Travel Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for road warriors and seasoned travelers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is it that by original design, they were simply omitted? Or do perhaps people have a habit of stealing them? Or something else?

How can I have better luck finding a toilet that actually has a seat? (Or an accommodation where the toilets will likely have seats?)

share|improve this question
I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not about travel. – Flimzy Jan 15 at 11:58
@Flimzy isn't it ? If I was going to the Philippines I'd like to know how to use their toilets – blackbird57 Jan 15 at 14:15
Is it ok to genericize this? I found this to be true in many asian countries and eastern european countries. Why not just say "Why are toilet seats often missing from bathrooms in some countries?" – RoboKaren Jan 15 at 18:41
@RoboKaren - It's true that this problem afflicts every country to some extent. But the Philippines is the worst of the 30+ countries I've ever been. Poor areas in poorer countries in Asia tend to have squat toilets, which I much prefer, since when I squat, my ass isn't in direct contact with the rim of the toilet bowl. Trying to use a seated Western-style toilet without direct contact with the toilet bowl requires some mad kung-fu skills (the "horse stance" is what the Chinese call it), which unfortunately I do not have. – Kenny LJ Jan 16 at 1:13
"Where can I find toilets with seats?" sounds travel related. "why are they missing seats?" is not. – Flimzy Jan 16 at 9:31

Toilet seat theft is a common and real problem in the Philippines. One of the major reasons listed for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 being voted the worst in the world to sleep in is toilet seat theft.

People list Manila as having the same problem.

It seems that toilet seats are a complete luxury and theft of the seat and other vital toilet components may be common.

My advice would be, rather strangely. Carry your own. A variety of products exist. 1 and 2 are in case your fear is falling in (as per @LessPop_MoreFizz comment), 3 is for hygiene.

  1. not too practical.
  2. Hmmmmm
  3. my winner enter image description here.

I should note I have never been to the Philippines and do not intend to go until they have their toilet seat theft epidemic under control. It has often confused me as to why people think the toilet seat is any cleaner than the top of the toilet without a seat, surely they are equally disgusting. I suspect in all situations (no seat or seat) that this is the best toilet seat.enter image description here

share|improve this answer
Why the heck would one steal a toilet seat ? – blackbird57 Jan 15 at 16:52
@blackbird57 same reason people steal anything. In Central Asia, manhole covers get stolen to be sold as scrap metal. In the UK, people steal lead off church roofs and cause power cuts stealing copper out of electrical cables (often making themselves Darwin Award candidates when they get electrocuted). In West Africa, I've had tins of food pinched from my shopping bags when I've left them unattended. Worldwide, people steal hubcaps from parked cars. Stealing toilet seats (to sell or to use) seems no weirder than any of these. – user568458 Jan 15 at 19:02
@blackbird57 Not the hubcaps or tinned food. Those would have been used or (more likely) sold. It's amazing what random things you can buy from street sellers in poor parts of town - not all of it is stolen, but some is. If you can't understand it, try living in a community where $6 a day is not a bad wage, and you have no job, but you know someone in the backstreet market will pay $8 for a replacement toilet seat since they cost $15 new in the imported-goods shops. Car accessories, there's another common worldwide one - and more people need toilet seats than USB car chargers. – user568458 Jan 15 at 19:12
@blackbird57 Obviously, you'll wash the stolen toilet seat thoroughly before you sell it, because you care about good customer service :-) And obviously, you'll only steal ones in good condition - you're a stolen toilet seat trader with standards, dammit, and your customers expect the best – user568458 Jan 15 at 19:14
RE: cleanliness of bowl vs seat-not to get too graphic, but there's more likely to be small amounts of urine on the top of the bowl than the seat (assuming certain users lift the seat). Urine's not too unhygienic, but I'd rather not sit in it. – outis Jan 15 at 22:13

Is it that by original design, they were simply omitted?

In general no, it's largely because if nobody complains then there's no incentive for somewhere to spend the money/effort to replace a missing seat. In some places you do get purpose made toilets that don't have seats or don't have removable seats however these are obvious and the cases you mention it's likely just poor upkeep but the seats where there originally.

And, yes, people may steal them for whatever reason making them less likely to be replaced.

How can I have better luck finding a toilet that actually has a seat? (Or an accommodation where the toilets will likely have seats?)

Look for places where people would expect seats and complain if they're not there. I.e. higher-end hotels and restaurants, anywhere likely to be populated by tourists or locals with money that will complain about it.

I'd expect seats in any en-suite toilet in a hotel (possibly not in any public toilets they have) unless it's a really cheap place or a remote place that possibly never had them. It sounds like you're implying you're staying somewhere where this is not the case.

Also any public toilet that charges a fee is more likely (but definitely not guaranteed) to be in a better state of repair.

share|improve this answer
Unfortunately I've definitely been in pay CRs (P5) where the toilet had no seat. I was also at the Robinson's in Puerto Princesa (pretty much the fanciest shopping mall in PPS) and at least one toilet there had no seat. So perhaps they're just randomly stolen and it depends on how good the security is? – Kenny LJ Jan 15 at 10:49
It's possibly theft, also seats tend to break / fall-off so maybe they're just not getting fixed. Problem is that not enough people care to make it worth it for anyone to fix them (it's not like people will not go to the mall just 'cos they know the toilet is broken ...). – SpaceDog Jan 15 at 11:03
It is not (just) Philippines, or (just) Asia. I have noticed a lot of missing toilet seats in hostels in France. – Willeke Jan 15 at 15:48

Unlike the west where people feel a need to cover their toilets, there are plenty of toilets in the Philippines (and the rest of Asia) designed without seats. And plenty more cases where the owner didn't bother with the extra cost of the seat (or replacing it).

Higher end hotels will usually have western set ups with a seat and lid, lower cost guesthouses may go local style. Restaurants that are purely tourist oriented (dinner shows, etc) with again have western style, other restaurants, shops, cafes, gas stations etc will likely be local style.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.