The world's most amazing toilets

There's something strange that happens when you travel. Not the lack of caring about the outside world. Not the new-found freedom from inhibitions. Not even the colossal weight gain. I'm talking about the fact that all of a sudden it becomes completely OK to talk about the toilet.

You probably wouldn't do this at home. You wouldn't discuss the state of the ablutions you'd just visited. You wouldn't comment on whether it was Western-style, or a squat, or a Japanese-style high-tech job, or whether it had toilet paper or soap or hand towels, or a guy in there spraying cologne or asking for baksheesh to hand you a shred of paper. You wouldn't.

And you wouldn't dream of discussing the things you'd just done in said toilet. You wouldn't bring up in polite conversation the fact that you think the dumplings you ate for dinner last night have been doing you some damage, or that you should have taken everyone's advice and not tried the street food.

But when you travel, this all becomes OK. It's something about the shared experience, the fact that everyone is going through the same things you are. The toilet situation is a strange one. You're all trying to keep a lid on the weird rumbles that are coming from somewhere south of your sternum; you're all trying to strike a balance between good health and good eating.

And so travellers talk about toilets. All the time. That's why it's not completely weird that Lonely Planet has just released a new book called "Toilets: A Spotter's Guide" that features photos of some of the world's weirdest and most spectacular crappers.

I know: toilets shouldn't be "spectacular". They shouldn't even be topics of conversation. But when you travel, they are.

When you travel you see everything in the toiletry world, from the disgusting to the absurd, the amazing to the appalling. I've been to a toilet in Jinja, Uganda, that had a beautiful, clear view across the raging Nile River. I've visited ablutions blocks in Japan that had about a million buttons for functions that I'll never understand.

I've experienced the horror of a Mongolian train station toilet. I've been to multi-day music festivals, which require no further explanation.

And I've come to appreciate that toilets are a part of the travel experience that are worth talking about. In fact they're kind of fascinating, which is why I've picked out some of the most interesting and spectacular in the Lonely Planet book. Enjoy.


Where are the weirdest or most spectacularly positioned toilets you've seen on your travels? Do you think it's strange that travellers talk about this stuff so often? Leave a comment below.

Photos from: Toilets: A Spotter's Guide © Lonely Planet 2016.  Available now, RRP: $14.99 (



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