Q: How are you, Peter? I am traveling to Vietnam and Thailand soon. Should I drink the water? I have a very sensitive stomach. Have you heard of any people coming back with parasites?
–Marina, Boca Raton, Fla.
A: As you may know, I live in Bangkok part of the time, and it's generally a good idea to avoid the tap water in Thailand. Even the locals agree. Bottled water is widely used instead. Though parasites are not common, there can be bacteria in the water that Western stomachs are not accustomed to. However, large prestigious hotels can be an exception, as they often have their own filtration systems.
Brushing your teeth with tap water is considered to be safe, but since you have a very sensitive stomach, you may want to use bottled water for that, too, to be extra careful. Nothing's worse than having the trip of a lifetime ruined by a pesky gastrointestinal bug.