There is no wonder that a sightseer in Indochina tour will pass by and experience unique to bizarre toilets in each locations. Modern toilets are not always available in unserved remote areas in Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia, so be ready to make acquaintance with crazy sanitation systems.
Globalization seems not to eliminate the Laotian traditional features, especially the toilet customs.
From past to present, almost Laotian sanitation facilities are squat toilets following Asian style or only a hole created in the ground without any seat for users. Using this kind of restrooms is popular in Laos if you want to stay in Laotian homestays in remote locations. Sometimes, standard toilets in Lao are just little huts separated from the local houses and next to the huts are small well-built cement tanks filled with water and plastic scoops prepared in order to flush the toilets. If the user doesn’t want to use the paper to clean their butt, replace by the prepared water.
Don’t forget to carry the toilet paper or tissues accompany with you for the reason that tissues are not always available in all Laotian restrooms. Place the used paper into the wastebasket to avoid the stagnation of the paper for the sanitation in the water pipes. Excessive used tissues can pose the aching problem to the sewer systems in Laos.
On the other hand, Western-style restrooms are in use in almost high-end to mid-rate tourist hotels, guesthouses or other kinds of accommodations which suits sightseers who can’t use the squat toilets.
Among the Southeast Asian countries, Cambodia ranks the highest position in terms of low toilet coverage. The recent statistics has shown that 58 percent of the Cambodian population is in poor access to the proper sanitation facilities and only 16 percent of Cambodian in rural places is provided with adequate sanitation.
Squat toilets have long been recognized as the norm in Cambodia and even almost Asian countries. Located from far distance from the houses, toilet facilities in Cambodia are simple pits formed in the ground and then covered up after people get out of the WC.
One unique feature in Cambodian toilets are floating toilets in the floating village of Prek Toal in Cambodia. Great support from the Cambodian government is proved by supplying floating Handy Pod toilets supplied to protect the residents’ health from dangerous diseases derived from unhygienic sanitation systems.
Free restrooms are supported by many domestic and international organizations for families who can’t afford proper toilets. Public toilets are provided in the tourist pit stops or in famous temples and pagodas; however, you’ll have to pay fee. Stay at large hotels and luxurious resorts if you want to use modern toilets inside. Remember to bring along the individual toilet paper and soap for hands cleaning because some restrooms don’t provide those items.
The differences in the Vietnamese well-being is a major factor contributing to the variety in the access to adequate sanitation facilities. Travelling to the countryside means that visitors only can experience the latter-day toilets if booking a room in a hostel. Otherwise, enduring the outdated squat sanitation facilities is common to unlucky tourists.
However, exploring the captivating attractions in big cities including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city, almost no travelers has to lack the access to Western-style toilets. It is suggested to bring your own paper and the soap to the WC in case they are not supplied and for the hygienic reason. Never throw the paper waste into the toilet. A bin is also placed near the toilet so that the users can throw the paper into it.