Why There is No Shortage of Toilet Paper in Thailand During COVID-19

Recently, the Prime Minister of Thailand imposed a curfew from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. throughout the country. He added that a 24-hour curfew was under consideration if the number of infected cases didn’t begin to drop below 100 per day. No one knew what that meant. Would we be required to stay inside our homes 24 hours per day? Could we still go for a walk if we practiced physical distancing? Even more importantly, could we still pick up groceries? With rumors flying and no concrete information available, I decided to play it safe. I raced to the grocery store the very next morning to stock up.

Why there is no shortage of toilet paper in Thailand during the Coronavirus pandemic
Why is there no shortage of toilet paper in Thailand during the Coronavirus pandemic?

I wasn’t the only one who was alarmed. The store was crammed with shoppers, all of whom had the same idea. I raced around, filling my cart with fresh-baked bread for the freezer, pasta, more rice (I probably now have a two-year supply), and most importantly, stacks of packs of sliced cheese. Though I don’t often use paper towels, I threw in a double-roll pack, just in case, and then eyeballed the toilet paper. I’m down to a roll and a half at home, but in three years, I’ve only bought one package of toilet paper. The only reason I ever use toilet paper is to blow my nose. And as you can see by the above photo, there’s no lack of toilet paper on our shelves.

Why there is no shortage of toilet paper in Thailand during the COVID-19 outbreak
See the hose with the sprayer head on the right hand side of the toilet? Better than a bidet!

Now you might ask yourself, why is there no shortage of toilet paper in Thailand? Some of you may even be wondering why I’ve only used four and a half rolls of TP in the last three years. The answer to this mystery is what we expats affectionately call the “bum gun.” Every toilet in Thailand has a flexible hose mounted on the wall next to the toilet (see the photo of my home bathroom above). You see, we don’t wipe, we spray and drip dry. It’s oh so much more sanitary, and no one ever has to deal with bits of toilet paper stuck to their arse. If I ever leave Thailand – perish the thought – I’ll have to install one of these beauties wherever in the world I land.

If you enjoyed this amusing anecdote, you may also enjoy reading my more in-depth story about living in Thailand during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Why There is No Shortage of Toilet Paper in Thailand During COVID-19Why There is No Shortage of Toilet Paper in Thailand During COVID-19

14 thoughts on “Why There is No Shortage of Toilet Paper in Thailand During COVID-19”

  1. Really interesting to be following what is going on in Thailand. I am now living in Ashland Oregon sitting out this virus. The economy here has been based on tourists coming to visit During 10 months of the Shakespearean festival but that is history until this virus goes away, so nobody knows what’s going to happen to the economy of the town.The nice part is that this is a beautiful part of America close to the redwoods and near the Oregon coast, so the walking is amazing. Was really hoping about coming back to Chiangmai for the winter but I’m not sure if that’s going to happen because of all the problems with international travel. My daughter who lives in Canada and is a doc feels that this is a real problem until their is a vaccine i’m curious what is your feeling on international travel? Look forward to you keeping us informed on what is going on in Chiangmai good luck with your cooking, enjoy be happy be safe DY

    • Hi David: I have to agree that it’s not looking good for tourists from the States, I’m guessing for the rest of this year at least. The Prime Minister today agreed in principle to re-open to Chinese and South Korean travelers, since both of those countries now seem to have COVID-19 under control, and so does Thailand. But they don’t want a flood of tourists because of the risk of reigniting the infection rate, so it will likely be a slow reopening. With the U.S. failing so badly as regards testing, tracing, and isolation, my guess is that they won’t let Americans in any time soon. I also won’t be traveling any time soon because, while I can leave, as it stands right now I can’t come back in.

  2. Barbara, I think it is time to market the bum gun in the US. Septic systems and plumbing pipes would last 100 years, not to mention a lot of sanitary behinds! Love the story! I want one and will ask my contractor how it can be done. My solution to the TP shortage on the Outer Banks has been using much less which required staying intentional while in the bath!! It is amazing how long it lasts this way! But your way is so much better!!! Take care! Morgan

  3. My sister has them in all the bathrooms in her house in Malaysia. I was too scared to try it in case I ended up spraying water all over the bathroom. I guess I should have been braver.

  4. Amusing article, Barbara…and so true! LOVE the ‘bum gun’ so much, I bought one about 3 years ago from Thailand and had it installed in my bathroom at home…and…I’ve never looked back…haha (play on words?).

    • Hi Anne. Yep, but for some reason I’ve never warmed up to bidets. I find them difficult and uncomfortable to sit on, and the whole adjusting the nozzle thing drives me crazy. I much prefer the flexible hose concept here in Thailand.


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