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Things you didn’t know about toilets around the world

Have you been in a situation when you had no clue how to flush water in the toilet? Someone may say it's unbelievable till they haven't been in the same position as you. So sometimes, seeing a how-to explanation in a bathroom might seem funny (because what's there not to know, right?), but in some places around the world, we wouldn't mind an instruction…

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By Aistė

Published: Feb 21, 2023 min read

Things you didn’t know about toilets around the world

The Netherlands. Because who doesn’t want to examine their 💩?

The Dutch people don’t know their toilet is a “Dutch toilet” - it’s very much like the normal one, but the additional shelf is something that sets it apart. There are two supposed explanations for it. One is that it makes analyzing what came out for health reasons much easier. The other one says it’s to prevent the water from splashing everywhere. 

Whatever the reason, don’t get confused when you see one & experience it from a close-up. Literally. 

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SOUTH KOREA. Warn us about the lady, please. 

In the public toilets of South Korea, it’s not unusual for a middle-aged woman to wander into your cabin at any time. They have these cleaning ladies (or ajumma in Japanese) that don’t follow your schedule - if they need to enter, they will, but don’t get scared or feel confused, it’s a normal practice there. Say 안녕하세요 (an nyeong ha seyo)! (psst, it means hi). Here’s what to expect according to the legend: 

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THAILAND. Wash it off, baby. 

Toilet paper is often not the first choice in Asian countries overall, but Thailand especially has a thing for using water. Doesn’t matter if it’s from a bidet type of tool or a little cup - that’s how you’ll have to roll. 

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PERU. Toilet? Qué?

Don’t be surprised if you see people dealing with their business in the streets. That’s simply because… public bathrooms are not that much of a thing there. We’re not saying join them - we’re saying be prepared.  

No toilet pics. Ha-ha. 

United States. Peek a Boo!

Most public toilets in the US are not very privacy-friendly. Only half of your body covered because of a huge bottom gap in the door, that kind of not privacy-friendly. Although the minds behind have their reasons (such as drug & sex prevention), that’s quite uncomfortable. 

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AUSTRALIA. Snakes in the dunny? Unexpected! 

Although not a custom, snakes in the toilet can be found every once in a while in Australia. We’re sure that’s something everyone would like to be warned about before sitting on the first dunny there. Oh, and dunny is what Australians call their bathrooms. If you call it a bathroom, chances are you won’t be understood… Basic vocabulary!

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Maldives. Because who needs a roof? 

You book a 5-star resort, prepare to experience the most luxury you’ve ever seen, open the bathroom door… and it’s all outside. As surprising as that might come, that’s the reality in the Maldives - it doesn’t matter how rich you are, everyone gets closer to nature when it calls. 

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JAPAN. Don’t forget the bathroom slippers! Oh, and don’t sit on that… 

That’s a country where you’d need a detailed guide for many of the toilets. Twist this & get your seat warm, pull that & hear some water running noise, so others don’t hear it. Toilets in Japan are one of the most technologically advanced, and some of them even have bathroom slippers to keep it all squeaky clean. 

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There’s also another type of bathroom in this country: squat toilets. These are the ones that many tourists don’t know how to use, and cleaners get tired of cleaning. You see, it’s quite hard to explain, but this visual might explain the reasons easier: 

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Latin America. Get those feet to work. 

If we’re used to using our hands to flush, in Latin America, people prefer doing it with their feet. And that actually makes sense: you don’t need to touch anything surfaces & avoid everything that’s on them. So if you see something like this, preferably don’t touch it with your hand: 

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BONUS: United Kingdom. Off-the-topic, but worth a mention for your own safety. 

Here we wouldn’t mind an instruction to come together with the taps. In the UK, you can often find two of them: one with freezing cold and another with boiling hot water running. This dates back to the days when cold & hot water were kept separate to avoid contamination, but it’s still popular in UK households. So, basically, you burn or freeze, so use it with caution & try to find the golden middle! 

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Feb 21, 2023

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