Explore. Experience. Engage.

Powered by our sister site, Family Vacation Critic

The World's Best and Worst Toilets: The Sequel!

Any Port-a-Potty in a Storm
"To truly wrestle with a 'squatty-potty' you need to be seven months pregnant and be on a pitching Turkish ferry during a storm. Been there, done that...." -- GrannyJ

Reading, Writing and ... Restroom Use?
"Do the French still have those large, square, porcelain things in the floors of public restrooms with footrests on either side of a slightly recessed hole? Once perched on the footrests that dictated the spread of your legs, there was peril all around you. You teetered there while twisting and trying to verify you were hitting the hole. What to do with your trousers required the talent of an expert juggler. You had to wad them to the front or rear, depending on your bodily needs; and if it was an outside toilet, as many of them were, and you were wearing a coat of any weight or length, keeping it hoisted and unsoiled at the same time was nearly an impossibility. You were clutching at fabric with your fists, armpits and elbows! I always thought that I was probably going at it all wrong -- and that the French might have instruction on how to do it at lower grade levels." -- esurb

Hail to the Chief
Hail to the Chief"I was doing medical service to the indigenous Mayan people in Guatemala. They had just finished building their new toilet (outhouse) high on stilts. This is a missionary secret ... we take medication to constipate ourselves so we won't have to use the local facilities if it is only for a week. The indigenous cuisine is mostly beans and corn. Diet overrode the medication. I was escorted to be the first one to 'anoint' the throne. It wasn't pretty! When I came out the entire community came out, encircled the new outhouse and gave me a standing ovation." -- atitlan

At Least the View Was Palatial...
"The worst toilet I ever experienced was in Lhasa, Tibet in a small hotel in the Tibetan quarter. It was a trench in the floor that dropped about 10 feet, seemingly had never been cleaned out and stank to high heaven. The only redeeming quality was that it was truly a 'room with a view' with an incredible view of the Potala Palace out the window!" -- Caitlin's Mom

Reporting for "Doody"
"My husband is an Army Reservist, and on a recent training trip his unit encountered something I don't think anyone had ever encountered before. Open showers are normal for military accommodations, but they had never seen open toilets before. In one room six toilets were lined up along one wall with only one roll of toilet paper to pass around. Lack of modesty is common in the military, but this was to the extreme." -- gwenb

Adding Insult to Injury
"My favorite bathroom tale of all time was when my mom and I were traveling in France back in 1978. She had broken her arm in Venice and they put her in a Minerva cast, which is a cast that stretches from neck to crotch and immobilizes the arm. We were in one of the public museums when she had to go. She called me in to see the bathroom: two footprints and a hole nowhere near a wall where she could lean. Needless to say she wasn't able to manage this bathroom on her own, so I went in with her and held her pants up off the ground and steadied her while she did her business. We got her clothing straightened out and pulled the chain. A wave of water washed across our feet. We laughed like the idiots I'm sure the people waiting for us thought we were." -- ravenwald13

dirty toilet Is There a Bulk Discount?
"The worst place to use a toilet is Tijuana, Mexico. The toilets there are dirty and disgusting. If you want to use toilet paper you have to pay for it. The girl stands in the bathroom and for 50 cents you get one square of toilet paper. For a dollar you get two. I don't know ANY woman who can pee and wipe with two squares of a really lousy, low-grade brand of toilet paper. Certainly, if you have the runs (which is common after eating or drinking in Tijuana), you would require the entire roll. I can't imagine the cost on that one." -- inkling

21st-Century Torture Chamber
"My favorite 'bad potty' experience came at no less than the Museum of Pain and Torture in Florence, when after enjoying an enlightening tour of the horrors one might have encountered living in Medici-era Firenze, I felt the urge and asked to use the facilities. The girl who was selling tickets cheerfully stepped out of her little booth, opened a wee door next to it, and removed several mops, brooms and buckets from what had to have been one of the tiniest broom closet/bathroom combos I have ever seen. The narrow basin sink jutted halfway out into the space, and one could dimly see a cramped toilet beyond. Not seeing how I could squeeze my well-fed, 21st-century American gut past the sink, and afraid I'd get stuck if I somehow managed to make it back to the toilet, I decided I could wait after all." -- SheckyGreen

Her Royal Heinie-ness
"We lived in Europe when I was 10 and 11 (schoolteacher parents), and there were some surprises for these California kids. In London, they had those little sheets of folded paper that pull out together, one after the other. In those days, all toilet paper was either paper towel or wax paper consistency. The wax paper had to be wadded up and rubbed back and forth before it would absorb ANYTHING. But the thing that confused this 10-year-old was that each sheet was imprinted with the royal crest and said 'Property of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.' Mother told me that we didn't have to return it to her when we were through, so it was okay." -- helledane

Feeding Time at the Loo
"A friend of mine visited Pakistan a number of years ago. The toilet was behind the house where he was staying, and it was up on stilts. You had to climb a ladder to get in it. It had a seat with a hole just like a U.S. outhouse, but there was a chute running down to the ground from under the hole. Also, there was a club next to the seat.

pig"When someone got the runs (quite often with the bad water), they would be sitting on the seat for a long time, and the pigs that lived in the backyard would be waiting for their lunch to come down the chute. With the runs, you don't emit a whole lot, and the pigs would get impatient and run up the chute to bite at your bottom from below the hole. The club was there to stick between your legs and beat back the pigs while you were sitting there suffering." -- monstermash

Got a story of your own to share? Do your duty!

Related Links
  • Read the Original Toilet Tales
  • International Travel Resources
  • Strange International Foods: Our Top Seven
  • Read Trip Reports by Real Travelers
  • Write About Your Latest Trip!

    --compiled by Sarah Schlichter

    Photo Credit: Image of the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong appears courtesy of Peninsula Hotels.

  • X

    Thank You For Signing Up!

    Please Note: To ensure delivery of your free e-letters, please add news@independenttraveler.com to your address book.

    We're committed to protecting your privacy and will not rent or sell your e-mail address. By proceeding, you agree to our privacy policy and Terms of Use.