Monk Towels and Soap

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Very few people from the West know about what the monks use for their bath towels and their bathing soap. Monks use items that are much different than those found in the West, although commonly known in Myanmar and other Buddhist countries. Furthermore, the monks use these items because of the monk rules associated with them in addition to the abundance and low cost.

Monks at Pa-Auk usually use small hand towels instead of normal “wrap-around” sized towels.


  1. Monks are not supposed to wear anything that is not a robe cloth.
  2. The size is small enough to not count as an extra robe cloth
  3. The size is small and easy to carry, “like a bird who carries only his wings.”
  4. The smaller size is easy to dry after each use, even in tropical climates
  5. The towel can be worn on one’s belt and carried with the monk wherever he goes.
basic hand towel

Monks at Pa-Auk prefer the red carbolic soap.


  1. It has no smell, and monks are not allowed to use perfumed items themselves unless medical reasons require it.
  2. It is one of the oldest, simplest and most natural forms of soap around.
  3. It is cheap and plentiful. Although the price for a bar of carbolic soap can cost $5 per bar on Amazon, one can get 20 of these bars for about 50 cents in Myanmar.
Carbolic Soap

Below is a video on the above information:

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