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Understanding Toilets In Sri Lanka And Sanitation

When you travel to a new country, it is normal to have questions about various things in everyday life. An often overlooked but very important topic is the toilet. In Sri Lanka, a nation known for its stunning landscapes and rich culture, the toilet experience can vary widely depending on where you are. Let’s figure out the nuances you need to know about toilets in Sri Lanka.

Exploring The Types of Toilets In Sri Lanka

Western-style Toilets

Western-style Toilets

If you’re accustomed to the comforts of a Western-style toilet, you’re in luck – many urban areas and tourist spots in Sri Lanka offer these facilities. These toilets resemble what you’d find in most Western countries with a sit-down design and flushing mechanism.

Squat Toilets

Squat Toilets

In more rural or traditional areas, you might come across squat toilets. These are often seen as cultural experiences in themselves. While they might seem unfamiliar at first, they’re designed for effective waste elimination and are commonly used throughout Asia.

Suggested ReadHealth Issues And Safety Guidelines For Traveling To Sri Lanka

Toilet Etiquette and Practices

Flushing and Disposal

Regardless of the type of toilet you encounter, proper flushing and waste disposal are essential. Remember to follow any instructions provided, as some systems might differ from what you’re used to. Proper disposal helps maintain hygiene and keeps the facilities clean for the next user.

Water Usage and Bidets

Toilets in Sri Lanka often have a water source in the form of a tap or hand bidet spray. This is an integral part of the cleaning process and is used in conjunction with toilet paper.

Public Toilets in Urban Areas

Restaurants and Cafes

Most restaurants and cafes in urban areas provide restroom facilities for their customers. The quality and cleanliness can vary, but establishments catering to tourists generally maintain better standards.

Shopping Malls

Shopping malls are equipped with modern toilet facilities that are well-maintained. These toilets are usually free to use and offer a comfortable environment for your restroom needs.

Tourist Attractions

When visiting popular tourist attractions, you’ll find toilet facilities to cater to the influx of visitors.

Rural Areas and Outdoor

Homestays and Guesthouses

If you’re venturing into rural areas or staying at homestays and guesthouses, you might encounter a range of toilet setups. These can vary from Western-style toilets to traditional squat toilets. Always inquire about the facilities available when making your booking.

Remote Outdoor Locations

For nature enthusiasts exploring Sri Lanka’s wilderness, outdoor toilet facilities might be rudimentary or absent. It’s advisable to be prepared with your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer for such excursions.

Top Tips for Navigating Toilets

Carrying Toilet Paper

Toilet Papers

Having a small pack of toilet paper or tissue can be a lifesaver, especially in places where it might not be readily available.

Hand Sanitizers

Carry a travel-sized hand sanitizer to maintain hygiene, as not all toilets might be equipped with soap.

Locating Clean Facilities

Mobile apps and online platforms can help you locate clean and well-maintained public toilets during your travels.


From urban centers to rural retreats, navigating the world of toilets in Sri Lanka can be an adventure in itself. Embrace the diversity of facilities, learn about local practices, and keep these insights in mind to ensure a comfortable and respectful restroom experience during your journey.


  • Can I expect to find Western-style toilets in remote areas of Sri Lanka?

While Western-style toilets are more common in urban areas, some remote locations might still have traditional squat toilets. It’s a good idea to be prepared for both scenarios.

  • Are public toilets usually free to use in Sri Lanka?

No, many public toilets, especially in urban areas, are charged 20 rupees to use. However, carrying some small change for attendants or maintenance is always a good practice.

  • Are bidets commonly available in Sri Lankan toilets?

Yes, bidets or water sources for cleaning are commonly found in Sri Lankan toilets. They are an integral part of the local toilet practices.

  • How do I dispose of toilet paper in Sri Lankan toilets?

In most cases, it’s advisable to dispose of toilet paper in the provided bins rather than flushing it down the toilet to prevent clogs.

  • Are there any cultural norms I should be aware of when using toilets in Sri Lanka?

Yes, using the left hand for cleaning and eating is considered unclean. Always use your right hand for any interactions, including using water in the restroom.

  • Can you flush toilet paper in Sri Lanka?

Flushing toilet paper in Sri Lanka can vary depending on the type of toilet and location. In urban areas with Western-style toilets, flushing toilet paper is generally acceptable. However, in some places, especially where plumbing systems might not be as robust, it’s recommended to dispose of toilet paper in the provided bins to prevent clogs and plumbing issues. It’s always a good idea to follow any signage or instructions provided in the restroom.




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