If you’ve travelled in Asia at some point or not you probably would have came across and maybe had to use a squat toilet.
It’s not really a subject that is normally talked about at length or something that I really thought about, until I had no option but to use it. You may be cringing at this post but I feel that it is an important one for travellers especially female to have a basic understanding of what to expect.
My first experience with this um.. lovely toilet was in 2012 in Cambodia. For some reason I hadn’t thought of the possibility of using one (in Cambodia) and I’m not sure why it hadn’t crossed my mind. I was 17 and volunteering at an orphanage when I first used one of these. I was with 6 other girls all of similar age and we were all a little (okay a lot!!) worried of how we were going to conquer this experience without it ending with us falling in the toilet bowl or worse.
Here are my tips for hopefully a drama free experience and what to expect.
– The floor may be wet.
In Asia they quite often use a hose instead of toilet paper as their sewerage systems aren’t the same as western societies. So don’t think it’s dirty because the floor’s wet.
-Take toilet paper in with you.
There may not be any or there could be some outside of the cubicle to collect (or pay for) on your way in.
-Avoid wearing Fishermans pants, long loose pants or clothing that may be an issue- if you can plan ahead.
-Try to squat on flat feet as you will have better balance than on the balls of your feet.
-Put your paper in the bin and not the toilet.
-There will often be a bucket or trough of water behind the basin to use to ‘flush’ the toilet.
Be confident and just do it!
My first experience was nowhere near as scary as I thought it was going to be. It’s something that you will get the hang of after a few times and soon won’t be freaking or over the fact that there’s no western toilets near by.
I often find that people will wait in line for ages for a western toilet when there is no line for the squat toilet (abroad) and it is quite often in a cleaner state. So get confident and comfortable with using the squat toilet to save you time and sometimes your gag reflexes, when you need to go!