What’s the Deal with Asian Showers?

I’ve read lots of horror stories about Asian toilets (i.e., the notorious squat toilet), but none about Asian showers.  By this I mean a shower that has no tub, curtain, or any other kind of separation from the rest of the bathroom.  You turn on the water and, voila, the whole bathroom gets wet!  I’ve experienced this personally in Taiwan, Thailand, and Turkey.


An open shower/ bathroom in Cappadocia, Turkey


Another open shower/ bathroom in Taiwan

I know I’m showing my ignorance as a Westerner, but I just don’t get this kind of shower.  It seems very impractical.  You can’t leave much in the bathroom (clothes, towels, etc.) because it will constantly get wet.  Unless the shower drain works perfectly, you will have a small flood in your bathroom every time you shower.  When the water finally does drain out, it leaves a ring of hair, lint, and other nasty stuff on the floor.  It promotes the growth of mold and mildew.  Plus whenever you go into the bathroom to use the toilet, you’ll step in a wet, icky mess.

I guess it’s cheaper to build bathrooms this way, but I don’t think it would take much to add a curtain and some kind of recess in the floor for the shower area.  I saw a bathroom like this in Thailand, and it worked pretty well.

What do you think about the Asian shower?  Is there a trick to using it?  Are there advantages to it I’m not seeing?  Or does it bother the heck out of you?


Filed under Asia, humor, Thailand, travel, Turkey

5 responses to “What’s the Deal with Asian Showers?

  1. Yipe! No thanks! I wonder if this is a city based thing? Where in Asia is it?

    • Hi there! This is all over Asia, urban and rural. I’ve personally experienced it in Turkey, Taiwan, and Thailand, and heard about it in Korea. Of course, there are a lot of places (Western style hotels and houses) in Asia that don’t have this kind of bathroom. I try to go with those!

      • Yup it happens in South Korea as well, their version looks pretty much like your photo above. As a Korean-Canadian I can never get used to these bathrooms but basically you close the toilet cover and do your showering thing. I think, at least in Korea, that houses in the rural areas and historically in general had a similar arrangement, so it kind of continued on in modern housing. Bathing is considered a luxury and that’s why people go to those amazing bathhouses both in Turkey and Korea (oh how amazing was that experience).

  2. IDK they look like really cheap places, most places here have shower curtains. As far as I know, places in Singapore use them too if they’re expensive enough. I was in Thailand once and they had that kind of plastic panel in place of a shower curtain. I think just really cheap places don’t have shower curtains, personally.

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