How to Ask for the Toilet in 14 Different Languages

If you embrace the wanderlust that’s in your heart, then there’s an excellent chance that you have needed the toilet – and didn’t speak the local language. Trying to play an emergency game of charades when the body decides it’s time to go may not lead to a successful experience!

That’s why knowing one simple phrase when you travel could save you from an embarrassing guessing game: “Where is the toilet?”

Here’s how you can ask this question in several different languages.

1. English
“Where’s the toilet?” is good enough. If you want to be “polite” about the request, then perhaps choose, “May I know where the bathroom is please?”

2. Spanish
Whether you visit Mexico or Spain, you’ll get someone to point you in the right direction by asking, “ ¿Dónde está el baño?”

3. French
When you’ve enjoyed a little too much wine during your visit to France, then you’ll find the facilities by asking, “pardon, où sont les toilettes?”

4. Japanese
There are times when you may have had a little too much plum wine or that broth with the ramen flows right through you. Make sure that you ask, “Toire wa dokodesu?”

5. Hebrew
Even Jesus needed to use the toilet sometimes. Say, “Slikha, ehfo hah sherooteem?” if you must release something Biblical in the near future.

6. Canadian
Sure – they speak English there. Some speak French. If you call it a “bathroom” though, you might receive some confused looks. Try, “Could you point me toward the washroom?” for better results.

7. German
You’ll want to say, “Wo ist die toilette, bitte?” after those four beers you just consumed.

8. Portuguese
Go ahead – give it a shake by asking for the toilet this way: “Com licença, onde fica o banheiro?”

9. Cantonese
You’ve been enjoying some hot tea with that sweet and sour chicken. Now you discover that there are no signs in the restaurant, and no one speaks your language. Try this request to find the toilet: “Mm-goy chee-soh hai been-doh-ah?”

10. Britain
Go ahead. Ask for the loo. That’s what you’ve got to do.

11. Estonian
This request is really fun to say: “Vabandage, kus on tualett?”

12. Korean
You’ll want to practice this one a little before you try it out. If you get the words wrong, someone will likely laugh at you, then tell you something in their language that you still can’t understand. Ask for the toilet by saying, “Hwa jang shil uh-dee-in-ga-yo.”

13. Senegalese
This language brings some joy to the element of asking for the toilet when you’re not sure where to go. Say, “Fun moy douche bee?”

When will you ever be able to say the words “douche” and “fun” in the same sentence ever again?

14. Italian
This request is very straightforward. You’ll need to ask, “Mi scusi, dov’e il bagno?” Then again, if you ask someone where the “bag no” is, there could be problems. It’s closer to “bahn-yo.”

What other languages have you found yourself asking for a toilet in during your travels?

For more international flavor check out our reviewed modern and Japanese toilets here.

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