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World’s Worst Toilet: #8 Andong Bus station, Korea

andong station toilet

Andong Bus Station toilet, Korea

I’m not a toilet connoisseur or nitpicker, but I do have varying degrees of tolerance. Smell, appearance, technology, leftovers, size, etc… whenever it pushes my standard into a level of discomfort, it makes my list.

I spent a great day in Andong for the annual Andong Maskdance Festival (read here). But Andong, why is your bus station toilet making my World’s Worst Toilet list?…

Your ajumma was vigilantly cleaning…

andong bus station toilet

You can see the ajumma cleaning in the back…

Your standard facilities seem okay.

washing korean

Other than the standard “community bar of soap”, which Koreans use in public restrooms and I hate…

korean wash basin

…the wash basin is well-maintained.

The inside of the toilet doesn’t seem so off-putting, no horrible stench and the pull-chain flush, while ancient, at least worked.

asian squat toilet in korean bus station

So why in the world is this toilet making my list of World’s Worst Toilets.

Quite simply, it’s the experience of space.

This photo perspective may look okay, but my back is pressed up tight against the back wall.

Having my backpack on my back as I squat over it, was not possible.  I’m a 5’8″ hapa Asian girl and my knees were nearly touching the wall pipes, making me feel like an absolute man (obviously, Korean women must be much tinier than me, in order to fit this squat).  If I were 6 feet tall, there would be no way I’d be able to pee without hugging the pipes with my legs.

As there were no hooks to hang bags on (and honestly, there’s no way I’m going to put it on the floor),  my backpack was on my lap, squeezed tightly against my chest, because it didn’t fit the space when it was perched on my back*.

This was the most awkward and uncomfortable squat I’ve experienced in a while.

There are many ways that a person can have a bad… no, worst toilet experience.

Thank God my squatting legs are getting stronger.

What are some of your worst experiences in a bathroom? Was it smell, size, cleanliness, technology, culture shock, meeting an experience different from the way you were raised? Share it…

19 Comments

  1. Nancie says:

    I lived in Andong for a year back in 2001, and yes I remember this ghastly washroom at the bus station. However, I think this bus station is gone. I was in Andong for the 2012 Mask Festival and there is brand new bus station. The old bus station is now a HomePlus, so if you ever visit Andong again, you are in for a washroom treat! 🙂

  2. Claudia says:

    Nice post, thanks for sharing the tips! I can definitely use this for my upcoming trip.

  3. SueZ444 says:

    I beg to differ – I think China’s toilets are way worse than Korea’s – at least, when I was in Seoul, they didn’t seem half bad.

    • @SueZ444: …and that’s why no Seoul toilet has made it onto my World’s Worst Toilet list. Seoul’s got nice posh western toilets, which heat your bum and give you a good washing… From what I hear about China’s toilet, sounds like one trip would give me many ‘add’s to my list. And a nice bout of culture shock.

  4. Julia says:

    Yuck, that is the WORST. I’m only 5’8″, but regularly feel like a giant when I travel in Asia… and the toilet sitch just AIN’T GOOD for us!

  5. Joanne says:

    I hope that the government of Korea will take action from it in order to lift up the real beauty of Korea… Not as this dirty ones.

    • @Joanne: Well, Korea is generally one of the cleaner cities I’ve been to. And I have to give them credit for how they shot up in the past 10 years, to be a country on the map. The smaller cities still have old facilities; wouldn’t say its bad or anything (it’s tradition) but just uh, ajumma-sized.

  6. Kathy says:

    I’ve been to that restroom and you’re right it’s way too small. Thankfully I was with friends so it was a rotation of who was holding who’s packs so the others could go in and do their business.

  7. At least the walls being that close will stop you from falling over.

  8. Dave says:

    I’m not a huge fan of the old squat “movement” myself. I’ve lived for years in countries with them, but have always, always struggled with my trousers getting in the way 🙁

    So I usually have to remove them. In which case they go straight into my day pack which I also wear. So yea, small spaces and squat toilets … not a nice mix!

  9. Daniel says:

    I am very surprised. Unless this is NORTH KOREA because South Korea has 21st century digital bidet toilets all over the country!

    • @Daniel: Ha ha ha… well, I dunno what to tell you, Daniel. I’m not sure if you’re joking or if you’ve only experienced the high end potties in Seoul. Many public bathrooms in Korea have both western and asian toilets. The more rural the place, you only get asian. The bidets, so far I’ve only experienced them in hotels and Seoul art galleries. tee hee.

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