Toilets are always a big deal. When you’re traveling somewhere exotic, it’s inevitable you’ll experience a foreign toilet culture. Toilets in Thailand usually come in two varieties: Western sit-down toilets and Asian squat toilets. With some differences from the Western or the Asian squat toilets you know, might we add.
If you plan to travel in major cities like Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket, you’ll find more Western-style toilets than squat toilets. But seriously, don’t you want to see a scene like this?
Thailand’s countryside has irresistible idyllic charms and we highly encourage you to go off the beaten path and explore more. Which will lead you to many encounters with Thai-style squat toilets. Now you’ve probably heard some horror stories surrounding squat toilets…
But fear not. Hong nam (ห้องน้ำ) or Thai toilets aren’t so bad if you know how to cope with them. Here’s everything you need to know about sit-down and squat toilets in Thailand.
How to Survive Toilets in Thailand
Step-by-Step Guide to Western Sit-Down Toilets in Thailand
– Wet wipes and toilet paper at the ready. Not all toilets in Thailand are equipped with toilet paper and toilet seat cleaner is uncommon. Toilets at shopping malls are the best since they almost always provide toilet paper. If you visit the upscale ones like EmQuartier, they even have toilet seat cleaner. For the rest, though, we can’t guarantee.
– What many of us love the most about sit-down toilets in Thailand: toilet spray. After using the toilet, we use toilet spray as a method of cleansing. First, hold the faucet close (but not too close) to your “target”. Then give the trigger a light push (We suggest you test its power before actually cleansing with it). The toilet hose will spray water to wherever you aim. If you want the toilet spray to stop, lift your finger off the trigger. After that, finish the cleansing off with your toilet paper. If there are no toilet sprays in the restrooms, just use your toilet paper.
– Don’t flush toilet paper. Throw your used toilet paper into a waste bin. Most toilets in Thailand aren’t designed to take tissue paper and you might end up clogging the toilet.
– Keep your hand sanitizer on hand since soap isn’t always available.
If you need to use an accessible toilet or are really uncomfortable with squat toilets, put shopping malls, modern restaurants, air-conditioned attractions (like palaces and museums) or gas stations on your itinerary. These are the places with the best Western-style toilets in Thailand. Not all of them come with accessible toilets, but the toilets there are usually more spacious than in other places.
Oh and don’t put your hope in MRT station toilets. It’s true that major MRT stations have restrooms, but opening hours are often unpredictable, especially early in the morning and at night. Use toilets before leaving your accommodation or at other places we recommended above.
Step-by-Step Guide to Squat Toilets in Thailand
– Again, bring your wet tissue and toilet paper.
– Here comes the most confusing part for newbies: squatting. First, you step onto the foot pads. Stand with each of your feet on each foot pad and make sure your behind is aligned with the hole in the toilet bowl. Then pull down whatever you’re wearing below your waist and squat. Now you can proceed with what you come to the toilet for.
– Some squat toilets in Thailand come with toilet sprays. Others don’t and instead, give you a bucket or basin of water with a bowl… We don’t recommend using the water for cleansing. Even if you can turn on the water tap and fill the bowl straight from the tap, we still don’t. No one knows how clean the bowls are. Better use your wet tissue and toilet paper.
– Few squat toilets are equipped with flush valves, so you’ll usually have to manually flush the toilet. This is where the bowl and the water come into play. Use the bowl to scoop up some water. Then aim at the hole in the toilet bowl and pour water into it to flush. You might not succeed on your first try, but don’t stop until everything is gone. Be careful not to cause a “super splash” and make a mess.
– Like when using Western toilets in Thailand, don’t throw used toilet paper into the toilet bowl.
– Soap is even more rare in places with squat toilets, so pack your hand sanitizer.
If you’re visiting temples, markets, natural tourist attractions, provincial bus and train stations and rural areas, brace yourself for squat toilets. However, some of the more famous ones have both Western toilets and squat toilets. When you walk into the restrooms, open every door and you might find sit-down toilets.
Most gas stations have both Western toilets and squat toilets, so be sure to check.
One last thing about both sit-down and squat toilets in Thailand: some restrooms require a small admission fee. It’s usually 5 baht, so always have coins with you.
So that’s all you need to know about toilets in Thailand. Our Western-style toilets aren’t that hard to use, aren’t they? And if a wild squat toilet appears and you’re unable to flee, you now know what to do.
Don’t let your fear of toilets in Thailand stop you from discovering the country’s wonderful local sides! TakeMeTour wishes you lots of discoveries.