OK, I’ll give it up right away. This post is not about me. I have a “Chinese bladder” and can always hang on until I get back to the hotel room. But my other half can’t walk 100 metres without needing to find a toilet! And boy does she find some beauties!! No she has not had a monkey sit in her lap while using a public toilet, but she’s had lots of other adventures.
So this is for you, my love, the Traveler’s Guide to Finding and Using Public Toilets in Bangkok. I might do this for other places too in future if there’s demand from readers, or if my other half pushes me to do the research.
First thing you need to know is that there’s a BIG variation in the standard of publicly accessible toilet facilities in a city like Bangkok. They will range from the putrid and disgusting to the regal and scrupulously clean. Some will be free, some will cost you 5 Baht and some will turn you away if they don’t like the look of you. Some toilets will be holes in the ground and may not even have running water, but you’d be very unlucky land in one of those in Bangkok now.
In most hotels and major tourist facilities they have clean western-style toilets with pans, seats and flush buttons. Fact is, you can walk up to the concierge of almost any hotel if you are a westerner and reasonably presented and ask where to find a toilet and they’ll point you in the right direction.
Most shopping centres like MBK Centre or Siam Square have good, clean toilets that are cared for by unpaid attendants who collect a coin (usually 5-10 Batfrom each visitor in exchange for a small pack of toilet paper. These are mostly some of the best toilets in Bangkok.
Major western fast food chains like McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Burger King almost always have good, clean toilets available. Just duck in and put your head down and you’ll probably get out without having to buy a burger or a pizza.
BTS Skytrain stations are a good option if you’re in a hurry as they’re rarely more than a couple of hundred metres apart and usually have good facilities. They are also often connected to a major hotel or shopping centre.
In case of emergency, break bad!
If you find yourself in real difficulty and simply cannot find a toilet, the magic words you need are “hong nam”, which means “bathroom” in Thai. If a shop keeper has one, they’ll usually let you use it. But make sure you’re carrying a small pack of tissues in your pocket or your bag because it’s unlikely there’ll be any toilet paper available. Keep some hand sanitizer in your bag or pocket too, as there probably won’t be clean water to wash with or soap. If you’re carrying your phone or wallet, make sure you don’t drop it down the hole! You will not want to go after it, I assure you!