Top 5 Places to Pee Around the World

Scene of the Struggle

Look, we all need to go sometime. If I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that a great spot to pee can make or break a vacation. That, and there are many different peeing habits in every country. As you travel, you’ll learn all the tips and tricks. For example, in South America, you can’t flush your toilet paper. In Malaysia, most toilets come equipped with a hose for rinsing down the seat, walls, and floor (as far as I can tell by the amount of puddles I step into). In Southeast Asian airports, about half the public restrooms are squat-potties (which, interestingly, I find way easier than hovering over a regular toilet seat). In Europe, your apartment will often have a bidet (which is handy if you, say, get food poisoning and need to utilize two side-by-side toilets at once).

But in all the peeing I’ve done this year, some pees have really stood out from the crowd. So, for the adventurous and well-hydrated traveler, here are my top recommendations for scenic locations around the globe in which to relieve yourself:

  1. Inca Trail

I’m not gonna sugar-coat it—this pee isn’t fun. This will be the most challenging pee of your life. But that’s what makes it so rewarding. Like the hike itself, peeing along the Inca Trail pushes your endurance to new limits.

It all starts at the trailhead, where you discover most toilets here are just holes in the ground. It gets better after the aptly-named Dead Woman’s Pass, when you discover the port-a-potty version of those holes in the ground—also a hole, but with no running water and plastic walls. The smell is, in a word, dire.

Post-Worst Pee of My Life selfie

But the true test comes in between toilets. Drinking 2+ liters a day in order to not die while hiking leads to a lot of peeing-in-the-wild. Sometimes you can find bushes to crouch behind, or side trails to sneak off along for a private wee. But inevitably, at some point, you will find yourself up against A Struggle. Perhaps the oldest Struggle in the world: the Untimely Call of Nature.

My Struggle arrived just as we approached Phuyupatamarca, or The City Above the Clouds. This particular Incan ruin is enormous, beautiful, and when we arrived, deserted save for us. I couldn’t wait to climb all over it. Just one problem—cloud town is located about 2 hours after our last bathroom break, and 1 hour away from our next. I could not bring myself to pee on such beautiful ruins. And the trail up to cloud town wound up a very steep, narrow path, with a mountain on one side and a cliff on the other. No bushes to sneak into.

Just one single alcove, right before the ruins, behind a small tree that provided the bare minimum of privacy. To judge by the depth and breadth of the, shall we say, remnants, in that alcove, everyone who has ever hiked the Inca Trail ever, had also encountered the same Struggle as me.

Love this ruin. It was near a bathroom.

But there, as I hiked up into the piss and shit, in order to squat in the least pissy and shitty spot I could find, then pee as fast as possible while shuffling to keep my shoes from sinking into mud made entirely of urine—I ascended to a higher level of being. I am now The Type of Person Who Can Pee Anywhere. Really, anywhere. Peeing can never be that horrible again.

It is freeing, in a way. And it makes you appreciate every other pee in your life that much more. So, despite the Struggle, I recommend this experience.

  1. This beach in Ibiza

There are a lot of beaches in Ibiza. This one is the best. A pile of dirty cloth that turned out to be a voluntarily homeless man cocooned in a fitted sheet told us so. As he went through his sunrise yoga routine, he explained—with no prompting whatsoever, I might add—that he’d slept on every beach in Ibiza. This one was quiet, scenic, and a great hookup spot (apparently Cocoon Man does quite well for himself, despite the whole “I literally live on a beach” thing).

At least one of us is probably peeing in this photo

Having experienced 0 other beaches in Ibiza, since we just went back to this one over and over, I am inclined to agree with Cocoon Man. But I would go one step farther. Not only is this beach ideal for cocooning, yoga, and sunset-watching (though, I hasten to add, it is not quite as great for sunrise viewing. Pro tip: sunrises don’t happen on the same side of the island as sunsets. Who knew?! We definitely should have), but it is also a great

Friends who wee together stay together

spot to pee.

 

For one, there’s the ocean. Always good for a sea-wee. But, if you are on this beach and don’t feel inclined to get half your body wet, there is also a handy rock outcropping just beside the shoreline, which conceals you from almost every viewpoint on the beach. Perfect for popping a squat!

  1. Gili Air

Gili Air is gorgeous. It takes anywhere from 5-16+ hours to get from there back to some semblance of civilization, which makes it the antisocial introvert’s dream destination and prime real estate for Italian grandmothers on the run for tax evasion.

It’s also just freaking beautiful. No photos we took were able to completely capture the view—white sand beaches lead down to a coral reef. Beyond the reef, the deep turquoise of the ocean against the backdrop of Lombok Island across the inlet and a volcano in the distant background make the whole scene look like a painting.

There’s even swings for post-pee celebrations!

Wading into the shallow water to relieve our bladders (with some minor wincing because, pretty as it is, coral is not super fun to walk on barefoot) felt like peeing inside an Andrew Wyeth landscape. Move over Christina’s World, the next big thing in magical realist painting is Clare Peeing (named for the friend who peed the most frequently, though truthfully, this masterpiece could be named after any of us).

Anyway, I highly recommend this experience, even if the water can get a bit chilly in high tide.

 

  1. Melt Festival, Ferropolis, Germany

Fun AND hygienic!

Let me set the scene: it is day 4 of a 20,000-person music festival. You’ve been camping here all weekend, in the middle of nowhere, dancing sweatily to bands. It’s 5am. The last act is still playing. You venture to the on-site toilets.

Not only are they clean as a whistle, but there is plenty of toilet paper, a cleaner sweeping up after you leave, and there is soap left.

 

Germany is the ideal location for a music festival. All music festivals should take place in Germany. In fact, all large crowded events where you may at some point need to use a toilet should be run by Germans. Times Square for New Year’s Eve planners, take note.

  1. Japan

Yes, I’ve reserved my number one pee-of-the-year spot for a place I haven’t been yet. Perhaps this is naively optimistic of me, always believing that the best is yet to come. But come on, the toilets in Japan are legendary. For years, I have heard tell of self-cleaning seats and toilets with speakers installed so that when you sit down, music plays just loud enough to cover up the sound of whatever you might be doing to that poor bathroom. Recently, I learned that some toilet stalls even have lovely paintings inside!

Regardless of whether the music will be to my taste or whether some of the stall paintings will be lackluster, I still believe it’s safe to look forward to peeing in Japan. More on this come December, when I can confirm the toilet sitch for myself.

In the meantime, happy peeing!

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