Curiosity towards the Potala Palace Toilet

Curiosity towards the Potala Palace Toilet

4Increasing numbers of Chinese tourists are going to Tibet to experience the ‘exotic’ culture that the Chinese Communist Party once described as backwards. On the one hand, some Tibetans view this development favorably, believing that the Chinese have acknowledged and gained a new appreciation for the uniqueness of Tibetan culture. On the other hand, some Tibetans feel uncomfortable that they are now the object of great Chinese curiosity. The following piece is reaction from a Tibetan Blogger, Kangling, towards the curiosity displayed by Chinese tourists in Tibet.

By Re Kangling (See the origianl article in Tibetan)

After boasting on Chinese websites in recent years that the Potala Palace’s Changsur Toilet is “the highest toilet in the world,” some people have sarcastically advised that “people with high blood pressure and heart disease shouldn’t use this toilet”.

Some people commented that “If one’s personal belongings, including hat, cell phone, wallet, and so on fell into the toilet, then it’s hard to retrieve them because the toilet is almost sixty meters high.” These kinds of comments were spread carelessly to arouse curiosity among the Chinese.

Even some Tibetans who find themselves clever publish comments like this on their blogs: “If you miss the opportunity to use the three hundred year-old toilet, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.”

Do you recall Li Ao’s (a Chinese Mainlander from Taiwan) quip regarding the toilet as a “source of the masses consuming the waste of the rulers?”

It is simply common sense to have a toilet in the Potala Palace. Yet perhaps one day, a mountaineer who climbs Mount Everest and passes a bowel movement at the summit will seek recognition as the Guinness world record holder for having accomplished such a feat at the world’s highest altitude. Tibet is now a place full of exoticism; are you really going to show off toilets in each and every household of Tibet on websites, claiming they are the toilets on the roof of the world?

Below is a photo collection featuring the toilet published on various websites:











Front door of the toilet









Women on the right, men on the left










The whole toilet











View the city of Lhasa through the window of the toilet


1. By Gecou: It is end of the road if the Potala Palace is not worth more than a toilet.
2. By Rikazeboy: Have these people ever seen toilets before? If they are seeking blessings from a toilet, I can send a token to them for free from Lhasa.
3. By Sbosjsfyor: What is the point of taking a joke so seriously? What is wrong with considering a toilet as a curiosity?
4. By Djgrgb:  This is a joke? Who would call for such a negatively motivated joke?
5. By hkj555: anyhow i heard that bad news from your words just i feel so sadly with tear full in my heart really ? why is it became that ???

6. By Losar: The meaning and value of the Potala is changing over time: yesterday, it was a palace; today, it is a temple; what will it represent tomorrow?

7. By Shenli: Are you a journalist?


  • I used that toilet in the Potala, and I’m sure glad I did! The view below was breathtaking. It isn’t like facilities anywhere else, so why not see it as a point of pride? All sentient beings need to relieve themselves.

    And I think you actually meant men on the left, women on the right. But then maybe the photo was flipped over. Or maybe I’m dyslexic///\///\///\


  • Hi, Dan, you are right. It should have been said women on the right, men on the left. Thanks for the correction.

Comments are closed.