Us westerners take 2 of the best ever inventions for granted, one of them is the western style toilet famously invented by Thomas Crapper. The other is toilet paper, unfortunately I don’t know who invented toilet paper, but I do know there have been times I wish I could invent some right there and then.
Crappers wonderful waste disposal unit has been surprisingly slow to catch on in Thailand. The welcoming sight of a western toilet is not always waiting behind the closed lavatory door, what lies waiting behind the door may be welcoming to a Thai, but to the average western tourist it is a horrible, mysterious dilemma.
Squat toilets are still the preferred method of relieving oneself in Thailand, they are used in the majority of Thai households. They are set to phased out and replaced by western style toilets at public amenities but are very much still in use, and still scaring the crap out of tourists throughout Thailand. But all is not lost, with a little preparation you can embrace this unique Thai cultural experience, you may never speak like a Thai, never eat like Thai, but at least you can crap like a Thai.
How to use a Thai Squat Toilet
There are 2 ways to approach using a Thai Squat Toilet, you prepare, or be prepared to practice what doesn’t come naturally. First of all I will tell you to prepare by carrying toilet roll or tissue, a plastic bag and baby wipes with you whilst you are travelling in Thailand. There is no real mystery when it comes to using squat toilets, as you see in the photo, they are pretty simplistic.
- First off, you must remove all your clothes, hang them up or place them wherever the floor is clean and dry.
- Position your feet on either side of the toilet bowl and squat with your knees pointing up, bum pointing down, this might be easier if you wrap you arms around your knees.
- Do what comes naturally, many people (westerners included) condone this position because it is more natural and your bowel movement is more complete, you might even find it gratifying.
- Did you prepare ?, now is the time to make use of your toilet roll, and because squat toilets are not designed to dispose of tissue paper you might want to place it in the plastic bag and dispose of it later.
- Are you prepared to go native ?, there should be a water trough and scoop (see photo), if you are man it is best to hold the scoop in your right hand, place it behind you and pour so that the water runs to your never regions, use you left hand to clean as you pour. Alternatively you could pour the water onto your cupped hand and then clean. Women might find it just as convenient to pour from the front.
- Drying yourself is just a matter of waiting, just stay squatted and drip dry, it shouldn’t take long before you’re dry enough to get dressed without leaving any telltale soggy patches. Make sure you thoroughly rinse your hands before getting dressed.
- Many public toilets in Thailand do not have adequate washing facilities, now is the time to utilize your antiseptic baby wipes.