The Most Important Article You Will Ever Read: How to Use a Squat Toilet
Thailand is a beautiful country that’s fast modernizing, and in some parts of Bangkok you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in futuristic Japan among the steel and glass skyscrapers. But you know one area where Thailand isn’t quite so developed? Its toilets! Town or country, at some point you’re going to come face to face with the infamous Asian squat toilet.
We’ve all been there: in the middle of a sightseeing trip in Thailand, on a visit to a village, at a local restaurant at the side of the road. Suddenly you need to go, and there’s only one option for where! Welcome to the squat toilet. It might look daunting at first but don’t worry, there’s a knack to using them and after learning a few tips and tricks you’ll never be daunted again! Both girls and guys are going to need our invaluable guide on how to use a squat toilet.
It’s all in the prep…
A squat toilet is a bit more of an… immediate experience than a western one. You’re going to be crouching down so you don’t want any clothing getting in the way! Prepare by removing your trousers if they’re baggy and likely to get wet on the floor, rolling up skirts and tucking scarves out of harm’s way. If you have a bag with you then so much the better because Thai toilets rarely come with hooks, so you can use a bag to store anything loose.
If you can’t imagine going to the toilet without some paper then be prepared and carry your own supply. Although some tourists places stock toilet rolls for westerners you can’t rely on it, and the worst time to find out that you don’t have paper is exactly the time that you need it the most!
Yoga isn’t just for exercise…
You know the full, deep squat that people in Asia all seem to be able to master without any bother? The one that makes your knees feel like they’re going to snap in half? Yep, that’s the position you want! It can be really hard to get legs that aren’t used to lengthy squatting to comply when you try and use a squat toilet, but going on a yoga meditation retreat can help. I mean, you’re in Thailand so there are plenty of opportunities after all!
Step onto the molded foot-rests to either side of the bowl, squat down and there you go. Easy. Now just hope you’ve got the thigh strength to stay there for long enough!
The All-Important Clean-Up
You came, you saw, you squatted; now for the clean-up. This is where a lot of westerners get a bit squeamish as most Thai toilets don’t come with toilet paper. As we mentioned earlier, if this makes you panic then carry your own, but otherwise make like a local and get washing! People across Asia maintain that giving yourself a proper wash after you’ve been is actually a lot more hygienic than leaving soiled paper lying around everywhere, and when you think about it they might be right…
There should be a tap and scoop, a bucket of water or a spray hose within easy reach. Grab yourself some water with your right hand and get washing with your left. Plenty of water equals nice and clean so don’t skimp on the timings here. Many places will provide soap for this step so you’ll end up feeling like you just stepped out the shower. Great on a hot Thai day!
Embrace the squat toilet!
Fear of squat toilets is a long-running joke, but actually the human body has been designed to go to the toilet in this way. We think it’s likely that you’ll find the whole experience pretty enjoyable after a while! The toilets themselves are easy to clean because there are no nooks and crannies to deal with so what’s not to love? Congratulations, you’ve conquered Asia’s squat toilets!