Read our updated, in-depth article on paying a Thailand bride price at: Thai Dowry.
The Thailand bride price or sin sot (สินสอด) is one aspect of Thai culture that causes consternation (and more than a few arguments) in the farang expat community. The idea that one is expected to pay money to the bride’s family as compensation for “the mother’s milk and care” strikes many expats as a medieval practice which equates women with chattel. However, one suspects that there would be no objections were the dowry system in play and Thai parents were handing over a nice plot of land and a few water buffalo in the bridal exchange.
Since many farangs in Thailand feel perpetually abused and taken advantage of by the “insidious” (and much overblown) system of dual pricing in Thailand, there is a common belief that expats will be forced to pay an extravagant bride price that no self-respecting Thai male would pay. As with so many expat assumptions, this belief in inflated bride prices has little basis in reality — though exceptions can and do occur.
Farang grooms often pay smaller bride prices than their Thai counterparts, especially wealthier middle class Thais, who could be expected to pay Thai bride prices upwards of a million baht + a new car. A smaller bride price is often requested because many Thai families know that the bride price is not a Western tradition. In other cases, the bride price is often given back to the couple after the money is publicly displayed on a table during the wedding celebration, so that the parents do not lose face.
It is important to recognize here that when you enter into a marriage in Thailand, you are marrying into the family, and that in most cases you will be expected to help your bride’s parents financially while they are alive, especially if they are rural Thais of limited means in provinces like Sakon Nakhon. Therefore, if the whole idea of a bride price bothers you in Thailand, you should just consider it an advance to the parents that leaves you off the hook for having to send them any other money for a while.
As with most things in Sakon Nakhon, the Thai bride (Sin Sot) price is rarely fixed in stone and can be negotiated down. So in today’s learn Thai language lesson, we will teach you how to do just that.
bride price n. – สินสอด – sĭn-sàwt
Bpròt hâi khwahm-sŏng-săhn khráp. Lót sĭn-sàwt hâi nói-long.
Please give pity (polite). Lower bride price give be-smaller.
Have pity on me. Can we lower the bride price a little.
Thai Marriage Advice: Some farangs believe that if they marry a Thai woman who has been married previously and/or has a child that this absolves them from having to pay a Thai bride price, since a bride price may already have been paid and they are supporting their new wife’s child. Actually, this all depends on the family and the age of the bride. In many cases, you still will be expected to pay a bride price.
The Thai word for bride price (sĭn-sàwt) is often spelled in English as “sin sot” despite the fact that this produces an entirely inaccurate pronunciation. The word for bride price in Thailand is composed of two smaller words sĭn (meaning wealth or property) and sàwt (meaning to insert or place).
To remember the Thai word for bride price, try this rhyme: “She can’t be bought. Not without a sĭn-sàwt!
Now that you have learned about Thai bride prices, you may be interested in reading our post: Is Thailand a Patriarchal Society?