Potty Talk

Potty Talk

If you have never been to Thailand, there are a few things you may want to know about bathrooms here. While in most big cities and places where tourists go there are western flush toilets, although this is not always the case.

Western flush toilet in Thailand.

Western flush toilet in Thailand, complete with toilet paper – this is actually the bathroom in my house.

Sometimes there is a western toilet, but instead of flushing it has a water receptacle with a scoop in it that you use to flush. (No photo of this, I tend to not take photos in the bathroom – yuck) Other times, there are squat toilets. Sometimes there is toilet paper, but not always. When I visited here in 2000 there were a lot more squat toilets and a lot less toilet paper than there is now.

Typical Thai squat toilet - photo from: http://www.learnthaiculture.com/thai_culture_thai_toilet.shtml

Typical Thai squat toilet – photo from: http://www.learnthaiculture.com/thai_culture_thai_toilet.shtml

These are good things to know if you’re planning on visiting. Many of them are outlined here: http://www.learnthaiculture.com/thai_culture_thai_toilet.shtml I will add here for ladies: face the squat hole when peeing, and face away from the hole if you poop. OK, enough scatological discussion for me, moving on to why I really wrote this post.

Here are things that most guidebooks and websites don’t tell you – in many Thai bathrooms there is also this:

The butt sprayer

The butt sprayer

While we westerners normally see this attached to the kitchen sink, it’s next to toilets in most bathrooms in Thailand. Often it is this in lieu of toilet paper. When I told my Thai friend that we didn’t have the butt sprayer in the US, he said he wasn’t sure he could live there.

After being here for a short time, all these toilet things just become common and you know what to do.

What is not common, is something I experienced in the bathroom at Gigantea. Gigantea is a delicious Japanese restaurant in Chiang Mai. Upon what I thought was flushing the toilet, this happened:

I kind of screamed in the bathroom from the surprise of having toilet water shoot in my face instead of flushing down, so naturally a Thai woman came to see what caused the alarm. I wish I’d had a video of the Thai woman miming how I was supposed to use that toilet.

Oh Japan, so innovative, so ahead of many countries with your inventions, why are some of them so weird? Perhaps I’m better off in good old Thailand, squat toilets and all.

One last thing, make sure not to flush toilet paper in public bathrooms, throw it in the garbage bin instead. No need for more flooding in Thailand.

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