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The Thai Sniff Kiss – All About Kissing in Thailand

In this Thai language and culture lesson we will teach you how to say kiss in the Thai language and describe how people kiss in Thailand. There are two types of kisses in Thailand: the traditional Thai sniff kiss and a kiss with the lips. A sniff kiss in Thailand is called hăwm (หอม) and a lips kiss jòop (จูบ).

The traditional Thai word for kiss (hăwm) also means “pleasant smelling,” so it makes sense that this type of Thai kissing is a sniff kiss. A Thai sniff kiss is done by placing your nose on the other person’s cheek or neck and inhaling. How deeply a Thai person inhales is often a measure of their affection. If your Thai girlfriend doesn’t sniff kiss you but only offers pecks on the lips or cheeks (jòop), then you probably ought to check for body odor or re-evaluate your relationship.

A kiss in Thailand which is done with the lips doesn’t refer to a French kiss. French kissing in Thailand is generally uncommon even among lovers. However, this is changing among the more Westernized younger generation. A Thai kiss is a closed mouth kiss on the lips or on the cheek.

You may see a kiss in Thai written in English as “joob joob” or “jub jub” at the end of a chat, SMS, or email. This causes many foreigners with Thai girlfriends to mispronounce the Thai word for kiss. The correct way to pronounce this type of kissing in the Thai language is jòop.

If you are in public with your girlfriend or wife in Sakon Nakhon, it isn’t proper to kiss them on the lips. The traditional Thai sniff kiss is generally acceptable in public, and something you will see being done by family with young children and between young Thai couples. If you are a foreigner in Thailand, we don’t recommend sniff kissing your partner in public, unless you are married and among friends, or your partner has given you a Thai sniff kiss first.


มานี่สิ ขอฉันจูบเธอหน่อย

Mah nêe sì. Khăw chăn jòop theu nòi.

Come here (urge). Beg I kiss you little.

Come here and let me give you a kiss.

Learn Thai Language Tip: Need a reminder for how to say kiss in Thai and remember the difference between to two ways to kiss in Thailand? Try this rhyme: “You don’t need lip balm to hăwm, but you better take a poop before you jòop!” Now that you have learned how to Thai kiss in Thailand, check out our post on How to Flirt in Thai.

David Alan