Asian Toilet Signs

A pictorial review of the best in Asian toilet (literally) humour.

Differing standards of etiquette and propriety, coupled with weak plumbing (it’s common practice in Asia to wash your butt with a bidet – or a scoop if none is available – and deposit your toilet paper in a nearby wastebasket) and changing modes of sanitary practice combine to make signs on Asian toilets something of an art form. Let’s enjoy some highlights:

This public rest room in a rural part of Bohol, The Philippines gives some context for what southeast Asians grew up using, and why signs helping locals and westerners alike navigate the particular state of upgrading at that particular toilet are often necessary.  Natives accustomed to “scoop and squat” and westerners who are used to their toilets being able to function as de facto garbage cans both need to know what they’re dealing with – since rest room facilities and plumbing vary greatly from business to business.

Luhtu’s Coffee in Sanur has a very posh, western-looking loo, which apparently motivated them to take the most genteel possible means of telling people to don’t put their paper in the toilet.


Many Asian bathrooms have a combined shower and toilet area where the floor is slightly inclined and water will wash down a drain located in the floor. So what they’re saying here is even if you’re thinking “I pee in the shower, so…” please don’t be doin’ that.

Bidets are common in Asia. They are wonderful to have, but some apparently abuse them…

In a place that draws tourists from many culture and languages, a picture speaks a thousand words for an urgent situation.

This is a good example of something I prefer about the attitude in many of the cultures I visit. In America, like so many things, we’ve made which bathroom transgendered people should use a reason to have a big argument over something that, as seen here, is easily solvable and not that big a deal. Incidentally, transgendered people (most particularly MTF but I have certainly seen the reverse) is a long accepted phenomenon in the Philippines and Thailand. Not so in homo-unfriendly Indonesia, but Bali (where this sign was photographed) prides itself on diversity.

Sometimes cleverness gives way to incomprehensibility.

When all else fails, try bribery.

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