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The idea is that you are demonstrating both your financial capability, and also, your thanks to her parents for taking care of her before you met. This is the way that things are done here and it will be expected.At this point, in fact way before this point, you really need to gain as much understanding of Thai culture and how it relates to marriage/relationships.The right figure is influenced by many things including: The list goes on, but you get the idea.The dowry might cost anything from nothing (if she has married before and had kids etc) to millions (if she is a highly educated high-society type). If you are asked for an unreasonably high amount, don't ignore it, it is an important sign of things to come after you marry!!The idea is to avoid a 'loss of face' by making on-lookers think the dowry has been paid.This might happen if the groom simply cannot afford to part with the cash.
Some Thai marriages go ahead where a sum of money is displayed during the ceremony, but after the wedding is over, the money is returned to the groom.
Don't even think about selecting a long-term partner from a tourist area, it's far too risky.
There's a much better way at my: Recommended Thai dating site Thai children are taught from an early age that, once they reach adulthood, they need to take care of their parents.
One tactic you might try is to argue that your resources are only sufficient to take care of the two of you, or three etc if you have a child already.
Point out that any surplus cash that is coming in needs to be saved for a) your retirement since, presumably, you will not want your children to support you once you stop working, and b) future costs like the kid's education. You could tell her that she can get a job and send part of her income to her parents.
It relates to the debt of gratitude that your wife will feel towards her parents.