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Can You Drink Tap Water in Seoul?

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Last updated:
Can You Drink Tap Water in Seoul

Yes, you can drink tap water in Seoul. It’s 100 percent safe to drink from the tap, but most Koreans don’t do it since they boil or otherwise filter their water before drinking it. The majority of people never drink tap water in their life because they’re not used to it.

Drinking tap water is normal in most countries unless you’re in the United States, where some people are squeamish about it. In Korea, drinking water from a faucet is unusual. Most Koreans only drink unfiltered well water and buy bottled mineral water or soft drinks for drinking water.

If you’re going to drink tap water in Korea, make sure to keep your mouth away from the faucet and not to catch it in a glass as it comes out. Korean tap water is known for tasting metallic due to the way Seoul’s drinking water system works.

Does South Korea Have Bad Water?

No, South Korea does not have bad water. Generally speaking, it’s the old pipes and the way South Korea’s water system works that makes it taste metallic to the tongue rather than any contaminants in the water.

The easiest and safest way to drink water in Korea is to buy bottled water. It’s cheap and readily available in convenience stores, supermarkets, grocery shops, and vending machines throughout the city. Koreans also drink a lot of soda for their drinking water since it tastes better than tap water.

The water quality of the bottled water is outstanding and easy to find throughout the city. Keep in mind that Koreans drink more water for a healthy alternative, so you can’t go wrong with bottled water while in Korea.

Almost all restaurants sell filtered water, so you can ask for it instead of buying bottled water. Also, keep in mind that many places offer free filtered drinking water depending on where you are, and sometimes this even includes schools and hospitals. Many public buildings also provide free clean drinking to the public.

Can You Drink Tap Water in Incheon?

Yes, but most people don’t because of the taste. Like Seoul, most people buy bottled water or pop for their drinking water. You can drink from the tap without worry, but make sure to steer clear of the faucet.

Drinking tap water in Incheon is very rare, nobody really drinks it. You’ll only find a few people that drink tap water and they’re usually foreigners or those who have lived away from Korea for an extended period of time.

Incheon has one of the cleanest drinking water systems in South Korea, but locals still prefer buying bottled water. Buying bottled water is the way to go for most people in Incheon because they prefer the taste or want a healthier drink.

Should You Drink Tap Water in Seoul?

No, you should not drink tap water in Seoul, it’s not necessary and nobody does it. You should go and buy bottled water because it is cheaper and you know 100% how clean it is.

The taste of tap water in Seoul isn’t very good because of the way South Korea’s drinking water system works, but that shouldn’t stop you from visiting or living in South Korea.

Normally, only the homeless people drink tap water all the time in South Korea and many foreigners drink it, too but (most) of them spit it out after realizing how bad the taste is.

Everybody knows that Seoul’s tap water tastes terrible so keep your mouth away from the faucet or don’t catch it as it comes out. Basically, you can drink tap water, but it tastes terrible and is not recommended.

There are places in South Korea where the water is cleaner than in other countries, so don’t worry about drinking the tap water in your own place of residence because you can trust that all your buildings have great clean drinking water for everyone to drink at any time.


All in all, no one drinks tap water in Seoul, Incheon, or across South Korea because it tastes bad and it’s not healthy. Buy bottled water from anywhere for less than a dollar or drink some soda instead of drinking tap water in South Korea.

Even though tap water is 100% clean to drink in South Korea, nobody drinks it unless they live in the countryside, are homeless, or have lived away from South Korea for an extended period of time.

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    About The Author

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    Jason Park

    Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

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