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What are the toilets like in Sri Lanka?

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Pack wet wipes, loo roll and hand wash. Without being graphic the public toilets are scarce (and are usually grim when they exist, although some have attendants. Only budget places that do not get a lot of tourists to have squat toilets and lack toilet paper, expect a bowl bucket or to wash yourself with normally no soap to wash your hand with. All top-end and midrange accommodation have sit-down flush toilets, use restaurants, hotels and attractions like tea-plantation visitor centres for the nicer toilets.

Below is a how too, just in case you are apprehensive about squat pans:

  • Make sure your mobile phone (or anything else of value) is not in your back pocket.
  • Roll your trousers up as well as down (it is easier to clean your legs if there is any splashing than to clean your trousers).
  • I usually run the tap so that the bucket fills up (so that there is enough water for flushing) and so that the sound of the running water can mask any other sounds that might be happening.
  • I tend to put one foot slightly in front of the other (left in front since my left hand is used for cleaning). Right is used for eating and shaking hands. I then sit back on my right foot. My right foot is not flat on the floor, my weight is going through my right leg and I am not hovering or asking too much from my thighs. But I suspect that position is a matter of ***** and personal preference.
  • In Sri Lanka toilet paper is rare, you should not flush paper down the toilet. They should be a bin that you can put it in, a lot of places do not supply a bin (see next step).
  • Since you use the water (spray gun or bucket) to clean yourself, the toilet paper (if you use any) will be for drying purposes. So the toilet paper will be wet but clean (ish). So you may wish to take a Ziploc bag that you can put the toilet paper in and then dispose of both bag and paper as soon as you next find a bin. Wet wipes can also be useful things to have to make you feel that you are adequately clean and refreshed.
  • You may not use toilet paper at all. This may leave you feeling somewhat damp (you will be clean). But given the heat and humidity, dampness is a given anyway and may not be noticed.
  • Talcum powder can help with dampness if it is a problem.
  • The water supply: bucket, tap, spray gun, etc will be helpful for cleaning the whole place. I use some of it to pour over my hands to clean my hands (the first cleaning) and to flush the toilet. Use lots of water. You can wash down the whole area. If you are a bit worried about the cleanliness of the toilet when you go in to use it, then you can slosh several buckets of water around to ensure things are clean before you start.
  • I then find a tap with soap and wash my hands thoroughly.
  • I then use antibacterial alcohol gel to clean my hands again.

What you should not do is avoid drinking or avoid using the toilet. Neither of these things is very healthy. You should make use of ‘nice’ toilets whenever you find them since you may not know what the next one will be like.

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