? eats & drinks in Bangkok

Aug 11th, 2005, 03:53 PM
Original Poster
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? eats & drinks in Bangkok

We're planning our first trip to Bangkok in Nov. and I'm confused about the warnings not to eat salad or have drinks with ice.
Is this true even at the better hotels & restaurants? Like the Oriental, Penn, Bed Supper Club, Tongue Thai, Baiyoke Sky Tower?
Sure would miss having Thai coffee or a cocktail while we are in town.
Please advise.
Grandma Carol
GrandmaCarol is offline  
Aug 11th, 2005, 04:02 PM
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Ice at good hotels and better restaurants are made with purified water and is safe. If in doubt, ask. Most places will give you an honest answer. As for salads, my guess is that at places like the Oriental and the Pen, it's probably safe but I have heard stories of people getting really sick (my cousin's wife for example who ate a salad at the Oriental and spent the flight home the next day in the plane's toilet. This was quite a few years ago however but it still gives me pause). Any drink where water is boiled, like coffee and tea is safe. The reataurants you mention get a lot of toursits and I would think they use purified ice. It would not be good for business if people got sick from their drinks! I would always ask just to be sure.
laurieco is online now  
Aug 11th, 2005, 04:21 PM
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grandma carol; give up a cocktail? are you mad, woman! . go to the bamboo bar in the oriental hotel for happy hour. great two for one drinks, delicious snacks, and great easy listening piano music.

kuranosuke is offline  
Aug 11th, 2005, 05:19 PM
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I've been living in Bangkok for 7 months now and I drink everything at the lowliest canteen to the top end restaurants with ice. Same with eating salads. I have not had food poisoning once.

I believe the ice is now regulated by the govt and delivered out to all establishments. In my opinion you should be fine with the ice. The salad is another matter as can't be sure if it's been washed in purified water or not. But like I said, have not been sick yet!
bkkmei is offline  
Aug 11th, 2005, 06:33 PM
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we will stick to no salads, no ice (see below), no table water, nothing that is not cooked and no street food...

for the last two years we have eased this a bit.,...we will now drink the table water in 5 star hotels but not most other places and probably never in a free standing restaurant...

our feeling is that we are on vacation and do not want to give up one minute of our time to the bathroom for hours...or worse...a long lasting bug in your system...

we sta next to a woman from the thai water authority several years ago on a plane to chiang mai and took the occasion to ask her about the water...she claimed that the water is fine, its just the pipes that are contaminated....it makes some sense...

take a look around while on the streets of bkk and see the dishwashing going on...not all that great right???
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 11th, 2005, 07:43 PM
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I've been traveling to Bangkok for some 20 years and have never gotten sick there. I do have ice in drinks, as long as it is the commercially made ice (has a hole in the middle) which is made from purified water. That's about the only kind of ice available in Bangkok. I eat salads and sliced fruits in 5 star hotels, but rarely anyplace else. I also don't eat street food (but then, I don't eat street food or fast food in the US, either).
Kathie is online now  
Aug 11th, 2005, 08:23 PM
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kathie---my issue with the ice is "how do you know what water was used", even in the commercial ice makers....its thailand remember...
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 11th, 2005, 08:24 PM
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you will find drinks very expensive comparitively in thailand...
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 12th, 2005, 04:56 AM
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Most of the hotels and apt complexes where I've stayed provide you with two bottles of water per day. But you are never far away from a 7-11 where you can buy more chilled bottled water. We don't do the tap or table water at all. Only bottled. When in a restaurant, we might ask for Pelegrino or other "brand" name also. I don't typically use ice. My "drink" would be a glass of red wine so I don't need ice. Along the alley (soi) to Patumwan House (apt hotel) there is an ice company. Interesting.... maybe that's why I only do bottled water...
simpsonc510 is offline  
Aug 12th, 2005, 05:01 AM
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I've had ice at the Pen and Oriental and a few other places and it's fine. I'm normally very careful having gotten pretty ill in Thailand, Egypt and Turkey, but the ice is safe. It's made from purified water. We do keep away from salads however even though they are probable washed in flltered water. I just can't get the story of my cousin's wife out of my head.
laurieco is online now  
Aug 12th, 2005, 07:19 AM
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I've had ice at the Oriental, Penn and at Bed Supper Club and have had no problem. However, I avoid ice everywhere else. I also tend to avoid salads just about everywhere although I have had it at the same above mentioned places with no problem.

glorialf is offline  
Aug 12th, 2005, 07:57 AM
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Do those who avoid salads avoid the lime marinated/spicy Thai style salads as well (like green papaya salads?)? Am I fooling myself to think the lime kills some of the "bugs"? I hate to miss those salads, but then I do get sick pretty easily when I travel.
gothere is offline  
Aug 12th, 2005, 08:08 AM
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We tend to avoid all salads that are not cooked. I may reconsider on the next trip however, but only at the Pen or Oriental or similar. I would asked what the salad greens are washed in. If they say the water has been filtered, then it's probably okay. I have no idea if lime juice kills bacteria or bugs. I remember years ago, on our first trip to BKK, we were staying at the Amari Watergate Hotel, which had just opened and was quite nice, I ordered gazpacho at the hotel and then realized that it is made with all uncooked vegetables so I wouldn't eat it. The waiter and chef were so upset and the chef came out to tell me it was perfectly safe. I felt terrible, as though I was really insulting him but I refused to budge.

A little aside here: I know that logically this should not have anything to do with not getting sick from bacteria in the water, but both my husband and I have found that ever since we got Hep A shots, we haven't gotten sick in any foreign countries, whereas before the shots, we were always getting sick. I was under the impression that the Hep A vaccination only prevents Hep A. Go figure.
laurieco is online now  
Aug 12th, 2005, 08:19 AM
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My sense is that those people that go there and eat street food, salads, etc and don't get sick are :
1) Just plain lucky or
2) Have some resistance to the bacteria

Bottom line- do you want to chance it and risk ruining your vacation?

BillT is offline  
Aug 12th, 2005, 08:48 AM
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BillT, I know you're right, it's just depressing that I won't get to try many of my favorite Thai dishes on my first trip there!

laurieco, I wish that Hep A shot worked on me! I get sick everytime I go to India (and I never eat salads or touch the water there) in spite of the shots. I don't blame you for not eating the gazpacho you ordered!

Will have to have my share of salad before we leave, I guess!
gothere is offline  
Aug 12th, 2005, 09:21 AM
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its the lettuce and similar that we are leery about...how was it washed, etc...
we do on occasion eat the papaya salad and the like..

at le delat indochine they print on their menu that all greens (and they use plenty of them in their service) are home grown and washed in purified water---interesting...so even a fine restaurant has acknowledged this problem
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 12th, 2005, 09:29 AM
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Thanks for all the input.
We will be careful when we order ice drinks.
Would everyone agree that maybe the papaya salad would be safe? After all, it's a fruit that needs to be pealed.
GrandmaCarol is offline  
Aug 12th, 2005, 09:44 AM
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I would agree that the papaya salad would be safe, as would the pomelo salad. I felt totally safe eating those a the Pen and also at the Jim Thompson house.
sept_honeymoon is offline  
Aug 12th, 2005, 10:00 AM
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ok, you've peeked my interest. What happened to your cousin's wife?
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Aug 12th, 2005, 12:11 PM
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I've never gotten ill in BKK, and I eat just about everything (including the spicy seafood salads with lime!), though I don't drink the water, even using bottled water for my teethbrushing.

I did get the trots for a couple days in Saigon after enthusiastically biting into an asian pear from the fruit basket in our room -- though it also could have been all the coconuts I drank in the first two days . . .
randyzee is offline  

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