Thailand to scrub down and clean up public toilets

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FINDING A PUBLIC TOILET in Thailand is pretty easy, but finding a clean and safe public toilet that is not in a mall, an attraction, or a hotel is nearly impossible.

Luckily, the country is aiming to scrub down and clean up their public toilets.

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One of the most (if not the most) popular destinations in Asia, Thailand’s move to improve their public toilets may boost the country’s heavily tourism-dependent economy.

In 2012, Thailand’s Health Ministry issued a public toilet decree announcing that it will replace squat toilets with the Western-styled sit-down version at all public facilities. More recently, Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Ministry launched a campaign to encourage public facilities at bus and train stations, and private operators of toilets at petrol stations, rest areas, and restaurants to clean up.

“Public toilets in locations popular with tourists should be both clean and safe,” Bangkok Post quoted Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat as saying.

As it stands, reviews of Thailand’s public toilets are generally okay. However, most conversations and tips are centered on using toilets in malls or hotels.

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Four public places in four regions have been picked as models for the clean-up plans: Hua Lampong station in Bangkok, the second bus terminal in Nakhon Ratchasima, the second bus station in Phitsanulok, and Hua Hin train station in Prachuap Khiri Khan.

In the more popular tourist destination, the bustling Chatuchak Market, which attracts over 200,000 people every week, there are plans to build air-conditioned toilets.

That being said, other “public toilet survival” tips to remember while in Thailand include:

  1. Do not flush paper products: Bangkok’s plumbing, including in some of the nicest places, often isn’t prepared for toilet paper. To avoid from clogging the toilet, toss the toilet paper in the bin after you’re done.
  2. Bring your own toilet paper or tissues: Public toilets usually do not have toilet paper so bring your own or buy it at the entrance for a small price.
  3. There is no bidet: But there is the toilet hose usually next to the toilet that you can use. However, be mindful of the water pressure.

On another note, Thailand is also cleaning up their beaches by banning smoking on 24 beaches in 15 provinces. Enforced by the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, smokers caught lighting up will be handed a fine of up to THB100,000 (US$3,176) or face up to a year in prison.