Toilets on board the trains to Tibet are designed to be environmentally friendly. There is a Toilet Waste Collection system on each train that protects the environment on the long journey.
Toilet Facilities – Behind the Door
Inside the toilet cubicle there is a very small water faucet and basin and a rubbish bin. Toilet paper is not provided so you had better bring your own (in very rare cases some toilet paper may be provided but it won’t last for the full trip.) Near the toilet there are two buttons – a red one and a green one. The green button is for flushing the toilet while the red one is an emergency button in case you feel ill or have some other emergency. The red button immediately summons train staff members for assistance.
Public Wash Basins
There is a specially designed washing area with 3 basic sinks in each carriage near the toilets. Non-potable, room-temperature water is supplied for washing purposes. There is a large mirror behind the faucets and sinks that can be used for shaving and makeup. It’s a convenient place for washing but be sure to bring your own soap and washcloth and it’s a good idea to bring a quick drying towel. As the wash basin is shared by all passengers on the carriage, it can get crowded during the busy hours, usually 7 to 9 a.m. in the morning and 6 to 9 p.m. in the evening.
Hot Water Dispensers
Hot (boiled) water dispensers can be found near the wash basin areas that can be used for drinking and preparing instant noodles and tea. There will be an indicator light on the hot water dispenser – if the light is red, it is boiling the water so it cannot be dispensed, but when it turns green it is ready. If you are very thirsty and cannot wait for the hot water to cool down, you can buy bottles of water from the dining car or food trolleys. Remember not to drink the water from the public sinks or the faucet in the toilet as it is non-drinkable. You should drink plenty of water on board the trains and after arriving in Tibet to help prevent high altitude sickness.
Tips about Restroom Facilities on the Trains
1. Remember to bring your own toilet paper with you – most likely there will be none available on the train.
2. The toilets will be locked whenever the train stop at railway stations so plan ahead.
3. The washrooms in soft sleep carriages are usually cleaner than those in the hard sleeper carriages and hard seat carriages.
4. All the toilets are shared by everyone on board the trains – there are no private washrooms anywhere on the trains.
5. It’s a good idea to choose a berth in the middle of the carriages as far from the toilets and washing facilities as possible to avoid the continuous noise from passengers using the facilities.