Drinking Water - Taiwan
Taiwan is an island nation of about 36,000 km2 located off the coast of south eastern mainland China, southwest of Okinawa and north of the Philippines. The island is officially known as and governed by the Republic of China. The nation is home to more than 23 million people and is one of the most densely populated places in the world.
As a general rule, with the exception of Kaohsiung, tap water in Taiwan is safe for drinking only after boiling. Any water or ice served in restaurants will already have been processed. Water fountains in Taiwan always incorporate filters, and they can be found in practically every lodge or hotel as well as larger museums and Taipei MRT stations. You can refill and reuse your bottles at these fountains as well. If you can't find one, you should buy bottled water.
Note that in Kaohsiung, most people do not drink the tap water, even after filtering or boiling, since the water contains trace amounts of arsenic that is detrimental to health. Whether the trace amounts are dangerous or not is debatable, especially if you are not passing through, but the locals obtain potable water using pumps that look like gasoline pumps that are strewn throughout the residential areas. For tourists, most hotels would provide two bottle of mineral water in each room and you should use that as your drinking water. If that is not enough, there are many 24 hours convenience stores around so you can get additional bottled water from there.
Another reason for drinking previously boiled or bottled water in Taiwan is that Taiwan is a seismic active zone. Because of the large number of earthquakes, the water delivery system (pipes) are easily damaged allowing contaminants to enter the water prior to it reaching the tap. Therefore drinking previously boiled or bottled water is probably a wise choice.
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