Travel Tips: Toilet Time in Malaysia

In Malaysia you always need to remember to carry two things:

1. Drinking Water

2. Toilet paper: for use when the water runs out

Now, regarding #2, you might think “why?” or, if you’re used to travelling in this part of the world, you might think “duh, that’s so obvs” – however the point that needs to be made is not that Malaysia doesn’t have toilet paper (they have plenty of it), but rather, that the toilet paper is stored on the outside of the stall. 

Much debate has ensued over why exactly there is a giant roll of toilet paper by the sinks: does it save trees, did they just not feel like installing dispensers in the stalls, are we all being filmed for an episode of Candid Camera? To our “Western” brains with “Western stomachs” this design presents two big flaws: what if you forgot to grab some paper, and if you did remember, what if you didn’t take enough. 

I think we can all agree that not having enough toilet paper while in a public bathroom is a scenario best left to a movie whose main component is a slapstick sound effects budget and stars anyone from American Pie.

In the end, the answer was infront of our faces (especially went squatting). Malaysia has “wet” toilets. Each stall consists of a couple of hoses (besides.knowing they are for cleaning, I’m not entirely sure how they work) but the end result is that each stall gets hosed down after every use – which makes going to the toilet feel like you’re constantly at the public pool in the summer, and would make it impossible to keep the toilet paper dry. 

So, my solution is to constantly carry paper, mainly because I cannot remember to tear some off before I go in, but I can remember to replace the wad in my pockets on the way out. 

Note the hose and thin layer of water on the ground
Squat toilets: not ideal after climbing a mountain

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