Commentary: Cleanliness -- Shoes and Toilets

Thais are clean people.

When you enter a home, you ALWAYS take off your shoes at the door.

Sometimes at an office, too. This is why you often see Thais wearing sandals or flip-flops inside the office with their business clothes, and lots of shoes at the door, both outdoor shoes and indoor flip-flops. Therefore, take notice when you walk in, whether or not to take off your shoes. Guests walk in their socks, whereas employees might wear flip-flops or also just walk in their socks.

(The Thailand Guru logo has a guru wearing sandals, in case you didn't notice. However, I always wear thick socks, both as a defense against mosquitoes and also for extra cleanliness down there.)

Many people, after living in Thailand for a while, return to their home country and cringe at some things. The two most common things mentioned are "People back home wear their street shoes all inside their house!" and "People don't wash their butts!"

You may have noticed a hose next to almost every Thai style toilet, and often soap there, too, especially in homes. The toilet paper is also used to dry yourself. I have to warn you that after you try this method, it may be more difficult to go back to your old ways. Unfortunately, your home country probably doesn't have a hose next to the toilet, but wet toilet paper and soap can do the same to make you feel clean and fresh again.

Public toilets are usually OK, but in some places they are not well maintained, so I carry a small bar of soap with me in a plastic bag, and a packet of tissues. Otherwise, it's a walk to find a decent toilet.

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