Sin Sod – What You Should Pay to Marry Your Thai Girlfriend

Not too long ago, a forum update email dropped into my inbox from one of the major Thai forums. The leading tittle thread was regarding Sin Sod, sometimes written Sin Sot, and read “Huge Dowry Demanded After Short Relationship With Thai Woman.”

The story was of a guy that had met a 42 year old woman online, and after one month of dating was asking for 500,000 Baht for marriage.

While the advice in the forum was sound, i.e. he should seriously consider his position because it smacks of extortion, a debate ensued regarding Sin Sod – the money paid to a Thai woman’s family by the groom during the marriage ceremony. I was shocked at just how misunderstood this part of Thai culture is by so many foreigners, many of whom have lived in Thailand for many years.

And so, using my own knowledge and experience, and through quizzing three of my good Thai friends, I decided to write a definitive guide to Sin Sod.

sin sod

Sin Sod – The Big Debate

You will find a huge amount of misleading information online regarding Sin Sod, and conflicting experiences can be found plastered all over forums and blogs. So, when a foreigner wants to marry his Thai girlfriend and the inevitable subject of Sin Sod arises, it is no surprise that he becomes confused over what he should be paying and why he is expected to pay it.

Part of the problem is that Thai women often don’t explain the concept of Sin Sod very well, which isn’t at all surprising, considering that for them it’s a standard tradition and an age-old part of Thai culture. And like traditions the world over, some people simply participate and follow along without ever understanding the history behind it.

Fortunately, I am lucky enough to have a cross-section of Thai friends from varying backgrounds, and being the nosey parker I am, I have endeavoured to collect as much information as possible regarding this tradition.

Of course, if we want to know the truth about Sin Sod, the best people to ask are Thai people themselves. Yet like many Thai customs, I find that foreigners have a gross misconception of what Sin Sod is all about, inherited largely from other misinformed foreigners.

Before I begin, I am not by any means saying that the information in this post is entirely definitive or one hundred percent historically factual. However, what I can say is that the information is the experience of a cross-section of Thai people, all of whom are university educated, have experienced many Thai weddings and are well-versed in Thai culture.

What Sin Sod Is Not

Firstly, let’s get one thing straight: Sin Sod is not a dowry. You are not buying a woman or approaching her family to buy her. The Western-centric viewpoint that Sin Sod equates to the purchasing of a Thai bride is completely incorrect.

To fully understand the tradition, you need to put the word “dowry” out of your mind, not least because any suggestion to your future in-laws of purchasing their daughter will be very offensive.

What Is Sin Sod?

There are generally three reasons for the payment of Sin Sod; they are as follows:

1. Traditionally, the eldest unmarried daughter takes care of her parents until she gets married, and therefore the Sin Sod in some respects replaces that income for the parents. As you might know, it is common for the average Thai woman to send a portion of her salary to her parents each month.

After marriage this usually stops, so as you can imagine, for parents with no pension plan and little savings, the Sin Sod is a much needed payday. Now you can see why richer families don’t usually accept this payment or expect it, quite simply because they don’t need it.

2. Once a woman has been married, and/or has kids, the structure of Thai society makes it very hard for her to find a man of decent stature. Therefore, the Sin Sod acts as a sort of insurance in the event that the husband leaves her and doesn’t offer post separation financial support. The bottom line is, women don’t walk away with half of everything like they do in some Western countries.

If a woman finds herself back living with her parents as a single mother, the Sin Sod insures that there will be some money/land in the family to support the family. Thai society also dictates that the older a Thai woman gets the harder it becomes for her to find a job, let alone a well-paid one. So again, should she find herself alone in the future, at least the family will have some money put by for some inevitably rainy years ahead.

3. Where poorer families are concerned, Sin Sod is a repayment for the money invested in their daughter. Many families sell land, borrow money and generally go without to put their kids through university, or in some cases to simply put food on the table. The Sin Sod is essentially a repayment for that investment. The amount paid for Sin Sod could be considered relative to the sacrificial cost of bringing up the child – thus the reason it is often referred to as payment for the “mother’s milk”.

6. Age is a contentious and quite horrible issue when it comes to Sin Sod. I mean, when ex childhood superstar singer Tata Young, at almost 40 years old married Prame, the son of the FairTex boxing brand owner, she commanded 100 million Baht. But for a 40-year-old woman from a poor, rural family and a few kids in tow, it’s unlikely that more than 200,000 Baht would be on offer. That said, the type of guys such a woman would have access to wouldn’t be able to afford more than that anyway. But who knows, occasionally a rich man does fall for a poorer woman in good old classist Thailand, and to show his wealth he would no doubt slap down a hefty sin sod.

And so age comes fairly low down on the list. Sin Sod is generally decided by status, family wealth, family name and accomplishment/education of the female in question.

Who Pays Sin Sod?

Any man marrying a Thai woman is expected to pay Sin Sod. The price is usually agreed between the two families, yet where a foreigner is concerned and his parents aren’t present, the duty falls on him to ask the family how much they expect.

Who Doesn’t Pay Sin Sod?

In the modern day many families don’t expect Sin Sod, and many will tell the boyfriend that they don’t want any money. However, it is very rare that money isn’t shown at the wedding, albeit that it is returned in full afterwards.

*It should be noted that to expect the money back or to ask for it back is unacceptable. One will be offered it back if that is to be the case. Also note that you may not be required to pay Sin Sod if the woman you are marrying has been married before. See the section below for more details.

How Much Should I Be Paying For Sin Sod?

Historically this has (generally) depended on six factors, as listed and discussed below:

  1. Family Name
  2. Education
  3. Prior Marital Status
  4. Dependants
  5. Job
  6. Age

1. If your girlfriend is from a well-to-do family, you could be looking at a fair lump. However, in this situation, the money will most likely be for show and returned to you after the wedding.

2. If your girlfriend is university educated or beyond, then it is likely that you will be looking at a minimum of 300,000 Baht. This is a low-moderate amount by modern-day Thai standards. For example, a friend at my girlfriend’s work is soon to marry a Thai lady of a high school level education, and he is paying 200,000 Baht. His salary is approximately 25,000 per month.

3. If your girlfriend has been married before, then you should pay less. You might argue – on grounds of tradition – that you shouldn’t be paying at all. However, as a respectful gesture, and to show your respect, you should offer something.

Remember that marriage is intended to happen once in Thai culture, and therefore importance is emphasized on marrying for the first time. Unlike second and third marriages in the west, which may be seen as equally as important and “true love” matches, in Thailand they are not that much of a big deal. Superstar second and third marriages are the exception.

4. If your girlfriend has kids, tradition dictates that you should pay less. This stems from the age-old thinking that she is tainted in some way, already given to another man, so to speak. You will become responsible for another man’s seed, and for that you shouldn’t be paying for the privilege. (Not my words, I might add)

5. In terms of a woman’s employment, it’s hierarchical and usually correlates with education and earnings. For example, you’d pay/show more to marry a banker than a cleaner.

My Girlfriend Is Asking For Too Much

Many foreigners find themselves in this position, and it isn’t necessarily that your girlfriend is trying to con you, more so that she is trying to secure higher face for her family, and in some cases to elevate her family’s wealth.

Face is everything in Thai society. To marry a foreigner with a Sin Sod of less than 200,000 Baht, would be quite a loss of face, not just for her but also for you.

The fact that she is marrying a foreigner will mean tongues wagging in the village, so when you say, “What! No way! I am not paying to marry you”, or you announce a payment less than what an average Thai guy earning 10-15k a month would pay, you get branded a “Farang kee-nock” (literally translated as bird shit foreigner, but refers to a poor, lower class foreigner), or “Keniiow” (stingy).

The folks in the village will have a good laugh, “Why is she marrying a foreigner when he can’t afford to pay anymore than one of us folk”. Yes, unfortunately most Thais believe, as many westerners do, that Thai women only marry foreigners for financial security, unless of course the Thai woman is richer or as wealthy as the foreigner.

Anyway; the point here is not to take your girlfriend’s word for it,because the tradition is that you are supposed to ask the mother and father the amount they want. It is not for the woman to tell the man what she wants. So arrange to meet with the parents and politely ask them what they expect.

They will probably say one of two things:

1. “Oh no, mai pen rai. We don’t want anything”.

2. “It’s up to you”.

The first answer doesn’t mean you say, “Okay, great”, and go and buy a new car instead. By answering in this way they are exercising their “grengjai”. They are being polite. What they actually mean is, “Tell us what you WANT to pay, and you will be able to tell by our body language whether we think it’s okay or not”. So basically you need to make out you really want to pay. As you can see, this all falls in nicely with the non-confrontational Thai style.

The second answer means, “What do you want to pay… but don’t insult me”!

*It should be noted that some families might genuinely want nothing at all.

I Hate This Talk Of Money – It All Seems So Shallow

Yes, and for the most part, it is. Sin Sod is largely about face. “Look at my daughter, she went to university and married a good man with a good job”. Or even, “Look at my daughter, she didn’t go to university, but she is so beautiful and hardworking that she married a lovely rich foreign guy”.

As a foreigner, you may feel like you are buying your girlfriend and have become a victim of the old “Thailand ATM” syndrome. And depending on the circumstances, that could be the case. But if you’re in a secure, genuine relationship, you need to forget what the misinformed barstool gossips say and consider your girlfriend and the culture, and yes, she too needs to consider your wallet.

Like it or not, Sin Sod is a big part of Thai culture, and, as soon as a Thai woman announces marriage, the big question on everyone’s lips is, “How much Sin Sod“.

Why? Because Sin Sod is a reflection of her, you, her family and your family.  A Thai woman lives to make her family proud, to show the other villagers that they are a good family, that they are to be respected, and that they are on the up, as it were.

But I Am Compromising My Western Marriage Traditions!

I hear you. For example I come from a culture where the woman’s father is supposed to pay all the wedding costs. It’s more a 50-50 thing in the modern day. But think about it like this: Your girlfriend has probably already sacrificed many of her cultural traditions to accommodate you in her life. Living with you and sleeping with you before marriage are two of those sacrifices.

Without you knowing it, she will have been the talk of her village for living with you without being married – this reflects badly on her family. Don’t forget either that you chose her as your girlfriend, and with all due respect, before getting involved with a woman from another culture, you really should understand the culture first.

On an emotional level, you need to consider that just like every Western girl dreams of a white wedding to make her Daddy proud, the majority of Thai women grow up dreaming of marrying in their home town and making their parents proud with a respectable Sin Sod, and in turn elevating the family face.

The way I see it is this: An average wedding in the UK costs 20k, so if you pay 4-6k to marry your Thai girlfriend in a village ceremony that costs no more than 1-2k, you still save a whopping 12k!

That said, in the UK you get gifts and money from your girlfriend’s family, so that offsets some of the cost. Truth is, you aren’t likely to get a bean here unless you marry into a wealthy family, but then setting up home here is cheaper, as is taking care of a woman post-marriage.

Feel free to pitch in with your experience. It would be really useful to know what married guys paid, or didn’t pay, and how the process was handled.

I would like to say a big thanks to Marisa, Noynar and Noi for contributing their cultural knowledge and helping me write this piece.



  1. Uri says

    I’ve sent it again. If it still is not through, could you please send empty email to me. I assume you can see my email address somehow.
    Thank you

  2. Uri says

    Very interesting article and comments but, mine is off topic. TTL, I sent a message to you few days ago through your Contact page. I’m wondering if you had a chance to read it?
    Thank you.

    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi Uri, I didn’t get that message. If you have it in your sent items please send it through again.

  3. oracle says

    Sinsod is for thai’s…and dumbass farangs…marry wtf? for….theres 75 million of them…they all want to tie you down ….good luck dumbasses….your the boss…you make the cash…its your choice… not theres…KAPISH?

    • TheThailandLife says

      The female population of Thailand is 34.9 million (51.03%) of the total population of 67.01 million, not 75 million. The large majority of the female population do not want to marry a foreigner. Indeed, my wife didn’t want to be my girlfriend let alone marry me when we first met. Perhaps the females you meet in bars and in and around the tourist industry from very poor backgrounds with families to feed and support may be desperate to bag any foreigner they can for economic reasons, but that certainly does not represent the average Thai female. Kapish?

  4. John Sweden says

    Sounds like a way to make money for the family.
    What´s their social status?
    Her education level?
    Where do they live?
    Where will your brother and his wife live in the future?
    Maybe she can’t get pregnant and someone in the family knows that, or a fortune teller told someone that she can´t get pregnant(I am not kidding).
    I have never ever heard about a sin sod that will be kept until the first baby is born.
    I think the family is trying to upgrade their financial status.

  5. Jess says

    I apologize if this has been asked and answered before. My question is about a U.S. citizen (my brother) paying a 1m baht ($30k USD) to his fiancee’s family (we have been told it will be returned at the birth of their first child). Regardless of Thai cultural practices and any other ways to explain the custom, the U.S. government could still consider this direct payment for the right to marry (i.e., human trafficking). So, is this even legal for a U.S. citizen to do? Can someone point me in the direction of verifiable resources to confirm that this observation of a cultural practice/custom does not violate federal and international laws?

    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi Jess, I’ve never heard of money being withheld in this manner; it is certainly not part of the tradition and sounds like a ransom of sorts. I don’t know the US law, so I couldn’t answer that question, but I can’t see any logical reason why this demand would be made other than an excuse to secure some money. Maybe the family is scared your brother will run off before they have kids, quite what difference that will make I don’t know. Perhaps the difference being that if they have a child, should your brother leave her, he is more likely to continue to support the wife of his child financially. So perhaps this is security towards that eventuality. All sounds rather prehistoric and cold though. If the family is poor and I would suggest your brother works out an amount he can happily afford to offer as a “gift” and leave the sin sod at that. If the family is well off, they will simply show the money on the day in the traditional manner and return it without fuss. This is generally the norm these days.

  6. minhhuong says

    There is a phrase in Vietnamese (also in Chinese and I doubt in Thai too) says that “you must keep well (high) your self-respect (pride, ego), event though you are very poor”.

    The fact is, in those countries, the more you are poor, the more you desire to keep your face. Because they think that they have absolutely nothing except the face.

    Due to that logic, you will find out that there are more chance the rich or average families over there would be more flexible way about the sin sod “show”, cause they always have other thing to “show” to the village already: wealth, education …

    I was successful to go out of such good-for-nothing tradition, I will tell you how I did.

    I’m a Vietnamese girl, married to a french guy 13 years ago.

    I don’t want to celebrate my own wedding by vietnamese’s way, which would have at least 800 guests that I don’t know 9/10 of them. A vietnamese’s wedding party in my city, in fact is an event to collect money envelopes, guests enter the hall, give the envelopes, join a table which often they don’t know each other, eat quickly, then left after 30′-40′. Puffff!!!

    “he went to put an envelope for my son’s wedding, so now it’s my turn to pay him back for his daughter’s one”
    “my boss’ son is married today, I don’t have an invitation card but I still come to get such a good chance to bribe him as money under the table” …v…v…


    To be sure that my family couldn’t put pressure on us to do their way, I told everybody that I don’t do a wedding party yet.

    Then the “D-Day” morning, I called those I want to invite to come to a restaurant that evening.
    – “What??? You told us your plan is next spring!!!”
    – “Uncle, surprise!!!!”
    => end of discussion.

    The KEY of the game: Do thing before the olders know about it, if you give them time then you have to follow their way. Why?
    Because asian culture is that the older people decide for the younger. It is not acceptable for the children go against their parents.
    The most polite way to avoid is: “do not let them time to decide. Not a second”!! Hehehe

    Do the party look like mixing between western-asia way, so you really have an excuse to why I don’t do this but I do that, cut the part you don’t like such as sin sod. Should also put personal touch to make the party in such a very unique one.
    How can your family lose face, cause this is not a pure traditional wedding anyway. Everybody will be concentrate to how unique it is and forget about the tradition symbol.

  7. John says

    Sinsod is a thai tradition. From the very beginning just that: A tradition for thais among thais.
    As foreigners we sometimes se it as a way to pull money from us.
    In many cases the tradition is used to do exactly that.
    Making the daughter of the family a tool to make easy, sometimes BIG money.
    Like it or not: This is Thailand today.

    Ps: The “scam sinsod” is often protected by foreigners who have paid a big amount of money for their old, uneducated “second hand” wife in therms like: She is worth it!
    Maybe she is to him, but that does´t make it less a scam.

    • TheThailandLife says

      You’re right. Sinsod is a Thai tradition, and one that is exploited by some families to get more money than should be correctly apportioned to a marriage that involves a foreigner. Which is why, like I always say, any man marrying a Thai woman, or indeed living in Thailand, should dedicate time to properly learning the culture and traditions behind it. Learn about societal structures, ceremonial traditions, religious influences, etc.

  8. nicolas says

    Thanks for your article.
    I am okay to pay her sin sod of 200 000 baths as a sign of respect for her family and culture. However I wonder, It doesn’t seem right that she still want to send money to her mother after the wedding right ?? Isn’t it what sin sod is about ?

    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi Nicolas, many women from poor families will continue to send a portion of their salary home after marriage. If the woman isn’t working then this responsibility will fall upon her partner. In some cases, the sending of money each month stops after marriage, but the daughter will still be obliged to help out financially when needed.

  9. Catty says

    Hi there ^^

    I’m a Thai girl who have foreigner boyfriend…I’ve read all about Sin Sod’s pages….I’d like to explain about Sin Sod to my bf also ^^ That’s why I have to read and get to know more how to clearly explain about Thai marriage tradition to him. This article very useful and interesting. Especially I get to know more ” How’s foreigner think about Sin Sod” There are various of attitude or point of view …I’m respect all the point of view :)

    I’m 26 years old and my bf 25 years old ( He’s younger than me 😛 ) We ‘re in relationship for 2 years. visit each other 1-2 times a year(I live in Bangkok) but now….we have a big plan…I’m moving to live with him in Finland ( I’ve been there one time visit him and his family. everything was great. They’re love me and i love them also. I’m happy that we will be together soon ( end of 2015). Anyway……. In my opinion Sin Sod means about respectful their parents or family. Surly this is a Thai marriage traditional. and i respect my parents also but….I’m sure that my parents will never ask Sinsod from my bf because we both still so young :) ( but i need to let my bf know what sinsod is ) we need more time for saving money for our
    life. I think we can earn money and look after them later when we ready
    then we can have a small wedding only relatives and close friends ^^
    I write this comment because truly is 90 % the family’s thai girl expect a sinsod ,exactly because of tradition.For me “Money can buy a convenience but money can’t buy a happiness” I just focus on a happiness. of course money also important in our life but happiness is the most important in life.Therefore… money is not base on a condition of my love
    well…I hopefully everyone on this pages get through any troubles and understand well about Sinsod in thai traditional…..wish you guys found a true love.. cheer up :)

    good luck guys ^^

    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi Catty, thanks for sharing your story; it’s good to get some insight from a Thai woman on this subject. I think you make a good point about being young and your parents not expecting Sin Sod, or at least not a big amount. Young men just starting out in married life usually don’t have a lot of money saved; certainly not to just give away, anyway. I think this is why SOME poorer Thai girls seek out older men to marry because they know older men have savings from their career, a regular pension income and have probably inherited money from their parents too, and can therefore pay a bigger sin sod and take care of the girl’s family.

      Thanks for clarifying that 90% of Thai families would expect sin sod for their daughters due to tradition. This is something many foreigners don’t understand. Some think it is a scam designed to get money from foreign men. I wish you all the best with your marriage.

    • Steven Foley says

      Well if any Thai woman marries a western man then she should respect his cultural values . In the west we do no buy love , it’s a criminal offence to do so ( human trafficking laws ) my advice to any Thai lady is to either repeat western culture or marry a Thai and let that fool feed your family . Marriage is and should be based on love and feelings . Not finacial Gai.

  10. ThaiTraveller says

    Hi Very interesting topic. I’m reading up on sin sod these days because i want to know what is a decent amount to pay for and somewhat educated girl of what i know now from my new and recent girlfriend. She is not married, think she is still a virgin. I like her a lot but need time to know more about her but she wants to me to ask her to marry this summer already. We met in December, she’s 32 already, wants 2 children. I do have a children wish myself.

    I was thinking of 1-2 months of salary, being said i make 48000 each month. Since I know she wants some gold for her. I think I’ll be the one that will pay for the wedding since my gf is not wealthy. I’m not so wealthy in belgium either. Life is expensive here. I can save quite a bit since I still live at home but on a waiting list for a social house.

    I can go one time a year to thailand since I can save ok to good every month and still have my life in belgium. Also I have to calculate that if I want her to come to belgium for a short visit I’ll need to be able to provide that too.

    • TheThailandLife says

      How will you sustain a marriage if you only come to Thailand once a year and she only comes to Belgium once in a while?

    • Ben says

      Do you mean 48,000 baht per month, or 48,000 euros (or should I say 48.000)?

      If you mean 48,000 euros, 2 months’ salary seem like way more than ample for a “somewhat educated” woman (not sure what you mean by this). If you mean 48,000 baht, then 2 months’ salary seems a little slim, especially for a woman with a bachelor’s degree. That said, it all depends on what her family expects.

  11. Gerald Trass says

    Awesome thread TTL. Have just become involved with a Thai lady and reading the entire thread has been very helpful indeed. Hearing the various points of view has enabled me to understand more where she is coming from when we talk. Knowledge leads to power and can smooth the path ahead when one knows the culture and reasoning behind actions. The path of love is certainly one of combining the heart and head. Look forward to further updates.

  12. RK says

    My wife parents are deceased and she only has a half sister – n o sinsod, 50% of the wedding was paid for by the local community – maybe I was just lucky ?

  13. anonymous123 says

    My future wife is 22 yrs younger than me. After we stayed in Bkk with her mother over the weekend we fell in love and all that, and we agreed to 200.000 Bht for Sin Sod, so I was actually very happy with that. However.
    Then came the demand for 5 baht gold, worth 4000 dollars. Also, to pay for the wedding, add another 5000 dollars. Also, to pay for rings.(not that that is a Thai tradition at all).

    So now Im left with thinking if I was a millionaire I’d just shell out the cash and have me a nice Thai girl, she might even stay with me for more than 6 months.

    But there is just no way I can(or want to) satisfy all these stupid ring, gold and Sin Sod demands.

  14. D. P. says

    I’m really confused how much to offer… so any advice can be useful

    She is 50 years old work at her family business which given by her parents to her brother, got university degree and making around $2000 a month which is big for a thai standard , divorced years ago, got 2 grown up kids one is married other engaged and her mother is still alive so how I read here and on other sites Some amount of Sin Sod should be offered to keep up with the traditions …

  15. anonymous123 says

    Well how about that, can someone clarify whether assets in the groom’s home country are under threat in a divorce when the marriage was in Thailand?

    And can you recommend someone to talk to wrt to prenup here in Thailand/Bangkok?

    Once again, thank you for the thread, it is very informative.

    • Ben says

      I’d like to piggyback a question on these: if we are already married in the US, are there any special legal ramifications to getting married again in Thailand? Is it even legal to get married twice (to the same person, of course)?

      • TheThailandLife says

        You wouldn’t to get married again, but rather have the marriage registered.

        When in Thailand you would need to go to the US Embassy and have your marriage certificate certified as valid. This could be done in the US too, I’m sure.

        Next you need to get that document translated into Thai by an official translation office. You then need to get that document certified by the Thai Foreign Ministry, Consular Department (not sure if this step is still required).

        After that, go to any Amphur to have the marriage registered in Thailand.

        You might be able to do all this in the US, via the US embassy and Thai consulate, although I’m from the UK so I’m not sure about that.

        • Ben says

          Well we want to have a wedding ceremony in Thailand, but I’m guessing I could do that and then just register the marriage rather than do whatever paperwork would normally be required.

          Do you know if there are any benefits to registering the marriage in Thailand (currently we plan to live in the US)? If not, we could just do a ceremony without any paperwork.

          Thanks for your help.

          • TheThailandLife says

            Yes, you can have the ceremony and register the marriage afterwards. This is standard practice anyway.

            If your wife has taken your name, then she will need to register the marriage to change bank account details, ID card and asset ownership documents to her married name, if she wants to that is.

  16. Guest says

    Is it not suspect that any money that is put into Thailand by a foreign groom, he has no legal right to? Be it invested in any sort of property. But in the west she may have more rights than you to your own stuff. So technically the bride could own all the assets in her homeland and half or more of the assets in your own country, should something go wrong. On top of that your still expected to pay sin sod??? Even more so the possibility of monthly or yearly payments???? To any aware individual, red flag pop up all over the place.

  17. anonymous123 says

    Sorry, I was being unclear. What I mean is that it would be hard to deny a request for financial assistance even if the family(land owners, 4 working brothers) might not require it. I took this scenario from a comment above.

    There are also the reports of asking for family assistance on a monthly basis, and there is just no way to know whether this will happen or not. (it’s happened to me twice, but when things were still in the online stage, so no harm done).

    As to the running away, that could be the case if we were (also) married in my country of residence and not just in Thailand.

    I wish the Thai government would just legislate a flowchart with which woman deserves what Sin Sod for any given family constellation, and it wouldn’t feel so much like haggling over a kilo of fish at the market.

    • TheThailandLife says

      Haha, that’s quite a good idea. Sadly Sin Sod is grossly distorted by celebrity culture too; with big stars marrying for in excess of 100 million etc.

      Many low-earning Thai men put themselves in debt to come up with 200 or 300,000 Baht sin sod, a figure which would be considered quite low in this day and age.

      Where monthly stipends are concerned, I’ve never had to deal with this and it’s not a cultural thing, more something that women with dependents might try and secure when marrying a foreigner. At the end of the day, I think the same applies whether marrying into a Thai family or any other nationality of family, if someone comes to you with a desperate request for money, you consider A) the merit of the request, and B) What you can afford to give, if you decide you want to help.

      Of course, if your wife is at home looking after the home and your children, you will be giving her some money to support that work, and perhaps she’ll choose to share some of that with her family.

      If you have assets to protect and have your reservations, I strongly suggest doing a prenuptial.

  18. anonymous123 says

    I’m currently spending the weekend in Bkk with spouse-to-be and her mother, and the first thing that came up after having set down together for the first time was the damn Sin Sod. Mother first told me no hanky panky before marriage, and then asked how much I was willing to pay. I hadn’r read this blog before that and had only a vague idea of the whole concept.

    So I stalled and said I felt uncomfortable and would like her to tell me how much she expects.

    I’m very much a lover of all things Thai(and Asian), but the whole Sin Sod idea, plus the emotional blackmail that may lie ahead should one of her family members fall ill, plus the non-negligible chance that she might run away with half my assets shortly after the marriage, make me reconsider this whole thing.

    So here I am, one whole weekend to go, and it’s awkward to say the least haha. What I’m planning to do is sit down with my girl and see how she feels about it, without mum present.

    See how it goes.

    • TheThailandLife says

      What do you mean by this: “plus the emotional blackmail that may lie ahead should one of her family members fall ill, plus the non-negligible chance that she might run away with half my assets shortly after the marriage, make me reconsider this whole thing.”

      How would she run away with half your assets? How would that be possible?

      Why would there be emotional blackmail if a family member falls ill?

  19. Guest says

    Im not saying that my feelings on this are correct in any way. These are questions that come to me.

    The tradition in the west is that her parents pay for the wedding and the couple get a good boost to start their life together. If they are to start a family, theres a need to build a good platform to raise healthy kids of their own. If you live in north america, should you and your spouse follow the traditions of the west?

    Buddhist speak of non materialism but no matter how you paint it, to even display the Sinsod is materialistic to a high degree. The fact that a lot of the time the Sinsod is not owned by the groom but it is insinuated to save face is not shallow and vain?

    Is it a good way to open a relationship with your in-laws by them asking you for money?

    If she has a dad and brothers then how hard are they working and can they not support their wives and daughters?

    If you had a daughter, would the love of her man be what is important to you? Or to monetize it and negotiate it to see how much she is worth?

    And finally, A mothers breast milk… Symbolic or not.
    If anything is free on the earth, should it not be a baby’s milk from the mothers breast?

    • TheThailandLife says

      I don’t think Buddhism is relevant to the Sin Sod debate because although Thailand is branded a Buddhist country (Theravada), it’s more a mix of Hinduism, Animism, and Buddhism. For example, many Thais are superstitious, worshipping Hindu deities such as Ganesh, and living in fear of spirits, which is considered by Buddhists to be unconscious, and therefore not part of the conscious Buddhist pathway.

      That’s not to say some Thais don’t follow Buddhist precepts, but it really is a complex, rather “Thainess” version of Buddhism that the average Thai adheres to.

      Moreover, culture has a tendency to override/reinterpret religion. For example, I doubt Jesus would agree with carrying a gun, yet more than a third of “Christian” American households own a gun.

      I think what one must realise when living in Thailand, and especially when marrying a Thai person, is that this is a classist society. While it adopts a capitalist monetary system, Thailand is very much still a feudal system, ruled by an aristocracy and elite class. People are judged on wealth, status, family descent, education, region of birth, etc. Society is generally organised based on these things. And this is therefore reflected and demonstrated through engagements, weddings and even funerals.

      Of course, not every Thai lives by these ideals, and many aren’t interested in Sin Sod, saving/showing face, elevating status, etc. I have a Thai friend who married a foreigner and wasn’t the slightest bit interested in having a sin sod. But by and large society still works this way, which is why when Thais meet each other they first establish of what social class a person is, because that will dictate the interaction and relationship going forward – in terms of how address one another and even whether or not they will establish a friendship.

      This is why I always encourage people to read up on Thai history and culture. Because by understanding the history you are able to better understand how Thai society works. And it also means you won’t find yourself misunderstanding and getting angry by sin sod, when for a Thai, this is just a normal part of a wedding ceremony.

  20. John Sweden says

    The more i read about the subject the more i realize that there are no certain and absolute truth about the sin sod.
    One thing i know from experience is that the thais tend to bend the reality, in this case the traditions to gain their own needs.
    Me and my GF lives in Sweden since 3years and had a very turbulent first year. One subject that came up and kept coming up the first two months was the sin sods be or not to be. My opinion has always been BIG NO TO SIN SOD. It´s buried so deep within my mentality that i would rather stab myself then lower my values down to the show off for neighbors/saving family face level. No i don´t respect the thai tradition in this case. Just because it´s a tradition doesn´t means it´s a good one! Keep in mind that we do live in Sweden and intend to do that until we retire or for the rest of our lives.
    As a matter of fact i don´t want to get married at all. Why marry when it´s just a show off and an un holy alliance that in reality doesn´t mean much.
    I might change my mind about the marriage thing in the future but today it´s not among the priorities in our life. If we get kids things might change…
    Intresting thing is that my GF has adopted most of my opinions now. I think that one big reason is that she is no longer living in Thailand. She can nowadays think for herself, analyze and speak her opinion with her own words (in 3 languages) without “losing face” if someone has better arguments or if she realizes that she was wrong.
    Back to sin sod.
    We live in Sweden.
    My GF has a university degree and had a good job when we met.
    It is my money. Means exactly that. It is my money!
    Her family is from the north.
    They do not need our support.
    I have made it clear that i will support the day it´s needed, if she´s not working and making money by herself by then.
    If we build or invest anything in Thailand it will be her property if we brake up.
    She will get the benefits of the swedish welfare system, and that´s worth much more then a sin sod.
    As a matter of fact she´s studying right now in Sweden and the school costs me 100€ / year – Allmost for free.

    This is our life.
    Her family is ok with everything. As a matter of fact they often support me when we disagree in a subject.

    From a faring point of view a marriage with a thai is often a lose or lose situation. I am now talking about the poor or the lower middle class citizens.
    Adding a sin sod to this is a scam unless it is not made very clear that you won´t be asked to finance the familys life in the future.
    Reality is that you will be emotionally blackmailed the day someone gets sick and there´s no money to pay the hospital bill.
    Either way, you lose!
    This is strictly from an economic point of view.

  21. Trent says

    First off, thanks for a wonderful informative site. I read through each and every comment and realized many people here know a little of quite a bit about Thai cultures. Even though you base you findings on a few Thai natives, the comments fulfill many questions. Some are biased and some are subjective but overall, it’s nice to hear from all angles.

    My situation : I dated a Thai girl now, on and off for about 5 years in Canada. She is a permanent resident but not a Citizen yet. Lately, we lived together for about a year. She completed her Master’s on-line from a Bangkok University last week and did it on her own. She paid for it. Her parents, (farmers from Sisaket), are extremely proud of her and she’s been sending monies home for 7 years allowing the parents to accumulate over 60 rai’s of land and although she continues to send money every month to support the family.

    Never did the issue of Sin Sod come up during us being together other than recently when we got more serious and she decided that there was no future together since she had heard my opinion of Sin Sods. I didn’t know much about it and because she always told me we would marry in Canada and never have to worry about it unless we married in Thailand.

    Suddenly things have changed. Guess her mum, aunts and relatives are curious to know more about me and intentions. Of course this had caused more pressure on her and she now made a decision that I need to show face to her parents. Show them that I can support her.

    She told me her mum doesn’t care about Sin Sod or “show” but what was important was that if I visited her village, would be best to stay at a hotel apart and her mum advised it would be best to come visit as a “friend” so I wouldn’t be considered as a “Kee noch or Keniiow”. I found that offensive but she had explained the mum and family were protecting my identity as I am not these things. Hmmm… ???

    So now, when the conversation arose, she told me that although her mum doesn’t want Sin Sod, what she does expect is to show that I can support her daughter/family by buying land, (about 5 to 10 Rai), and build a small house in of course “her name”. I asked about 1 Rai and she said they don’t sell in those samller amounts and buying more would show that should anything occur between us, (split-up), then she would be taken care of with the farming of that land. She told me the reason Thai’s do this is because so many men go to Thailand and since there are so many women there, they run the risk of losing their man. Well, hmm ok,, all fine but isn’t that more expensive than a Sin Sod ? I researched the price of land in that region and it varies greatly. She even said we didn’t have to marry and that alone would show “face”. Isn’t getting married better so I can hire Siam Law firm and get some protection through a pre-nup ?

    I of course, well educated with a double masters myself and want anyone’s opinion of this type of agreement. Is it too much, fair , better etc ? I assume this would cost me about $500,000 bht. I of course questioned what if she left me afterwards and what commitment do I have from her and she got a little insulted and said, her family and her would are not the type to “screw” anyone and she’s brought up to marry only once and for life. She said this would be the place we can retire later on.

    Remember, I’ve know my gf for 5 years and helped her lots when we first met but of course I was never serious with her. To be honest, I was a playboy and since I have fallen in love. But love is blind and I don’t want to be a statistic as I’ve read about in all blogs.

    What’s your opinion as I know you are familiar with the Isan regions as well and you’re gf is from there too.

    Any opinion from knowledgeable people would be appreciated. Yes, I am nervous about this as I also do know how “quickly” Thais women can change and become real cold. I don’t meant o generalize but let’s be realistic. Security is important to Thai people.

    Thanks so much ! Really looking forward to constructive comments.

    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi Trent,

      marriage in Thailand reflects the wealth and success of the bride and groom, and having lived in Canada and being a Master’s Graduate, this will be expected (by the extended family and locals) to be reflected in her ceremony.

      Whether foreigners like it or not, from the poorest to the richest families in Thailand, Sin Sod is a cultural aspect of the Thai wedding.

      From what you have said – it sounds like her parents don’t need the money, what with the land they have amassed and the money sent home by their daughter over the years. So surely you can just show an amount that reflects their daughter’s status and get it back afterwards?

      I know of poor, uneducated Thais who’ve had 200-300,000 Baht sin sod. For an educated girl marrying a foreigner, such an amount would be an insult to her family. In Thai culture, like the majority of other Asian countries and many Mediterranean Arab countries, you don’t marry down; you marry equal or up.

      Think of it this way: Imagine the whole village gossiping that their daughter’s wedding was akin to that of a local, poor, uneducated girl who’d sold her body in Pattaya and married a foreign man twice her age. That would be a huge loss of face for them; something they’d struggle to live with in a small-minded community.

      In their minds, if you want to marry their daughter, you must demonstrate that you are capable of taking care of her, that you are equal or greater status and a suitable match for their daughter. This must also be demonstrated to the rest of the family and the locals through sin sod, and as your GF has stated, acquisition of land or a building of a house.

      Regarding building the house, however, this would have been something in your GF’s mind for many years. My best Thai friend (girl) is single, yet she has built her parents a new home and plans to live there later in life. This has been a dream for her since she started her own business.

      One way many girls realise this dream is to marry a foreigner, and it has become somewhat of an expectation that the foreigner will move in to the area and build a big house. But this isn’t solely an expectation for foreigners. Any successful Thai woman marrying a Thai man would already have the intention of buying land and building a house in her home town.

      Even though you are probably, and rightly, thinking this is all so materialistic, consider that the expectation on Thai daughters from poorer families is huge. Sadly, many parents pressure their daughters into sending home more and more money, using the fact that “we brought you up and made a sacrifice” as a ongoing excuse to push the daughter to provide for her parents and elevate the status of the family within the community. Even sadder is that usually this money is mismanaged and squandered.

      Of course, this pressure and cultural expectation leads to many women marrying for money rather than love, as the respect for and demands of one’s family come before your own happiness.

      My wife was born in Isan, but luckily for me her attitude is very different. She can’t stand the whole “caring what everyone else thinks” and small-minded mentality of country people. This may be because she left the area in her teens to attend University and then work in Bangkok.

      She has some land in her hometown already, but we don’t want to live there so we won’t be building a house. We can stay in her mum’s house or a hotel when we visit. Land is a good investment where her mum lives because they are near the main road and opposite a Tesco, etc, but I’d rather invest in the UK where my daughter will most likely attend school.

      I am aware that some villagers probably gossip and say, why hasn’t that farang built a huge house and a 4×4, and why doesn’t he support her extended family and buy the neighbours whisky? But I/we don’t care. This is not a life I’d choose. I’m not anywhere near retired and have no intention of ever living in an Isan community where I have nothing in common with the people. It’s not in my nature to spend money to impress people and make fake friends – neither do I want my daughter around a mentality where the value of a person is equated by how much money they have. As a young family, we are happy living in a vibrant city like BKK or London.

      My advice is don’t do anything you aren’t comfortable with. You can’t buy land in your name. So it won’t be yours – unless your wife leases it to you for 30 years or you set up a company = hassle.

      Show what her parents want for the Sin Sod and agree that it will be given back. If they are short on cash, agree a “gift” to be given that you can comfortably afford to give.

      Also, your wife (future) must consider your culture too. Marriage is a compromise, and there must be a balance. For example, if you do the sin sod then she must accept that you don’t want to buy land. Moreover, if they want to save face, why can’t her parents just say you bought them some of that 60 rai they have already? Or why can’t they just say you’ve given them x amount of money? I mean, if it’s all for show, just tell the villagers what they want to hear, right?

      If your wife wants to build a house there; once you’re married, she can save up and do that down the line. Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say. There’s no rush. Set your own pace and don’t do anything that deep down in your stomach just doesn’t feel right.

      If she loves you, she’ll respect your position and come to a agreement that is fair.

    • Trent says

      Wow Chris, thanks so much for all your input. I would just like to mention a few things you wrote about.

      She does live in Canada but her masters is from a Thai University she completed on-line. Don’t think that makes a difference to them anyhow as they regard it as she’s educated.

      Her parents apparently are not asking for money as they say they don’t care about the “show” or sin sod. So they prefer I show them that I can take care of their daughter and buying land and building a house means more to them to save face as the villagers will see that I am not a Keenoch. Therefore showing the money and getting it back doesn’t seem to be an option for them.

      My gf wants me to visit her village so I can see how they live. Basically, they keep asking her for $ cause the farms keep flooding. What my gf did tell me yesterday was that she’s more interested in helping her mum as her first priority with upgrading or building them a new home. She didn’t say I had to help but who knows what the intentions are.

      You’re absolutely right about showing her parents that I am capable of taking care of her. That’s what the land and house is for. I don’t have to build the house right away but at least offer to buy land in her name. You may be absolutely right that building a house was in her mind from the beginning. What I find hard to understand is why has she never, in 5 years, when I had helped her out with support and free living accommodations, was not ever clearly mentioned. It was always about her doing it on her own as she has always been very independent.

      In the past when Sin Sod was discussed she always told me she didn’t agree with it and that she would just get married in Canada and she was tired of sending money to the parents. Her parents do not waste money in any way. They’ve successfully invested their daughters money wisely.

      As for marrying a foreigner and building a big house, she always did say that was not her intentions. She’s happy with a very small home on her land.

      It’s really scary when you mention that unfortunately these women marry for money rather than love since she had always loved me greatly. It was just in the past few months that all these expectations came into play.

      The problem in marrying for money rather than love is she, now being Americanized, can leave me for anyone else at any time if she married for money rather than love. This isn’t putting much trust but I had this same conversation and she said that the Thai women marry just once and for life. Uhuh, right. I’ve seen differently. She may have been referring to her upbringing. Recently her aunt wrote me and found out I was her bf and is now saying that the minimum amount expected to give to her parents would be $2 million Baht. My gf laughed at it and said was none of her business.

      I like what you said about it’s not your intention to spend money to impress people and make fake friends. Apparently, he family isn’t like that either as she tells me. But then again, why the pressure to buy land and build a home??

      I would probably prefer you suggestion to “show” the villagers the money and agree to take it back and gift what I can afford or what I presume is sufficient but what would that amount be ? Obviously, from your note 2 to 300,000.00 baht would be an insult but if I bought the land first, say 5 to 10 rai that would cost around 10 to 15k u.s.

      I can’t answer why the parents don’t tell the villagers that I was part of the acquisitions to help buy the 60 rai. After all, if she wasn’t living rent free with me, she wouldn’t be able to send that money home. She only made around $16 to 25k here in Canada.

      She does want me to visit first to see if I would even like her village to live later on.

      You summed it up well when you mentioned that “if” she does love me, she’ll respect my position and come to an agreement that is fair”. I can tell you that things have changed rapidly in the last 4 to 5 months and then the pressure and demands came about.

      Thanks so much again for all your advice. You are pretty much on the ball with their thinking and are absolutely correct on what I read and how they feel. The question now becomes, how sincere is she and thinking I’ve known her well for so long I find it amazing how quickly things can change.

      Did I mention she also said that if I bought the land we really didn’t have to get married right away. That blew me away cause I told her don’t you want to get married and she said it’s every girl’s dream and of course but doesn’t want to pressure me.. lol

      Thanks !!!

      • TheThailandLife says

        It seems pretty clear that the parents and family are piling on the pressure. As you said, previously she was living her life independently and free of the small-minded village mentality of showing off one’s wealth. She has also said that she is tired of sending her parents money; another indication that she has been under pressure to do so.

        Unfortunately, this is the case for so many Thai women, particularly from the Northeast where the culture puts terrific pressure on daughters to provide for their parents – at any cost.

        You are experiencing a contradiction of the way she was previously and the things she is saying now, all of which relate to the pressure the family are piling on.

        I can guarantee you they are saying things like; “Another girl we know married a foreigner and he bought X,Y,Z”. “Your boyfriend has to understand our culture”.

        All this is of course self-serving, and the fact that your GF is in a genuine, loving relationship is secondary in importance to the prospect of becoming wealthier.

        Sit down with your GF and work out what the minimum is you two have to do to get her parents off her back and for you to move forward and have a great life together. My advice is not to move to her home town, if you want to be happy, that is :)

        All the best.

  22. Richy says

    Hi guys

    Could some1 pls tell me the exact process for marrying a thai girl. Do I have to go to Thailand first, sign papers then do the same here in the uk? I’m so confused! My lady is here in the uk on a holiday visa at the moment but are having issues about what to do next!

    Many thanks

  23. says

    i know nothing, all i want to do is marry a Thia girl who is here on a student visa, she has a daughter that’s abandon if Thailand and is looking for a man to marry to stay in Australia. to be honest she is hard working and very affection to wards me, i suspect she could be using a smoke screen so.. ill run my own way round the relationship and see how she fairs after a few months, if i see she is genuine and true full and helps me get to where i wanna be in life i am more then happy to fork out cash on her family etc call it what ya will… but i am the boss and she will serve me and my family like her own including any children we may have. end of the day if i am the head of this elephant she better look after my trunk!

  24. Ekachai says

    Sin sod has always been part of our culture. You should do proper research on thai culture before you marry a thai woman. I am thai so is my wife, we both from bangkok and married after university 10 year ago. I paid 1m baht sin sod but many of my friends pay more. It depends on what the family want and also whether you get it back or it’s kept in a fund for you future or your children future or for your wife in case you leave her. Sin sod is not buying a wife it represent family’s status and status of the woman. It also is known as mother’s milk in poorer families to return some money for the mum and dad for using all their money to educate and raise their daughter.

    There are many aspects to this history which the article is good to point out. Don’t judge thailand and get angry because of our tradition. If you don’t like it why marry with thai? Thank you. Ekachai.

    • TheThailandLife says

      Thank you for sharing your story Ekachai. It’s great to get a cultural overview from a native Thai person’s perspective. Hopefully this should put an end to the misguided speculation from “us foreigners” :)

  25. Winfred says

    Can I simply say what a relief to discover an individual who truly knows what they are talking about on when it comes to Sin Sod.
    More and more people need to read this instead of the BS you find on ThaiVisa
    Keep up the good work representing the REAL Thailand!

  26. TheThailandLife says

    It’s just that gold from say Hong Kong is mostly 99.9%. If I could get that would it be acceptable in Thailand for Thong Mum?

    Yes, I’m sure that will be fine. 99% is better than 96.5% :)

  27. Novak says

    My girlfriend has suggested that I pay an amount not less than 400,000 baht when we get engaged. From what I have read so far Thais generally don’t get engaged so I find this confusing. The lump sum I interpret as the sin sod which I believed to be part of the wedding. Am I right to be concerned?

    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi Novak,

      The Thai engagement ceremony is called Thong Mum, which literally translates as “gold giving”. The ceremony is attended by the bride and groom’s parents and some close family and friends. It is not necessary to give money.

      Not all Thais have this engagement ceremony anymore; my wife and I didn’t have one.

      Sin Sod is not presented on this day, however, as the name of this engagement ceremony suggests, gold has historically been given by the groom to the bride.

      In the modern day, all sorts of gifts exchange hands. I know of one rich Thai guy from the south who got engaged to a well-to-do girl from Kalasin and gave her a car and bought her a condo. Excessive, perhaps, but gifts on these occasions are relative to wealth in Thailand.

      My advice would be to give gold as a gift, as this is the best way to appropriate the tradition. Bear in mind, however, that it must be an even number of baht (a baht is the unit of measure for Thai gold. One baht = 1/2 troy ounce). You may choose to give this in the form of a necklace or bracelet.

      Hope this helps.

      • Ben says

        An even number of baht? As in 2, 4, 10, 100 and not 17, 19, or 3? I guess this is just a good omen or a sign of good luck (or perhaps an odd number is just bad luck).

        Does anyone know where to get the appropriate form of gold (Thai gold, I assume) in the US? Is it substantially more expensive here?

        Many Thanks

        • TheThailandLife says

          I am told it’s a luck thing, but haven’t been able to clarify this with any reliable historic reference (yet). Generally necklaces and bracelets tend to come in 1, 2, 3, Baht anyway.

          You can buy 23 Carat gold in most parts of the world. The price difference would depend on the exchange rate.

        • TheThailandLife says

          Yes, it would need to be Thai gold because Gold from Europe tends to be of lesser purity. Thai gold is 96.5 percent (or 23 carat).

          • Novak says

            It’s just that gold from say Hong Kong is mostly 99.9%. If I could get that would it be acceptable in Thailand for Thong Mum?

  28. Matthias says

    I am an interesting case. I have been with my girl for almost 5 years and we studied in Thailand together. I’m 26 and she’s 22.

    My gf received 10K from her mother each month. She paid about 6K for our apartment and I paid for food and household stuff (so anywhere from 6K-10K) per month.

    Now we live in BKK and both work. We go halfies for the apartment bill and I pay for dinner.

    Her whole family all date foreigners and none of them like Thai guys for various reasons. I don’t know what the previous dowry’s for her family were and I will let you know in my following post after reading this. I haven’t asked my gf about this at all but now after reading this I’d really love to know. But there’s at least 5 of us dating/married into my gf’s mother’s side alone. Those couples mostly live together and have normal lives together – her family really are just normal.

    I don’t really expect to pay anything as my gf’s mother just got married to a British doctor. I will just promise to take care of my gf’s mother if for some reason in the future she can’t support herself. I’ll probably put anything on the table for sin sod, but I’ll want it all back and I’ll pay for the wedding. That’s what I am thinking my offer will be. Anyone have any further suggestions ?

    Oh and my gf studied in an international program with me, she could easily work or even study again in my country as I am guessing her IELTS score would be at the least 6.5 although possibly even 7 to 8.5 – my gf only has gaps in ADVANCED English vocabulary. (I teach IELTS now so I am quite certain about this) I will probably have to take care of getting her to my country too.

    You old farts should honestly just come here as a sex tourist for sex, if that is what you are looking for. Don’t put sex and love together. If you really are looking for love, be patient, be quick to say no to things, don’t give in. Let her know you’ll take care of her without putting money out there. Don’t fall in love and prepare to look for a new girl, the chase is so much fun I in fact miss it so much. I am young and so many girls look at me. If you are young here, then never stick with one girl, trust me, you’ll find the next one only a few moments later.

    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi Mattias, thanks for posting your story.

      Not sure if you’re trolling here, but straight off the bat I’ll tell you that we’re not all “old farts”, and not everyone comes here as a sex tourist. Personally, I’m 35, married with a child, and have lived here for 6 years. Even when I’m 65, I doubt I’ll consider myself an old fart – life is to be lived, no matter your age.

      If your GFs family is well off, then I’m sure they won’t ask to keep the Sin Sod, although, if they are of good standing then perhaps you’ll be asked to “show” a reasonable amount.

      I wouldn’t rush in, though. It sounds to me like you aren’t quite ready for marriage. I quote your last few sentences; “Don’t fall in love and prepare to look for a new girl, the chase is so much fun I in fact miss it so much. I am young and so many girls look at me. If you are young here, then never stick with one girl, trust me, you’ll find the next one only a few moments later.”

      This feeling that you are too young and stopping yourself from exploiting these opportunities with all these girls that look at you will only grow stronger once you are married, no?

      Best of luck. Let us know what happens.

      • Matthias says

        Yes not everyone here is an old fart, but I’m just talking about the old ones, I usually see the older guys giving money to Thai girls more so than younger Farang. But this point definitely really does go out to everyone.

        Don’t confuse sex and love. If you want your gf to give you sex, but she doesn’t give it to you and asks then money, then you must separate ‘love’ and ‘lust’ and just break up with her. Some people just try so hard to hold on….. with a few bank notes to assist that.

        If you want sex here, then be a sex tourist until you do find someone you love and everything is okay.
        Of course nobody wants to be labelled a sex tourist, it’s rude, but it’s technically true to be realistic here.

        Okay here’s what happened in her family:
        1. My gf’s mother’s first husband. 50K [early 1990’s so who even knows how much that is in today’s money]
        1. My gf’s mother got married and the husband didn’t pay anything.. and he’s a British doctor.. however my gf’s grandparents have deceased anyway. [2014]
        2. My gf’s mother’s sister got married for a 100K sin sod (Japanese man) [about 7 years ago] – 1st Marriage
        3. My gf’s cousin got married for a 1 Million sin sod (Japanese man) [2 years ago] – 2nd Marriage!!

        My gf said I would have to ask the mother one day 😀

        Yeah I don’t plan on getting married till I’m 30 anyway!

        I think I would like to pursue to new girl ; but only for the sex. My gf is perfect though, I don’t think I could find anyone better than her, so I must stick with her.

    • Ben says

      I’m also not an old fart, in fact our stories are quite similar. I’m 26 and my girlfriend is 23. We also met through studying together in an international program. I’m interested to know what your girlfriend expects and what her family has received recently. I personally would like to pay something reasonable as a show of respect to the parents, which I think my girlfriend would also very much appreciate. For me, though, it’s just a matter of what I can afford.

    • Dave says

      Hi Matthias,
      I hope you are still enjoying your youth and finding a girl around every corner. Just remember it is that attitude which led to many men becoming the ” old farts” you mention.


      (old fart 61 wife 48 living between UK and Thailand)

  29. Ben says

    I just want to provide a little bit of a counterpoint to this article, which seems to suggest that a few hundred thousand baht is the upper end of what sin sod might be. The other comments might already do this, but I unfortunately didn’t have time to read through them all.

    My Thai girlfriend’s aunt got married within the past couple years
    (to a Thai man) and sin sod was about 1 million baht cash as well as what I believe was a similar value of gold and a diamond ring (for a total value of around 2 million baht). I asked for confirmation of the amount of gold, and I’ll post again here if I remember once I find out. Her aunt has a master’s degree and was never married before. I’m not sure how old she was at the time.

    Unfortunately for me, this has set somewhat of a precedent, at least in my girlfriend’s mind.

    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi Ben, I’m pretty sure I didn’t say that was the upper end; it most certainly isn’t. One of my key points was that a large number of foreigners are misguided in their perception of how much Sin Sod Thais pay. Many foreigners believe Sin Sod is some invented tradition to rip off the “farang”, when in truth foreigners get away, in most cases, with paying far less than Thai guys.

      Of course, in the case of poorer families, 100,000-200,000 is normal. But in the middle and upper classes, 1M Baht is quite common. And then there’s the gold, as you pointed out.

      If a woman is unmarried, educated to university level or beyond (good job or own business), and has no children, it’s unlikely a Thai Sin Sod will be less than 1 Million Baht in the current climate.

      Of course, it’s up to the individuals and families involved to decide what’s appropriate. It really does vary from situation to situation, though, with some women, like a good friend of mine, not wanting Sin Sod to be a part of the wedding at all.

  30. Paul says

    Hi looking for a little advice
    I am planning to marry my Thai girlfriend legally but I have been married before in the UK to a British Citizen.
    My divorce will be granted in the next few weeks even though we have been separated for a number of years.
    However I have read somewhere that the Thai law states that if a person has been married before there has to be 310 days from the divorce date before you can re marry?
    Does anyone know is this true and is it just for Thais marrying in or is it for westerners marrying Thais ?
    Look forward to your response

  31. Jason says

    Hi. I have a Thai girlfriend for about a year now. Her family have found out about the relationship and have since been trying to marry her off to a rich Thai man. She is well educated, financially very secure and well known Thai family name. They have requested I show 30 million baht Sin Sod or they will not allow it to happen, which of course I do not have. She has fought with her family and does not have contact with them anymore because they will not accept me. We are both late thirties. Do you think there is any way I can get her family to accept me without being able to afford the Sin Sod?

    • TheThailandLife says

      I am sure they have set the price that high in the hope the problem (you, unfortunately) goes away. Many elite Thais, as with high society families in many countries around the world, do not want their bloodline diluted by foreign blood, and don’t want to have to go through the loss of face that comes with letting ones daughter marry a foreigner who isn’t super rich as they are.

      If your GF has already cut contact then she will probably lose her inheritance and all respect from her extended family and other families she grew up around. Disrespecting your parents, even when they are clearly wrong and unreasonable, is a big no-no in Thai culture.

      If I were you, and her parents speak English; I’d go to visit them and try to lean on their conscience and ethical side, if they have one. Explain that money cannot buy happiness, and their daughter’s happiness should be their priority as it is yours. Although be prepared for them to say that they don’t want her marrying a foreigner, period, and that you don’t understand Thai culture.

      All said and done, considering Thai women of 25 are considered old not to be married, you’d think they’d be pleased that at nearly 40 she has finally found someone she loves and wants to marry.

  32. James says

    Hi, a good article you wrote. I think if men meet Thai women outside Pattaya, Phuket, and Nana the women are nearly certainly less money grubbing and shysterish, in regards to the sin sod. But, I have a sin sod issue. How does everything change if the man is taking the woman to the West from Thailand (or 3rd world to 1st, as some may say). If they marry and move to say America, UK, Australia, wherever the woman will get better access to health care, higher paying jobs, safer neighborhoods (arguably), better higher education opportunities for the kids, etc. Would it be selfish for the man to say, “you moving out West IS a sin sod?” I believe if they live in Thailand your article is spot on though. Thanks!

    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi James,

      That wouldn’t be a substitute for Sin Sod because the basis of the tradition is to repay the mother/parents for the investment in their daughter (the mother’s milk). Historically it was considered that when a girl married an able working member was taken out of the family, so essentially the sin sod is a financial replacement. It has also served as a form of financial protection for the bride, should her husband leave her and not contribute to looking after his offspring, as there is no child maintenance law enforced in Thailand.

      Of course the tradition is in some disarray, with many families choosing to squander the money on the biggest house they can buy to show off to friends, or worse, drinking, gambling and partying the money away. Many families succumb to the begging hands of relative who want to “borrow” from the windfall. Sadly these are the problems that arise when a poor family suddenly come into a large lump sum of money – they don’t know how to handle it.

      An already well-off family will usually give the money back, invest it for the daughter and leave it in inheritance or perhaps build the newly weds a house.

      I understand where you are coming from, but sin sod is shown at the wedding. There are a number of meanings attached to its presense, as you will have read in the post. You can’t say, “Oh, I’ll be paying for us to live in the US, so I’m not paying sin sod”.

      Also consider that Thailand has very good schools in the private sector, and extremely good hospitals. If you have the money, one’s life in Thailand can be of far higher quality than in the US or UK.

      Moreover, marrying someone’s daughter, you’ll be expected to provide the best life for her you can. So if this means going abroad then as the husband that’s what you must do. This isn’t exclusive to Thailand; this is the case if you marry into most cultures, particularly Asian. We can’t say, “Oh, she’d have had a rubbish life without me. I’m doing her a favour, so I shouldn’t haven’t to pay sin sod”. We marry out of love not pity or charity, right?

      Sin sod (sin sot) is a very specific tradition, heavily engrained in Thai culture and deeply misunderstood by foreigners. One reason is that it’s multi-dimensional; it represents many things – most of which aren’t discussed. It reflects on the bride, the groom and the family. It has also taken on a different face in the modern era, which has contributed to misunderstanding. However, for Thai people it remains clear because they grow up with this aspect of their culture from a young age. From the upper echelons of society down to rural farming families, sin sod is still very much a part of a wedding ceremony. Of course some place more importance on it than others, some don’t see its relevance, and some abuse the opportunity, but it cannot be offset or replaced by any other financial (future) incentive.

  33. fred says

    Thai girls only look out for themselves and their families… everyone else, including any stupid husband or boyfriend comes last and is usually only there to support her dumb family and herself.

    Any Thai girl who is looking to exclusively marry a foreigner is only doing so because she wants money and a better life for her family and herself at your expense.

    • TheThailandLife says


      What about a Thai woman who marries a foreigner because she has feelings for him?
      What about a Thai woman who could marry a Thai guy and be better off but chooses a foreigner?
      What about a Thai woman who didn’t search for a foreigner, and doesn’t hold a preference for foreigners, but was pursued by one who didn’t give up despite her numerous rejections?
      What about a Thai woman who refuses to conform to cultural and societal expectations and goes out into the world to express her individuality, and finds that the type of partner who will enable her to be a free-thinking, independent woman of the world is a foreigner?

      In my friendship circle I know of all these examples.

      I’m guessing you’ve been hurt Fred?

  34. Paul says

    Hi. Fred
    Nice start and introduction!
    Just a couple of questions as you seem to be an expert in a one line statement.
    1/ do you live in Thailand ?
    2/ have you ever been married to Thai or to anyone for that matter?
    3/ have you ever payed for Sex?
    4/ could you please advise the best country to find a woman to marry that won’t cost anything and that the woman will be truthful and faithful ?
    As you are the expert on Thai woman and anyone marrying them I look forward to reading your answers.
    In my opinion you get good and bad people in any country in any Race and no matter if you pay for Sex or for marriage or find true love it all costs you money in the long run.
    The difference is the smart people identify the scammers and stay away from them.
    Yes there are some Thai girls that play games and use you for money but I also see many western men play games with Thai people and pull on their heart strings.
    Obviously a girl of 18 with a man of 60 is probably not with him for the right reason but if it makes him happy what is the harm in it.
    Usually the only fools are not the ones that marry Thais they are the ones that come on holiday looking for love without doing the research or the people that think they can win a Thai girl over because they think she may have little education or the people that make one line comments on websites without explaining their reasons

    • TheThailandLife says

      Yes there are some Thai girls that play games and use you for money but I also see many western men play games with Thai people and pull on their heart strings.

      This is very true and something seldom mentioned. I have witnessed a lot of foreign guys play cruelly with the hearts and good nature of Thai women, which is something seldom mentioned. The focus is always on the Thai woman that burned the foreign guy.

  35. Andrew says

    Lots of understandable arguments guys. I feel however that since Thailand is truly in need of change and reform, it is legitimate to question and even express some constructive criticism towards what the above refers to as ‘culture’. If there was perhaps less fixation on this so-called ‘culture’ the world and Thailand might well be a more peaceful place. Thailand is on the brink of civil war and this has to do with their fixation on the values of ‘culture’. Best regards, Andy

    • Lloyd says

      Andrew, your are obviously nowhere near Thailand and have probably been watching or reading far to much foreign media with such a ridiculous statement as “Thailand is on the brink of civil war “, a little too much sensationalism I would think!

      The truth in Thailand is pretty much as normal and outside of a handful of people standing around a few intersections in Bangkok life and culture in Thailand is far and wide peaceful and well balanced.

      If everyone was to remove the cultural aspects from their lives life would become mundane and somewhat “westernised” where most weddings are more about matching colours and hens nights than a meaningful celebration of commitment.

  36. Mitchell A. says

    Reading through this post I felt the urge to share my story so that there is a more recent account of marriage in Thailand as a farang(this post was started in 2011 and it is now 2014 haha.) First of all I want to point out that weddings nowadays are averaging more than 20,000 US$ and if you factor in the cost of living/prices in Thailand the marriage ceremony itself should only be about $5-7,000. Add in a nice week long honeymoon trip to the southern beaches staying at a 4* hotel and thats another 2-3k. So right off the bat you are already -10,000$ compared to a marriage in the US. That 10,000$ is roughly equal to just over 320,000 baht at today’s exchange rate so that right there is a respectable sin sod for an average Thai groom to an educated woman who is from a good family. Now, that is just in the case of a wedding based on the average price of a wedding back at home (I am assuming that the price of a wedding in UK and Australia and the like are similar to US price ranges.) So if you think of it that way and just as part of the wedding cost it should make foreigners just a little bit happier haha, I know that thinking that way has helped me.
    In my case, since I am getting married in less than two weeks I have been reading every article that I possibly could to determine that the price that I am paying is respectable but not totally insane. To start with, the woman that I am marrying is from a very high class village family which I had no idea of until I met them and they started giving me a tour of their orchards and stores (note the plural on both of those, freaked me out haha,) she has a BA in business from one of the top 3 colleges in Thailand, and has never been married or had kids.
    The marriage ceremony and honeymoon themselves are as I said above, about 7,000$ and 2-3,000$ respectively. Since I wanted to have some semblance to an American wedding even though the ceremony itself is purely traditional Thai, I also proposed with a ring (after discussing with the parents of course which is rather difficult to do when neither of you speak the same language lol) and also bought a 10,000$ wedding ring. As to the question of my sin sod, her parents gave me the whole we don’t need a sin sod line which typically is your invitation to offer up a sum and guess if you were right based on their look so at first I was leaning towards about 300,000 baht because I figured the 10k ring and 10k in cash equaled out to be around 600,000 baht together. But thinking on it further I decided on 400,000 baht to make sure that it would not be an embarrassment just in case the people in the village did not do the mental addition of the ring. I have found in my research that due to the wedding ring being a mainly a western tradition normally in Thai culture it is not seen and therefore outside the normal thought process. And before anyone freaks out on me for that statement that is a direct quote from my future wife’s best friend.
    And finally for the disclaimer haha, I know that I made a lot of generalizations about Thai thought and culture so I want to make clear that this is purely based on my experience this past year with many questions about what both mine and my fiancee’s friends thoughts on the matter were. Also, I am aware that some of the readers may think of me as being ripped off, but I just want to say that I believe that it is all completely worth it to me and that I truly love her. To finish, my experience could be said to be slightly unique in that I did not meet her in Thailand like most others, I met her during high school when she visited for a year as an exchange student and afterwards we corresponded for over 10 years with daily emails, which changed to phone calls and then skype when that was invented lol, and many visits in between before deciding to marry. I really hope that this post is helpful to others that are interested in marrying. :)

    • Guy says

      Hi Mitchell,
      I enjoyed your reasoned and educated essay on sin sod. You seem to really want to understand the Thai culture and be on good terms with your in-laws. You wrote this article prior to getting married. My question is: How did it work out?
      I have met a young lady on line who is a 25 year old nanny, living near Portland, Oregon. She is very cute, university-educated, worked at a bank call center for awhile before taking the 3 month nanny course which got her the job in the US. Her English is very good. She comes from Nong Khai Provence. Her parents are middle class rice and rubber tree farmers. She has one sister who is at the university studying to be a school teacher.
      I am a 69 year old man in good shape, university educated and in the upper 20% of US households in terms of wealth, but certainly not super wealthy. I guess a better way of saying it is that I am comfortable, but not rich. I relate this to you because, even though my GF and I have only known each other about 3 months, we are talking about marriage and I need your help on the issue of sin sod.
      How did things with your inlaws work out? I thought that your reasoning was sound. In US dollars, I assume you paid about $22K total for the sin sod, the wedding costs, and the honeymoon. Then you added about $10k for jewelry, is this correct? Total: about $32K in US dollars.
      I am very interested in how things went as I believe our GF are from the same social-economic class. Do you think that there would be more asked because I am much older?
      My GF and I have briefly talked about the sin sod. Her opening statement was 5m baht, went down to 2m baht without any negotiation. After I caught my breath, I side-stepped the issue by saying that I would probably hire a negotiator to met with the parents for the sin sod talk. After all, I am older than her parents. I don’t want to get off on the wrong foot with them.
      Before reading your article, I was thinking $10K plus jewelry for the sin sod. She, on the other hand, opened with $65K because she was born on Feb. 2. Her mother dreamed, therefore, that 2 M. baht ($65K) would be a good price. Thank god, she wasn’t born on the 10th!
      I hope that I have given you enough information to help me out. I really would like to know how your talk with the parents went. Thank you for your time.
      Guy Moyer

      • Lloyd says

        Why on earth would a

        69 year old man in good shape, university educated and in the upper 20% of US households in terms of wealth

        think that it is a good idea to marry a woman 44 years his junior, let alone someone from a different culture?

        You arguably have around a decade of life left to live, your health and strength will decline as you get older whereas a woman who is now 25 will be entering the prime of her life.

        You need to take a good look at just what sort of life you will be giving the young lady and stop thinking about yourself!

        • Pam says

          Sounds like they are both in it for selfish reasons. The more time I spend around Thai women the less attractive they become. I am female and not looking to marry one, I speak as observing people generally. Recently a farang I know became engaged to a Thai girl from the northeast. She is studying something, is not that bright, not that attractive. When they go anywhere she is always nagging him to go home. She was supposed to finish her studies but got “accidentally pregnant”. Hmm. Money was demanded by the parents, the farang negotiated it down by saying there was a baby coming. I don’t know the exact amount, but he was not happy. He is not that bright either.
          I’m sure there are some genuine Thai women, but most of the ones I’ve met are manipulative and extremely dull to talk to as they know nothing about anything, but they have a certain cunning when it comes to playing men for cash. I’ve seen so many couples – ageing farang with girl in hotpants, saying nothing to each other. I am on the bus or whatever, he speaks to me starved for conversation, she sits there fuming and plotting how to stab me. Another farang I know had a brief thing with a Thai woman, he explained his financial situation and what he could do for her, she demanded more and he ended up locking her in a bathroom in a hotel and running way. Which is not nice, but having seen how possessive Thai women can and how much screaming they can do (another silly farang friend involved with a bar girl), I don’t blame him.
          I really do not see the fascination. As for supporting their family to the end of time – I wouldn’t do it. A friend of mine married a Cambodian and he was always forking over money to the clan and they were not appreciative, they just wanted more (he must have spent upwards of $80,000 paying off the house, creating an income scheme for the parents, the big party, Chinese New Year, scooters, housekeeper, upkeep of the drunken brother’s baby after his wife left him, etc). I know Cambodian/Thai culture is not the same, but there is a similar attachment to face. My friend’s wife was lovely, but the family was a nightmare. He did so much for them and they treated him very disrespectfully, and me also (as his guest). It was an eye-opener.

      • TheThailandLife says

        Your comment is awaiting moderation.

        I agree with Lloyd.

        Have you really thought this through? What, if anything, do you have in common with a girl that could be your granddaughter? Have you considered that this isn’t what she wants, but what her greedy parents want; hoping you won’t see out the next decade, so that your wife (their daughter) can cash in your estate.

        Thing is, if you live another 30 years, the poor girl becomes a maid/home help for you and has her best years taken from her.

        It’s all so transactional, how can you expect to gain any happiness from this arrangement?

  37. Steve G says

    But the biggest question is how can you tell what kind of Thai lady you have met? My lady has a good but not exceptional job, her own house (paying a mortgage I think), has a masters degree and her children are grown (one married the other in final year of Uni). Oh, and she lives not far from a large University City in the Northeast. I want to believe she is genuine and interested in me for who I am not just as a walking ATM (which I would struggle to be in any case). I will obviously continue to chat with her until I am able to get out there and will update this after I have actually been to TL. Reading all these posts, Stickman’s commentary and various other websites has done little to allay my fears, but hope springs eternal they say and I will continue to believe she is really genuine unless proved otherwise. I will not be rushing into anything, but will see what develops.

    And a final word… if she turns out to be everything she seems then I would not let the small matter of a few thousand quid sin sod get in the way! (lets face it 200,000 baht is less than £4k!!! and if you ain’t got that what the hell are you doing thinking of getting married and trying to support a family!)

  38. Steve says

    Hi, and thanks for a very interesting blog. I decided to look on a Thai dating site after some bad experiences with a couple of Brit G/F following my divorce 4 years ago. I have spoken to and Skyped with a Thai lady who is a few years younger than me, but actually older than my previous 2 English g/f. I have booked a flight to Thailand to visit her in 3 months time (to fit with my work holidays).

    Just to contribute to the debate… I was married for over 30 years and in the divorce settlement I gave my ex wife nearly £200,000 in pension funds and 60,000 from the equity in the house. I am thus left with a living income, but by no means wealthy. On retirement I will be no more than comfortable. The concept of a Bride price or sin sod (sic!) is not easy to swallow, but perhaps if I had paid that when I married I would not have subsequently paid out such a significant amount on divorce!!!

    But the biggest question is how can you tell what kind of Thai lady you have met? My lady has a good but not exceptional job, her own house (paying a mortgage I think), has a masters degree and her children are grown (one married the other in final year of Uni). Oh, and she lives not far from a large University City in the Northeast. I want to believe she is genuine and interested in me for who I am not just as a walking ATM (which I would struggle to be in any case). I will obviously continue to chat with her until I am able to get out there and will update this after I have actually been to TL. Reading all these posts, Stickman’s commentary and various other websites has done little to allay my fears, but hope springs eternal they say and I will continue to believe she is really genuine unless proved otherwise. I will not be rushing into anything, but will see what develops.

    And a final word… if she turns out to be everything she seems then I would not let the small matter of a few thousand quid sin sod get in the way! (lets face it 200,000 baht is less than £4k!!! and if you ain’t got that what the hell are you doing thinking of getting married and trying to support a family!)

    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi Steve, just like online dating in any country, in my opinion you need to exercise caution. People can easily lie and say they are someone they aren’t. People can tell you what they think they want you to hear. My advice is to be very careful and play your cards close to your chest. As you would dating in the UK, go slowly and don’t do anything you wouldn’t do in your home country. There are Thai women solely interested in money, and indeed the horror stories are abundant online – particularly on blog like Stickman’s. But there are also genuine women looking for a great guy to settle down with. I would go there and enjoy the holiday, get to know each other with an open mind. But one thing I would say is do your homework on Thai culture. You will need this knowledge going forward if you maintain the relationship. Also consider that culture can differ depending on region. For example, certain customs and traditions you will find in the Northeast (Isaan) region will be quite different to those you find in central Thailand.

      Lastly, you rarely hear about the success stories because rarely do those in happy relationships post on forums and blogs about how happy they are. But for every horror story you read online, rest assured there are 100 success stories.

  39. RK says

    I have been married to a Thai lady for 2 years now. Her parents are dead and she has 2 children from a previous relationship (drunk Thai boy) – I met her 5 years ago, she has never worked down south (no pun intended) she has never been south of Chiang Rai.
    Marriage ceremony at home in a small village – no sin sod. Could not be happier.

  40. jimmy soul says

    Wow….after reading some pretty terrible experiences here I feel like my experience wasnt bad at all. Having lived in Bkk for the last 10 years, I dated all kinds of chicks before meeting my fiance….if I ever felt I was being treated as a walking ATM I dumped em quick…that is probably the best advice I can give anyone on dating Thai women, only date educated women that have a JOB….a verifiable one.

    My fiance and I have been together for 2 years. She is a university educated, former Thai pop star, fluent in English. Her family are cool people and have never asked me for anything. They are not rich, but both parents have government retirement income and some land and 2 homes. My Fiance makes from 70-90k /month working with me.

    I am certainly not a rich guy but I’m not broke either, so I wasnt totally against the idea of sin sot but I didnt really know what to expect either. So just yesterday here is how it went: We went to her parents house to get their blessing….I spoke Thai with them the entire time(not fluent but getting there)…this is a big deal for them, they say the fact that I can communicate with them shows I care about their country and culture. First I spoke, telling them I wanted to be engaged to their daughter, what a fantastic woman she is, our future plans etc. At this point the mother asks questions about my family etc. They basically say they think I’m a good guy and they accept me. At this time I ask them how much do they want for sin sot. Mom says whatever I want to give is fine, but she does ask 5 baht of gold and a ring for the ceremony(buying tommorow!) After talking it over with my girl the night before she says 300k should be fine. Mom says this is fine…..but knowing a little bit about the face thing I offered to show 1 million at the wedding…. 700k will be returned to me directly after the wedding. We then offered a gift to mom and dad and went out for lunch.

    I can say this….have the sin sod conversation with the parents BEFORE you get legally married at the amphoe.

    So I guess I was lucky, I got a great gal…….sorry but if you mess around and wanna marry a scheming bar girl you are asking for trouble.

    • TheThailandLife says

      Thanks for sharing that Jimmy. Your girlfriend used to be a pop star, that’s cool. What was her stage name?

  41. Raymond says

    I think this is useful reading from Stickman:-

    “…be advised even by strangers, who have proved what sufferings await you, and shake your hands of this mad undertaking.”

    The quote above was a warning given to Anna Leonowans before taking a job as a governess at the Siamese court in the mid-19th century. Her book, of course, was the inspiration for “Anna and the King.” Her memoirs should be required reading for every farang who comes to Thailand. The Thais hate her and the book is banned. Do you know why? Because she describes them perfectly.

    Let me say this straight out: If you are a farang, you don’t have to pay sin soht. Let me say this again: If you are a farang, you don’t have to pay sin soht. Do you know why you don’t have to pay? You are not Thai.

    In the past, when a Thai couple got married, the wife’s parents would donate land to the couple, and the sin soht money donated by the groom’s parents was used to build a house or start a household. Or the money was returned to the couple when they had their first baby. It was money to be held in a kind of escrow for the couple. It wasn’t used to support the wife’s parents. And if the wife caused the marriage to break up, the man had every right to get his money/property back. People need to remember that Thailand is a developing country. The notion of throwing around cash as part of sin soht is a fairly new phenomena. Just as in the case of whores, farang pay far too much money for the type of women they are procuring for marriage. Of course, paying something for nothing is always too much when you should be getting it for free. Also, this whole notion of paying a dowry for a Thai woman is something akin to Thais celebrating Halloween or Christmas. Paying a dowry for a woman is a Chinese tradition. It isn’t even Thai. So basically you have a bunch of farang guys running around trying to be Chinese when they think they are being Thai. Pretty fxxxing absurd.

    If your Thai woman is reasonable and understanding (which is usually never) she will neither expect nor will demand sin soht– and neither will her parents. But unfortunately, there are some Thai women, mostly whores and gold diggers, who will take advantage of a farang’s ignorance of Thai culture in order to con them out of some money.

    I asked a Thai female friend of mine about this issue. This is what she said: “Yeah, there are many stupid farang out there. They marry these bad girls who tell that they have to pay sin soht just to get some money out of them. Foreigners don’t have to pay if they don’t want to. They can, but they are not required to. It is really up to them.” I asked her: “Did your dad pay?” She laughed: “He paid, but not much. And he got it back.” I asked: “Do you support your parents?” She laughed and said: “Support my parents? They are both doctors. They have other businesses on the side. They have thousands of rai of land. They still give me money and I still live at home. I have great parents.” I asked: “If you got married, would you expect your husband to financially support your parents in their old age?” She said: “Why you ask these questions? You want to get married?” Laughter. “If anything happened to my parents, I have my own money to take care of them.” Of course, my friend is from the higher echelons of Thai society, but of all the modern, educated Thai women with real jobs that I know, none of them cares about sin soht, and none of them expect farang to pay.

    If a Thai woman ever tells you that you must pay sin soht to her because it is Thai culture, especially if she is a whore, run like the wind. Here is a little piece of advice to farang if they want to save themselves a lot of grief and heartache: Dump any Thai girl who says, “If you don’t give me money, you don’t love me.” Your Thai woman neither loves nor respects you if she expects a cash bonus just for the privilege of being in her presence (or out of her presence in a foreign country or on the internet). Indeed, a farang should never make an important life decision based on a Thai woman crying or throwing a fit. This is a trick that they use to manipulate men. Above all, don’t ever let a Thai girl give you an ultimatum. If she says, “It is me or the highway.” You always take the highway. Thai chicks are master manipulators and guilt trip artists. Once a Thai chick starts to give a farang a song and dance about his Thai cultural (financial) obligations towards her and her parents, he should run and run away fast, because her only purpose is to con him out of some dough. You don’t need to feel guilty or like a cheapskate because you didn’t fall for your future wife’s manipulation. And if you want to pay sin soht to give your in-laws’ face, or to give your wife face, or to look like a big shot in front of your Thai wedding guests, do yourself a favor and forget about it, because nobody will care once the wedding is over. The Buddha taught that nothing is permanent. Whatever goodwill you think you’ve scored by doling out tons of money and gold for your bride won’t last. It won’t earn you love, face, or respect. If she tries to convince you otherwise, that is an illusion your chick has created so that she can look good and feel clever in front of others about the big fish she has just caught. As the Thais say: “Marnya ying lem roi gueen.” (A wise woman has a hundred plows.) The Thai women who ask for sin soht straight out are the honest ones, however. Hey, if they are greedy, it’s better to know up front then after the wedding, right? Though there are some Thai women who are so ingenious that they can get their farang to pay without even having to ask. Usually Thai women will hint around a subject (usually pertaining to money) yet will never come out and directly state what they want. Even though this is a characteristic of most women, Thai women have perfected it into an art form. Thai women can out-Freud Freud in the techniques of reverse psychology. When a Thai chick says, “Don’t give me money,” she means give me a lot of money. When a Thai chick says, “You don’t love me” she wants you to prove your love by giving her money. When a Thai chick says, “I don’t care, go take another girl,” she means don’t fxxk other chicks. When a Thai chick says, “You butterfly man,” she wants you to spend your money only on her. When a Thai chick says, “I don’t like Thai man,” she means she is fxxxing half the motorcycle taxi drivers on the street corner. When a Thai chick calls you “keenio” she wants you to prove that you are not cheap by giving her money. When a Thai chick says, “He only friend,” she is fxxxing her friend every which way. When a Thai chick says, “I love you. I want to marry you,” she means she wants you to send money every month. Thai chicks are so transparent, but most farang have their heads so far up their asses that they can’t see it. If farang want to have power over Thai women, listen to them carefully, acknowledge what they say, but don’t ever react. If you listen to this piece of advice, you’ll have a lot of power.

    There is a big distinction between sin soht and a Thai woman’s obligations to her parents.
    Let me make this point loud and clear so that farang get it: Sin Soht is not meant for the support of the wife’s parents. Let me say this again: SIN SOHT IS NOT INTENDED FOR THE SUPPORT OF THE WIFE’S PARENTS. Any Thai chick who tells you that you are obligated to support her parents because it is Thai culture is making a fool out of you. In Thai culture, katunyu and bun khun are what drive personal relationships. Katunyu means gratitude for one’s parents, teachers, patrons and monks for supporting them in life. Bun Khun is the obligation that a Thai has to her parents, teachers, patrons, etc for supporting her in life. A Thai woman will support her parents because she is katunyu and is paying off her bun khun debt to them; however, she never repays her bun khun to her parents entirely, so no amount of wealth your shower upon your country bumpkin in-laws will ever clear your wife’s debt to them. Get it straight: Your wife’s bun khun is not your responsibility. A farang doesn’t have bun khun or katunyu with his Thai in-laws, especially if his wife is a whore. What do you have to be grateful to your in-laws for? That they raised their daughter to be a whore and a gold digger. Regardless, farang never benefit from this cultural katunyu/bun khun, so they shouldn’t be ruled by it or have to pay for it. And even if you bent over backwards for your Thai in-laws, do you really think they will ever feel a bit of gratitude for all the things that you did for them? I seriously doubt it. I bet the most you will ever get from them is a big, dopey shit-eating grin. If you get satisfaction from giving your in-laws lots of money in exchange for big, dopey shit-eating grins, then by all means, do it. In a way, it makes sense—in freaky farang, Bizarro world. If a farang can give $50-100 to an ugly Thai whore for bad sex, then it makes sense in that world to give her parents ten of thousands of dollars (or euros) for insincere, betel nut stained grins.

    There is a big distinction between Buddhist morality and Thai culture. A Thai woman who cheats and lies to get money to support her family is a bad Buddhist, but supposedly is a good Thai daughter if she does it to fulfill her obligations to her family. Buddhism doesn’t condone prostitution. Buddhism doesn’t condone cheating money out of people. Many Thais, on the other hand, condone both. Have you ever noticed how a Thai woman will always defend her lack of scruples with the lame excuse of supporting her family? To me, that is sick. Would you let your sister become a whore to support your mother? Would you let your daughter become a whore to support you? And why would any man marry a woman who would stoop so low as to become a prostitute in order to support their children? In the West, mothers like this would go to jail and their children would be taken away from them. Further, billions of poor women across the planet neither resort to prostitution nor scam foreigners to take care of their families. So why should Thai women be an exception to the rule? Besides, Thailand is not a poor country. It is only a poorly managed country.

    Not all Thai women scam men for money. In fact, I think the opposite is true. Historically, Thai women have always been an important part of the economy. In comparison to other civilizations, Thai women have had more economic freedom than their sisters in the West and the rest of Asia. The 1950’s American family archetype–the nuclear families with the June Cleaver stay at home moms– never existed in Thailand. Believe it or not, more Thai women get university degrees than Thai men, and Thai women have always been a large part of the labor force. Look around you. Wherever you are in Thailand, women are working. It has always been this way. They work hard and for long hours, making relatively little money. Most Thai women take pride in their work. Normal, well-educated Thai women are responsible about their finances and plan for the future. Don’t let the mentally screwed up, money grubbing Thai chicks convince you otherwise. Further, Thailand is at full employment with a 1-3 % unemployment rate. There is no reasonable excuse for Thai women to become prostitutes or scam men out of money—unless it is out of greed and laziness.

    I don’t think Thai women are the root of the problem when it comes to money issues between them and farang. If there weren’t stupid men out there willing to shell out money for them every time they shook their little asses, they would have no reason to prostitute themselves or to scam men for money in the first place. Whores and the gold diggers would have absolutely no power without your money. Many whoremongers across the globe probably passed out from that last sentence. They will say, “Gee whiz, if I don’t give my whore or Thai girlfriend money, she will stop calling me “hansum man,” she will stop having sex with me, and she will probably not want to marry me.” This is what I call the farang’s paradox: A farang tries to buy his Thai woman’s affection and body with cash payments, gold and sin soht, yet deludes himself into thinking that his Thai girlfriend or bride is in the relationship with him for love, his good looks and charming personality, then after the relationship fails he blames the girl when he finds out she was only after his money. And farang wonder why their relationships with Thai women fail. Maybe it’s because they suffer from cognitive dissonance. If you really want to know what your Thai girlfriend or wife thinks of you, don’t give her any money. That really is the ultimate acid test. Thai woman don’t need your money. They may want your money, but they certainly don’t need it to survive. If Thailand’s sex industry and the farang it caters to disappeared from the face of the Earth tomorrow, it wouldn’t be the end of the world, because those Thai women who sell their bodies and scam men for money would certainly find other things to do with their lives, just like the vast majority of Thai women who don’t prostitute themselves.

    I think that the reason why prostitution is so ubiquitous in Thailand is because Thai women have been using sex and manipulation for centuries in order to get what they want. Thai women really see their sexuality as a powerful tool– and in many cases their only tool. If that tool is going to make them some money or get them some power, so be it. They know that both Thai and farang men will jump through hoops for their pussies. And the evidence for this is quite obvious: Hundreds of thousands of men travel across the globe to Thailand every year just to pay for the privilege of having sex with Thai women; and the Thai pussy market for Thai men is even much more massive than the one for foreigners. So Thai women have been conditioned to think that their pussies are made of gold and that men are willing to give up their sanity and pay any price for that gold. On this note: See Humphrey Bogart’s performance in the movie, “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” Personally, I think Thai women and their pussies are highly over-rated, but what am I going to believe: The marketplace for Thai women or my own lying eyes.

    Has there ever been a national crisis so dire in Thailand that there was mass famine and homelessness? The answer is never. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, prostitution is not a job of last resort for Thai women to survive, but rather it’s a vocation for the lazy, the uneducated, and for those who want non-essential material possessions that they can’t otherwise afford. Those farang who believe that those girls they see working in the red light districts or working the internet scamming farang can’t do anything else to make legitimate money are simply deluded. Thai women who whore around and scam foreigners out of money do so out of choice. Thai women can choose to work for 150 baht a day cleaning toilets, choose to make 1,500 baht a night banging fat farang, or choose to sweet talk chumps jerking off on the internet into sending them free money to pay for their lavish lifestyles. Let’s be honest: Most Thai women who go after farang are not the cream of the crop; actually, they are the bottom of the barrel. And these women are perfectly aware of this fact, which is why they chase gullible farang for a quick, easy buck instead of chasing tuk tuk drivers and security guards without a satang to their names. This type of woman can choose to marry a Thai man who makes no more than 5,000 baht as a farmer or motorcycle taxi or chose to scam 50,000 baht a month from some dumb Brit (or American or Aussie or Canadian) from overseas. If you are the type of guy who thinks it is acceptable to treat women as commodities, I will let you in on a few trade secrets. Anybody can get a hot (and I mean exceptionally hot, not a refugee from the Planet of the Apes from Nana or CM2) Thai girlfriend in Bangkok for 5,000 baht a month, and upcountry it is even less. Anybody can get a fresh girl right off the farm for a lifetime payment of 40,000 baht. These are the prices that Thai men pay. Of course, you’re free to over spend your hard earned money anyway that you wish, but once you willingly hand over your money to a Thai whore or a charlatan, you really have given up your right to complain. I know there are many guys out there who will be screaming at this submission: “But you don’t understand. I was duped.” If you don’t want to be duped, don’t give Thai women any money. It really is a very simple solution. Any guy who makes cash payments the foundation of his relationship with Thai women is really setting himself for disaster. And farang are not doing Thai women any favors by conditioning them to see money and the distorted notion of “take care” as the only cornerstones of a loving and committed relationship. The farang who really are the worst of the lot are the ones who give money to Thai women just for the heck of it. Believe me, there are many morons who do this. I was talking to this girl just the other day at Starbucks. Do you know what she does for a living? She hunts the discos and the internet for men who are willing to take care of her—and she is far from being hot. She doesn’t do anything except give these idiots some song and dance about how poor she is. If you can fork out 150 baht for coffee everyday and 1,500 baht for a wireless internet connection card, you are not living from hand to mouth. Nevertheless, she has morons on the internet sending her money all the time. One guy sent her 20,000 baht a few weeks ago—and they have never even met. It’s unbelievable, yet it happens. It really amazes me that there are some guys who are afraid of using their credit cards online, yet will send money to stupid Thai chicks they met in dodgy chat rooms after a few hours. Then there are the guys who send monthly stipends of up to 60,000 baht a month to Thai chicks for absolutely no reason at all (and these are probably the same assholes who think it is immoral to tip service people who actually work hard for a living). I am starting to think that these farang have a money fetish and sexually get off giving money to Thai women for free. I am serious about this. There should be brothels in Thailand where women just sit around and wait for farang to come in and hand money to them for free. Oh, I forgot, they have that already. It’s called a bar fine.

    Do you guys know what kind of corrupting influence this is having on Thai women? It’s like you are creating a welfare state for them. These chicks think they are entitled to your money just because they send a few sweet words or tears your way. Trust me when I tell you that these Thai chicks are not grateful when you throw money at them; instead, they have become conditioned by this type of moronic behavior and expect more of the same from every idiot farang who crosses their path. Do farang really get that there are hundreds of Thai women working the internet everyday searching for stupid farang who give away their money for free? And the only reason that these women do it is because farang make it possible for them.

    There are two Thailands.

    There is the legitimate Thailand. In legitimate Thailand, Thai women don’t sucker men out of money. This is the Thailand where women don’t see men as ATM machines. This is the Thailand where Thai women don’t con men out of paying sin soht. This is the Thailand where Thai women have their own jobs and businesses and don’t have to rely on men for their financial success and stability. This is the Thailand where the parents of Thai women don’t want their daughters to become prostitutes or marnyaying. This is the Thailand where parents encourage their daughters to get educated and be successful in their own right. This is the Thailand where Thai parents don’t see a farang as a walking ATM machine. This is the Thailand where the Thai parents actually do everything in their power to support their daughter in having a successful life and marriage. This is the Thailand where love is more important to women than money. This Thailand exists, but it won’t be easy to find in the red-light districts of Sukhumvit or Pattaya or on or on

    There is an illegitimate Thailand also. In illegitimate Thailand, Thai women go to bars, work in brothels and massage parlors, and chat on the internet in order to sucker men out of money. That is their job. I know the sex tourist/sexpat conventional wisdom believes that these girls enter the whore rackets in order to meet and marry farang for love. Think again. These Thai women use their sex organs rather than their brain organ to financially succeed in life. This is the Thailand where the daughter has to sell herself in order to pay for her father’s drinking binges and her mother’s gambling debts. This is the Thailand where the women are too lazy or too stupid to do well in school. This is the Thailand where the Thai woman decided to get back at all men, because her father molested her. This is the Thailand where the woman wants a shiny new mobile or a car, but doesn’t have the patience to earn it in her own right or wants to compete with her friends, materialistically. This is the Thailand where the woman goes looking for stupid farang in order to solve all her financial problems. This is the Thailand where a woman goes looking for a farang because she is having an existential crisis and wants to escape Thailand. This is the Thailand where the woman looks for the sugar daddy farang because her real father was a real dick and was never there for her. This is the Thailand where the parents want their daughters to be their 401k plan. This is the Thailand where parents manipulate and guilt trip their daughters into selling their bodies so that they can live high on the hog. This is the Thailand where parents and daughters both see farang (and their sin soht) as winning lottery numbers. This is the Thailand where a Thai woman equates “love” with financial security for her, her parents, her extended family, her mangda, and her water buffalo.

    Unfortunately, many farang get caught up in illegitimate Thailand, thinking all Thai people are just the same, but the fact is Sukhumvit Road, Pattaya, and the creepy internet chat rooms are really the poorest reflections of Thailand. But hey, if you are going to look for a girlfriend or a wife in brothels, right-light districts, and dubious web sites, what do you really expect to get other than lies and deception. If you go looking for love in all the wrong places, you will find it, but ask yourself: at what price.

    Many farang actually think they are adhering to the rules of Thai culture by paying sin soht to a whore. Who convinced them of this bullshit? If you really want to play by the rules of Thai culture, you shouldn’t be paying anything, not one satang, to your whore. Instead, she should be on her hands and knees kissing your feet, thanking you for saving her from a whore’s life. Ask yourself: How much would a Thai man pay for my whore? When you think about this, really consider her black skin, her tattoos, her drug habit, her stretch marks, and her saggy A cups. A whore is spoiled goods, so a Thai man would pay nothing. What Thai man in his right mind would pay sin soht for a prostitute? Not one. If farang really want to play by the Thai rules, then for one, don’t marry whores, and two, don’t pay sin soht to them or their parents. Why do farang think Thai women enter the farang-oriented prostitution game for? Really, think about it. Could it perhaps be for the satisfaction of rubbing the fat bellies and bald heads of ugly, old men with no brains? Perhaps not. The reason they enter that game is because no self-respecting Thai man would touch them with a ten foot poll–except those pimps who are making money off of them. Why would any farang with any dignity and self-respect want to pay for Thai men’s rejects? Essentially, that is what you are getting.

    According to Thai culture, one should not marry beneath his social status. Actually, a Thai woman should bring the man status. She should bring something to the marriage. That is real Thai culture. What does your whore bring to the marriage besides bastard children, a bad nose job, tattoos, stretch marks and venereal diseases? Does your whore bring marketable skills, education, morality, money, a good family, what? She should bring something. She shouldn’t be sponging off you, taking advantage of your stupidity and your desperation. Let’s be honest: A farang man would never give a farang woman tens of thousands of dollars or euros for a dowry. So what is the point in giving it to a Thai woman? Is it to feel like a big shot? Is it really out of love or is there some pay off that you expect from it? If you pay it, is your wife going to fxxk any better, clean any better, cook any better? If you pay it, will she be more kind, more loyal, and more loving if you hadn’t paid it? I think the answer to these questions is no. Farang have a choice: They can either take personal responsibility for their actions or they can write pathetic stories to Stickman about how they were victimized by Thai women. If you don’t want to be a victim, listen to the Beatles: Money can’t buy you love.

    Let me give you a little historical background on the role of women in Thai society.

    In the past, Thais had a very rigid feudal system that I will call Sakdina. Under Sakdina, every free Thai man had a Sakdina number (higher the rank, higher the number) and/or a royal title—Khun, Luang, Chao, Chao Phrya, etc. Since Thai women were considered their husband’s or father’s property, they didn’t have titles—except if they were a member of the royal family (princess) or a wife of a noble (khunying). Back in those days, Thai men had many wives and concubines. Those women were informally ranked according to the rank of their fathers and their mothers. So if a woman was from a high-ranking family, she was a full wife entitled to more status and privileges than the other wives. In a Thai man’s household, all women would be ranked sequentially according to their place on the sakdina totem poll. If the woman was a daughter of a peasant, she would be ranked at the bottom with no power or privilege. Why is this important? It is important because the feudal mentality still exists in Thailand.

    In the good old days, when a Thai man married a woman from a family of high rank, he would benefit from his relationship with his wife’s family, and his wife’s family would gain from the relationship as well. The two families would share wealth, land, skills, and political connections. It was a symbiotic relationship based upon mutual benefit, which was why Thais preferred and still prefer to marry within their own class. In the past, some members of Thai nobility would marry into wealthy Chinese merchant families in order to gain access to capital and in turn the Chinese would get access to the court and receive favorable business concessions. After the coup in 1932, the families of military and police generals would inter-marry to secure political alliances. Today, most noveau-riche Thai-Chinese families inter-marry amongst each other. If you were a part of the Thai elite, you didn’t marry beneath your station. The notion purported by some of Stickman’s readers that men are supposed to raise women up and give them status is not supported by Thai culture. Even today, Thai men don’t go looking for poor women to marry. They would never marry hookers and put them up on a pedestal as first wife. It would never happen. It is the woman who gives the man face and status—not the other way around. Even if you are a multi-millionaire farang and have a hooker for a wife, it won’t matter how much money you or your wife has, the only thing the Thais will notice is that your wife is a hooker. And from that moment on, you will be known as the stupid farang millionaire who married an ugly hooker. That will be your identity.

    During feudal times, if a man married a woman of a higher class than himself, he stood to benefit, yet if he married beneath him, he would lose his status. When a slave (in Thai, ka) or a peasant (in Thai, phrai) gave his daughter to a lord (in Thai, nai) to be part of his harem, the family might get something from that arrangement, but it certainly wouldn’t be tons of gold or property. The daughter, however, would become a low ranked concubine. Her duties were to fxxk the lord on command and be a slave to all the other wives and concubines. Whatever the arrangement was, it was up to the nai’s discretion. This slave girl was expendable, however. If she pissed off the nai, she would be sent back to her family in disgrace. Let me make this clear: The slave or phrai didn’t dictate to the nai the parameters of the relationship. In the modern sense, as a farang, you are the one with the nai status, and your whore is just lucky to even know you. As a farang, you are the one with all the money and power; therefore, it is you who should decide the parameters of your relationship. It is you who should decide who, when and what you are going to pay.

    Since a farang has money, or perceived to have money, he will always, always outrank any whore—even though she has brought down his social status in the eyes of Thai society. Nonetheless, within the boundaries of his own family, he is the master of the domain. The figurative slaves and peasants in his new family shouldn’t be dictating to him the rules of the game. They have no leverage. They have no capital to support him. They have no social standing to help him make it in Thailand. They don’t have anything to offer him, and because of this, he shouldn’t have to pay one satang for sin soht. Instead, a whore should be thanking her lucky stars that somebody is willing to love her and her family—especially with all her baggage. They should be groveling on their hands and knees in his presence. But it seems like most farang just let the slaves rule the plantation, when, in fact, it should be the other way around.

    Sakdina still exists in Thailand, but it’s a cultural rather than a legal system now. When you hear Thais talking about Thai culture they are usually referring to the sakdina mentality. Except for the Royal Family and monks, nobody is ranked according to royal/feudal title anymore. After the 1932 revolution that toppled the absolute monarchy, sakdina and royal titles were officially abolished. Actually some titles are still given out, but they are given for public service and don’t carry any real political power. But now, a Thai’s social status is determined by class, education, region of origin, skin color, wealth, title, and profession. Thais rarely marry outside their class, and they are extremely dumbfounded when wealthy, educated farang marry and pay outrageous sin soht to lowly whores and lower class Thai women with no education, social status, money, property, or power. And Thais are even more shocked when stupid farang let their whores rule the roost. Let me make this clear so you all get it: If you are marrying somebody beneath your social status, your wife and her family have no right to make any demands from you. They are not bringing anything to the table. In Thailand, marriage is an alliance, a two-way street. If out of the kindness of your heart you decide to raise your wife’s family up then, according to Thai culture, they should be eternally grateful and obligated towards you instead of taking advantage of your good nature and robbing you for all your worth. In other others words, they should give you the respect of a patron, which is essentially what you are, rather than treat you as if you were a magic buffalo who shits money and gold on demand.

    Since farang have never been part of the official or cultural Sakdina system (except in a few rare circumstances) they shouldn’t have to pay sin soht. Since farang families rarely enter into mutually beneficial relationships with Thai families, they shouldn’t have to pay sin soht. Since farang will never be integral to the Thai social system and never be full participants of Thai cultural norms and values, they shouldn’t have to pay sin soht. Don’t let your Thai woman dictate to you about your responsibilities to Thai culture when that culture isn’t going to do anything for you except cost you money. Most Thai women just pull the Thai culture card out of their butts just to get you to do something for them on your dime, or they use it to avoid making a rational intelligent argument.

    The reason why Thais hide behind Thai culture and face and avoid confrontation is because they essentially have no integrity. Many farang think Thais don’t have the word integrity in their vocabulary. Actually, they have two words for it: burunaphop and sutjavaja. Anyway, when Thais want to avoid responsibility for not keeping their commitments (phantasunya), they always hide behind face (na) and culture (prophenee; it means custom, but wattanatham, the word for culture, wouldn’t be the appropriate word for what I mean.) The real reason why Thais never want to confront anything is because they don’t ever want to be responsible (mee khwam rap pid chop) for their shitty integrity. Think about it: If you had integrity and were a responsible person, would you really give a shit about face and confrontation? Of course not, because you would have nothing to hide. I’ll let you guys in a little secret about Thai woman. If you ever catch one in a lie, watch how she reacts, because the way she reacts will tell you everything about her true personality. For example, if your girlfriend is caught in a lie and blames others, then you know that she is the type who never takes personal responsibility for anything. If your girlfriend denies telling a lie, even though the evidence is staring her in the face, then you will know this girl is deceptive in everything she says and does. If you catch your girlfriend ever lying about having other men, then you know she has a bunch of guys on the side. If your Thai chick lies to you, and she says she does it to spare your feelings, then you know she has done some pretty nasty shit to hurt your feelings.

    The only reason people lie is because they want to avoid being responsible for the truth. The reason Thais lie all the time is because they hate taking responsibility for anything, and as a culture, they have accepted non-confrontation and cover-up as the best way to deal with lies rather than being responsible and owning up to the truth. Nobody has perfect integrity. As human beings, we all make mistakes. But people have a choice: one can be committed to integrity, fail at it sometimes, and take responsibility for those failings; or, one can be committed to a life of dishonesty, deceit, cover-up, and irresponsibility. Which choice do you think Thais mostly make? Call me a traditionalist, but I think marriage is a lifetime commitment. If I were to get married, beauty, brains, and sex would fall far behind integrity on my priority list. What I don’t get about farang in Thailand is that it seems to me that integrity is the thing they care about the most–only after the relationship fails. From my own life experience I have learned that people who are dishonest usually remain dishonest and never reform their wicked ways. So if your little Thai darling is a con artist, I seriously doubt all your cash donations to her will transform her into Mother Theresa.

    I have noticed that when I first meet a Thai woman, the first thing she does is check out my social status. She’ll ask me about where I come from, about what I do, about where I live, about my college degrees, about how many employees work under me, do I have a car, and do I own or rent, etc. I used to think: Who does this chick think she is? She really has got some nerve trying to size me up. But then I realized that these questions shouldn’t be about me, they should be about the girl. Why is that I have to prove my worth to her? She should prove herself to me. If a Thai woman is going to judge your human worth based on these superficial things, you have every right to turn the tables on her, and you have Thai culture to defend you. For example, don’t let some dumpy looking secretary from Nakhon Nowhere with her worthless degree from Ramkhamhaeng University who makes 5,000 baht a month working at some crappy Thai company make judgments about you. Farang shouldn’t be bending over backwards for these chicks. A dumpy secretary with no Thai prospects for marriage and no money has no right to judge a farang or make demands from him. And the whores who think their pussies are made out of gold are even more ridiculous. A Thai whore is the last person in the world to judge or demand from anybody, especially since her international reputation is barely one notch above an Al Qaeda terrorist. There is nothing more absurd in this world than a Thai whore who thinks her shit don’t stink, expecting every farang who comes her way to hand the world over to her on a silver platter—and trust me, this is how they really think. Instead of tap dancing for his whore, farang should remember that her worth only comes from whatever he is willing to pay; otherwise, she is worthless. When I say worthless, I don’t mean to sound cruel. I’m just being honest. In real Thai society, they would have no power at all. They’d be maids, rice farmers, nannies, waitresses, wives of construction workers and tuk tuk drivers, or slinging som tam on the streets. I think farang need to realize that they have a lot of power, because you are the only thing that gives these whores any power. What would your whores and Thai girlfriends do without you? Would they ever have their mobiles, their drugs, their mangdas, their motorbikes, their clothes, and their vacations? The answer is no. So on top of all that, why should you have to give them a cash bonus, gold, and a lifetime pension to their parents? I think Thais are friendly, but they are the most ungrateful people I have ever come across in my life. And the reason they are ungrateful is because nobody ever makes them accountable for anything. So stop giving money to these chicks when they don’t deserve it and have done nothing to earn it. Farang need to cut it out, really. Stop giving money to these chicks for free. It just makes them spoiled, arrogant, and ungrateful. Farang will start to have a lot of power once they realize that they are entitled to call the shots and make all the rules in their relationships with Thai women. When farang start exercising their power, Thai women will stop treating them as though they are magic buffalo that shit money and gold on demand.

    If you are a farang who wants to marry a Thai whore, here is the sin soht rule: You do not have to pay sin soht for her. Not one single satang. She is spoiled goods. Her chances of finding a Thai man to marry and getting sin soht are zero. Your whore knows she is spoiled goods and her family knows she is spoiled goods. You are an idiot if you pay and they know you are an idiot if you pay. By the term spoiled goods, I mean two things: First, if your Thai girlfriend is not a virgin and works as a whore, there is no need to negotiate sin soht, because there is nothing to negotiate over. Second, she is spoiled goods because she is a disgraced whore without any redeeming social value. If a Thai man doesn’t have to pay sin soht for women like this, then you as a farang don’t have to pay either. If you think you are obligated to pay, you’re wrong. If your whore says you are required to pay, she is lying.

    Farang often wonder what they should pay for a normal girl of the same class as themselves. This is my advice to you. It is simple and reasonable. And it won’t cause you to sell out your pride and dignity. You fork out no more than what you would pay for the engagement ring and the wedding ring for a Western wife. There could be some value to sin soht paid in kind if it used for the right intentions. I see nothing wrong in using it for a first house or saving it as a nest age for the first child, but that is something you decide together as a couple. But don’t pay it to make your in-laws look like big shots or use it to pay off their debts or because your wife gave you a guilt trip.

    As for the wedding, the cost, traditionally, is recouped by the guest’s contributions.

    Again, I want to make this obvious point crystal clear: If you are a farang, you are not Thai, and because you are not Thai, you don’t get the benefits of being Thai. Since you don’t live by Thai rules and cultural obligations you don’t have to pay sin soht. It is neither your duty nor your obligation. If you decide to ignore me and have committed yourself to paying it, pay only what the woman would be worth as if though she was marrying a Thai man. In other words, don’t pay according to what you can afford, but only pay according to what value she brings to the marriage. If your fiancé is a whore, you pay nothing.

  42. Terry says

    Actually I have a question(s)

    My GF is 50 yrs old, has little education, is unemployed, has been married and has 2 sons in college. She still thinks I should pay a sinsod. Does this sound right to anyone???

    • TheThailandLife says

      I think it’s up to you guys to decide. There are guidelines in terms of tradition, but those are blurred these days and people tend to have a sinsod regardless of second or third marriage. In fact, a number of Thai celebrity second marriages have had very large sin sod in recent years. If you were marrying for the second or third time and having a registry office wedding there might not be a sinsod because it’s mainly for show during a ceremony, however, most wedding ceremonies include the sin sod. Just discuss between you what you feel is appropriate, what the family will expect and whether the money (or part of it) will be given to the family or returned. As you will see from the comments here, sin sot has become quite a personal thing, with couples choosing to do it their own way. I have a Thai friend who recently married a foreigner and she didn’t want a sin sod. She doesn’t want a traditional wedding either; she’s rather a gathering of friends – so it really does depend on the individuals involved.

  43. OzW says

    Excellent Blog, thanks for creating this. Well done. I am sure, like me, there are thousands of guys out there wanting to do the right thing but also have that little voice in the back of their head saying “be careful….”

    Long story, I will try not to ramble too much :)

    A few years back I registered on a few international dating sites, curious that maybe my special lady wasn’t in Australia. One site was Asian Dating which opened my eyes to a whole world of women seemingly desperate to find what I am now labelled as “a farang” (on the first day I press ‘visible’ on my profile I received over 100 contacts). Despite this realisation I still believed that it couldn’t possibly be all women (but quickly learned I had to be careful). I chatted with a few women around the world (not only SE Asia) for a few months then one day I decided I would restrict my search criteria as specific as possible on every site I registered (some of which couldn’t be done by the website, some had to be done by simply reading the profile). This narrowed down the search to a few hundred women from I think six or seven countries. Then I remembered it’s not just about me. It’s important they are genuinely interested in who I am. Thankfully some websites offer the function to do reverse matching (i.e. search for women that have specified criteria that I match). Interesting exercise but I still had some doubts about the potential for real love using this method. After this reverse filtering the search results came down to around 20. After a few days of non-action I decided it was time to send these ladies a message. So I came online and started drafting what to write then suddenly received a live chat message from one the ladies I was interested in. From a simple chat in the beginning we both wanted more. We chatted for a year and it was just beautiful so it was time to meet.

    So, a year ago today I came to Thailand, knowing little about Thailand and still somewhat skeptical that online dating was for me. As a vegetarian, her buying me chicken feet soup in Udon Thani for our first meal together is now a night we both look back at and laugh about often.

    Over the first month my skepticism started to disappear and I started to become ready to open my heart again after more than three years being single. But what the hell was I doing? I can’t speak Thai, I know very little about the culture and I have a dog, a rental lease, friends, family and a permanent job soon to be promoted back in Australia.

    To this I say “where there is a will there is a way”.

    So the research began about visas etc. Thankfully I have been able to secure legitimate employment here which took me some time to realise how fortunate I am to do so. Now after three trips back and forth I am now here ‘semi-permanently’ (with visa/immigration commitments of course).

    Last Friday a special night with a special restaurant involved a diamond ring being taken from my pocket and a true love relationship being taken to the next step. A loving relationship that we both had our doubts about in the beginning.

    Naturally, my research also included numerous forums noting bad experiences other guys had had. Money, greedy parents, etc. etc. (I suspect you’ve all heard/seen it also). To that I have to say that it certainly does seem that in many cases there is a direct correlation with “the extent of effort by the farang to respect culture and fit in” and “the resulting dilemnas that seem to frequent farangs coming here for a relationship”.

    If I had a dollar for every farang that told me “they were taken to the cleaners” but they couldn’t even count to ten in Thai, well you know what I am saying. Again I point out I am not suggesting this is everyone!

    This brings me to my somewhat long-winded point. Culture. As a non-christian, non-religious westerner tradition is more important to me than culture. However when it comes to a wedding I believe it’s more than just tradition and culture to consider. Of course there are two people who have the ultimate say here. Although I have made it quite clear to my fiance that there are six peoples wishes that must be considered here (four parents and us).

    A cross cultural relationship is rarely simple or easy, but it can also be very exciting and rewarding if the effort is made to develop mutual respect. Yes, as farangs we must respect sin sod. Also, we must respect our own culture. But we must also be sure we are not being taken for a ride.

    We have discussed sin sod and her view is that her parents (probably her dominant mother) will discuss this us in coming weeks. She is more concerned about the perception or social status aspects. The family is a rubber farming family although her father was also a teacher. They are not rich but they do own land. She is not a girl who wants money from me. She is a masters degree qualified teacher with a new vios and despite me earning about four times her salary, insists she pays for dinner often.

    I asked her to tell me what is reasonable, what she would be insulted by, what she would be surprised at and what she wanted. Her view of reasonable was between 100,000 and 300,000 depending on the criteria which was been well noted in this forum already. What she would be insulted by would be to upset her mother. What she would be surprised at is if I pay more than her mother asks for. And what she wanted was for her mother and me to have that discussion.

    I made it very clear that my culture must also be respected. However when it comes to my parents wishes, they simply want me to be happy. I won’t be pushing the line “in our culture her parents should pay” in order to save money. However I will be mentioning it politely. She has re-assured me that this is certainly ok and that she believes her mother will be unlikely to ask for a crazy amount.

    Although I can’t help being a little anxious!

  44. Pravin says

    I think what you’re doing is very sensible in the circumstances and I really hope your Norwegian guy is able to allay some of your fears.
    I know it’s hardly normal procedure but just reading this thread makes you realise that sometimes, with some Thai ladies, things aren’t normal!
    Good luck, David!

  45. David Brookes says

    Thanks for all the answers. It pretty much sums up what I was thinking. Being new to Thailand I am not sure of the customs. My girlfriend says that she gets a Norwegian pension and rents her house in Norway (her Norwegian husband died a year ago) which amounts to 85,000 baht per month. She also owns 3 houses(1 not finished) and rice fields in the Udon Thani area. She says that it is not the money but proof that I can look after my girlfriend which I took for a Thai custom.
    After me turning her down she says that she will stay with me anyway but it would be good if I sent her a smaller amount so that she can use her money to finance the completion of her 3rd house. However I get to live with her in the house she lives in. I work in Oz for 4 weeks in every 5 but have a few weeks off soon. I Skype her every night and she is at home with her family in a very quite village.
    I have just employed a Norwegian private investigator to see if that side of the story is true. Very cheap for a background check and finance check.
    It all feels very cloak and dagger and somewhat wrong, but I have heard so many horror stories. I hope she is genuine but I am treading very carefully.
    Again sorry for hijacking the thread and many thanks for your responses.

  46. Pravin says

    This is really tough reading. I know there are different cultural procedures and traditions but I think you should always ask yourself, “would I agree to this in my own country?”
    If the answer is no – proceed with great caution. What sort of a relationship is dependant on somebody being paid to stay in it?
    I’m not married to or living with a Thai lady but I do know many of them through friends. As in any community, they are all different. Some are lovely but I have to tell you that others are motivated entirely by money. It’s the only reason they are with their partner. It’s the only reason they are over here – to amass money and send it home. They have a different view on marriage and commitment than us.
    How can you tell the sincere ones from the ATM seekers? If only I knew that!!

    • TheThailandLife says

      I guess the obvious answer would be to not rush in. Act like an average guy who lives month to month rather than a flashy foreigner with deep pockets. Date first as a normal couple. Wait before moving in together. Wait at least a couple of years before marriage. If the girl is only after your money I am sure it will become pretty apparent after a few months; same as it would in any other country.

  47. Lloyd says

    I think comparing amounts to pay for either Sin Sodt or a monthly stipend for a partner is somewhat ignorant, it should always depend on the individuals involved, what they can afford and what they want to give, bragging how little someone ‘paid’ to a person that they supposedly loved only shows me how little respect some people have for others.

    • TheThailandLife says

      In part I agree Lloyd, that is, in terms of a monthly allowance for a long term partner/wife. Using Steve’s situation as an example; topping up a wage if someone is struggling to make ends meet is one thing, but being told “you must pay me xyz a month” suggests that if one doesn’t the lady will leave and look elsewhere…further suggesting that the relationship is based on financial dependency, which in my opinion is not a good way to start out. Of course I would help my partner out financially if she needed me to, but if I’d only known a woman 2 months and she asked me to pay her a 400 pounds salary each month, and I was paying food, rent and other expenses already, I’d have to reconsider my position.

      Thanks for the 7/11 figures. I was grossly misinformed. That’s good to know. Perhaps the OPs GF could consider such a job and then he could top up like Steve did should she need it.

  48. says

    Do you live apart from your gf, ie another country? How much of that 9 weeks have you actually spent physically together? Just to give a different perspective to TTI’s above post. I did send money to my gf (now wife) when we were living apart. However, it was nowhere close to 20,000thb per month. I would take the 10,000thb figure and half it. Having said that, my gf did have a job of her own, so the reasonably small amount I sent basically topped up her salary. I would also add that she never actually asked for money or made any demands. If she had come out and started making demands “to stay with her” then I know what I would have done. We wouldn’t be married now put it that way.
    The two dead husbands would worry me also 😉

  49. David Brookes says

    I have read the above with great interest. However can I change the subject a little bit. I have recently met a Thai girlfriend. After meeting her in Phuket 9 weeks ago I have been to her home in a little northern village twice now.
    I pay for everything and have spent 10,000 baht on a gold chain for her Mother as well as giving some cash. However my girlfriend now says that she wants 20,000 baht a month to stay with me as I’m expected to take care of her. I have talked to another man who pays 10,000 baht a month.
    Is this the norm or am I being ripped off if I pay? I like the girl (14 years younger than me and two dead husbands behind her) and want to stay with her but am I just being used?
    Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi David,

      When I dated my GF (now wife) I have never paid her an amount per month. Of course my salary was much higher than hers and so I usually paid for dinners and outings, but she would reciprocate by buying me the odd present, fruit and paying for dinner on occasion.

      I don’t have much experience of this paying a girl a monthly salary; no one I know has done or does that. I did used to know girls in the local bars of samui where I played pool who had donor BFs from Europe sending money each month. They used to ask me to correct their English for them in my friends internet shop. The scam was to say to each guy that to stay out the bar he had to send an allowance for her to live. They would co-ordinate the holidays of each guy and bank the cash. A horrible scam on some quite desperate men who thought the girl really liked/loved them. I am not saying your GF is one of these girls, but it is worth being aware that some poorer, uneducated women from the bars do make a living like that.

      I do have married friends with children whose wives have stopped working to look after the kid(s) and pay an allowance for shopping and socialising each month. But with all due respect, if your GF was looking after herself okay before she met you why does she now need you to pay her 20,000 a month? If she needs a little financial help here and there then sure, help out, what bf wouldn’t. But arranging a monthly payment after 9 weeks of being together is too much like a financial contract than a loving relationship. Also, 20k is a bit steep. Consider that a Thai woman working in 7/11 works 6 days a week for about 8,000 Baht, so to hand out 2.5 times that amount for doing nothing each month is a bit much considering you pay for everything else too.

      I think the question you have to ask yourself is, would I do that back home? Would you give a 20,000 Baht allowance and pay for everything and buy gold for the girl’s mother after 9 weeks of dating (or less/more) back home? In my experience the average working Thai woman would never ask for a salary like that. And the average working Thai man would never pay one to a woman if she asked while they were dating. An allowance after being married is very different if the woman stays at home.

      Hope this helps.

      • Lloyd says

        FYI 7-Elevens listed base rate for counter staff starts at 11,680 BHT nett per month in regional areas and 15,700 per month in Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai.

        My wife is a franchisee in Nong Khai province, she is required to provide audited figures for all wages in the monthly audit statements.

  50. Yelmo says

    Hallo again!

    I like to share some experience of the last 15 month. However, coming out with this is not easy but I hope it helps other people to make their right choices.
    Here it goes: I meet my wife in December 2011. I felt truly in love with her and her family. We got married (Thai Ceremony) earl March 2012. After getting all the legal documents we got married legally in late July 2012. In mid December 2013 my wife told me she married me only because of money and left me. Since this time she is with another guy (the old boyfriend ?) and she actually left her family and son. Disappeared. Only her friends know…

    Of course there is a lot of the story missing. Like some construction for the house, the furniture, the purchase of the land, the money for the company registration, the car etc. etc.
    For many of you nothing new.
    Maybe surprising, but I did not marry my wife for sex nor did I ever cheat on her or lied to her.
    Whatever I did, I did it in good faith and for a happy family life.
    However, I truly believe in marriage and I did all I can for my wife and her family.
    I did not know anything about scam in Thailand and I could never imagine that all this exists what I read about it today, +7 mil Bath later.

    I found out later that I was not the 1st guy that felt for the scam. She ripped of an Indian guy some years before. Of course the entire family knew about the real intentions of my wife. Of course I don’t speak Thai and I would have never thought this is possible (that they set up a marriage etc. etc.) and it’s all about money.

    From a technical point of few: My life became extremely difficult after my wife left me as I need a divorce in court. And of course good advice is very expensive (Lawyer etc.).
    From an emotional point of few: no comment

    My advice:
    • learn the language
    • take your time for each and every step you take
    • learn about the culture, read the crazy stories…..
    • take advice (also legal) (put in on paper before you get married, before you buy a house/land etc.)
    • don’t trust only your feelings, don’t fall for the “she does not ask me for money”
    Different culture, different background:
    If you believe in the instution of marriage, it will be your own desire to do all you can for your wife and her family. Her happines is your desire and your permanent reason to create realites and spend money for anything you believe is important for your happy family life.

    I guess I did all the thing wrong you possibly can do wrong….

    However. There are many wonderful and honest woman in Thailand and for sure Thailand will is a fantastic country and it will experience an incredible development over the next few years.

    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi Yelmo,

      Sorry to hear this terrible story. Thanks for sharing and offering your advice. As you said, not all Thai women, or all women of any other country for that matter, are scammers, and it’s commendable that you still remain positive about Thailand despite your ordeal. I wish you all the best for the future, and hope you find a wonderful woman second time around.

      • Hans says

        (note to moderator: This is the same post 3 times, but this time as direct reply to David)


        I believe you began by providing a very reasonable list of proofs that you can “take care” of a girl, who by Thai standards could easily afford to take care of you.

        If you want to make nice distinctions, there’s a difference between showing a will and an ability to take care of someone. Considering you are only 9 (now 11 weeks) into the thing, I think you have shown both to all reasonable standards.

        I didn’t quite get what the PI was for – to check she is really building her third house or that she is spending all her time in a quiet village? I am not sure there’s much point if it’s the first.

        Lloyd, those bragging about how much rather than how little they pay for/to someone, love or not, far outnumber those who brag about how little they pay. However, they will just as often pretend that there are deeper cultural values, bridging of social and physical divides or some other claptrap that somehow transcends the materialistic aspect of the financial transaction. Whatever makes you feel good about yourself, great.

  51. fabio says

    Fantastic Long time doing research about and i just find a Big Light in the End of a Tunnel.
    wonderful Information
    thanks a Lot …… I ll be the next to get married

  52. Fluminis says

    Nice piece of information regarding Sin Sod.
    But it is writen by a foreigner out of respect to the Thai customs. However the Thai would never ever consider the customs and respects of the counterpart. In Western society it is most definately rude to ask for money from someone to marry your daughter, it is (to be equally rude) just plain selling of human flesh. Hence the big issue of the Sin Sod when Foreigners and Thai (have plans to) marry.

    My Sri Lankan friend (who was very willing to pay sin sod) joked that in his culture the family of the girl were supposed to pay the family of the man. His Thai parents in law were not amused at all didn’t believe him and sufficive to say he is now the black sheep of the family as he dared to say something like this. How narrowminded of the Thai!

    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi Fluminis,

      This information isn’t written out of respect for Thai customs, but rather researched and written by interviewing three Thai people in order to obtain a thorough understanding of sin sod.

      Why wouldn’t a Thai “ever consider the customs and respects of the counterpart”? Many do. My friend is about to marry a Thai girl and no sin sod is involved; they aren’t even having a proper ceremony. They are both free spirited, hippy types, so to speak. The girl is very strong willed and doesn’t care what the neighbors will say, and the parents are cool with this.

      It is important to understand sind sod, and also to understand that the upholding of tradition varies from family to family. Even if you’re marrying into a rich Thai family you will, in most instances, still need to appropriate sin sod, even if the family contributes towards the wedding, which many do. And this is what foreigners get so very wrong about the custom. There is no selling of “human flesh” as you put it, and it doesn’t solely apply to poor girls marrying foreigners. The tradition is still upheld by the majority.

      Your friend should explain to the family that this was a joke; often these things get misconstrued in translation. I often make similar jokes with my in-laws. I am, after all, from a country where the tradition is for the bride’s family to pay the wedding costs.

  53. Pravin says

    A few hundred thousand Baht is a lot of money to most of us. Sinsod is a concept we don’t understand and this thread is very useful. Using language like “stingy farangs” doesn’t really help move things on.
    I realise we should accept Thai customs – but does that mean we forget ours?

    • TheThailandLife says

      I agree Pravin, but I also take Geoff’s point that foreigners should really consider this custom before getting involved in a serious relationship with a Thai woman. For the majority of women and their families this is an integral part of the ceremony, and it’s meaning reflects so much more than just the money itself. I don’t necessary support this custom personally, but it’s part of a culture I decided to live amongst. For this reason I have opened my mind, done extensive research and done my best to understand a tradition that is interwoven into the fabric of society. It surprises me that so many farangs are themselves surprised by sin sod, and taken aback by its existence. Sin sod appropriates and reflects the class system, which as anyone who lives here knows, is part and parcel of Thai life.

  54. Geoff C says

    Cracks me up all these farangs who say stuff like “I’m not paying sin sod” “it’s bull**it” “it’s a scam” “It’s made up”. If you understood a word of Thai you’d see on TV every day well-known Thai people getting married and announcing the sin sod. Hell, today Dak Bongot married for 100m Baht, not including the rings and gold. And these stingy farangs are moaning about paying a few hundred thousand Baht. It’s part and parcel of Thai culture. Don’t like it. Go home.

  55. ron brooks says

    I married a Thai women in 2007. She was divorce from a Thai and had a young daughter. I met her in Thailand on vacation and after coming back to the U.S. asked her to marry me. The bargaining of sinsod began immediately. She wanted at first 200K and I said no way. We finally agreed on 100K and off I went back to the LOS after applying for the fiance visa. While in Thailand I got cold feet after waiting for us to have the Thai wedding and show the money and I left her village. She followed and found me and begged for at least the 100K so she would not lose face. I told her it was only about money with us and that is not what I wanted in a Thai wife. She hounded me and eventually I gave in and went back to her village to finish it. To make a long story short, I took her back to USA where we were OK for 8 months then she said her mom was sick and had to go take care of daughter. I let her go back for an emergency but she lost her status of visa and I had to reapply. While she was over there she became very hard to contact by phone and highly defensive on the phone. I had a feeling she had went back to her boyfriend or found one. I managed to get her and daughter back on a visa and within 8 days confirmed she had a Thai boyfriend through her constant calls on Vonage. She claimed it was uncle, brother or cousin and demanded a divorce, all of my money, and a trip back to the LOS. I gave her 2 out of the three. She was only in country 8 days. I continuously sent money to support her family while marred for less than 2 years also. She was a complete liar and it was always about the money. She is back and tried to email and call stating she was wrong and wanted another chance. My guess is that she could not find a sucker like me with more money. Never again will I trust another Thai woman. I have tried to date a few more but they were more mysterious than the Bermuda Triangle with always another Brother or cousin in the background they favored. I am now happily married with a Filipina. They are not as mysterious, understand and can converse in the English language, serious about marriage, and will love you till death if you treat them right. Thailand is the LOS or as I view it, Land of Scams.

    • TheThailandLife says

      Why would you marry a woman on holiday who instantly started bargaining for money and begged you to marry for money? She was clearly a desperate woman with a dependent to support and limited marriage options, and therefore being an opportunist. I appreciate you had a bad experience, but let’s face it, this was largely down to your stupidity. You can’t cast aspersion on a whole female race based on your one personal experience. I married my GF after 4 years of being together. Before making the plunge we went through all the normal hoops and hurdles of a normal relationship, as I would have done with any other girl in any other country before considering marriage. We got to know each other inside so that we could both be sure the relationship was based on trust and respect. All my close friends in Thailand have a similar experience with their GFs/wives.

  56. elwyn powell says

    Hi, there is a saying buyer beware,some thai girls treat kindness as weakness,I have had money stolen by previous thai girl friends as a lot of ferang have,the only thing to remember is that Thailand practises racism, IE a none thai cannot own land, is charged more for everything, things that are unacceptable in the uk are common practice here.But I would point out a human being is priceless no matter what there social standing and if you love a Thai girl and want her, give what you can regardless of her education or how many times she has been married or how many children she has,because one day your adopted family may take care of you in your old age,something that is not likely to happen very often in the uk. sin sod may be the best investment you can make. jing jing.

  57. Jerry says

    I met a Thai lady online a few months ago and we hit it off right away. She’s in her late 30’s. I really like her a lot. Anyway, out of the blue she sent me a package in the mail. It was Christmas gifts for my kids and I. I was stunned. 2 weeks ago her family invited me to her brothers engagement party.
    Does it mean she really likes me too, or just being friendly? I have a good idea, but I want to ask someone who has a good understanding of Thai culture.

    • TheThailandLife says

      @Jerry. Thai people are friendly by nature/culture, but when it comes to being invited as a single man by a single woman (whom you met online) to meet her family at such an occasion, I would say you’re next for an engagement party. In all seriousness, I guess it depends under what premise you met. Was it in a dating website on through a friend on Facebook, etc? I have a number of Thai female friends and I have been to a few of their family functions.However, we had already established a platonic understanding prior to those functions.

  58. says

    This is one of the craziest blog pages I’ve come across regarding anything related to Thailand thanks to all of the wild comments. With that said, I don’t see a single comment that is geared to truly and honestly protect the foreigner’s wallet and well being, with the exception of a few that were written by total jerks.

  59. Richard says

    I have been to Thailand 4 times for a total of 12 months. One thing I enjoy about Thailand is learning more and more about their culture. I have wondered about sin sot for years. This article does a great job of explaining many aspects of this custom. I must admit, at first I regarded sin sot as a negative, but now I understand better and would be much more agreeable to paying. Thanks very much for taking your time to explain.

  60. Marek says

    I married my wife 2 years ago in her village. I agreed to pay 100,000baht sin sot. In return her family agreed to pay for the wedding. They used about 80% of the cash to pay for the wedding.

    I had to show 75g of gold at the ceremony as well but we kept that. This is proper Thai tradition, parents of cash cows will probably try and keep the gold too.

    On the wedding day we received many cash gifts that almost got to 100,000baht. Some were given to us and some were posted in a box at the entrance to the wedding. We kept the money given directly to us (tied onto our wrists) and let her parents keep the money in the box.
    I think her parents had about 40,000B left at the end of things.

    Seemed OK to me. I paid 100,000 and got back about 50,000B. If we got married in the UK that would probably pay for only the food or drinks at a small do. There were about 200 people at our wedding here and it was good fun.

    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi Marek, thanks for sharing. It’s really useful if we can all share our experiences; that way other foreigners can get an insight of expectation/culture vs. rumour/speculation.

  61. Nongluck Ruensook says

    Thank you very much for this information, it is very nice to explain to foreiner who not understand Thai culture. I am very appreciate that you are respect to Thai culture and we are happy and welcome to allow Fa-rang to stay in Thailand if they respect and polite to Thai people. Now Many Fa-rang is Junk and do bad thing in Thailand.

  62. LA-TRADER says

    Thanks for the reply TLL,

    Please note I just changed my identifying name for posting to your site to LA-TRADER (Brian Binns), your response represents why I like and continue to read your posts. It provided a much more detailed and in-depth description of life and perceptions in thailand. Since I have never been to thailand before, my information to this point has been gleaned from various blogs, books, etc. and most have been much broader, less detailed, and probably to a significant degree, cliche’d. Just to clarify a point. If I were to become involved with a thai woman, she would be close to my own age (52), and my decision to be with her or not, would have very little to do with other people’s attitudes. . . . And since this thread is about the practice and understanding/lack of understanding of Sin Sod, given the societal structure in thailand and lack of any kind of governmental social safety net it seems perfectly normal and acceptable to me.

  63. Brian Binns says

    Hi TLL,
    Your updated site looks simple, clean, easy to navigate – very good work! My comment is not really specific to Sin Sod, but the post brings a couple of things to mind again for me regarding cultural perceptions within Thailand that will probably be a little hard for me to emotionally accept if/when I come to Bangkok and if/when I become involved with a Thai woman, which may happen or may not. First is this. I am usually attracted to women of dark complexion with very dark/black hair. Don’t know why . . . but, this just seems to be my physical preference when it comes to women who are, in my eyes, extraordinarily beautiful. In Thailand, my preferred “look” seems to be indigenous and most prevalent with women from the northeastern/Isaan region. Unfortunately in Thailand, my preferred “look” also equates to the thai version of what some people here in the U.S. mean when using the term “white trash”, i.e., a very unattractive (either very fat, or extremely thin) woman with no education, no money, no manners and a loud cackling laugh! Too bad, because I am not poor, uneducated, or low-class, I just happen to dig dark-toned women. I know better than to ever “act-out” or lose my cool in public, but I can visualize myself being at least a little bit tweaked by some sharp internal emotional currents caused by passing snide looks, comments made just out of ear-shot, and the knowledge that “respectable thais” (with purses full of whitener cream), who I might have developed a friendship with would not appreciate her presence with me at any type of social/business affair because of the real loss of face for them and myself that would occur if I were to cross this cultural forbidden zone. . . .maybe you could clarify something for me. Would the loss of face caused by Westerner/Farang with a dark-skin toned woman who obviously has familial roots in Northeastern Thailand still be in effect and extend to a woman who was not a “bar girl”, or had never worked in a bar, but simply originated from Issan? I ask this question because my Thai language instructor from Bangkok (with whom I have lessons via Skype Video), is from the Isaan Region . . .she is dark, she is smart, she at least appears to be a very nice, punctual, well mannered and interesting woman. I don’t intend to ask her out by the way, she is at least 15 years younger than me and I don’t do the middle-age guy, young girl thing. She just came to mind as a good example of a cool female who happens to be dark skinned and whose family comes from Isaan. Another thing that always strikes me as being severely and sadly ironic with male dominated cultures, such as Thailand appears to be, is that nearly the entire weight of a family’s societal standing, brand, face , etc. . . whatever you want to call it (as well as the burden of maintaining economic security) rests on the shoulders of women. If she marries and bears a child with a young thai man (who subsequently dumps her) . . . she is then perceived as next to useless in thai society. More than a little bizzare and f**** up in my opinion. But, as you said, if you’re gonna come over here and live you must accept and embrace the culture. I do. And I look forward to it. (Please Note: I know very well that our western cultures carry their own heavy bag of dark, misguided perceptions.) . . . Thank you again for your exceptional blog. I don’t really know exactly how to describe its vibe, but, for me it doesn’t feel or read like a travelogue, or the usual ex-pat banter. There is something very street-level and real, yet intelligent, and useful about it. Keep up the good writing.


    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi Brian,

      Thanks for your kind comments about the blog. Let me clear a few things up regarding Isaan, as I have a lot of experience with the region.

      Firstly, not all Isaan women are dark-skinned; this is a strange myth and I’m unsure how it came about. My girlfriend was born in Kalasin, which is in Isaan. She is white-skinned compared with the large majority of Thais. This probably has a lot to do with strong Chinese genes coming through from generations back.

      The darker Isaan-Thai people are usually from nearer the Cambodian border which is right down the bottom near Surin, Sisaket, etc. I have a friend with a GF from Korat who is very dark-skinned.

      I lived in Samui for about a year, and you’ll find the women from the South are generally darker skinned than in other parts of Thailand. My best Thai friend is from Surratthani, and she is very dark, almost Malay looking. This is because, like Isaan has its roots in Laos, the Southern islands/mainland have links with Malaysia.

      Secondly, not all Isaan people are poor; far from it. And many foreigners find they are looked down upon when they move to the region for being poorer than many of the locals; fact. Yes there are what we would class as poor people, but if I’m honest, the poverty I’ve encountered in the slums of Bangkok is worse than anything I’ve seen in Isaan. Many Isaan people are well educated. My GF’s degree is better than mine lol! And she’s wealthier on paper than I am. Isaan has many, many rich families. So much so that towns like my GF’s are attracting car garages from BMW and Ford now, at double the prices of the UK/US. Many live, work and make bank in Isaan, and couldn’t care less what foreigners think of the girls who work the bars of tourist districts. Moreover, most of the girls wouldn’t looked twice at an aging foreigner. They’re too busy dreaming of young Korean boy bands.

      When it comes to Isaan girls and the bar; think about it like this. There are 65m people in Thailand, of which 25m are registered as living in the Isaan region. Historically Thailand has been a poor country, and Isaan is the poorest region in Thailand (by GDP), so therefore it is proportionately represented in that industry. However, don’t get it twisted, there are girls from all over Thailand working in that industry – many from Bangkok, lots from the North and Southern mainland, too.

      Isaan is huge, just look at it on the map of Thailand. To say all Isaan people are one way or another would be pure ignorance. Yes, there are Isaan girls in bars, a lot of them. But there are millions more getting up every morning and doing 9-5s in good jobs in Bangkok and elsewhere – like your language teacher, no doubt. There is an estimated 1.7m people (men and women) involved in the sex industry in one way or another in Thailand. Let’s say 750,000-1m are from Isaan, that leaves you about 24m potential Isaan partners – depending on age of course :) !

      What do Thais think of people from Isaan?

      Well, some do discriminate, yes, largely because education in the region has deliberately been socially engineered to create a low paid workforce that fuels the rest of the country – so lack of education creates the “stupid” stigma, as many Isaan people work in low paid jobs and are therefore looked down on.

      Of course, as a foreigner with a girlfriend originally from Isaan I always assume that people will assume the worst of her. We laugh about it. And when people get to know my GF, see that she runs her own business, works 7-days a week, has never asked me for money, is independent as hell, and is a genuinely lovely person, they say, “she’s from Isaan, but she’s different”, in their own ignorant way.

      I won’t lie though. The darker skinned your GF is here, as a foreigner, people will judged. Hostorically dark has meant poor because of the sun exposure from worker outside, and of course the lower classes not of the ruling Thai-Chinese ilk. However, its BS, Thailand has man, man rich darker skinned people. But sadly this is embedded in the culture. White is seen as superior. It isn’t nice but it’s prevalent. There are whitening clinics everywhere, whitening products on store shelves, and Thai women will often comment with each other on how dark/white they look today.

      But SOME Thais, like any other culture, will pick and choose their favourites. They’ll discriminate against the everyday Isaaner, but when it comes to Isaan celebrities like Tony Jaa, Mum Jokmuuk, Buakaw Por Pramuk, Sek Loso, Paradorn Srichaphan and a heap of Luuk Kung (mixed) Thai actresses from Isaan they claim these people as famous, “good” Thais.

      My advice to you would be the same as in any other country. Judge people as individuals. Don’t strip people of their humanity based on the wild generalisations or misguided perceptions of others. For example, if you fell for a beautiful native American Indian woman in the US, would you not date her because ignorant racists say they’re all lazy alcoholics and hookers? I didn’t know my GF was from Isaan when I met her. To be honest I don’t give a toss where a person is from; race and territories are just perceptions of the mind.

      I hope this has helped a bit. Thanks!

  64. Lele says


    “Thank you for clarifying the matter, especially regarding the tricky part where it may appear that the bride’s parents are not giving the issue may appear may seem as refusing it.”

    should have been:

    “Thank you for clarifying the matter, especially regarding the tricky part where it may appear that the bride’s parents are not giving the issue ***too much importance***.”

    Since I’m writing this, I’ll add that my understanding is that – in Asian cultures – your “face” impacts the way people will treat you, hence “giving face” to your in-laws is of the outermost importance and it will come back to you as well.

    I also think that “face” transcends cultures and is relevant in Western cultures, too, but Westerners are not aware of that, maybe because we have a different name for it (e.g. “being respectable”) and handle it in a different manner. The more I study Asian cultures, the more I can relate them to Western ones. Human nature doesn’t change.

  65. Lele says

    Thank you for clarifying the matter, especially regarding the tricky part where it may appear that the bride’s parents are not giving the issue may appear may seem as refusing it.

    I find it laughable that Western men go berserk at the thought of paying Sin Sod in Thailand when they wouldn’t think twice about marrying under Western laws which would grant their wife the right to kick them out of their own house, to get half of their assets plus alimony and child support (with the treat of imprisonment if they don’t comply). Give me Sin Sod every day, man! I wonder what would these men do if their Thai girlfriend were to ask them to marry either under Thai customs or Western laws.

    Also, it appears that these very same men like to cherry pick aspects of the Thai culture that suit them (e.g. Thai family values) whilst rejecting those values that don’t (e.g. Sin Sod). Methinks that if you are to embrace a different culture, you are to embrace it all, more so if your plans are to live in that culture.


    • TheThailandLife says

      I totally agree Lele. You can’t cherry pick the bits you want; you’re either in or out. Unfortunately many guys don’t read up on the stuff that will come up down the road when they get involved with a Thai woman. Know the culture before you make a commitment.

  66. Lars says

    I have the same situation…

    I am hoping to marry a Thai girl from the north next year (not a bar girl), and live in the Uk when possible.She’s not a virgin but has no children. Reasonable education.I think I have read enough to know the situation with sin-sod. What I am trying to establish beforehand is how much is reasonable to be expected to send back to her family each month?They are (relatively) poor farmers.

    • TheThailandLife says

      I don’t think this is clear cut and every situation is different. My GF sends money to her family occasionally, but it comes out of her salary and I have nothing to do with it. And she has said this will stop once we marry.

      If your gf’s (wife) takes money from the SinSod then that money, if saved/spent wisely, will help them out over a few years if they have financial problems, I’m sure. But like I said, every situation is different, and it’s up to what you’re comfortable with. Personally I’m not comfortable with getting married and making salaried arrangements for the family. Not saying I wouldn’t help out , but I’d do all I could to encourage them to keep working and manage money efficiently.

  67. Lars says

    It is very good, many people understand the Thai culture… but, hat about the another culture, where the parents helping, where the “new” couple need every single penny to start a new life…

    incredible! because now i got the problem about “sin sod” it really hard to make my boyfriend understand Right.Cuz he think “sin sod “is pay for buy me like i stay between my boyfriend and my family….Tradition
    i hope after he readthis website..he will understand more than before
    Thank you…

  68. Educate woman says

    Sorry, First time for me post in this web. I am Thai woman.
    I working in automotive parts of company in management level, My educate is a bachelor’s degree . I was growht up from farm family.My earned 70,000 Baht /Month. And every the end of year get bonus about 4 times of my earn of month.
    Now I met good man from England. We have relationship about 2 years Now we decide to get marry on the end of this year or the bigind of next year( Jan)
    My parents said “sin sod will be as 499,999 Baht. ” then they will return 50% to us.
    We will share “sinson” 50% . Some time I very worry about sin son I afraid my boyfriend think about sinsod because maybe he heard and read about this subject in website. Most thai woman and family want sinsod from forienger that marry with thai woman. Hope my boyfriend did not think more.
    Please kindly advice me.

    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi. Since your parents are returning 50% to you guys your BF will be paying 250,000 to your family. And since you have a very well paid job, if he is short of money then I’m sure you can contribute to help him out. If your boyfriend has read about the subject on this website then that’s a good thing because he will understand what Sinsod really is and the expectations around the culture. The amount you will be showing at the wedding is a fair reflection of your earning status, and coming from a farming background I understand that your parents will be excited to show off the achievements of their daughter to friends, family and locals, and of course, as we know, this is reflected by the Sinsod.

      Foreigners must understand that in the modern day sinsod is no longer 50,000 or even 100,000 Baht, even in poorer areas. It is rare that a sinsod is under 200,000 Baht, and many Thai men borrow money to afford the amount. And so, if a foreigner is marrying a Thai woman, the sinsod amount is expected to be a little more because foreigners are perceived as being wealthier.

      I am sure your boyfriend will be fine with this amount, and as I said, you have a good job so you can help him out if he doesn’t earn as much as you do.

      I wish you both all the best.

  69. micke says

    Hi, I have a discussion with my thai girfriend about sinsod. I have now understand that it’s very important for her and her family, a way for me to show respect to her and her family. I not agree with her but accept the fact.
    Now to my question; Her parents has passed away long time ago and she was brought up by her grandmother. So she say the sinsod will go to her. I know her grandmother is very old and wounder if the amount of sinsod should be the same to grandmother like it should have been to her parents if they had been in life?

    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi Micke,

      If her grandmother is very old I can’t see the point in you both giving her a large amount of money, considering that it will fall upon you both to care for her in her old age anyway (culturally). If her grandmother’s home is in need of repair, or there is medical treatment she needs, then of course the money could be used to make her life more comfortable. But if she is fine as is, I don’t see the point in stacking money in a bank account for her when it is likely to be inherited by your wife anyhow.

  70. trixus says

    Good work!

    I have a qustion. Is it normal that my girlfriend suggested to pay half of her Sin Sod? She told me that 900 000 Bath will be ok, and she will pay 450 000. She told me that after the wedding these money will be our for our future family.

    • TheThailandLife says

      There is nothing abnormal about her wanting to contribute. It looks better for her family (face) if the Sin Sod is more, so it doesn’t surprise me that she wants to contribute. I think it’s a good idea to put the money away for your kids’ future. The amount is for you and her family to decide. As discussed above it really does depend on a number of factors, and not least how bothered the family is/isn’t about showing off to the neighbours!

  71. expat Rob says

    Great to read this and understand more of the Thai ways of doing things.
    I do hope Richard is OK now and sorted things out.
    I have been living in Thailand for 18 months now. I have a girlfriend of course. We have spoken about marriage and sinsod has dominated the conversation each time. I am 42 and my girlfriend is 37. She did start university but had to leave after 2 years to work to support her father who was dying. After he died she had to work to help support her mother as all good Thai girls do. She had no childhood so to speak as her family are so poor she had to work even at a young age.
    We have both agreed not to marry until we can comfortably afford to do so.
    I am from the UK and told her my culture and the way we do things and she understands and I also understand her culture. So we are going to live together and not rush into marriage which is so easy to do.
    Do not let the heart rule the head is something my late father always told me. I think this is very true.
    I hope it works for us and we get married and live together until we die. I also hope you all read what has been written and not be so cynical about Thai culture as some are.
    For every horror story I hear I hear many happy stories so perspective is needed when making a choice on which path you take.
    Some of the things I hear it is obvious to me the farrang is being ripped off but offering advice is usually scorned at.
    Just do what you all feel is right and learn from any mistakes but just do not rush into marriage.
    If you both love each other you will stay together. If money is all it is about then when yours has run out then so will your wife/girlfriend.

    • TheThailandLife says

      Solid advice Rob; sounds like you both have your feet firmly on the ground. Many foreigners find it hard to grasp how important the Sin Sod is to Thais, particularly in the rural provinces. It is largely superficial in that much of it is about keeping face. Sin Sod values are regularly trumped by one family to the next and are a talking point for most when a wedding is on the cards. It’s all pretty superficial and about keeping up with the neighbours, but then if it’s important to the woman you want to marry then you have to ride the wave: understand that she is following tradition to please her family.

      I know of a family who has recently received a condo and a car for their daughter’s engagement to a fairly well off Thai guy – and that isn’t even the sin sod for marriage. So when i hear foreigners complaining that “it’s a scam” etc; my advice is always don’t marry a Thai woman then; a few grand means you’re getting off lightly, and if you really want to get scammed pay for a wedding in Europe or the US. The sin sod has a huge reflection on the family and the woman involved. It’s generally just about what’s shown on the day, along with the gold of course. But it’s up to you how much you negotiate to give as a gift.

  72. warrissy says

    thank you. for what it wrote it on here, so I just copy and post it on my facebook. sometimes i dont’ know how to explain it so, well, this is well fair, thank you.

    • TheThailandLife says

      No worries, but please do credit the website by providing a link back to the site from your Facebook page.

  73. jack says

    read my post for you below Roshe

    Thanks Brother.
    I am sure you are the only person who helps me out of this situation. I already accepted that working in a bar in pattaya, she met many farangs but a very strong monetary reason is behind her decision. Being a Indian relationship is given top priority and relationship with divorced woman can’t be accepted at all. Living with her is a very toughest decision of my life.Being a seafarer I travelled almost all over the world and met many girls. I know girls strategy very well as it is their everyday business but I never been tricked or trapped in them. This is the first time I can’t make any decision. If I make any wrong decision I can’t forgive myself if she is genuine and if she plays with my feelings…….
    One of my friend from Italy who is making 5000 euro a month stays in Thailand for a entire winter with her lady as he finds very difficult to carry her with him to Italy.
    I think, I have to spend some more time with her and I will try to understand her family and thai life, psychology. I kept my finger crossed.May be after winter I visit Thailand. Surely contact you and please don’t mind if I mailed you again for any updates or your suggestion. If your heart is good you find everything good. My heart is clean.
    Talking to you gives me great relief. 50% fog is cleared, rest I will clean with your help.
    Thanks again bro.
    And the better part is I started looking more resources to earn money may be I need it to start better relationship.

  74. jack says

    What is wrong with you man.
    You did not learn anything going around the world. Money hai tau honey hai.
    She wants money, we all want it, but when you want something, it is never enough and we want more.
    Now if she wanted your love, and that need grew , it would make your relationship stronger, but when her primary reason is money, you are silly to even try.
    after 14 days of death, the tears stop, and after 40, people get on with normality in life and start eating and drinking as normal and after one year it is just a memory, and that applies when a loved one dies.
    Do an experiment I am going to tell you to follow.
    Go to thailand, find another woman and pay her to be with you, make sure she is really good looking and sexy, I guarantee it , you would forget this one, in no time.
    People do not need money to love you, if they love you . Money is important in life very much, but if it is the basis of love , then it is never a permanent emotion. Hell , there are no guarantees if you had a love marriage or an arranged marriage, and here are the priorities in the correct order , if you have to make a choice.


    What is means is when you have to choose, never give up a higher numbered priority for a lower no. one. If you end up being really lucky in life , and have all these things , then you know the gods are smiling on you, but very few people have this big a cake and can eat it.
    You can take the girl out of the bar maybe , but you are not going to take the bar out of the girl. Get my meaning, What ever you do would be a temporary phase. and the longer you are in it, the more harder you will mourn.
    Trust me, people eventually forget and get on with their lives with the death of their near and dear ones and try to replace them. This is nothing, that another girl cannot erase completely out of your head. You mark my words , if you follow my advise, there will come a time that you will think as to why the hell did you find her physically so attractive.
    I am telling you , you mark my words. Even if you feel you cannot sleep in night, or you cannot breathe under the shower, because of this., all you need is the next one , who has the same physical qualities and the heart you will find is very easily detachable and reattachable.
    there is no advise which is going to be any more truthful than this. So stop thinking about everything, follow my instructions, and find another girl from the same region who is more attractive and make friends with her. Hell make friends with a few at the same time, and see who fits you better and give yourself some choice in life. How many things of pain have you had and forgotten in life since your childhood. this is no different.

    Thanks Brother.
    I am sure you are the only person who helps me out of this situation. I already accepted that working in a bar in pattaya, she met many farangs but a very strong monetary reason is behind her decision. Being a Indian relationship is given top priority and relationship with divorced woman can’t be accepted at all. Living with her is a very toughest decision of my life.Being a seafarer I travelled almost all over the world and met many girls. I know girls strategy very well as it is their everyday business but I never been tricked or trapped in them. This is the first time I can’t make any decision. If I make any wrong decision I can’t forgive myself if she is genuine and if she plays with my feelings…….
    One of my friend from Italy who is making 5000 euro a month stays in Thailand for a entire winter with her lady as he finds very difficult to carry her with him to Italy.
    I think, I have to spend some more time with her and I will try to understand her family and thai life, psychology. I kept my finger crossed.May be after winter I visit Thailand. Surely contact you and please don’t mind if I mailed you again for any updates or your suggestion. If your heart is good you find everything good. My heart is clean.
    Talking to you gives me great relief. 50% fog is cleared, rest I will clean with your help.
    Thanks again bro.
    And the better part is I started looking more resources to earn money may be I need it to start better relationship.

  75. jack says

    What a load of rubbish. this is utter nonsense as to what sinsod is or not.
    Just because you have thai friends and a girl friend whose words you like to believe does not make any of this correct.

    Let me put the author in touch with information real and historical.
    But before I do that, let me also put some real points to it. And no these has NOT come from the Horse’s A**e either, because these free loaders are just brainwashed at telling you what they have learnt since childhood.

    It really bothers me and gets on my wick when I hear somebody, who has had the upbringing in the west and the exposure to what should be what and just because they have had their ba**s soaked in some tw*at they start suddenly loosing all concept of ethics and reality and suddenly become , for their love of sun and sex all so very culturally aware and informed.

    I will also give you the real origins of sinsod in a minute but first, if you have sex and bear children , then they are your responsibility until they are adults and independent.
    If you bear them with the thought that they will look after you in old age, then that is up to the individual. If you bear them and raise them up in the hope that someday , somebody is going to come and pay good money for them, then that is no different to animal farming.
    If you have children then providing , love care and education is your parental duty.
    If you think , oh, my daughter if gets married and goes away, shall dent my income, then shame on you for being a parent, because what do you want her to do, not have a life and just look after you and see to your needs of hungry for money attitude.
    But then the whole nation is at it , including the system, where people value money more than their own families.
    If a parent can sit and think , that a daughter is better of being single and staying home to provide her with an income, rather than some true loving man caring for her , until such time a good lump sump can be demanded and gotten for her , then no matter how you put it , it is selling your child.
    Thai’s do not have high ethics. They do not see any problem with their daughters and wives prostituting , for money , since their needs are more greedier than their sense of self respect.

    Now I am sure there is a small percentage of Thais who are not in the same category. but on the whole the majority are like that.

    And what is Sinsod really. It is as the author puts it , A compensation payment for the investment the parents have made in their daughter. Wow, and that is not selling to recoup your costs and a payment inflation proofed for the years to come . grow up , it is called selling.

    This is how it came a long time ago. Most Thai’s could not tell you that or would not tell you that even if they knew it, because it exposes the true face of this so called tradition .

    This is what happened and was started by rich Arabs, who preyed on poor people for their sexual gratification. They did this in many places in Asia and Africa.
    I cannot remember the African country where this dowry in exchange of a girl became a tradition alongwith Thailand
    These people , were born rich, and have the tendency to take many women and add them to their stock and still refer to them as wives. So much so , they sometimes married a woman who they looked at and felt horny at the time and added her to their collection of wives.

    Now how did they do that. They bought them. But then you can’t say to somebody sell me your child , because I am a dirty old man and am lusting after your barely legal age daughter, or even a young child for that matter.

    So they invented this payment in kind as a custom, and said to poor parents who sometimes were just too greedy and sometimes just too needy , and sold them this concept of , that I will look after you daughter. And I guarantee that with this advance payment for you and her , in case I falter. And then justified to them that they did a beautiful job of raising a daughter and gave birth and fed and looked after her and that this was an appreciation of their hard work.
    900 years ago the Indian priests and monks were spreading religion in Thailand , but the Thais forgot all about that and Buddha’s real teachings some 4 centuries later, and got drawn into the material world at any cost . including selling their daughters.
    The display of wealth and a higher status commands their ethics and not Buddhism now, which incidentally teaches to the contrary, to not to get attached to material things for one shall die and take nothing with them when they go.

    sadly the japanese and then the americans introduction of open market short term buying of affection or otherwise known as prostitution, once took stronghold, the Thais forgot everything else about the spiritual and limited their outlook to greed and pomp and show and became just hungry for money individuals. surely people living in far out places and fit and working on a farm are self reliant and do not need to sell their daughters for money , but look for suitable matches who would love them , and not pay the highest prices. the amount of money is the real consideration and not how old the man is relative to the girl.
    Now I am money hungry a lot , but then I am not Thai and would not do certain things for money or for anything.

    and in conclusion, any self respecting parent will hang themselves than to sell their daughters.
    But the modern farang has so forgotten their own history and want to live life to the full frequenting the bars and pubs for alcohol and sex and the ones who seem to fall in love are the ones , want to so badly believe to justify their love being real by believing in customs, which they would’nt dare to follow with their own daughters, or would they if they become truly corrupted too.

    • Xiaoma says

      Oh dear I rarely ever seen such amount of ignorance in a single post before… so much that I could not avoid replying to this collection of ignorant bitterness (being bitten by a bar girl?)

      But important things first: compliments to Peter for his really really amazing blog. And thanks to all the other readers posting intelligent comments (just ignore the couple of trolls and we all will be fine)

      Now Mr Jack, I can see and somewhat understand why you come up with this distorted view of a foreign culture you totally fail to understand, but I cannot let that bunch of made up historic falsities pass by unanswered.

      At first, blaming the Arabs… that itself is so stereotypical it doesn’t need an answer. Just trying to remind you that the Sin Sod tradition (as many other South Asia traditions) has nothing to do with middle-eastern culture, but comes from thousand of years of Chinese tradition. Are you not aware that Thai people moved where they are now from the south of China? And the Chinese had complex marriage rules long before there was even an Arabic civilization.

      Oh, and then blaming Japanese and Americans for “inventing” the prostitution, now that is funny… why do you think that is called “the oldest profession in history”? Do you really think there were no prostitutes in Thailand before the USA even existed?

      Very kind of you to accept there may be “a small percentage of Thais” who have any ethics. That makes them a lot better than most internet trolls (yes, the guys like you). Now I’m bored of talking about this “utter nonsense” so I’m off. Get a life.

    • Raymond says

      Dear Jack,
      I wish to thank you so much for your time and effort that it took for you to write you piece of “straight normal thinking”.

      I’ve comming to thailand now for 10 years, learnt the language 7 years age learnt reading and writting Thai 5 years and now learning the Issan language. Met many Thai women. But the more I learn about their Thai mentality and thinking, it makes me think “hang-on a minute, I don’t want be apart of this stupidity”.

      Fact 1: A Thai buddest marriage is NOT A LEGAL marriage, no matter if you pay no sinsot or 100 million US dollors. This type of marriage is not reconized under Thai law.

      Fact 2: A Thai marrage at the District office is A LEGAL marriage and costs 60baht. This type of marriage is reconized under Thai law.

      Thai culture is NOT the same as Thai law.

      My girlfreinds parents want 300,000Baht sinsod and under their Thai culture they are surposed to ask the grooms parents for this money and not the groom. As I can’t speak Issan and Thai now, I’ve often asked some of the more sincere people here “Why do Thai ladies look for farangs when their are many rich Thai men here?” and their replies were “Their parents will not pay the sinsot if they are marrying down”.
      I mother has refused and forbids me to pay, in fact she says that they should be paying you! – as she would be marrying up and have a chance to live in the west (even thought I have been honest and told my GF that London is paved with stone and not gold).
      I would advise any farang whose Thai GF wants sinsod is to talk with their mother or a close female friend in the west first. Why? Because a western woman don’t think with their dick, because they don’t have one :)

      Thanks again Jack and good luck.
      Kind regards

      • TheThailandLife says

        You’re partly correct; Thais generally marry the same class, but they do show/pay sinsod if they marry because it’s an integral part of the ceremony, certainly in Isaan, anyway. On occasion, if a girl has been married before, and has kids, the sinsod may not be appropriated.

        However, the idea is NOT to marry someone poorer than yourself.It does happen though. My wife’s sister married a guy poorer than her, yet her Dad said it was fine if he loved and took good care of her. But yes, a girl from humble beginnings has little chance of marrying into a rich Thai family, and a girl who has already been married, has little education, kids and no money has little hope of finding a “decent” Thai guy to marry. This is the same in most Asian cultures.

        For this reason the farang has become an anomaly. Relatively well educated, well off (some) foreign men marry women that most Thai men wouldn’t give the time of day due to class differences; thus the “stupid farang” stigma. Thai people can’t understand why foreigners want to marry down, essentially losing wealth rather than boosting it. They don’t consider love, soulmates, friends, spiritual kinship, etc, because rak gin mai dai, “love cannot eat”, as the famous saying goes.

        It’s very difficult for foreigners to get their head around sin sod. To do so one has to understand it’s history and subsequent place in a class driven society where face is everything. To not pay sin sod when marrying your girlfriend is an insult to her and her family, essentially saying she is worthless. It doesn’t bode well for you either – entering her “moo baan” (local community). The fact that you refused to pay sinsod, or paid less than a poor Thai guy would, reflects badly on your girlfriend – her husband is branded “farang keenock” – people will gossip saying stuff like “why marry such a poor farang when she can simply marry a poor Thai”. Yes, I know, this is superficial bullcrap, but it’s how many people are. I personally don’t care what people think of me, however, when marrying someone, and marrying into a family, especially a different culture, one has to be a little unselfish and consider the feelings of others, and the impact one’s presence has on the marriage.

        Another aspect of this is that the sin sod is often referred to by Thais as “the mother’s milk” – meaning compensation for the financial sacrifice to raise a daughter. For example, my GFs mother sold most of her land to put my GF through university. She has no pension, no huge savings, and so sin sod would give her some money to invest in a house or land to support her old age. The money isn’t always kept, and certainly doesn’t have to be. Very often in the modern day it is just shown, along with gold you buy for your wife. Her parents may not want to keep the money, depending on their financial situation. This is entirely down to what is decided between you, your gf and her family.

        In the UK, where I am from, men spend 3000 pounds on an engagement ring, and then 1,500 pounds or so on a wedding ring. They spend 2000 pounds on a stag doo, and then 20,000 pounds on a wedding, then 4000 pounds on a honeymoon and this is just the average person. You can have a great wedding in a hotel in Thailand for 3000 pounds, add in the 300,000 Baht sin sod and you still spent 50% less than you would in the UK. Not to mention you are just a 50 quid flight away from many amazing honeymoon island destinations. People can say oh “you bought your wife” and other ignorant crap like that; but they don’t understand what sin sod is: At the end of the day most men will pay 20k plus for a wedding, and then pay through the teeth supporting the materialistic demands of a western woman their entire life, only to divorce and lose 50% of everything.


        • Raymond says

          You’re partly correct; Thais generally marry the same class, but they do show/pay sinsod if they marry because it’s an integral part of the ceremony, certainly in Isaan, anyway. On occasion, if a girl has been married before, and has kids, the sinsod may not be appropriated.

          However, the idea is NOT to marry someone poorer than yourself.It does happen though. My wife’s sister married a guy poorer than her, yet her Dad said it was fine if he loved and took good care of her. But yes, a girl from humble beginnings has little chance of marrying into a rich Thai family, and a girl who has already been married, has little education, kids and no money has little hope of finding a “decent” Thai guy to marry. This is the same in most Asian cultures.

          For this reason the farang has become an anomaly. Relatively well educated, well off (some) foreign men marry women that most Thai men wouldn’t give the time of day due to class differences; thus the “stupid farang” stigma. Thai people can’t understand why foreigners want to marry down, essentially losing wealth rather than boosting it. They don’t consider love, soulmates, friends, spiritual kinship, etc, because rak gin mai dai, “love cannot eat”, as the famous saying goes.

          It’s very difficult for foreigners to get their head around sin sod. To do so one has to understand it’s history and subsequent place in a class driven society where face is everything. To not pay sin sod when marrying your girlfriend is an insult to her and her family, essentially saying she is worthless. It doesn’t bode well for you either – entering her “moo baan” (local community). The fact that you refused to pay sinsod, or paid less than a poor Thai guy would, reflects badly on your girlfriend – her husband is branded “farang keenock” – people will gossip saying stuff like “why marry such a poor farang when she can simply marry a poor Thai”. Yes, I know, this is superficial bullcrap, but it’s how many people are. I personally don’t care what people think of me, however, when marrying someone, and marrying into a family, especially a different culture, one has to be a little unselfish and consider the feelings of others, and the impact one’s presence has on the marriage.

          Another aspect of this is that the sin sod is often referred to by Thais as “the mother’s milk” – meaning compensation for the financial sacrifice to raise a daughter. For example, my GFs mother sold most of her land to put my GF through university. She has no pension, no huge savings, and so sin sod would give her some money to invest in a house or land to support her old age. The money isn’t always kept, and certainly doesn’t have to be. Very often in the modern day it is just shown, along with gold you buy for your wife. Her parents may not want to keep the money, depending on their financial situation. This is entirely down to what is decided between you, your gf and her family.

          In the UK, where I am from, men spend 3000 pounds on an engagement ring, and then 1,500 pounds or so on a wedding ring. They spend 2000 pounds on a stag doo, and then 20,000 pounds on a wedding, then 4000 pounds on a honeymoon and this is just the average person. You can have a great wedding in a hotel in Thailand for 3000 pounds, add in the 300,000 Baht sin sod and you still spent 50% less than you would in the UK. Not to mention you are just a 50 quid flight away from many amazing honeymoon island destinations. People can say oh “you bought your wife” and other ignorant crap like that; but they don’t understand what sin sod is: At the end of the day most men will pay 20k plus for a wedding, and then pay through the teeth supporting the materialistic demands of a western woman their entire life, only to divorce and lose 50% of everything.


          You know very well that someone who is branded as a “farang keenok (shit farang)” or even a western homeless tramp has a higher status of a Thai as they don’t need visas to travel. Thais need visas and in most cases a guarantor for the UK for a reason. One reason is that the British goverment knows that they are likely going to rip-off the state. Why should us westerners take care of people who blow all their wages on booze and fags, when they could be paying into a pension fund? – yes all Thai banks can set up pension funds for Thais.
          Their are some British couples who have a small do and a registery office marriage costing less than a couple of hundred quid. I’ve even known a couple to have their wedding reception on Clapham Common where all the guests brought ther own food and drink.
          And nobody what so ever looked down on these people.

          Once you learn and understand Sakdina, you will understand Thai culture and their mentality of thinking.

          Fortunatly their are a small percentage of Thai who oppose the sinsot and Sakdina way of life and these are the women who you want to meet.

          • TheThailandLife says

            I understand sakdina and oppose it, but if you started talking about how sin sod is an evil perpetuation of sakdina that should be eliminated from Thai culture you’re likely to get some very blank looks. Thais just don’t see it like that. Every Thai person I know, if asked, will agree all people should be seen as equals, indeed this is the very cornerstone of Thai Buddhism. But then that’s not the reality people are living with and having to deal with daily, and not a point that warrants getting rid of an integral part of the wedding tradition. They’d probably just say, “why are you getting so serious about the wedding, it’s supposed to be a fun, happy time”.


            You suggest that it is hard for Thais to get a visa because the British government thinks they will rip off the state? That’s a huge generalisation and one I reject. There are hundreds of thousands, if not more Thais travelling to the UK every year to holiday and visit relatives with no problems at all. And the Thais that have settled in the UK are generally hardworking and doing well for themselves.

            Those who struggle to get visas are those with a questionable status, i.e a bargirl with no savings travelling to the UK with a guy twice her age that she met after he took a 2-week holiday in LOS, which is understandable.

            When I applied for a visa for my GF the first time it was refused, not because of her, but me! The British embassy said she was good to go, good job, savings and uni papers and great references. it was my lack of documentation holding up the process. They wanted to see my entire Thailand travel history in print, vis stamps etc.

            In regards to pensions, I was referring to state pensions. Most elder rural folk are intimidated by banks and lack the education/knowledge to go in and arrange to pay in a pension, and most don’t (have never) earn enough to pay into one; they’ve lived a simple day-by-day existence their entire lives. Many do now have life insurance policies though, due to door knocking marketing initiatives by companies seeking new business.

            Of course I take your point about British couples marrying on a very small budget, and or not caring for frills, and that’s great, but it’s not the norm these days, is it? And of course no one should judge or point a finger. But Thailand is such a place where people are put in boxes based on family name, education, wealth, whiteness of skin and other superficial rubbish (social point scoring, sakdina, etc). That doesn’t mean all Thais think that way, but this is how society has been and continues to be structured. The majority of Thai people want to elevate their face, or at the very least maintain their status in the community, and this is asserted through ceremonies such as marriage and death.

            If you don’t want to be a part of it I completely understand that. I don’t either, and on a day to day basis I am not because I don’t judge others in that way. My wife is Thai. She displays a lot of Thainess. But she doesn’t look down on others and has a heart of gold, this is the reason I married her. You can marry a Thai and not have to fall into the sakdina system, thus the reason many foreigners and their Thai wives choose to leave and live elsewhere. But….

            If you love your gf, and you want to spend the rest of your life with her, then I can’t see why, if you truly understand sin sod and what it represents to your wife’s family, you wouldn’t pay it, or at least just show the amount, which is about what an average Thai guy would show to marry an average girl. It doesn’t mean you have to support anyone in fags and booze post the wedding, or adjust your moral standards. It’s simply appropriating a marriage custom within the culture you intend to marry into.

            Think of it like this: if something happens to you post the marriage, if that money is used to build a home, or invested in land, that will give something for your wife and child (possibly) to fall back on. You don’t just have to hand over the cash. Its up to you and your gf to discuss how it should be used and then talk with her parents. They may not even want it if they are already comfortable.


            I think you might find this book interesting if you haven’t read it already:

  76. roshe says

    hi brother,
    first very very great blog i ever know. great shares and experience. i visited thailand more than four times, as i go there every year to get relaxed for about a week. last visit a met a thai girl and realised i cant live without her. I share my feelings with her and she told me was married before and divocered and having two daughters. She is working in bar because she dont have any other option of earning money. Her parents are died and her elder sister takes care of her childrens. she told me she cant come with me as she is the sole earner of her family. i asked how much money she spend on her family and the answer is about 30000 baht a month considering her two kids.
    Brother i stay in india and getting about USD2000/- as a salary so it is almost immpossible to pay her USD1000/- a month. But i know i cant live without her. please advise what to do bcoz i think i loosing my weight, i m not feeling well
    pleeeease heeeeeelp bro.

    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi Roshe,

      First off take a step back and consider the following. You barely know this girl and have no idea whether she is telling the truth. Sadly, and I am sure others will agree, you are probably getting a very diluted version of the truth. Girls go to work in bars to make money from foreigners. Many of them have multiple boyfriends sending them money. This is a profession. Even if she is telling the complete truth, to consider becoming the boyfriend of a girl under a financial arrangement is not a good foot to start on. If you do decide to be with her I am not saying you shouldn’t help her out, but 30,000 Baht is way too much. Did you know that the average salary in Bangkok is about 13,000 Baht? Only those who are fairly well educated earn 30,000+. In fact this is the salary for a foreign teacher in Thailand. There is no way she needs that much, especially for a rural family. Most Thais upcountry live on about 100-200 Baht per day per person, many less. I guarantee her kids and sister live in a family home so there is no rent to pay. Let me give you some comparison here. My GF worked at a hotel in customer service/sales. She earned about 20k a month – 15 basic + commission. From this she paid her rent, socialised and sent a few thousand home for her mother and father to supplement their income. She also saved a bit. Another Thai friend of my is a computer programmer. He earns 25k a month, and went to a good Bangkok university. Come to think of it; many farang here live on less than that. If she is sending 30k a month home she is doing very well in the bar. That means sleeping with a lot of men. Are you going to give up half your salary to support her family’s better than well-off lifestyle.

      Do you really want to suddenly start supporting 2 children that aren’t yours? What about dating first? What about getting to know her family? How do relationships work in your country? Consider this before jumping in. Also consider that if you send her money she will promise to leave the bar, but the likelihood is she won’t. I saw this situation time and time again when i lived in Samui. She could be a lovely, genuine girl, I don’t know her, but she may also be a very professional bar girl adept with extortion tactics. Please go slowly and make your decisions based on facts and practicalities (at least at this stage) rather than emotions. Good luck and start eating!

      • roshe says

        Thanks Brother.
        I am sure you are the only person who helps me out of this situation. I already accepted that working in a bar in pattaya, she met many farangs but a very strong monetary reason is behind her decision. Being a Indian relationship is given top priority and relationship with divorced woman can’t be accepted at all. Living with her is a very toughest decision of my life.
        Being a seafarer I travelled almost all over the world and met many girls. I know girls strategy very well as it is their everyday business but I never been tricked or trapped in them. This is the first time I can’t make any decision. If I make any wrong decision I can’t forgive myself if she is genuine and if she plays with my feelings…….
        One of my friend from Italy who is making 5000 euro a month stays in Thailand for a entire winter with her lady as he finds very difficult to carry her with him to Italy.
        I think, I have to spend some more time with her and I will try to understand her family and thai life, psychology. I kept my finger crossed.
        May be after winter I visit Thailand. Surely contact you and please don’t mind if I mailed you again for any updates or your suggestion. If your heart is good you find everything good. My heart is clean.
        Talking to you gives me great relief. 50% fog is cleared, rest I will clean with your help.
        Thanks again bro.
        And the better part is I started looking more resources to earn money may be I need it to start better relationship.

  77. danny says

    I have been reading a few of these posts and thought I would add to this ever expanding blog. This is a little exciting as I have never contributed to a blog before.

    I am looking to marry a thai lady next year and don’t have to much of a problem with the thought of sin sod. I have been regularly travelling back to thailand over the last 10 years and think I owe the place. I also love my fiancé and do want the wedding to be done in the right culture.

    I only had a problem when as mentioned in a few past posts after i had agreed a figure I found out that it had gone back to the family and come back doubled and then some. This put a lot of pressure on my fiance to negotiate on what I had already agreed. After some traumatic chats have now increased the sin sod to a value and I am happy with and can afford still. In my mind the extra money will be used to cover the ceremony and a reception. I don’t expect to get any back after the ceremony but if i do I won’t complain :) Maybe I will post again as i get closer to the date with an update.

    I did see a few posts about people putting money into accounts for the family. I haven’t actually thought about what happens at the ceremony. It is a large sum of cash to be left lying around after the ceremony. Do the family take it straight away or do you get back after ceremony and then go deposit at the bank.

    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi Danny, congratulations on breaking your blog virginity :) And congrats on your wedding plans. Regarding the money being left lying around, I would be looking to deposit that straight to the bank. Also consider where it will be kept the day/night before. Perhaps you can arrange to use the hotel safe, but even that might not be safe. I am sure her parents have a bank account, if not, you can open one with Bangkok Bank or other, see this post here

      Keep us updated!

  78. Graham says

    many thanks for the comprehensive reply – the time you have taken is appreciated, as is the advice.

  79. Graham says

    I should also add that she has a sister who is marrried to a German (they are building house there) I do not know what (if any) money they contribute to family.

  80. Graham says

    I am hoping to marry a Thai girl from the north next year (not a bar girl), and live in the Uk when possible. She’s not a virgin but has no children. Reasonable education. I think I have read enough to know the situation with sin-sod.
    What I am trying to establish beforehand is how much is reasonable to be expected to send back to her family each month? They are (relatively) poor farmers.

    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi Graham,

      Many girls from poorer families who work away from home do send money home each month to help out, and from my understanding the onus is on the youngest (unmarried) daughter to help out financially. When a girl marries this usually stops and her husband isn’t expected (culturally) to pick this up. That isn’t to say Thai guys don’t help out, many do, many don’t. However, a large number of farang-thai relationships are transactional in this respect. For example, the daughter decides she will marry a much older foreigner, “take care” of him, etc, for a agreed fee each month to support her kids/parents/dependents; a house is often thrown in too.

      Personally, I wouldn’t send money on a monthly basis, quite simply because the likelihood is that the family will begin to rely on it, work less and expect more as they become accustomed to a new lifestyle – you will have heard the “my buffalo is sick” stories, I’m sure. You would essentially be providing a salary/benefits that may end up causing more problems than doing good. Extended family may also start asking for a piece of the pie.

      In my opinion the best way to handle the situation is to give a gift (whatever you can afford) every now and again, and to help out in a family crisis such as urgent work on the house or perhaps a younger needing some essential stuff for school. Rather than giving money every month you could buy stuff they really need every now and again; like a fridge, a new fan or work tools. ..?

      If your GF has been working in Thailand up until now and sending money home, and you plan for her to stop work when you marry, then she may expect you to pick up where she left off. Depending on her job, I doubt this was more than 3-5,000 Baht. However, as a farang, you will most likely be expected to send more; I mean why would she marry a farang if he can’t provide more than she can alone or with a Thai partner?

      Consider also; if you’re paying sin sod and the money isn’t being returned, what is happening to this money? Is it being wisely invested? Is it being used to set up a small business to generate an income? Which would mean you and your GF (wife) won’t have to keep sending money all the time.

      I am not saying be stingy, but I have been around a while here, seen and been in many situations, and my experience is that you have to be practical and firm when it comes to money, and be careful that you don’t become the proverbial bottomless farang money pit. It’s a nice thought that you can send a little money each month and the family will be really grateful, spend it wisely and live a better life, but the reality is rarely without complication and headache. If you want to provide regular financial support then be astute – make sure your financial position is understood and know where your money is going. This will be in their best interest as well as yours.

      One thing I’d suggest is having a conversation with her sister’s German husband and finding out what set up they have going on.

      *Please note that my reply is fairly general, I don’t know your specific situation and of course each relationship is different. Your GF’s family may be great with money, be over the moon with 2,000 Baht a month, save it every month for 5 years and build a new small home :)

    • Lloyd says

      Graham: What I am trying to establish beforehand is how much is reasonable to be expected to send back to her family each month? They are (relatively) poor farmers.

      I think the answer can only be found within your own, and your future wifes, own discussions on the matter anything else is introducing heresay and arguably more fiction than fact to an equation that is already fraught with emotion.

  81. Mr Wat says

    all not real sinsod nobody can not fix sinsod only her family can fix sinsod
    women been married already or never when her marry again have to pay sinsod
    how much sinsod up to family her not they bring her up not depends 1.Family Name
    3.Prior Marital Status

    i want you know real about that then you can put on internet because no good for not know real and put on internet then make damage of my cultur and my tradition did you know ? some women who married already can marry again sissod more than frist time so sinsod depands her family not depends something anything

    • TheThailandLife says

      Thank you for your input Mr Wat. The post was researched with three different Thai people and based on my experience of Thai weddings, and is not simply my opinion. It seems that opinion is fairly divided among Thai people though, and perhaps that’s because it’s an old tradition that has been modified and interpreted differently over time. I have also been told that women remarrying do have a sin sod; I never said they couldn’t. However, it is usually lower in value, right? I did also say, as you said, that it is the family who decide, not the bride to be. Perhaps you can provide us with some more information from your experience so that we can better understand this part of your culture. Thank you.

  82. says

    “$400,000 (US) dollars ”

    Did I read this figure correctly? Even if you drop a “0” off the end its still an outrageous amount. Surely something has been lost in translation??

  83. Jackie says

    Hi! My brother (who is American) has a Thai girlfriend. Recently her parents sat down with my dad and my brother and said that they want $400,000 (US) dollars for the Sin Sod. His gf is pretty, in her mid twenties, and university educated, but from all estimates I’ve read this price is outrageous. What is your opinion?

    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi Jackie, out of interest was she raised in the US or Thailand? Are they expecting to keep this money or is just for show? If she is related to a seriously wealthy high society family with a name to uphold then I could understand (culture/society wise) why they would expect to show that much, although it would be returned because they don’t need the money. If she is a Thai movie star or popstar then she would also require this amount or more to show the press. But if she is a uni grad from a family of average wealth then it’s just silly.

  84. says

    Hi Pete!
    First of all i’d like to say thanks for all the blogging effort, nice work!
    After reading this article about sin-sod I read your quote “Sin Sod is not a dowry”… I find this strange as my Thai wife calls it a dowry, and her Thai parents call it a dowry…

    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi, funny you replied on this just as i was reading a thread on ThaiVisa about Sin Sod…some of those guys crack me up with their perception of Thai culture and understanding of Sin Sod. Honestly, I feel so sorry for some of their GFs/wives, refusing to pay or worse insulting the girl and her family by choosing to show less than a rice farmer would do. Then they moan that farang get no respect in the village, I’m not surprised! Anyway…In answer to your question, yes in a way it is a dowry, but for want of a better word…because westerners perceive a dowry as buying a wife, which Sin Sod is not at all. You could refer to it as such but I prefer not to because it immediately gives folks back home the wrong impression.

      Nice beats on your Soundcloud by the way!

      • says

        Thank you :)

        Yes I understand what you are saying, but I think anyone worth a grain of salt back home would understand that weddings cost money for a start, and also that the bottom line is that it’s helping your wife’s family. I myself was a bit turned off by the idea myself at first, but it takes a while to get a grasp of many aspects of Thai culture.

        Personally, I think most people have the wrong impression about most things Thai. Sometimes it is plainly because they are just ignorant douchebags, but it’s mostly that people are trying to filter Thai life through Western eyes, or vise versa. “Impressions” aren’t something I generally worry about, but I can see how we can make it a bit easier for people to understand Thai culture, and I’m glad that Pete is trying to do just that.

        If people can’t discern past judgement then I’m glad they’re not in my travel group, but if they are I would generally offer them a few paragraphs to read from a book such as “Thailand Fever”, which is great for showing people (both Thai and ‘western’) that there is a completely different angle to ‘why people do what they do’. I’m lucky enough to have family and friends that have all been very understanding and ALL want to go back to Thailand again very soon. I was very happy to see everyone at least trying to speak Thai, it’s a bit sad to see foreigners not even attempting to learn the basics.

        and yes, I think the word “Sin-Sod” is a bit nicer than “dowry”.

        Thanks again Pete!

  85. Richard says

    Have persued her to Nonthaburi, believing we could live together here away for the vilage and parents. It’s not working out, we talk by phone, but, face to face meeting is out of the question at the moment until sin sod is ready. It seems that she believes I promised 1M. baht during my first meeting with the family, but, I never did. She attended a university in Udon, majoring in economics, hmmm… and ran sucessful spa, cell and dress shops in BKK and Udon. She had at one time a few years ago saved almost 1M from these businesses. She is not your typical rice farmer girl, she is business oriented and has spent much of her time after college running her businesses and improving her family’s living condition. She had spent alot of money to improve the house and even built a farang hong naam and air-conditioned bedroom for us. Well she seems very insistent that we not be together until after a formal wedding ceremony with 1M sin sod on the table. I don’t understand this, she says the sin sod will be for display only and given back by her parents. If that is that case, I’m wondering if anyone at the wedding with count the displayed sin sod to see if it’s really 1M or less. Why all the fuss if it’s only for display. Now I thinking maybe the bank or someone can loan 1M for a day for display purposes only. Hmmmm… is that a possible solution.??

    • TheThailandLife says

      The money is counted when displayed unfortunately, and yes, in this day and age it is often given back. It all depends on the family and whether they need it or not. The fact that your GF is university educated and runs her own businesses may warrant the 1m Baht for show, but she has been married before and has a child so unless her family is pretty well to do it is quite high. Second mariages do not take on the significance like they do in the west, thus the fact that you will always be told of a woman, “it’s her second husband” pretty much before you get her name. That said, if her family has considerable status in the village – the likelihood is the family has talked up her achievements (as is the nature of Isaan moo-baans) – she may well need to show that much to prove the status she has portrayed…any less and people will be like, “Yea, but I thought she was/had…” etc.

      If she has the businesses then the bank will lend her 1m for sure, but then the idea is that her man is worthy of her…i.e. you can pay it, or at least show it. This is what many farang fail to realise; Thailand is a class driven society, one doesn’t normally marry underneath one’s self, and therefore the Sin Sod shows reflects the status of both parties. It shows you are worthy of each other, as are your families.

      Moreover, she has spent money on the home building a room with aircon and toilet for you both, that would have set her back 100k. So in her mind she is thinking, hang on, something is wrong here, in Thailand men support their women, not the other way round; and he is a farang! (Yes we are expected to have more dosh sadly). If you don’t have it you don’t have it….not much you can do, but she isn’t likely to settle for someone with no money, not even enough for her expected sin sod. You have to think about this, she owns her own businesses, she is educated, she isn’t a bar girl who left school at 11 that you can show 100,000 baht sin sod for – I know one shouldn’t put monetary worth on a person but sadly this is part of a classist set up – I don’t agree but if you want a Thai GF it is what it is. She needs to maintain her status and that of her family. If you love her and want to pursue this tell her you have read up on sin sod, and since this is her second marriage and she has a child, you are willing to meet half way and show 500k for the benefit of face and tradition.

      Good luck

      • Richard says

        Updating my story today from a new location, now living in Bangkok. Just rented a apartment / condo with a 1 year lease on the urgings of my wife to have a place where can live away from the village. So far I’ve had no luck getting her to visit me, still seems to be same old conversation, day after day. Not sure where she is, first she hinted at being in Nonthaburi, however today she claims to be in Samut Prakan, hmmm… whatever!! She seems more willing to visit me, thought it would be today but it might be next week. She is planning to go back to Udon to start her course at the hair design school. She was supposed start the day she fled, and we were going to rent a room near the school and even put a deposit on it. This would have been a great chance for us to be away from the village and try to start a life together while I looked for some teaching work in Udon. Well now that I’ve settled into Bangkok, she wants me to go to Udon with her, hmmm….. Well, I said no, I would stay here and try to find work here. Asked her to stay in BKK with me, but, so far no luck. She is resigned to us living apart, so be it! I think I just need more kwaam ot-ton (patience), she seems to be softening her position, but, not sure she is thinking of a lesser
        amount, but, seems more willing to meet me. Now the last twist is that she told her parents and daughter that I went back to America to earn “big” money and would return with sin sod in hand, really!!! I guess this will help her parents save face with the village but I can’t return there it seems unless I have a wallet bulging with 1M baht. I getting used to this life-changing event and starting to feel that I’m not the only one to have this kind of relationship with a Thai lady. Probably many guys with similiar stories, I just need to visit some bars, I’m sure I’ll find many. To be continued…

        • TheThailandLife says

          WOW, Richard, what is going on here?

          – Why are you letting her treat you this way?
          – Why are you not giving her an ultimatum to come and see you and speak things through or never come back at all?

          Fact is, no Thai guy would accept this so why are you? Moreover, would you accept such treatment from a partner like this in your home country?

          I can assure you this isn’t the norm. If I were you I’d get back in the market and find one of the millions of single Thai (or other) women who wouldn’t treat you like this.

          Hope things work out for the best.

  86. Richard says

    Sitting here in an internet shop in a rural section of Udon, still a bit numb from yesterday’s lesson in Thai / Isaan culture. My wife of 3 weeks, (registered at Amphur), left me suddenly and is now in Bangkok, she is too “shy”, to use her word, to stay in her village at her parents house with me. She keeps asking for 1 million baht sin sod for the wedding ceremony. She said I agreed to 1 million baht at my first meeting with her family, which is not true in my mind. I do remember her mentioning 1M baht, but, didn’t take it seriously and just laughed it off. It was probably the only English words I hear during that first meeting. Somehow she thought I agreed to that amount and now she is unable to stay in the village and with me anymore, until I have 1M for sin sod. So we are seperated after only 3 weeks, all because of sin sod. I explained to her many times my financial situation, my blown savings from numerous trips to Thailand in the past and being drained by other Thai ladies and my continuing support of 2 ex-wives and the fact that I only have Social Security income at the moment, but, she thinks I can somehow come up with 1M baht. I told her that if I’m careful I could save 25,000 baht per month and if I should get a job here teaching English, it could be 35,000 – 40,000, but I told her to do the math. How long until I have 1M baht? MANY YEARS!! Well, she says she can wait until then, but, we will live apart. I’ve mentioned this already to a few people and all think this is crazy. She is a divorced lady with child from a rice farming family and from what I have read I shouldn’t be expected to give such a large sum. I’m assuming she has lost face and that’s the reason for her sudden departure. Now, I’m living alone, at her parents home, not sure what to do next. She is telling me I shouldn’t stay there too long because her parents cannot support me. What a crazy predicament I’ve gotten myself into!!! Perspective grooms beware, keep your eyes open and read up on this subject carefully.

    • TheThailandLife says

      How long have you known your wife and how much do you know about her? Did you not communicate properly on this part of the wedding before you married? I will be frank with you; she has a child and is from a rice farming family, and was married before. I am assuming she didn’t finish school either – or at the most only high school. So, the reason she is seeking to marry a foreigner is for financial security because she is incapable of supporting herself and her child/family. So why has she left, well, think about it, why would she marry and stay with a poor foreigner when she could just as easily marry a poor Thai guy from her village who at the very least she has many things in common with and can communicate with her effectively. This might sound harsh, but when I hear these stories I feel a reality check is needed.

      My GF was born in Kalasin (Isaan), we’ve been together 3.5 years. She is the same age as me, university educated, no kids and from an average family. I won’t be paying anywhere near 1m Baht sin sod when we marry. I will offer an affordable sum as a gift to her family. Enough to represent her status in her village but nothing that will cripple me financially. Of course 1m Baht is too much for you to pay, a Thai guy certainly wouldn’t pay more than 200,000; I’d say more like 100,000.

      A relationship shouldn’t be conditionally based around money. If she loves you she’ll be there whether you have 100 Baht in your pocket or 10m. My advice is cut and run. Find a Thai woman your own age, someone you have things in common with, someone who isn’t solely holding out for your cash. develop a great friendship and then let it develop naturally.

      And it won’t stop at 1m baht either…then you need to buy her gold too!

  87. Ninew1719 says

    incredible! because now i got the problem about “sin sod” it really hard to make my boyfriend understand Right.Cuz he think “sin sod “is pay for buy me like i stay between my boyfriend and my family….Tradition
    i hope after he read this website..he will understand more than before
    Thank you…

  88. Derek says

    Great blog..very interesting..and a breath of fresh air from a lot of the other Thai blogs out there,
    I travel to Thailand any free time I have off work for around the past 6 years,so anywhere from 3 to 6 months a year there(I work offshore),I have had one serious relationship that ended over the dreaded Sin Sod…I was asked to pay 150k baht Sin sod to marry a girl I was in a relationship with for 2 years ,The girl in question Noi was 35 had been married previously and had two daughter 11 and 8, she had a good job a big house and rarely asked me for money, barring the usual for any relationship..short for something at the end of the month phone bill or some such,but when the talk came around to marriage and the Sin sod I said that the culture in my Country was that I would pay for my daughters wedding and why should I have to give money to her Father and still pay for the wedding etc,She said it was only a nominal fee and when she got married before her Ex husband had to pay 1million baht,the long and the short of it we split up after some heated discussions..I felt in the right but in actual fact I was really wrong..I knew very little in fact less than a little about Thai Culture..150k Baht was a perfectly acceptable fact even though she was married before she was probably better off than me in a lot of ways and although not rich she was financially secure without me,one of the things I do not like so much about Thai culture and that is “face” me not agreeing to pay 150K Baht Sin sod she was losing “face” essentially by me saying no to paying her father I was in her eyes saying “no you are not worth that money to me”and all of her family would be able to see that by me refusing,In the end the relationship went south but it did teach me a valuable lesson,if you are in a relationship with someone from another culture and you really love that person make it your business to really understand them and to understand their Culture if its important to them it should also be important to you and they essentially will be your other half for life,
    I love Thailand I love the People and am starting to like the Thai Culture a lot more,I have been gradually learning Thai over the last years..but have decided that this year I will dedicate to learning as much of the Language and Thai Script and Culture as I can,I have just got to the point of being able to write Thai words and understand and read Thai words(its a miracle in my mind 😛 )..but I know it will get better..the more you learn the easier it gets,
    Sin Sod….if you know the girl and love the is part of Thai Culture not everyone is looking for a free ride ..My advice is your wife to be’s Culture and Respect her by Respecting her Culture.

    • TheThailandLife says

      Derek, thank you for sharing your story, you have brought a useful angle to the debate. As you say, there is a need to really understand the aspects of Thai culture that are of significance when entering a long term relationship with a Thai. Admittedly, Sin Sod isn’t as important to some families as it is to others but, the majority of Thai women will want to show money at their wedding to reflect their own status and that of their family. The wedding is as much about the family as it is about the girl. Seldom do we think about this but you summed it up well by saying, “I was in her eyes saying “no you are not worth that money to me” and all of her family would be able to see that by me refusing”…

      As foreigners we get hung up on this “I am not buying a bride” thing. But actually this isn’t what Sin Sod is, as I point out in the post. Perhaps many are conscious of the many “money grabbing Thai bride” stories forever doing the rounds, and let this stop them from properly understanding Sin Sod. Perhaps many are conscious of the stigma attached to paying for a “Thai bride”. But these are our hang ups, and yes, if you marry into another culture, or indeed get married at all, you have to consider what aspects of the wedding are important to your future wife. Of course, don’t pay out what you can’t afford, but I’ve said it before and I will say it again, the likelihood is that marrying in Thailand will save you a lot more than marrying back home. In fact the price of Sin Sod might well be what an English woman would expect me to fork out for a dress!

  89. peterquixote says

    I had a terrible time with Sin of the Sod.
    I met and married Thai girl very quickly. She is an Isaan girl. married before to a Thai man, and her parents received substantial sin sod.

    I told her what I had, and what I didn’t have financially.
    My reality meant nothing. My Thai wife is programmed to believe a Farang, Westerner is rich and can pay everything, anywhere, any cost, any time.
    I brought her to New Zealand but the pressure went on. There was money for her, money for her son, money for her parents, money for car, money for savings, money for her trip back home, and there was no way of talking my way out of it.
    I just gave up in despair and depression.

    • TheThailandLife says

      I guess that is why they say “only fools rush in”, not that I am calling you a fool, god knows we have all done it at one stage or another, but to what extent determines the damage. Always best to wait a good 2-3 years to see what the girl is all about, I think. Isaan girl, Bangkok girl or English girl, it doesn’t matter, never splash the cash to begin with. Act like you earn average money even if you do pretty well for yourself. Not to be stingy, but to make sure the woman in question is with you for love and not money. I need to know that my GF will be with me whether I have 100 dollars left in the bank or 100m baht.

      Sadly, many poor, uneducated Thai women believe the farang is the answer to all their problems and that happiness in life can be acquired through wealth; in fact this mindset isn’t exclusive to the poor/uneducated sector – the misguided superficial mind has become a human condition. In addition to this there is the often desperate mission to upgrade the face of the family, etc. On top of this is parental pressure (something reader Bibblies might pitch in on). Many girls are manipulated to provide more and more money to their families, and in fact no matter how much is given the requests will never stop, and much of the money is wasted on drinking, gambling and frivolous things.

      Many girls choose the first farang they can get their hands on based on limited availability and high demand, and many farang often choose the first girl who says the right things and batters her eyelids provocatively. This, of course, is largely a recipe for disaster, for both parties. It isn’t always the foreigner who ends up with a bum deal – I am sure there are large numbers of Thai women moaning about their drunken, unfaithful, “keenock” partners.

      Sadly many foreigner-thai relationships are centered around financial security for the woman, particularly where huge age gaps are concerned it is hard to see there is any other common ground. Many foreigners are happy with this, they get a young pretty woman to shag and who cooks and cleans (not always a lasting promise), and the girl gets financial support for her kids and family. But then what happens when funds are in short supply and the relationship has no emotional or spiritual grounding, or real friendship for that matter. It breaks down.

      It begs the question, do Thai women really want a foreign boyfriend or just the security? I have heard many a Thai woman say that Thai men are fun and romantic, yet lack the ability to be faithful or reliable, i.e. “Thai man no good”. Perhaps this is why you hear the cliche story of elder foreign partner and Thai boyfriend (more her age) on the side. Best of both worlds, I guess. Of course one has to take every relationship on the merit of its individuality. There are thousands of happy Thai-foreign relationships based on love and friendship, I’m sure. But one must go into relationships, and at the very least, marriage, with both eyes open and two feet on the ground….although how easy that is to do is another debate.

      I hope you get back on your feet and find real love (whatever that means :)).

  90. Lloyd says

    Sorry to say it but you would have to question why your partner believes you have 1 Million baht cash, €25,000, available. If after 2 years together your partner does not know and understand your financial position and understand what you can and cannot afford for her and her family then there is something fundamentally wrong with the relationship, probably not deliberately but amiss none the less.

  91. johnian says

    hi all, looking at the posts / comments on here, some great advice.
    i have been told by my future thai wife , that her mother has asked for 1 million baht in sin sod, talk about panic, i got wiped out by two divorces and the recession, only just picking my self up when i met Ouy on line and i have been over to see her and whole family, she has 3 kids to 2 ex thai husbands, she is 36 years old and only school education, now works on family farm and market.
    i think that she got the idea of 1 million baht after a long conversation on line , where we both had a laugh and where enjoying getting to know each other ( only known each other for couple of months , by this time ), i without knowing any thing of sin sod, said “you are one in a million” was having such a great time talking about every thing and enjoying her great personality. those who are not English or don’t know , in England one in a million is a common saying.
    so i think that now we are going to get married, been together for nearly two years, she in thailand , living with her parents and me stuck in spain trying to earn money fast (with 5 million out of work in spain) she has remembered that saying , but as she has told her parents that i offered 1 million baht sin sod, can not go back as this is not her saving face, i need advice , tried to talk to her , she said she can not tell parents she got it wrong and i don’t have that sort of money and get married and support her and 3 young kids.
    also , a word of warning to others, watch what and how you say things, it can be harmless to you but taken out of context , your in trouble. like me .
    i will not give up on her for the sake of money , i love her, her kids and family , will do all i can , just need to make the family see i don’t have a fortune, trying to explain about recession, unemployment etc. they can not comprehend it all and my thai is not up to explaining it .
    there has to be a way .
    to get there to see them all, takes 3 days and takes 4 flights, i live on an island , so have to fly to main land first , then from madrid or london, to middle east or india, then bangkok and then to the north east of thailand. all more costs, but worth every penny .
    100,000 baht, flights and hotel over christmas , 25 days i was there . missing them all so much , but can not live and work in thailand , need bigger money .
    hope i get some good advice and also hope this helps others to watch what and how they say things , even when joking , it could cost you a lot.
    thanks , great site, best regards to all johnian

  92. BK says

    Hi all,
    ->My wife was 37 when I married her (not been married before)
    ->-She is an isaan girl from a farming family
    ->She had permanent residency to live in Australia before I met her.
    ->I married her in Aust (2005)
    ->We went to Thailand for the honeymoon and paid her parents 30000 bt
    ->I think they wanted 1 mil

    • Sara says

      Hi there. I am the only female here perhaps. I was born in Thailand and got good education and career in Australia. I earned Australian citizenship because the Australian government offered that to me, not through marriage. When I married a local Australian man. I paid 50 and he paid 50 for the wedding costs. All living expenses and houses are split into two.


  93. Ole Espersen says

    I have meet a Thaigirl….and i will like to merry her…..what do I have to pay in “SindSod”…?? Hope you can give me an advice??
    She is 40 years old…..unmarried….have 2 children, who lives with the father to the children. She´s is a teacher…
    Her mother are housewife….Her dad have been a teacher and now he have a farm. (Ricefarm)…
    Hope you can and will give me an advice,…..thank´s.
    And sorry my bad english..

    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi Ole,

      I am sure her family will want to meet you first, and after that they may request a particular amount for sin sod. There are many factors to be considered as I point out in my post. However, they may not ask for anything, they may leave it up to you and your girlfriend to decide, they may ask for a certain amount but give it back after the wedding; it all depends on the family really. It also depends on what you can afford and how much you personally feel is appropriate. If you read the comments in this section you will see that there are many differing experiences. The post I have written here draws on the experience and advice of Thai friends of mine, so take that as a guideline but by no means as the gospel truth in all situations.

      Sin sod is often described as repayment for the “mother’s milk” – her hardship, sacrifice, time and money invested in bringing up her daughter – and as such, the higher the amount the better it looks on mother and daughter. In a way I guess it represents the job the mother has done, good or bad. It is usually representative of the girl’s status in relation to others in her village, family, peers, etc. For example, a girl who has been educated beyond university is likely to marry someone of similar ilk from a comfortable family, and would therefore have a larger sin sod than a girl who left school at 14 and worked the rice fields who married someone of similar status from a poorer family.

      Unfortunately, in many cases foreigners are subject to extortionate requests on the basis that they don’t know the tradition properly, and the fact that they are “farangs” and therefore perceived as rich. In many rural areas, if a girl marries a foreigner, friends and neighbors expect to see a big sin sod and big house to follow in the village, if they don’t, tongues start wagging as to why the girl bothered to marry a foreigner when marrying a Thai man would have yielded much the same. Many families see sin sod and the wedding as a way of escalating their status and increasing face in the village, rather than a celebration of love…not all, some.

      Sin sod isn’t something you can really compromise on by saying “it isn’t my culture” because for many Thais it is a very important part of the wedding ceremony. It is difficult for me to say what you should pay. I’d say come up with an amount to show at the wedding and an amount you can afford to give to her family if they want to keep it. She is 40, which sadly by thai standards is considered passed the marry sell-by-date (not being rude, not my opinion), she has kids from a previous relationship, what is her education? I’d say show what you want but I wouldn’t part with more than 200,000. I doubt a Thai man would pay more than that…but as I said, I don’t know your girlfriend and I hate to speculate. Again, it boils down to what you feel comfortable with, too. A better way to look at it is as a gift to the family. If they are fairly poor then offering a couple of hundred thousand baht as a gift for marrying their daughter is a nice gesture. If they are well off then they don’t need your money and perhaps they will just expect the sin sod for show and give it back.

      hope this helps a bit…

  94. Geoff says

    also your math is way out 25000 Baht is £512 and gold is about £1020 so Thai gold seems quite a bargain!
    If your math is this out of kilter dont marry any woman as she will clean you out.
    I was married for 20 yrs and the British system, like USA, gives the wife all that you own so we should stop bitchin about Thai girls. I only wish that any of my european girlfriends were half as good as my Thai girl DRAW ur own conclusions.

  95. Geoff says

    Yes 1 Baht of gold is the same as 1 ounce and from what I see Thai gold is of a poor quality regardless of the carat indicated

    • Lloyd says

      Geoff, you must have a problem with what you can see then, or you have no idea what you are talking about!

      Thai gold as it is known, which is all gold sold retail in Thailand, has a purity of 96.5% pure, or 23 carat gold. By comparison the average purity of retail gold in Nth America, UK and Europe is between 40-75% pure, or less than 18 carats.

    • TheThailandLife says

      In the UK we tend to look at very yellow gold- like thai gold – as tacky, but in actual fact it is our gold, as Lloyd pointed out, that is worth less and has a far lower percentage of purity. I am not a gold fan in terms of wearing, but the price of Thai gold seems to be running away right now.

    • Lloyd says

      Gold prices are set by the Bank of Thailand daily, todays price was 24,832 THB per Baht weight, for non ornamental gold, at todays rate of exchange that’s close to an even $8000 USD. Closer to £5300 GBP!

      The Bangkok Post lists the daily price on its website in the Business section.

  96. Geoff says

    I recently met with a Thai girl in Bangkok. She is from a village in the NW and works as a book keeper for a large company. She wanted Sin Sod of various amounts up to 2,000,000 baht? She came to various destinations around Thailand and we had a great time but always the Sin Sod question arose. She wanted 100,000 baht to keep mother happy and for a ring. She would be thrown on the streets and wanted 70,000 a month for rent? This is about £1500 each month. I did expect to meet with mother and some cousins on our return to Bangkok but I think that my promise to tell mother to eff off and slap father if there was any nonsense worked.
    She now wants to run away and live with me without any Sin Sod but how can a relationship work which has started with so much crap. How can any man allow himself to be embarrassed and bullied into paying and if he does he should expect to keep paying.
    She is a great girl and I would have a great wife especially now that I explained how she is worth less and less every time I hear about mother crying “Sin Sod”
    Yes respect Thai culture but do not lose your self respect and your own culture.

  97. Richard b says

    Glad i came across this blog, because this is the first i have heard of Sin sod…. I am living in denmark but have been taking trips to Thailand and met a beautiful thai girl that was working in a quiet bar in a small town / village.. Ive only known her for a few months and spend a few weeks with her when i go to Thailand , and will do the same in a few weeks time again… We spoke about marriage,her coming to live with me, and had looked at getting married when i come over again.. But now that i see this mention of sin sod it has kind of put me off the idea a bit. Not that i dont want to be with her , or help out her family ( i´ve already helped by paying a few thousand baht to put her son into a good hospital when he took sick and nearly died) but i also have financial things to deal with here and made a big loss from a previous relationship, house etc.. At the moment it is taking me long enough to make enough money to go to Thailand so often to see her, also i send money to her , because i asked her to go back home instead of working in bar and have “tourists” trying to bar-fine her.. Now i see this sin sod thing, i am worried because i promised to marry her and now if i bring this up with her that i can not afford to pay a big sum of money to give to her parents she will be upset im sure.. Her parents do not have money, and her brothers and sisters who have all left school do not go to work.. Not now since i started sending her money… They can get jobs ( not making much) but prefer to doss about all day, getting fed and washing done etc… To me that is freeloading, certainly not acceptable in my culture.. So part of me is saying “why should i be sending money to look after them when they are capable of looking after themselves”.. so at the moment i am a bit confused, and really have some thinking to do… look forward to reading more stories from people with same problems..

    • Lloyd says

      You met a girl in a bar and after a few weeks you were already talking about marriage and have promised to marry her, does this not seem a little “unusual” to you?

      From what I have seen most women who are divorced, with or without children, or are single and have children very rarely ask for sin sodt, as my wife so kindly put it when I asked her they are seen as “used” and in most cases the families are happy that someone will accept them into their lives and support them.

      That said I attended a wedding in Sakon Nakon just before the new year where the groom paid 500,000 baht sin sodt and married a lady with 3 children, to 3 different fathers. I figured she must be very good at something 😉

      • brendan says

        That sick member in the family going to the hospital and need money trick is one if the oldest thai bar girl scams in the book. No one knows for sure but I would not send a girl money (I wouldn’t at all, it’s 2015 after all)until you have met her multiple times and have a long relationship where she asks nothing of you.

  98. Geoff says

    I have enjoyed your blog and find it clear and informative.
    I am currently involved, on the net, with a beautiful Thai girl. We hope to marry and she is an old fashioned, mainstream, girl. I do not see what the problem is with sin sod as no matter what the culture the men pay. In USA the cultural capital of ……………. I will get back to that one, the man loses the home and everything in a divorce. In all western cultures Dowry was an integral part of marriage, of course the parents had to give it to the groom as women were of no value. In recent times the brides parents were expected to pay for the wedding etc. So what is to understand in sin sod ? it is the Thai way based on old traditions. So dont try to understand it just do it if you love the girl.


    • TheThailandLife says

      I agree Geoff. Pointless to moan about it, if you choose to marry a Thai woman you have to accept the culture. However, one should always be aware of the full tradition, and that means using the correct procedure of evaluation to make sure you aren’t simply being squeezed as a cash cow. That said, many families only expect money to be shown and given back to the groom after the ceremony. Some families don’t even appropriate this tradition anymore. I think one fact is certain, the poorer the family the less likely they are to return the money because they need it more. Another aspect to consider is that many families sell land and work themselves to the bone to pay for their daughter’s education, and therefore, with no state pension to look forward to, when their daughter marries, they expect a return on their investment.

      Pay what you can afford to pay. Whatever you do don’t put yourself in financial trouble to get married, as so many people do the world over.

  99. BKKHustler says

    Generally I don’t read blogs, but I wanted to say that this was a compelling article. Your writing style is fantastic. Thank you, quite nice post.

  100. Tim says

    The thing everyone here needs to realize is that you are not thai. I repeat, “YOU ARE NOT THAI” As a foreigner, you are not bound by thai cultural rules. Thais seem to think that their culture is the only culture that matters in ALL things, including FOOD for crying out loud. They give zero consideration when it comes to what american culture dictates the couple should do. Moreover, if you think you will simply pay a sin sodt or how ever you want to spell it and be done financially, you had better think again, then yet again. You will pay until the day you die. I have had, not just dates, but exactly four relationships with thai girls and not only refused to discuss sin sodt but also refused to discuss marriage in general. If and this is considered a never say never type example, if I did ever loose my mind and agree to marry, the things I would consider is this; (1) Is she a virgin – takes care of the never been married and no kids thing? If not, I am not marrying her, Period! (2) Is she a masters level college graduate or working towards a masters? If not, I am not marrying her, Period!….She is a burden to me as her earning power is NIL. Plus, I would need someone who is actually capable of holding an intelligent or at least a semi-intelligent conversation. (3) Is her parents fully capable of caring for themselves? If not, I am not marrying her, Period! If the above three conditions are there, then I will happily drop 5 mil sin sodt, Its not going to hurt me one bit, and I don’t give a $hit about getting it back. I will not have to worry about the family hounding me day and night about a freakin’ dead buffalo or two or three.

    • TheThailandLife says

      I think one thing you have glossed over here is that the richer the Thai girl you marry the more likely a financial burden she will be. “Keeping up appearances” costs a lot more the higher you scale the wall and, being the man, in Thai culture, you pay for stuff, no matter how wealthy she is or her family are. It is the same in many cultures, Greek and Iranian being two I have experienced. Anyway, aside from that, no, I am not Thai, and I don’t try to be, but I appreciate that some things are an integral/important part of the culture, and out of respect for my gf/wife, try to accomodate the aspects of the culture which are important to her. Similarly, there are things my GF will and has already had to adjust to/sacrifice due to my culture; for both of us, however, these are minor issues to work around because we have a great life together filled with love and laughter. Embarking on a life partnership will always involve compromise and diplomacy in a large number of areas, whether you are from the same culture or not and, if you ever let money become a deciding factor in who you choose to marry, then you have epically failed at life, in my opinion.

    • Lloyd says

      “american culture” nows theres an oxymoron if I ever read one, is there really any such thing?

      Tim I can hardly imagine you will ever be in such a position to have to worry about being asked for 5 million baht as I can not imagine there is any Thai lady with any self worth that would be seen in your company for long enough for the question of sin sodt to arrise :-)

    • bobby says

      ” is her parents fulluy capable…” So you don’t do grammar then ?
      Are her parents…. ps. are you a draconian dictator?

    • TheThailandLife says

      Do you mean 200,000 Euros? 20,000 would be very reasonable :) 20 Baht of gold…well, depends how wealthy you are I guess, but seems like a big demand. The more I talk to Thais on this the more it seems to based on “status”. I have good thai friend of 3 years now, and the other day I asked her what her parents would expect for her, she said, “Not less than 1m Baht”. She does own 2 businesses though, has no children, and has only had one boyfriend (her current one). That said, her parents gave back the sin sod for her sister’s marriage, previously, and are likely to do the same for her. So this means the 1m Baht is just to show others the worth of their daughter, and the fact that she is successful and not likely to marry any old Tom, Dick or Harry!

      • Lloyd says

        I am headed back to Thailand tomorrow for an extended holiday and another two weddings towards the end of the year, both are Thai female and foreign male. One couple are very wealthy, European multi millionaire, the other couple are steady “middle class”, neither party is paying Sin Sodt, there will be no show off money other than that spent on the wedding functions themselves.

        I don’t see how the number of businesses or boyfriends plays into the equation, from all the Thais I know status is not simply viewed on shallow assumptions of what someone might earn, or have done, its is somewhat deeper than that.

        • TheThailandLife says

          I was just highlighting her status; I am unsure as to whether this aspect plays a role or not. “from all the Thais I know status is not simply viewed on shallow assumptions of what someone might earn, or have done, its is somewhat deeper than that.” That is encouraging to hear, but is highly contradictory to what I hear and what I read. Only last night I was reading about the class structure engineering through the 1800s, and how little has changed since. People here are hugely divided by heritage, wealth, education, job status, etc. I have one friend who isn’t poor but certainly not middle class, yet takes every opportunity to distinguish herself from “those people”. My perception here is that birds of a feather flock together here far more so than in Europe, where friendship groups are far more diverse and less judgemental. But, as I always say, maybe I have encountered the wrong thais, and of course, not everyone is in favour of elitism.

  101. Lioneight says

    Hi people, nice blog.

    By chance stumbeled upon this page while at work.

    I never write online so this feels little ackward and bear in mind that im not an native english user. Dont have much to say but i put it in anyway for others comparison.

    I’m a norwegian and will be married to a thai woman this december in Thailand. Im 31 and she is 34. She graduated bachelor because the family could not afford a master and she needed to support them. She have been working as a guvernmental nurse in Lat Yao high security prison in bkk for the last 10 years. We met online 3-4 years ago and as the time went by she was the one that seemed to be on my wavelenght. She is the youngest daughter in 7 brothers and sisters. Never married and most probably even a virign. As a child she went to the temple with her grandmother before school and sat there for about 4 hours every day. Family is from UT province. Anyway, we decided after we met october last year that we wanted to marry each other. At the time we met online I did not even have a job but to be able to provide visa a stable income is a must says the guvernemt, so I got a job. She never cared about money or superficial things, a devoted Buddhist as she is. I thought i was engaged in Thailand, thai culture and my wife but when we started to plan the wedding 2-3 months ago sin sod came up which I was not very familiar with. She always said she wanted a small and humble wedding, not a village wedding. Then suddenly it escalated into a full village wedding (1000-1500 people) and a sin sod at 250.000. No gold required. She told me it was her fathers wish. I did not expect anything like this with the sin sod and everything and I did not really have any money saved for that, so it became a big downer for me. I started to read about it and found out it was of big importance for the family and the face thing so I really wanted to go trough with it and now I see it as a disgrace that some refuse to pay anything and relating it directly to dowry as its a strong part of thai culture. Both parents are alive and even most grandparents (around the age og 100 and more all of them actually). Without much detail I know they own some land and the father have rice, fish, bull, buffalo and others on the land. Not really sure what value all this can be at and what social standings the family actually have. I dont know if the sin sod will be returned or what it will be used for if they choose to keep it. Have never met them personally. I trust the woman 100% and im really looking forward to the weddign comming around the corner. Bought proposal and wedding rings with 0.5 ct center stone and a 2.6 ct total + 2 first class tickets to anywhere, anytime. Shes worth that at least ^_^

    Sorry for messy writing.

    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi Lioneight, thank you for sharing your story. I am not an expert on Sin Sod by any means; I can only go by what Thai people tell me and the stories of other foreigners, and from the comments of others below it would seem there are many variables to this tradition. I hate the thought of putting a price on people, but considering yourgf has not been married – i also presume she has no kids – and she is a graduate, I would say 250,000 would be expected whether she married a Thai or a farang. Whether we like it or not, this is part of thai culture, and it all depends on the family as to how they value this tradition, and I guess how much they need the money. Still, you would pay that money just to hire a venue in Norway, I am sure, so if it helps her family out and makes her proud on her special day then I think it is money well spent. I wish you both all the happiness in the world.

  102. Reesion_ro says

    Thank you very much for the sharing. It start making sense to me now. Guess I have to gain some respect from her parents…

  103. Reesion_ro says

    Hi, I am having relationship with my Thai girlfriend for 5 years. Recently this issue has come across our relationship.I am not a rich guy, salary is 35k baht per month. My girlfriend’s parent ask about 1mil cash and 20baht gold for the bride price. I am wondering is this price common for a rich family and university educated girl?

    • TheThailandLife says

      Contrary to what many foreigners believe, this isn’t uncommon. A thai friend of a friend got married to a another thai earlier this year and the Sin Sod was 2 mil baht; not sure what the gold amount was. These were indeed two people from wealthy families.

      Consider this; If a lower class girl who didn’t finish school marries for around the 150,000- 200,000 baht mark, then a rich family with a lot of respect aren’t going to let their daughter be insulted with a small Sin Sod, especially marrying a foreigner. However, because your gfs family are wealthy they will probably give the money back to you because they don’t need it. This is common practice because the Sin Sod is a lot about face and showing that “our daughter is worth this because she is respectable and educated”. As I mentioned in the article, my friend’s sister married and her family gave the 200,000 back to the couple to invest in a property.

      Thais generally marry their equals, this is the culture. Thais joke about foreigners marrying uneducated country girls; one of the main reasons being, why would someone with money want to marry someone so poor and then have to dilute his wealth? I guess the lady in question being a beautiful person isn’t enough of a reason for well-off thais.

      All this said and done, your culture needs to be considered here, too, and so does your financial position. I very much doubt they will keep the money so be sure to ask if it is just for show. But if you don’t have the money to show then you don’t have it. I don’t know what 20baht gold costs but it sounds a lot. Personally, if i was you and I had the 1 mil baht, i’d show the money to support the family face, but I certainly wouldn’t be giving it away. They don’t need it. if the family was poor you could easily save on the wedding by having it in thailand and giving say 100,000-250,000 as a gift or to buy some land, but come on 1m and the gold….the average foreigner doesn’t have 1 mil baht savings let alone paying for the gold.

      Work out what you can afford and let them know that is where you are at. If they like you for who you are and want you to marry their daughter for love this shouldn’t be a problem….and, if they have bags of money, they can just front the money for you and say to guests you put it down :) simple.

    • Lloyd says

      Having just returned from two weddings in Thailand, Thai/Thai and Thai/English, I’ll put in my 2 bahts worth…

      Most “wealthy” Thais are not likely to ask for cash or gold, the point here is to stress the real wealth of the family, not the perceived or somewhat visible wealth as this is where the issues will arrise. I dont know anybody who is financially independant that enjoys “flashing” money around, it does not give face to those in the same “class” or financial position, arguably exactly the opposite. That is not the same as putting on a “show” for a traditional wedding but for most modern independantly wealthy Thai families the showing of the Sin Sodt no longer happens as it once did.

      The Thai/Thai wedding my wife and I attended was between the daughter of one of the founding investors/directors of, a family with considerable real wealth whom had educated all their children at foreign schools and are well known in Bangkoks “social” scene. The groom was Thai whose family was consirably less “well off” financially, however the father and mother have high standings in the business world, the father is the principal auditor for Boonrawn Ltd (Singha beer) and a board member on two companies under the royal household. The groom was educated at Aberysthwaythe Uni in Wales and works as a software developer for Kasikorn Bank, earning around 30,000 baht per month.

      In this case it was all about equality as the two family were both gaining equal “status” from the wedding, the Sin Sodt was 200,000 which was donated to the flood relief appeal, the brides wedding ring and jewelry were presents from the grooms family and were probably in the million baht range. The wdding was paid for by the brides family and was a mix of traditional Thai/Chinese and a “modern” wedding, the bride and groom paid for their own honeymoon and gifts for the bridal party etc.

      The “price” for sin sodt does not work like a car, the better the “spec” and “manufaturer” the more you pay, its normally the exact opposite, poor families will seek more as they “need” the money, its is expected and the daughter would normally have been expected to “aim high” and marry above her own families “status”. Wealthier familes normally seeks “status” from a wedding to ask for money and gold is seen as somewhat “crass”.

      If my wifes family had made out they were “wealthy” and asked for 1 million baht and 20 baht of gold I’d have wondered why, it shows a lack of respect for the future groom as how can anyone earning 35,000 baht per month be expected to borrow 2 1/2 years earnings to get married!

      • TheThailandLife says

        Lloyd, thanks for sharing that experience. I think this goes to show that there can be no generalising on this matter. Like most things it is down to the preference of the families involved. It makes perfect sense though that a poor family will ask for more than is appropriate because they need it and because they want to elevate their status in front of the neighbours. A wealthy family with status doesn’t need the money and doesn’t need to prove anything. However, there are those rich people who will take the opportunity to show off their wealthy status to others.

  104. mick j88 says

    A very good and well written piece .
    We got married in Bangkok but then a few days later went to the village for the blessing etc.I know my wife would have liked to have the full big party with the nice dress etc but i told her if she wanted that it would have to come off the sinsot and I know her parents would make better use of the cash,this they did and along with some other cash I sent they were able to build a new bungalow.
    I would say though that as far as once married then the daughter is no longer expected to send money home I think you got it wrong .
    My wife and I have been married nearly 6 years and I was asked for 100,000 baht sinsot which nowadays is around 2000GBP but back then was around 1500GBP.I was more than happy to pay it although at first my wife got it wrong and put an extra 0 on it making it a million by mistake, I said there was no way , this caused floods of tears and a heap of grief for me till I sat her down and asked her to re write the amount.
    Since getting married my wife’s mother still pressures (or emotionally blackmails) her into sending home money as no other family member helps out. Over the last year or so she has not asked so much as she knows that we have been financially struggling here in the UK . I know she expects but doesn’t seem to ask as much as she knows that if we have money then we always treat the family to a day out or a nice meal but over the last 2 years we have had less money with us than on our trips in the boom years of 2004 to 2008.
    I am actually proud of the help I have given over the years as it meant that for the last 4 years of his life my father in law lived in relative comfort thanks to the sinsot and other financial help I gave . I would like to think that should I ever need the support of my in laws that it will be there ( not financial, but spiritual and emotional).
    chock dee

    • TheThailandLife says

      Thanks for your comment Mick. I think you’re probably right about sending money home and supporting, although I was told by friends this was “the concept”. I wonder though if more pressure to help out is put on women with foreign boyfriends. For example, there doesn’t seem to be any pressure put on my GF’s sister’s husband to help out, although he doesn’t earn much to be fair. I think helping out is fine as long as you only give what you can afford and don’t put yourself under stress. Once you marry into a family you become part of that family, and as you highlighted, whether financial or emotional it is important to be there for each other – it’s the same in most cultures I’m sure. However, where money is concerned the family must understand that when things are tight help isn’t always possible. I think it is also important to see that any Sin Sod or money given post that is used in a responsible way. In my eyes this is a symbol of respect for the person that gave it to you.

  105. says

    I have no experience with this and have only this post and a bangkok podcast to reference. A story was retold in the podcast that made me laugh, one couple who were getting married wanted to make a big show of the Sin Sod at the ceremony so photoshopped a huge check with 1 million Baht written on it with no intention of actually giving that much. Brilliant idea, something I’ll never forget and will someday try!

    I think like most traditions, it can change from family to family, like the post clearly explains. I’d be surprised if many family’s accept the definition of Sin Sod the same.

    From Colin, single guy living in Bristol with no experience of Thai girls or marriage.

    • TheThailandLife says

      Lol, awesome idea Colin…I might just borrow that one 1 day – like one of those big cheques they show on the TV for comic relief :)

  106. Lloyd says

    Upon first reading your post I was tempted to respond along the lines of, “you have no idea WTF you are talking about you cant even get the basics right”, after asking my wife to read your post we had a laugh together and thought better to answer you as you request, with our own personal experience.

    A few things need to be set straight as your post is way of the mark factually, a dowry has and never will be paid by a groom, it is paid by the bride, and or her family.

    A “Dower”, is “paid” to the bride after the wedding, nornally after the marraige has been consummated.

    Sin sodt is a “Bride Price”, paid to the bride, and or her family, by the grooms or his family prior to or during the wedding.

    Now our experience… (long but puts it all in perspective).
    I am in my mid 40’s was raised in Far Nth Australia and throught Asia and have lived and worked in Malaysia, Singapore, HK and Thailand on and off for over 30 years, I am financially “independant” having been part of the “dot com” boom in HK and Australia in the 90’s and having worked since as a software developer in the banking and real estate sectors.

    My wife is from a small village an hour or so outside Nong Khai, she left home at 17 to work in Bangkok as a nanny for a wealthy family, at 18 she left to work at a large multinational company, Interpac LLC, on the outskirts of Bangkok, earning an average of 6000 Baht a month. She put herself through college and obtained under graduate qualifications through night school, she had never married having only taken her only boyfriend when in her late 20’s and rigourously sent money home for her parents and family, in her late 20’s she was “ripped off” by a Bangkok doctor after being told she needed nasal surgery after suffering health problems at work. Being broke and in her late 20’s she was easily drawn to Phuket by friends with the promise she would make “big” money at a salon massaging farangs.

    I met my wife whilst seated at a friends bar in Patong, Phuket, she arrived on the back of a scooter carry a huge bag, watching her walk into one of the massage “salons” oppsoite the bar I joked with my mate about “another lamb to the slaughter”. An hour or so later the then unknown lady came out from the salon followed by the salon mamasan and a “heated” discussion errupted outside the salon, with the discussion heating up and seeing the new lady start to break down in tears I asked one of the girl from the bar to “sort it out”. It turned out that my future wife had taken 5000 baht for her family and a bus ticket to Phuket truly believing she would be working in a “real” salon and was in shock and distressed to find out what was now expected of her.

    Now to cut a long story short, after seeing how beautiful my wife was, and the sadness in her eye I made what has truned out to be the best desicion of my life, I paid “out” the debt to the mamasan, pretty much put 100,000 baht cash in the hands of an unknown lady and said I would be back in a few weeks, in the meantime she would stay at my friends hotel and work with his wife.

    10 months and 13 trips to Thailand for me, 10 months of English language classes for my wife later we got married in her village, in total I paid 2.3 million baht sin sodt; 250,000 to upgrade her families house before the wedding, 150,000 for 10 baht of gold, 80,000 for the wedding which included transport for her extended family, 150,000 split between 2 sisters and her brother and 420,000 I paid to Kasikorn bank without my wifes knowledge, the balance was for her parents, to be administered by a local accountant. All of this was my “offer” and only discussed with my wife, she had jokingly asked for 500,000 baht one day saying she wanted to pay of her family farming loan at Kasikorn bank, her parents only asked that I pay for the wedding and possibly a new motorbike. The wedding was a highlight of my life to date, everything I could have never expected and even to this day brings a tear to my eye when I think back.

    Am I a fool, in my opinion no, I have had girlfriends from throught Asia most of my life from all “levels” of society and nearly all my friends are in cross cultural marraiges, to me what I paid was proportional to my income and only a small proportion of what I “would” have paid for the same size wedding in Australia or the UK. I have now been married nearly 4 years and am happier than I have ever been in my life.

    In my opinion to discuss Sin Sodt as if it is something that can be defined and “documented” like a financial settlement or contract shows a lack of knowledge, cultural understanding and financial insecurity, as with all relationships if you are only discussing finances when you are about to get married and your partner does not already understand you personal financial position and beliefs then you are in the wrong relationship!

    • TheThailandLife says

      Hi Lloyd, as I stated at the start of the post, this information is based on the input of three of my Thai friends, and my experience of my GFs family – her sister marrying a Thai guy. As i also said, i do not in any way claim that it is factually or historically correct. Also, if you read my post, I said that the Sin Sod should not be considered a dowry, and my definition does mirror that of the wiki definition you have provided.

      Anyway, thank you for your input though and welcome to TTL. That’s one hell of a story you have there, and certainly takes the prize for the biggest Sin Sod I’ve ever heard of, bar of course the Thai superstars. I am wondering if you wouldn’t mind putting that story into an extended post for publishing on here…let me know.

      • Lloyd says

        TTL, and Steve, my apolgies, you are correct having reread your post on my laptop at home I can see my mistake, having read into your post previously using an RSS reader on a mobile phone I did not get the clear headings and mistakenly merged the paragraphs, the rest said I stand by my opinion on Sin Sodt.

        Thank you for the offer of the guest post however I will politely decline. Several years ago I blogged about my new relationship under the title “A new path to follow” and enjoyed a good follow, the site “introduced” me to the likes of “Village Farang” and many others more “knowledgable” about Thai/Farang relationships than I. As much as I enjoyed writing I found that for better or worse I occassionally used the blog, and comments, to vent my own feeling and anger during a part of my life where all was not as it should have been. Thankfully that part of my cross cultural learning curve has now been resolved and we lived to see another day together.

    • says


      In defence of TTL’s post the dowry is mentioned under the heading “What Sin Sod Is Not”. As you and your wife found the post such a “laugh” it would be interesting to understand exactly what your definition of the Sin Sod is other than quoting from wikipedia?? Your own personal take on it?


      • Lloyd says

        Steve, to me Sin Sodt is different for every couple and family, it should not be viewed as an onbligation nor as something to simply be waved aside as a cultural annoyance, not relevant or warranted in modern day relationships. It is not a tangible matter as simple as paying for a beer yet it is neither complicated or unjust, what it is however is deeply emotional and can manifest itself in a physical way if beliefs, hearts and “face” are not taken into consideration.

        If I was to romanticse about Sin Sodt I would have to say it can bridge social and physical devides, it can show kindness and acceptance and allow families to bridge social and cultural devides for the future of those involved.

        If it is about money then there is a fundamental problem in the relationship at that point in time.

        Do not take offence at my wife and I having “laughed” at such a matter, had I thought TTL was a fool or another ignorant farang I would not have taken the time, and been honest, to have replied as I did. My wife and I, like you and your wife will find out, tend to read blogs like your own and TTL’s and look back and laugh at ourselves first, as you will see in time it is certainly an entertaining journey :-)

    • Jason says


      You sir are an ATM. You got jipped on the Sin Sod but I guess marriage is a great thing that you can’t put a price tag on.

      Best wishes to you and your Lady.

    • bobby says

      You need to get your ‘over-inflated’ head out of your rectum.All you ‘ve done is boast.Most people dont have your perpetualy referenced wealth .Good luck to you,you were clever enough at one stage to do well. However, talk about ‘bloated unsubtle bragging’? You re the man!!

  107. V F says

    Okay maybe we are not the norm but the wife and I basically eloped and told people after we were already married. We did have a small dinner party for a select group of my wife’s girlfriends in Bangkok, but that was it. We were together for two years before we decided to get married and have been happily married for twelve years now. I am not suggesting anyone else should try and follow our example. It is just anecdotal evidence that there are exceptions to every rule.

      • VF says

        We simply went to our local amphur in Bangkok to do the paperwork. No Sin Sod. We also broke the big housewarming party rule when our house was finished in the village. No big confrontation, we just kept putting it off until people finally stopped asking when we were having the party. We are not big on the over the top village parties. Figure they already have enough excuses to get drunk.

  108. says

    Hi TTL,

    I’m glad this topic has come up. I am already legally married, but have yet to do the village ceremony in Isaan. With this approaching on my next visit I have talked about this a lot with my wife because it was becoming a concern to me. Not because I feel like I shouldn’t have to pay….but with the expense of my wife’s UK settlement visa application which we are submitting at the same time, I simply don’t have the money.
    However, I needn’t have worried. My wife knew that it’s just not possible for us to pay the Sin Sod, so she spoke with her mother and came to an “arrangement”.
    Going back to what was said above (“Sin Sod is largely about face”) the only concern my wife had was about the community in her home town looking down on her family. So after explaining the situation to my wife’s mother it was decided that we will have a “show” sin sod. Basically we will make a show of offering the money, which in our case was decided at 50,000baht. We will then be given back the money, which we will use to pay for the visa application. I will also probably give a small amount to my wife’s mother behind closed doors anyway, whatever we can afford, just as a gesture.
    I was concerned that by offering nothing I would be perceived as a “cheap charlie” and so we also made it clear to the family that when we return to Thailand in the future, after maybe a year or two when funds have recovered we will then either pay the Sin Sod or do something to help the family, even if its not accepted.

    I know another guy that was in a similar situation. He too explained this to the family at the time and the Sin Sod was set at only 10,000baht.

    I think a lot of guys when they hear the mention of Sin Sod panic and automatically think the family will ask for huge sums of cash, which I’m sure some families do. But I think these days it’s a lot more flexible.

    Personally I think if you marry into that culture then you should expect to pay at least something. Again it’s just a shame that those not “in the know” have this idea that by paying the Sin Sod you are “buying” your wife. Grrrrr!!


    • TheThailandLife says

      I think you are right Steve, from what my girlfriend says it seems to more about showing than giving…i.e. mai pen rai if you don’t have a lot of money, but can we just show something respectable for my family’s sake. I don’t buy into the notion that thai families are money grabbing and trying to squeeze as much out of a farang as possible. What i think happens is a breakdown in communication. The foreigner misunderstands Sin Sod, then argues with his GF who takes offense, of course defending her culture and family. Like you have done the best thing i believe is to be upfront, communicate and lay your cards down on the table, compromise and come up with a solution that works for you both, after all, isn’t this what marriage is about..?

      I think it’s also important to make sure the money isn’t mismanaged, after all, the family should respect your gift. So perhaps put the money in a high interest account of buy some land.

      • says

        You make a good point about how the money is managed. This was a concern of my wife and another reason for us deciding not to giving a large sum in one payment. I think its fair to say that most families in Isaan are not used to handling larger sums of cash and my wife’s mother is elderly. My wife was scared that her mother would either a) blow all the money herself or b) those around her may take advantage for their own gain.
        When the time comes for us, to avoid such things happening my wife has talked about maybe using the money to improve her mothers home or something like that rather than giving hard cash for others to sponge off.


        • TheThailandLife says

          Your wife sounds very level-headed, and good with money, which is a great thing to have in a wife. Wise talk though, elderly people are always at risk of being taking advantage of by people in the local community; happens in the UK and lots of other places every day.

          • says

            “Your wife sounds very level-headed, and good with money”
            Well it doesn’t seem that way when it comes to her own money…..a lot of which seems to vanish on the lottery when she has her “lucky” dreams :) but I guess she’s better than most.

            “elderly people are always at risk of being taking advantage of”
            Also sad but true. As much as we like to think that the majority of the Thai people are genuine people, especially in the north east, there are still a lot that would take advantage of the vulnerable….especially when they know a farang is involved. We are after all walking ATM’s in many a thai’s eyes right?


          • TheThailandLife says

            Lol…I will be honest, I’ve had worse experiences of “walking ATM” in the South than the North East….didn’t feel too welcome down there, but found the North East to be generous where they could afford to be. STILL, I hate to generalise, there are good and bad everywhere….:)

          • says

            First of all I would like to say I have really enjoyed everyone’s input on this website normally I do not read a great deal and this is my first ever post on any website.
            Hopefully I may be able to gain some more useful help and advice after people have read my story.
            To start with I would like to give you a little bit of my background as I am sure without people understanding this and from the questions I am going to ask later I will be tarnished with the name FOOL.
            I am originally from the UK but have lived in Asia for the last 15 years so I am no stranger or fool to some of the scams and cons that are around.
            I have 2 daughters who live in the UK from my separated wife who takes care of my children very well.
            We have been separated a number of years and now have finally agreed to do the divorce paperwork.
            five years ago I met a Vietnamese girl who I fell in love with she was not a bar girl and she was always loyal and truth to me.
            I had a good job which I had for a number of years and we lived in Vietnam and enjoyed sharing our time together.
            Then in 2012 my world fell apart.
            First the company I worked for told me they was cutting back and told me to return to the UK.
            I decided that I was not going to do that and set my own company up in Vietnam.
            A month or so early than this I found out my Vietnamese girlfriend was pregnant we were both so happy as this was her first child and I missed my two children in the UK so it gave me a new start.
            4 weeks later I became sick whilst in Vietnam after numerous doctors had told me I had flu and I didn’t seem to be getting better I went to see a doctor at International SOS that took my blood called my girlfriend in and told her I was seriously ill.
            They could not be sure what it was but told me I needed more tests and they could not do them in Vietnam and told me to go to Bumrungrad hospital in Bangkok urgently.
            This was 3months before my daughter was born.
            We left a after understanding I had no medical insurance as this was taken care of with my previous company and I had only just left them I had overlooked to sort out.
            The bills were unbelievable and this had been my first mistake.
            A few days later I was told I had a very rare form of Leukemia and as there had only been 5 cases in the last 25 years worldwide people were guessing on medicine and treating me for other forms of it.
            Our world had fallen apart the money I had was gone I could not run the company in Vietnam as I could not return there.My girlfriend was weeks away from giving birth and she did not have family or anyone around her and she wanted to stay in bangkok with me.
            My family obviously wanted me to return to the UK but I would not leave my girlfriend on her own so we stayed and struggled together.
            I won’t bore you with the details but lets just say I was getting more sick she did not enjoy bangkok and we had many pressures on us.
            My Daughter was born on the 7th Jan 2013 and we stayed in Bangkok as although I am sick and do not understand how long I have to live I managed to secure work.
            Things between us was getting strained until one morning I got up to find a letter saying she loved me but could not stay in bangkok more and put up with the pressures we had.
            She said I was a good father and I could give our baby more than she could and that is why she had left our three months daughter with me.
            Now on top of being sick and trying to work I had to take care of our baby I could not believe when I am dying how she things leaving our daughter with me gives her a better life.
            We still speak and after 8months away we still talk and she wants to come back but I cannot trust that she would walk away again or give our baby up if things were too hard.
            After she left I had to go on a. Business trip for four days and did not have anyone to take care of my child.
            The night before I was due to leave I was in a bar and met an old friend who I used to buy a few drinks for previously when I was going through my bad patch.
            I did not sleep with her but she was a good listener and also cheered me up.
            She understand my situation and offered to take care of my baby whilst i was away.
            At first I thought I could not let a bar girl that has not met her look after my child?
            Later that evening I understand I did not have many choices and I asked her to come back to my apartment meet my child but sleep in a different room.
            I told her I was still not sure what I was going to do.
            After seeing her with my child and understanding she had a 14year old daughter and only working in bangkok for a little over a year I let her take care of her and said I would pay her.
            On my return my baby did not come straight to me she clung on to the lady and I understood that over 4 days they had geled.
            Over the last 6months I have met her family we have become very close she does not ask me for money and has been with my baby 24/7 and now my baby calls her mum.
            When I have died my daughter has no one to take care of her and my family in the UK I feel are to old to take care of her even though they have offered.
            Also If I returned to the UK I would feel like my daughter would be losing her 2nd mum and I cannot do that for her.
            So this is where the questions start.
            I asked the girl to marry me and she is a great mum a great truthful person certainly whilst she has lived with me .
            I would have waited and not rushed into things but my time is limited and I want to try and do things right.
            Ok the Sin Sod her parents have asked for is 300,000 but have promised to return 200,000 after the wedding they will pay all the bills and food etc for the wedding out of the 100k so I think that seems fair?
            The major part is that my divorce from my UK wife is not through yet and we are planning to get married in April.
            My future wife is telling me that we can do the ceremony in April and do the official paperwork after?
            It seems a little backward to me and I don’t want to go through the ceremony to find out then I have two wife’s!
            Is she right can we do the creamy to make everyone happy then when I get my divorce through do the paperwork later is that legal?
            I understand if she is right and it’s ok to do we won’t be legally married until we do the papers.
            Also I could do with understanding more about why and the need for giving gold and who too?
            Any comments would be very helpful!
            Hope I have not bored people two much and sorry for the poor English as typing on a IPad is a nightmare!

          • TheThailandLife says

            Hi Paul, firstly, sorry to hear about your illness, I dearly hope you get the medical attention you need to get better. The Sin Sod request is reasonable. The gold forms part of the Sin Sod tradition. This will be given to your wife as a gift. The thinking behind giving gold is that historically it has always risen in value. So giving gold is a security for your wife in the event that you leave her in the future. This is also part of the thinking behind Sin Sod (in terms of family security), although generally Sin Sod considered a repayment of the “mothers milk”, for the sacrifice of her time and money to raise her child. There are varying schools of thought on how it arose and how it’s meaning has changed throughout time, but most Thais will agree this is at the heart of the tradition.

            Don’t worry about being married to two women. The ceremony does not mean you are legally married and you will not be considered married by any authority. Until you sign papers at a district office and are issued with the certificate, you are not married.

            One last thing, in light of your illness, I would strongly suggest seeking advice from your embassy regarding your estate. You have kids in the UK and extended family to consider. Make sure your affairs are in order, should the worst happen. I don’t think your new Thai wife would be entitled to any of your assets in the UK, but I’m not sure how it works with assets and money you’ve accumulated during your time in Asia. Also, you mention that your new Gf is like a second mum to your child. I am unsure as to how Thai law would see her role should you, Buddha forbid, not be around any longer.

            All the best.

          • says

            Thanks for your response and well wishes it is most helpful.
            Regarding what happens to my daughter legally when I am gone I think you are right I need to speak to a lawyer.
            The birth certificate is Thai as she was born at Bumrungrad my name is on it and her Vietnamese mother is also on it.
            She has a UK passport but effectively will not have a visa and I am not sure my Thai girlfriend will be able to adopt her as her own without permission given from her Vietnamese mother which will never happen!
            Once again thanks for your reply and please keep up your website as I think it explains more clearly than some other sites I won’t mention does :))

          • Paul says

            Hi. Fred
            Nice start and introduction!
            Just a couple of questions as you seem to be an expert in a one line statement.
            1/ do you live in Thailand ?
            2/ have you ever been married to Thai or to anyone for that matter?
            3/ have you ever payed for Sex?
            4/ could you please advise the best country to find a woman to marry that won’t cost anything and that the woman will be truthful and faithful ?
            As you are the expert on Thai woman and anyone marrying them I look forward to reading your answers.
            In my opinion you get good and bad people in any country in any Race and no matter if you pay for Sex or for marriage or find true love it all costs you money in the long run.
            The difference is the smart people identify the scammers and stay away from them.
            Yes there are some Thai girls that play games and use you for money but I also see many western men play games with Thai people and pull on their heart strings.
            Obviously a girl of 18 with a man of 60 is probably not with him for the right reason but if it makes him happy what is the harm in it.
            Usually the only fools are not the ones that marry Thais they are the ones that come on holiday looking for love without doing the research or the people that think they can win a Thai girl over because they think she may have little education or the people that make one line comments on websites without explaining their reasons

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