The primary purpose of this article is to educate tourists traveling to China regarding their toilet practices. This article should be useful in informing potential travelers, that although you can find western toilets in China, it wouldn’t be that often, and how one can finally deal with that strange contraption they call a squat toilet when a Western tourist comes face to face with it.
A tourist will most likely encounter this type of toilet on a trip to China. It is typical, in some of the Asian countries, that a tourist will have a certain level of difficulty in finding western toilets and in its place, one will encounter a squat toilet. It is because some Asians, as well as the Chinese population, mostly prefer the squat-style toilet which they are more accustomed to, rather than the western ones.
Can You Find Western Style Toilets in China?
Of course, you can. All the five-star and higher rated hotels in the country have it, along with the standard things you will expect in a classy bathroom. Stuff like napkins and expensive tissue paper as well as all the bath gels you can use for the whole period of your stay. You can expect this from your expensive hotel as they typically deal with tourists from the West.
Therefore, it is safe to say that you need not be duped nor surprised at the strange way your toilet will look nor will there be drastic changes to your toilet rituals if you remain perfectly ensconced in your five-star bubble. Should you decide to venture outside your hotel and stay in the heart of the city, you will find that significant establishments will have the same creature comforts of that of the West, especially done to cater to their Western clientele.
Fortunately, some of the public restrooms in the big cities will also have at least one Western toilet at the bare minimum. So, if one’s whole visit to China revolves around just hobnobbing along these places, this article is not for you.
The further you venture out of the city though and the more you take the off the beaten track to go on an adventure, you will be astonished to find that your regular toilet break will be quite an experience in itself. For the Western traveler caught unaware, it might be a shock to see a flattened hole in the ground which they call a squat toilet. When one finds himself in this awkward situation, the next question would be, what in the world is this and how exactly do I use it? The following explanation is given below:
How to use Squat toilets in China?
As mentioned earlier, it will come as a shock for some who haven’t experienced using the squat toilet before. I can only imagine that it would be an unusual, strange and awkward experience for the Western visitor all rolled into one due to its shape and style and the methods of how to use it.
As the name suggests, one has to squat to use it, and if you are accustomed to sitting, you must be prepared to practice how to balance yourself out before ever embarking on a Chinese adventure. The squat toilet consists of toilet pans on the floor, and these pans are also known as the squatting pans. You can use these by understanding some of the steps which are elaborated below to preempt or overcome some problems which an unassuming traveler might encounter when dealing with a squat toilet.
Remove your pants or lower trousers down to the knees: If you are a beginner and have no knowledge or experience in using a squat toilet. It is much better to thoroughly remove your pants as it is beneficial to squat down over a squat toilet and not get anything on your clothes by accident. If you have the experience and are feeling quite confident you may also lower your trousers the knees.
Stand straight over the squat toilet: if you have adequately dealt with your clothes, you need to stand straight by keeping one foot on each side of the squat toilet. This process is not the end, and you do not need to keep standing over the squat.
Squat down: after standing by keeping one foot on each side you need to get in the squat down position by squatting on bended knees, your knees should be straight upward, and your bottom should be directly over the hole of the squat toilet.
Now after following all these three steps, you need to squat down comfortably to do your business. At some places, toilet paper is not available so look around you, and there may be water sprays and water pots which are within reach to help you get clean. Splash the water with the help of the water spray or water pot and clean yourself using your hand. Dispose of the water properly and when you are done, flush the squat thoroughly with more water to keep the atmosphere and toilet clean and germ-free.
I will close this article with a few practical tips for the Western tourist. Bring toilet paper with you along with wipes and hand sanitizer when you go out to have fun in China.
Check the weather. If it permits you to wear a skirt and you suspect that Western toilets won’t be available for this leg of your trip, wear a skirt or a dress. It is unfortunate, in this case, that most of the people who will need to do the squatting will be women and this whole process is way more comfortable for men. If you are on a guided tour, it is also best to ask your tour guide on what to expect. Trying something new can always be fun and never let the fear of something different, stop you from going out on an adventure.
Go to China and experience the squat toilets. After all, squatting is good for you.