How to Use a Public Toilet in Thailand
Oh Thailand! A place so cheap it’s a vacationers dream! Yet there are downsides to visiting a developing country. And one of those downsides is using Thailand’s public toilets.
Let’s be honest, most of us would enjoy using our home bathroom over a public toilet any day. And having to frequently use public restrooms is one of the worst parts of traveling. Thai bathrooms are no exception to this rule.
Yet when is comes to visiting Thailand, public toilets can be a completely new and different experience. Using a public Thai bathroom means knowing when and how to use a squat toilet, plus knowing what to bring with you.
When to Use a Thai Squat Toilet. Plus What to Bring w/ You.
Be prepared to pay
In the states you generally pay admission to public historical sites and landmarks. In return restrooms are provided free of charge.
Bring your own toilet
Toilet paper is rarely provided in public restrooms in Thailand. So you’ll want to purchase some yourself and bring it with you into the bathroom.
If you’re paying a pee fee, you can likely buy toilet paper from the bathroom bouncer too. Just be prepared for the toilet paper you buy to look like paper napkins.
Good news though, they can double as paper napkins.
Bring your own soap
Just as toilet paper is likely not going to be present, hand soap is rarely provided. I recommend buying some hand soap post flight. Not packing liquids is a way to keep your luggage under-weight.
Related Post: 5 Reasons to Pack Light & 11 Ways to Pack Lighter
Keep looking for the western toilet
While you might get scammed by the old “the palace is closed” tourist trap, Thai people are generally very accommodating to tourists.
If you open a bathroom stall and find an Asian squat toilet looking back at you, then try opening a few more stalls in search of a western toilet.
There may be one! Or there may not…
Squat if you have too
When you’ve got to go, you’ve go to go. So go!
Don’t be afraid of squat toilets. Just don’t be an idiot about them either.
There are really more don’ts than do’s when it comes to how to use a squat toilet.
Don’t try and take your shorts entirely off, just bunch them at your knees. And don’t try and squat over the entire raised structure, the grooves in the porcelain are Thailand’s version of anti-slip.
I’ve been luck enough to never pee on my foot using a Thai squat toilet. But if your worried about it, take a look around for some toilet shoes (aka flip flops for borrow) and a toilet hose around to wash your feet off with.
Face the wall?
There’s a ongoing debate when it comes to squat toliet’s whether you should face the wall or the stall door. And so far as I know there is no general consensus either way. So do whatever your comfortable with.
If you’re a squat toilet pro and want to weigh in on the debate please comment your thoughts below.
Use the toilet hose, but beware of the pressure
I love myself a Thai toilet hose. They remind me of all the magical toilet experiences I had in Japan.
These bum-cleaning-guns mean that you’ll be clean down under when you pat yourself dry with that purchased toilet napkin, or worst case scenario have to forgo the toilet paper all together.
But toilet hose user beware, there’s no standard for toilet hose pressure. So you might want to give the bum-gun-trigger a test pull before you aim it at your delicate areas.
Splash if you have too
Did you forget to buy toilet napkins? Is there no toilet hose? Then look for the tap on the wall, turn it on and splash yourself clean. No judgment here.
Just don’t use the water that’s been sitting in the basin. Ewwh.
Throw toilet paper in the basket
Yes, throwing toilet paper in a basket is disgusting by western standards. But when you consider that most people are clean from using the toilet hose, it’s actually a lot less disgusting than you originally think.
If you see the basket, recognize why the basket is there and toss your paper into it.
Indoor plumbing is something westerners take for granted all the time. Their are many a Thailand locals that don’t have this luxury.
You can find numerous persons raising funds for flushing toilets on micro-finance sites like Kiva.
Don’t be the dick that takes their indoor plumbing out of commission. Full judgement here.
Use the bucket
If the squat toilet doesn’t flush use the hand bucket.
The spoon buckets are intended for you to use to flush. Get it? Got it? Good!
Wash your feet off
Thai people consider the feet to be the dirtiest part of the body. So people regularly wash their feet off in public restrooms. It’s so common in fact, that you will see a sign posted if the bathroom is not intended for feet washing.
Use activated charcoal
If you want to avoid having a “Thailand event,” aka spontaneous diarrhea, then be prepared with activated charcoal.
You can also take probiotics previous for a few weeks leading up to the trip. It will help your body to deal with the foreign bacteria found in the local food.
Are you a seasoned squat toilet pro with advice to add? Did you have an entirely different Thailand-toilet experience?
Please share with the class!