhaps the water in the hotel I was staying in was not so clean because I had tummy upsets everyday I was there. Some friends have warned me not to gargle, some said it's okay so perhaps you are right - it's all up to the individual's immunity to the bugs.
    I'll need some time to get used to it and then I'll be all right I'm sure.