Ultimate Guide to the Asian Squat Toilet

Traveling to Asia is an exciting endeavor filled with wonder and awe. However, traveling it comes with some quirks that you may not have been expecting, such as the squat toilet. For those who grow up with it, it is a piece of cake. But, for those of us who have never encountered one before, it can be baffling! That is why we are giving you the ultimate guide to the Asian Squat Toilet. 

Garden Squat Toilet
Photo: @toilography

What are Squat Toilets?

Unlike the sit-down toilet of the western world, the squat toilet is essentially a hole in the ground. In some places, it will look similar to a urinal lying down flat and in others, it will actually just be a hole. On occasion, you may find weird hybrids that look like an elevated sit-down toilet but have the seat removed. These can be tricky to maneuver, but you got this!

Where Will You Encounter Squat Toilets?

Nowadays, most lodgings have sit-down toilets to cater to foreign tourists. Therefore, it can be possible to avoid squat toilets if you “go” before you leave and wait again until you return. However, this can have ill side effects on the body if you refuse to “go” when your body demands. So, if you aren’t up to that challenge, you are likely to be faced with squat toilets in a public place. Temples, older restaurants, shopping areas, and some tourist attractions are likely to have squat toilets as the only option. 

Bear in mind that countries like Japan, Singapore, and South Korea are more likely to have sit-down toilets compared to that of China, Vietnam, or Laos. 

Photo: @david_urbiafurniture
Photo: @david_urbiafurniture

Rules When Using a Squat Toilet

  1. Bring Your Own Toilet Paper and Hand Sanitizer

In public restrooms, it is highly unlikely that paper will be provided, so it is wise to carry a little bit of your own. You can use napkins, tissues, or whatever suits your fancy. You will hardly ever see soap either, so bringing hand sanitizer is a wise choice. 

  • Never Flush Toilet Paper

While you were wise to bring your own toilet paper, make sure not to flush it. The pipes are not designed to handle any kind of paper waste, and flushing paper products could pose a severe malfunction. ALWAYS place the used paper into the trash bin provided.  

  • Manually Flush

Some of the newer squat toilets have automatic flushers, but the older ones do not. If you are wondering what that water basin with a faucet and a ladle is for, there is your answer. Use the ladle to scoop some water into the toilet as a way of flushing, it helps to push everything down. You can also use the water to clean yourself (if you forget toilet paper)or to wash your hands. 

Tips for Using a Squat Toilet

  1. Always Wear Shoes

Squat toilets are often wet, and sometimes nasty things (parasites)can be hiding in the water. Always make sure to wear your shoes to protect your feet and your health.  

  • Avoid Bringing in Set Down Items

Again, the squat toilets are wet, so anything that you have to set down is going to get wet. If you can leave it outside with someone else to watch over, that is the best choice. Otherwise, you will have to hold onto to it while you do your business. Just don’t forget the paper and hand sanitizer. 

  • Bring Coins

Like in some countries in Europe, you have to pay to use the restroom. It isn’t going to be much, just a few coins. Make sure to have some in your pocket! 

  • Heels are a Good Thing

If you happen to be wearing heels, it will actually benefit you. Wearing heels can help provide the appropriate angle, height, and stability you need. So, if you are out on the town, don’t worry about having to “go.” 


How to Use a Squat Toilet

Everyone has their own unique method depending on their body size and shape, so I will forgo the dirty details. It may take a little bit of practice until you are comfy using them, but after a while, I am sure that you will see the appeal. 

Are You Ready to “Go”?

Using squat toilets isn’t as bad as it seems, especially now that you are prepared. Studies have also shown that using a squat toilet could actually be better for your health. So, the next time that you are faced with one don’t panic! Just drop those pants and do what comes naturally!

Now that you can face any squat toilet with confidence Click Here to read our guide to the best street art in Bangkok!

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