Marriage in Thailand

Marriage in Thailand

As a symbol of love, respect and appreciation for her parents raising and caring for her, Thai men are expected to pay a dowry for their brides upon marriage. The dowry, known as sin sot in Thai, is a long standing tradition and widely accepted in Thailand.

In general, males in Thailand feed the family, while the females do the chores. This dowry is supposedly a method of compensation for the daughter leaving her parents and “working” for her husband. The birth of the dowry might also have been caused by Thailand having no welfare benefits for the aged. In addition, the dowry shows that the man is willing and ready to support his wife. It is vastly different from Western culture but in Thailand, money is a symbol of love. Part of this is due to Thais valuing generosity very highly so it is hard for them to understand people who do not show this trait.

Nonetheless, the dowry is more important as a visible sign to how successful the son-in-law is these days.

Thai Dowry or Bride Price

Modern Thai parents see the dowry as a status symbol which runs into their concept of “face”. It is a difficult concept to understand but relates to how you are perceived by other people. An interesting note is that the dowry is actually negotiable.

This is usually done by a close friend or family member of the groom. However, in the case of a foreigner marrying a Thai girl, it is done by the future bride. Dowry amounts have a huge range depending on how well-to-do the groom is. Quite often, the dowry will be returned to the couple by the bride’s parents as a wedding gift. The gold and much of the cash of a dowry can be given right back to you by your in-laws. Money received from guests as gifts is generally kept to pay for the wedding ceremony.

If you love your Thai girlfriend enough, then you will have to pay the dowry, but do make sure that you negotiate!

How can you compare money to love? Well, you can always make more money but you cannot easily find love.  This New York Times video, ”Thailand: The Business of Mixed Marriages’ highlights the reality of  Thai / Western relationships, where men are expected to support not only their wife but her family and even in some cases, the entire village…


On September 28, 2010, posted in: Marriage by
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