Sometimes weird, sometimes worse

We know that when we have to go to public toilets is not always easy and comfortable but you may not know that in other countries things may be different: sometimes weird, sometimes worse.

Here’s a list of 20 different things you may encounter in public bathrooms of different countries.

1. The right use of Japanese toilets

In Japan, you may expect to find only the most technological bathrooms but somewhere you can still find the old squat toilets which are a little different than a classic squat toilet you may be used to. These, in fact, caused many problems due to the bad usage of these toilets by tourists with the result of smelly and dirty toilets, something Japanese are not inclined to. So, especially in Kyoto, some stickers have been attached around the city to inform how to correctly use the facilities.

Japanese squat toilet

2. The old lady in South Korean toilets

You shouldn’t freak out if, in South Korea, you see an old lady entering a public bathroom because she’s there to clean it up especially if she gets in while you’re still inside doing your things. They are called ajumma, Korean jargon for tough middle-aged women and their presence may cause awkward situation if don’t know that or you can’t handle it but it’s a cultural thing and she’s there just to do her job. So, don’t be upset!

3. Snakes from Australian toilets

In Australia when the climate gets particularly dry, snakes get thirsty and look for hydration they normally find in toilets. This behavior mostly happens during the mating season, because using more energy they need more water. Although they’re not venomous and dangerous, it may be very scary to find one in your toilet.

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Snake in Australian toilet

4. Urinals in France

France started introducing open-air urinals to stop public urination in 2018 to reduce public urination. They look like a sort of red boxes. They have a layer of straw and sawdust inside to keep odor away. Then the straw can be used as compost. They are called urittrottoirs (a blend of the French words for ‘urinate’ and ‘pavement’).


5. The lack of toilets in India

Having a toilet in India is not something taken for granted. Even though only 47% of Indian have a toilet at home, only 3% of the population use a public toilet. This leaves millions of Indians to defecate in the streets and out in the open air. For them, it’s easier to have access to a mobile phone than to a toilet.

Indian public toilet

6. Bring your own toilet paper in Cuba

You may be surprised, but in Cuba, there’s no enough money to provide toilet paper in public bathrooms, so you’d better bring your own paper roll or any surrogate if you think you’ll need to go to the toilet.

7. Dump in a Scottish toilet

Considered as a law but it’s only an old Scottish custom, allowing anyone who knocks on the door to use your toilet is something still alive. This likely comes from an old law that gave free passage through someone’s land and morphed into the tradition of letting drunk folks to use your toilet.

8. Sweden public toilets are not free

In Sweden, you should save some coins if you think you’ll need a public toilet because they are not free but the pay toilet system ensures to upkeep public bathrooms always clean and tidy.

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9. Egyptian toilet paper isn’t free

Toilet paper in Egypt is scarce but if you pay you can have it from the attendants standing in the doorway for a single piece of paper at a time.

10. Scarcity of public bathrooms in Poland

In Poland, there are only a few public bathrooms, so if you think you’ll need one, it’s better to check if they are available in the area you are going to before being unprepared.

11. Artistic bathrooms in New Zealand

If you happen to visit New Zealand, you cannot fail to admire Hundertwasser Toilets which are public toilets located in the North of the Island designed by the artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser who used recycled materials from the community to build the facilities. They are considered a piece of art and the main attraction as well as the most photographed toilets of the island.

Hundertwasser toilet

12. Flushing in Brazil

In Brazil, like in other countries such as Mexico, the sewage system is not so good so that flushing something more than a liquid could be a problem. Because of narrower pipes, sometimes you have to flush more than once. Another peculiarity of their public toilets is their padded seats which may look comfortable but if you consider faux leather and public toilet together you immediately change your mind thinking about hygiene.

Brazil public toilet

13. Irish people fear public toilets

Irish people hate using public toilets because considered noisy, smelly, and not relaxing. So, most of them refuse to sit on a public toilet seat maybe because Irish people are extremely clean or public toilets extremely filthy.

14. In Antarctica, people dump in the Ocean

There’s not much to say when you are in the icy continent not equipped with a sewage system like we’re used to. So, this means that if you need to take a dump you’ll probably use the Ocean.

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15. Toilets can’t flush paper in Mexico

Flushing toilet paper in Mexico is not something obvious because like in many other poor countries, their sewage system can’t handle it. So, they normally throw toilet paper into a trash bin near the toilet.

16. Primitive toilets in China

Forget about privacy or comfort zone if you’re in China because you may run into some of their primitive public toilets which are unisex and mostly in a squat version. So, put aside your social more and experience a new way of living the toilet.

Chinese public toilet

17. In Chile toilet paper is precious

Bring your own toilet paper if you plan to go to Chile because their public bathrooms don’t have it anymore because toilet paper would be stolen, this is why it’s not provided anymore.

18. In Thailand, you don’t need toilet paper

In Thailand, there is no toilet paper but only bidets which are actually water sprays for cleansing by a specific toilet hose without a paper to wipe yourself. Sometime you may need to flush manually, especially in squat toilets, using a bucket of water and a bowl placed beside the toilet.

19. In Peru, streets are public bathrooms

Peeing on the street in Peru is not something unusual, so don’t be shocked if you see people urinating in public because this is considered normal.

20. Three-ways urinals in Belgium

Three-way urinals in Belgium allow three men to urinate at the same time but they are also public without the privacy a bathroom could give.

Urinals in Belgium
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