Thailand / Travel Writing

Thai Potties… The Traveler’s Divide

When traveling in Thailand, at some point, you are going to have to use a public restroom. I suppose it is technically possible to come and stay at a 4 star resort, at least a Thai 4 star which isn’t quite as spoiled as a US 4 star, and plan your days so that you are never stuck away from the resort long enough to worry about this. But if that is how you plan your vacations, I’m not sure why you were coming to Thailand.

Our drive from Bangkok to Koh Chang was not the first time we use the public restroom, but it is the first time we used one quite like this. I have to admit that as we came out of the restrooms, we shared a chuckle, as well as successful strategies in using this bathroom.  And yes, there was some wariness by one or two unnamed members of our party. But, there was no freaking out, there was no desire to leave Thailand. And I guess, for that, I am very thankful.

The infamous potty…

How to use said potty:  the sidees of the porcelain toilet hole with the treads are where your feet go. Then you just squat and go right there. The bathroom is strictly BYOTP, so come prepared. Once you’re finished, you scoop the clean water from the side tank into the toilet, which washes everything down. And you exit.

When I posted the picture on Facebook, with the caption:  “You’ll have to use one at some point, you might as well get over it.” The reactions provided an even bigger laugh.  A number of friends were listing the countries they have been in that have similar bathrooms, and it really is not that uncommon, so if you think you might want to travel you need to prepare yourself. But there were a number of people who made comments to the effect that they just couldn’t travel internationally if this was what they would have to use.

*Gasp*  Really??  It just never occurred to me to be that bothered by it. Have a laugh? Yes. Have a moment of wishing that I carried hand soap with me? Absolutely. But have this stop me from seeing Thailand? Or stop me from taking a train to less touristy towns in Italy (where I last used a similar potty)?  Absolutely not.

And FYI… we did go into the 7-Eleven and purchase hand sanitizer.

In all fairness, I do need to share, that my own husband turned on me a bit in his description of the bathroom in the comments of my post. His reaction?

Take it from someone who sees germs like that kid in the Sixth Sense sees dead people. I used it. There is the dreadful feeling that your shoes are insufficient protection against whatever foul debris plagues the floor. Especially when one wears sandals. But this is no different than many American public restrooms. At least here you need not touch anything but the floor (through the dubious protection of rubber soles) until it is time to “flush”.  At that point you must grab the pail of despair, scoop water out of the trough of microbial mystery, and poor said water into the hole to manually flush the toilet. Again, though, this is only marginally worse than American Standard manual flush toilets. What REALLY gets you is the emotional moment of walking out of the stall, holding your disease ridden hands as far from you as possible, intending to sanctify your soiled digits with a healthy dose of soap and water, only to find that, like the TP, you must bring your own.

So… yeah… there’s that.

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