Dowry in Thailand
October 14th, 2011
After the roller coaster ride of what many singles call “dating”, you’ve finally found someone
and are willing to put your single life on a shelf for the rest of your life. But before you both go
through the motions of being together for the rest of your lives, you are faced with one last
dilemma, giving Thai dowry.
The tradition of the Thai dowry (Sin Sod)
This is one of the things that need to be considered when getting married in Thailand. The Thai
dowry system, which is more commonly known as Sin Sod, is common and has its roots deeply
embedded in Thai culture. Tradition shows that the groom must compensate the family for the
loss of their daughter and this is also a way of honoring your bride’s parents for raising their
daughter well. Parents also consider financial security as a starting point in your married life so
the Sin Sod is also a demonstration of your financial capability in taking care of your Thai bride.
How much dowry do I need to pay for my bride?
You will need to negotiate with your bride’s parents regarding the amounts of the Sin Sod and
Tong Mun. The Tong Mun is the engagement ring that will be presented to the bride in a Thai
ceremony called Phitee Mun.
Then there’s the Sin Sod, or the actual dowry, which can be anything of value, but normally it
is money. Most Westerners get confused with the amount of dowry given to the Thai bride’s
parents, as dowry prices are set at unbelievably high amounts ranging from 100,000-1,000,000
One important thing that you should keep in mind when discussing Thai dowry is that its
amount is based on the family’s status, the bride’s education, occupation, income and other
personal information (such as her previous marriage or having children). An average middleclass,
university-educated Thai lady deserves a dowry of 100,000-300,000 baht. A dowry of a
million baht for an uneducated lady of modest means is absurd. The price of Thai dowry falls or
is not given if the bride has been previously married or already has children.
Objections to the Thai dowry
The concept of the dowry may be a bit sensitive to the typical Westerner who of course has a
different background and tradition. Even though some Westerners object to the Thai dowry,
others simply disagree with the price. One reason is that foreigners in Thailand cannot own
land or a house under his name and this lack of benefit causes them to feel the dowry is
Thai dowry is a tradition and not the law so there is really no need to show proof that you
have paid dowry, as it is just presented during the actual wedding ceremony itself. It is merely
symbolic in nature and will normally be returned to the married couple after the wedding, so as
to help them start on their new life.
Getting married in Thailand and with the one you love may be the happiest day of your life,
but it would be best to have a thorough understanding of the traditions before you go through
the actual ceremony. When in doubt, consult a reputable Thai law firm who can assist you with
marriage registration in Thailand and even outlining a Thailand prenuptial agreement to keep
everything in order before you both say the words, “I do”.
This article was provided by Siam Legal, an international law firm with offices in Bangkok,
Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, Pattaya, Phuket, and Samui. Siam Legal publishes legal guides to marriage
in Thailand on its website.
Siam Legal International
Interchange 21 Building, 23rd Floor, 399 Sukhumvit Road
North Klongtoey, Wattana, Bangkok 10110
Tel: 662 259-8100