Drinking water can also be purchased from Water Vending Machines found at gas stations, on the road side, next to local business and other locations. The price per liter is 1 Baht. Sometimes up to 1,5 liter will be poured for 1 Baht, sometimes less. There are vending machines in temples that pour up to 10 liters for 5 Baht.
There are no recent studies about the health and safety standard of water vending machines in Koh Samui, however there have been several studies about coin operated water vending machines in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand with some rather worrying results.
According to latest survey in 2015 by the subcommittee of the Private Sector Independent Organisation for Consumers Protection, drinking water from more than half of coin operated water vending machines in Bangkok are unsafe for health.
- 76.3% of vending machines were installed at inappropriate places such as at places covered by dust from traffic and smokes from exhausted pipes of motor vehicles. The rest was installed near garbage bins and waste water ditches
- 55.2% of water vending machines have unclean bodies, 42.9% have unclean valves, 29.4% are rusted, 21.1% are corroded, and 11.2,% leaked
- 93.8% vending machines use tap water to produce drinking water, and only 43.3% of vending machines were given once a month cleaning
- Only 6% of vending machines displayed water quality test, and only 7% had water filter replacement
Back in 2012, the Department of Medical Sciences conducted random checks of water vending machines nationwide, they found that 38% have substandard water quality.
- Udon Thani, Trang and Surat Thani (Koh Samui is part of this province) had the worst water quality, while Chon Buri, Nakhon Sawan, Nakhon Ratchasima and Chiang Mai had substandard quality at 40 to 50 per cent of machines
- 26% of substandard water was tainted by chemicals/metal or had acidic imbalance, which indicates an issue with water filters, while
- 16% had microorganism contamination, mostly coliform bacteria
This does not mean that noways the water vending machines on Koh Samui are unsafe or have substandard water quality, but you must be aware that there might be risk by drinking water from those machines.
What’s your opinion, have you ever purchased water from those machines? Please share your feedback with us.