Short answer is; it depends.
Thais still follow their traditional customs despite the modern times. And one of the the traditions they keep is a sinsot.
A sinsot is best described as a dowry in Thai culture. It is the Thai marriage tradition where the groom-to-be gives money and gold to his wife’s family.
Oftentimes, the dowry will include a jewelry or other valuable items. And sometimes the Sinsot is displayed during the wedding ceremony.
There are varying reasons for having this kind of custom
- It is a way for the man to show he has the financial means to take care of his new wife and for the woman’s family to gain face.
- It shows how highly the man values his new wife.
- It is to compensate the family as their daughter leaves them to be with her man.
- It is a “Thank you” gift to the parents.
- It is given to the daughter as a kind of insurance in the event of marital dissolution.
Normally, the woman’s parents will make an opening request and you negotiate a comfortable counter offer. There are no definite rules however for how much sinsot to pay. The price depends on the perceived value the parents have of their daughter.
If the Thai woman is well-educated, beautiful, has a career or from a high-class family, the woman’s family can demand a high sinsot value.
A woman from a lower class background can still have a high sinsot value if she is beautiful and still a virgin.
Such women can have a Sinsot value of up to 500,000 baht and some even reached millions. But it is not the norm. A typical value would be under 100,000 baht.
If your Thai girlfriend is divorced, has a child, works in a sex industry or a bar girl, her value is low.
Half of the payment can be returned after the wedding ceremony if the man is able to negotiate this to the woman’s family.
However a Thai dowry is not always a bad thing. See this as an opportunity to measure the family’s values.
Is her family requesting an unreasonable amount?
If they ask for unreasonable amount and are not willing to negotiate then you may sense greediness in them. A good reason to be wary about. Marrying into this family might be a problem to you in the future. An unsuccessful Sinsot transaction may lead to bitterness and have future repercussions.
But if they are okay with a fair amount, or if they are willing to return some of it or give it to your wife then you can be sure that the family has good values.
A sinsot, however, is a tradition that is slowly fading.
So, is a sinsot a requirement for marrying a Thai?
Try talking to your Thai bride-to-be.