So, you're in Thailand and you feel the urge to use the bathroom … luckily in the tourist areas most hotels, restaurants, and bars will have a good old western toilet. Outside the tourist areas what you see is what you get, especially if visiting a Thai people home. A traditional Thai toilet is a squat toilet which at first glance looks simple enough. Pull your pants down, squat and finish up. Well, if you never used one parts 2 and 3 of the instructions might be a little hard if not downright confusing.
Number one when was the last time you squatted to do anything? I thought so, you see those of us the western persuasion (especially men) do not squat well and while you may have good squat muscles the time to find out is not at 2am in a bar after eating Som Tam which can best be described as a class A incendiary device … butt I digress.
The next thing you see is the barrel (sometimes a bucket or a small well) which is filled with water and has a small pot floating in, this my friend is the flushing mechanism. Simple enough, pour some water in the hole and it all goes away, but did you notice there is no toilet paper? The barrel you see has a dual purpose. The little pot is also used to splash yourself clean. Sounds refreshing does not it? Even in most Thai toilets you'll find toilet paper but there will be times when you will not.
If you should find yourself in a situation where you have no choice and have to go make sure to take your time or things could get real messy. Better yet if you can take your time find a western toilet. If you find you have no choice and it does not go as planned …. the bucket of water can always be used to do a little wash!
Another thing you will notice with all western blankets is the hose attachment on the wall next to the toilet with a spray nozzle. This attachment looks exactly like the one at home on your kitchen sink and it is used in the same manner but obviously not for dishes. Although Thailand has come a long way in terms of infrastructure the sewer systems are still very bad. The spray attachment will get you clean and help to reduce the amount of toilet paper used. You will usually see a sign in all suites in Thailand asking you to not flush the toilet paper but put it in the waste bin provided. Please use the waste bin because the output if you do not will not be pleasant.