Thai Culture: Nose and Teeth Picking in Thailand

Thai Culture: Picking nose and teeth
Picking your Nose and Teeth in Thailand

When I first arrived I saw people picking their noses – DEEP in their noses. Maybe
not as deep as this picture, which is a gross exaggeration, but – first knuckle pinky finger deep anyway.

Some are more ambitious, but there’s a reason besides wanting to play the guitar, that some Thai guys really invest in saving at least one long pinky nail…

Now, you can pick your nose in public, but do NOT pick your teeth in public because it’s “rude”.

One must cover the mouth when picking the teeth with a toothpick. I was shown the proper way by a friend that was concerned I was a heathen from America. Apparently she thought everyone did it the correct way – left hand over mouth – covering – and the right hand with toothpick doing the picking.

I adapted quickly to the teeth picking. That was easy enough. Perhaps we DO go about it that way in America – but I was living in Florida and most manners that have accumulated throughout the years – living in NY and Honolulu are gone within the first year or so… manners in florida evaporate away as one meshes with the populace.

The other picking – nose picking – I was naturally a bit thrown by. When I first saw it – I wondered, where do they put the booger… and then I saw – on the pants. Almost always on the pants or flicking it into the air – to the ground. That answered that.

It took me a few weeks… when I saw enough people doing it – young and old… high so people and people from the countryside… I jumped right in.

I now clean my nose with relish – (enjoyment) – at least twice each week.

I go knuckle deep and I’m usually smiling when I do it – the enjoyment is one thing, but the absurdity of it is also funny.


Author: Vern

I'm an American expat living in Thailand. I like to write informative pieces about life in, living in Thailand, including topics like: Thai People, Thai Culture, Nightlife, Technology, and I have published a lot of photographs, videos, and even books on Thailand that you can find at There are many photographs of Thailand here - feel free to share with attribution (a link back to the home page). All written content on this site by Vern Lovic. Contact me at Google+.

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