The Infamous Squat Toilet

Sometimes culture shock is pretty strong when you are abroad. Sometimes it is overwhelming and intimidating. Westerners are very particular about their bathroom habits and they carry them to faraway places. In other words, they make a big deal out of it. It becomes an obsession to find a modern toilet – a real quest of sorts. They can be very grateful to have anything to use when out in the field so to speak.

No wonder they freak out when they see the infamous Asian squat toilet. Mind you, it is not the prevalent type, but it can be found, and is often the only choice in some locales. Not to panic. It is actually more hygienic than the sit down version for obvious reasons. So don’t shy away from it. Learn to embrace something new when nature calls. Learn to recognize this alternative system and how it functions. Most of the work is on your part as parts are on the simple side.

I knew a rather unsophisticated traveler who didn’t know in advance about these devices. Why would he? He recounted his sad tale with some humor. He had arrived in Thailand and used the facilities at the airport with not an ounce of to do. He had to travel in the countryside a bit later, and there encountered a less than appealing john. It wasn’t dirty or smelly as one might expect. He simply did not know the ropes. He finally figured out that it was a stand up job facing him, but he never learned the squatting part. Mishaps will happen—but to kids. Needless to say he was a bit flabbergasted at the consequences. And needless to say he learned fast and the incident did not repeat itself at any time later. In fact, he felt a bit smug when he had to use the loo in a gas station. No longer perplexed, he bent his knees dutifully, hunched forward—and did a squat! This time, however, he forgot paper.

Thai is more modernized than you think. The subject doesn’t usually even come up. There are no warnings before your trip as most visitors to Thailand find arrangements to their satisfaction and even liking. I know people like to get away and experience the raw reality of an exotic place for an authentic taste of the country. Let’s leave that to local cuisine. Most of the time you will be quite content with the porcelain thrones they have in most places. Just be flexible, and I mean that quite literally.

I love to recommend travel to Thailand. It is a beautiful place and welcomes tourists. Nothing should deter you from having the time of your life. There are glorious beaches and luscious flora and fauna to savor. It can be the vacation of your dreams. Whatever you encounter to meet your daily needs will be more than adequate, I assure you. While surprises can happen, most often you will feel quite at home doing your business.