Behold, the trashy tree.
Behold, the trashy tree at Huey Tung Tao.

How to find a public toilet in Thailand is as tricky as finding a rubbish bin. Of course, there are some places where a respectable receptacle can be found easily, like in Chiang Rai, but in Chiang Mai, well, its perplexing business.

I’ve heard the reason why you don’t see bins around the moat, for instance, is because the good people of CM were afraid that bombs would be hidden in the rubbish bins.

But if you are anything like me, after you finish that fruit shake and find a place to toss it. You have about a 29 second window to find a toilet before you start to panic about taking a piss in your fisherman pants.

From my extensive research I have found:

  1. Wats/temples almost always have toilets (you usually have to pay a few baht, and contrary to popular belief they are not always clean).
  2. Malls/shopping centers (see wats/temples)
  3. Hotels are great, not only for when you are lost or need to hail a cab, but they consistently have clean toilets (not to be confused with guest houses).
  4. Petrol/gas stations (overall better than US standards, but it’s been awhile since I’ve been back. Maybe what I thought was gross before is now sparkling).
  5. Restaurants and coffee houses are NOT to be trusted. Don’t assume they have one and if they do they might share one with other business located about (what feels like) 3 blocks away because you have no idea what they said, “Turn right??? No left? And then what?”

You should also realize, dear ladies, that toilet paper/tissue is optional. It was back in 1989 when I did my business in some random Bangkok shopping center, and realized the cold truth – public restrooms do not have toilet paper like they did back home.

“Mom!” I yelled from the stall, hoping to God she would hear me from the food court.



“There’s no toilet paper. Are there any in the other stalls?”

Noise of her checking…


“Do you have any in your purse?”

Noise of her checking…


“Mom!” I said in my best teenage angst voice, “What am I going to do?”

She started laughing.

“Mom, this is not funny!”

More laughter.

I’m laughing now.


“Drip dry.”


“Drip dry. Shake, Lani. Shake.”

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