It’s a Necessity

Note: This entry is part of a series about our 2012 trip to Turkey.

Arriving in Turkey, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when it came to bathrooms. I had learned from previous travels to take along my own toilet paper. I recommend something like Coleman Toilet Paper Campers, which are small enough to keep in a purse. This proved quite convenient in Turkey for use in public restrooms, where even major tourist attractions almost never had their own TP available.

Finding a restroom isn’t too difficult. Like many places in the world, the term “WC” is widely used in Turkey.

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You should also be prepared to pay to pee at many public restrooms (why yes, it is a privilege to pee!). Usually it’s just 1TL and most often there’s an attendant stationed at the restroom entrance to collect the fee. Sometimes you’ll find a turnstile that requires payment to enter. Those with attendants are usually very clean.

Many places that cater to tourists such as the airport and national parks, (and sometimes the rest stop/convenient stores frequented by buses) have western-style toilets that usually look something like this:

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A western-style toilet at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul.

Most restroom stalls include a waste bin for disposing of paper products, including toilet paper. It was generally not recommended to flush toilet paper in most places we visited in Turkey.

In our experience, hotels always had western-style toilets in guest rooms.

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Our bathroom at the Sultan’s Eye Comfort Hotel. This is a very typical arrangement with toilet, trash bin, shower stall, and sink. We encountered this blue vinyl tile look at several hotels.

Unfortunately for those of us who are used to sitting down to do our business, western-style toilets are less common away from tourist-centric accommodation and in many places you can expect to find squatty potties that look like this:

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A squatty-potty at a rest stop between Pamukkale and Selcuk.

Many of these (like the one pictured above) flush like a regular toilet. Others have spigots and little pitchers you fill with water to wash the waste down. As you can see, using one of these is much more hygienic than western-style toilets that have been sat and splattered upon by countless others. It’s no wonder that at rest stops with both western-style toilets and squatty potties, I observed the local women (typically wearing layers of long skirts) choose the squatty potties. After all, with a squatty potty the only thing that touches the toilet are the soles of your shoes. But using these takes practice and I wish I had better prepared before encountering one! First, you have to be careful to make sure your clothing is properly out of the way and that your, ahem, aim is correct. Next, the squatting position requires use of leg muscles that for me were sorely out-of-shape. Therefore, I recommend you do some training before your trip–I know I will next time!

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2 responses to “It’s a Necessity

  1. Pingback: Turkey – December 2012 | my ahas·

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