If only we could drink straight from the tap.
Whose idea was this?! In by far the trickiest taste test we've ever embarked on, we attempt to describe a neutral substance that looks identical in every glass—all in the hopes of proving you don't need to rack up thousands of air miles to stay hydrated. On that note, there are plenty of ways you can avoid bottled drinking water at home—from investing in a water filter; to ordering the larger recyclable bottles; to treating or boiling water from the tap—all of which we encourage. For the times you're left without options, here's a look at which waters taste the best.
The brand: By fruit juice king Tipco.
Origin: The natural cold spring at Mae Rim Waterfall, Chiang Mai.
The taste: A light mineral aftertaste, iron-y but sweet. Refreshing and easy to drink.
Verdict: Smooth aura. And, yay! It's local.
Price per liter: B22 (B11 for 500ml).
Mont Fleur RUNNER UP!
The brand: Thai consumer giant Saha Group's water won Belgium's iTQi Superior Taste Awards in 2018 and 2019.
Origin: Natural mountain springs in Thailand's Tak province.
The taste: Slightly mineral, neutral and clean, with just a little sodium.
Verdict: Superior sips.
Price per liter: B24 (B12 for 500ml).
The brand: The local water brand you probably have delivered to your condo. The bottle’s crystal-shaped design won a distinguished Red Dot Design Award in 2014.
Origin: Treated and disinfected Thai tap water.
The taste: Plain soft water with no minerals.
Verdict: Go for the larger, recycle bottle—then we're talking.
Price per liter: B13 (B7 for 550ml)
Nestlé Pure Life
The brand: The world's largest food and beverage company also produces the famed Perrier sparkling water.
Origin: Natural groundwater from hygienic design deep wells in Thailand.
The taste: Plain and a little bland; nothing really stands out. Still: crisp, clean and refreshing.
Verdict: Rain down.
The price per liter: B17 (B10 for 600ml).
The brand: That water bottle that sometimes sports cool limited edition graphics is actually a sub-brand of Singha. You may have also seen Thai actress, Ploy Chermarn, as presenter.
Origin: Phra Ngam in Singburi province.
The taste: Slightly sweet, flowery and earthy—with a tiny bit of plastic hospital taste.
The price per liter: B16 (B12 for 750ml).
The brand: Local beverage giant Sermsuk—of Est, Oishi and 100Plus. The first Thai company to receive U.S. NSF certification (National Sanitation Foundation; 2002). It also makes funny commercials with Korean-oppa-looking Thai actor “Nine” Naphat.
Origin: Distilled Thai water.
The taste: Tap water, with an aftertaste like metal and plastic packaging.
Verdict: Branding, branding, branding!
The price per liter: B12 (B7 for 600ml).
The brand: This water from the infamous beer brand won a Monde Selection Gold Award in 2018.
Origin: Groundwater from aquifers in Ayutthaya.
The taste: Some said refreshing, smooth and easy to drink, while the rest said it tasted like mineral dirt. Hmm.
Verdict: We'll stick with beer.
Price per liter: B22 (B10 for 460ml)
The brand: Do you really need us to tell you?
Origin: Underground water, distilled in Thailand.
The taste: Thick and strangely sugary sweet.
Verdict: Sugar water.
Price per liter: B12 (B7 for 600ml)