Turns out nature’s call can be answered while surrounded by actual nature in plenty of cases.
Mountain peaks, deserts, tropical islands, from the arty to the high-tech, Lonely Planet’s new book, Toilets: A Spotter’s Guide, has them all, featuring more than 100 of the world’s most interesting and amazing lavatories. And we've got 10 right here for your perusal, you lucky ones.
“As any experienced traveller knows, you can tell a whole lot about a place by its bathrooms,” says the book’s introduction. “Whatever you prefer to call them – lavatory, loo, bog, khasi, thunderbox, dunny, washroom or water closet – toilets are a (sometimes opaque, often wide-open) window into the secret soul of a destination.”
In which case we dread to think what ours says about us (windowless bog box in overpriced London cupboard?).
The book is out now and available from lonelyplanet.com. Meanwhile, pull up a (porcelain) pew and have a browse through our gallery below.
Images and picture captions reproduced with kind permission from Lonely Planet
Chott el Djerid, Tunisia
Chott el Djerid, a large salt lake in southern Tunisia, was used as the setting for Luke Skywalker’s boyhood home in the original Star Wars film. The Lars’ subterranean homestead may have been destroyed, but the Galactic Empire failed to extinguish the new hope represented by these roadside ‘comfort’ toilets.
Image: © Lucio Valmaggia / 500px
Fountain of Toilets
Made from 10,000 toilets, sinks and urinals, this fantastic flushing fountain graces Shiwan Park in Foshan, China, the world’s ceramic capital. The installation, which is 100m (330ft) long and 5m (16ft)high, is the handy work of Chinese artist Shu Yong, who used factory seconds and pre-loved pans to create his masterpiece.
Image: © Al Sol / 500px
British Columbia, Canada
Despite its ultra-remote location on the shoreline of Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands) in British Columbia, Canada, this impressive outhouse features an automatic flush, powered by the moon, which washes all waste away twice a day.
Image: © Chris Kolaczan / 500px
Eat your heart out Robinson Crusoe. This paradisiacal punctuation mark in the Caribbean Sea off Placencia, Belize, boasts its own flushing throne, from where the king or queen of the castaways can survey their desert-island domain. It’s a long way to the shops when you run out of paper, though…
Image: Lonely Planet
Chena Hot Springs Resort, Alaska, USA
If Santa has an outhouse, it surely resembles this log bog on the banks of a creek meandering through Chena Hot Springs Resort in Fairbanks, Alaska – though you’ll have to be an employee to enjoy it. The resort also boasts an Ice Museum, featuring frozen carvings, including a life-size effigy of jousting knights and a depiction of a (non-functioning) ice toilet.
Image: © Sunny Awazuhara-Reed / Design Pics / Getty Images
This Arctic outhouse offers a pew with a view of Salmivaara Fell. It serves a wilderness hut at the west end of Lake Saarijärvi, on the Nordkalottleden Trail that wends through Enontekiö in Finnish Lapland. The trail, an epic 800km (500-mile) odyssey linking Finland, Norway and Sweden, is Europe’s most northerly hike.
Image: © Janne Mankinen / 500px
Everything is uber-modern in the Helmut Jahn–designed Sony Center in Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz, including the men’s room. The centre, completed in 2000, occupies a historic spot that was flattened during WWII, and became a no-man’s land when the Berlin Wall was built across it during the Cold War.
Image: © Werner Monatsspruch / 500px
His and Hers
Jericoacoara Beach, Brazil
Since the Washington Post blabbed about Jericoacoara being one of the world’s best beaches, this erstwhile hidden gem on Brazil’s east coast has become a hotspot for travellers questing for blue lagoons, sun-blasted sand, tranquil seas and immense dunes. They’ve even had to build these his-and-hers palm-frond beach bogs.
Image: © Thomas Heinze / 500px
Red Woods Toilets
Rotorua, New Zealand
Thanks to the geothermal activity around Rotorua in New Zealand, the ‘Sulphur City’ has a perpetual eggy odour; paradoxically, the public toilets in the Redwoods Forest are sweet as. The shrouds, designed by Maori artist Kereama Taepa, each depict a native North Island bird, which is either extinct or endangered.
Image: © Fran(E)K S / 500px
Encounter Bay, Australia
Tactfully painted to blend in with its bushland surrounds on the foreshore of wild Waitpinga Beach in Encounter Bay, South Australia, this eco-toilet serves a salty bunch of beach bums, who seek out the solitude, surf breaks and fishing spots offered by the Fleurieu Peninsula coastline.
Image: © Trevor Holder / 500px