When you are travelling in Thailand, you might learn quite quickly that the price of things isn’t always set in stone. When it comes to shopping in a local market or taking a taxi – oftentimes prices are up for negotiation. If you have the right bargaining skills, you will be able to get a lower price and save yourself some money.
However, if you don’t come from a culture where bargaining is common, you might not even know how to start. Here are some helpful tips that you can keep in mind which will help you have a pleasurable and successful experience when bargaining in Thailand:
- Decide the highest price you would accept for the item first. When you have a set price in your head that you are willing to pay for it, you will find it easier to haggle.
- Start by asking the stall keeper the price – then suggest a price around 60-70% of the price that has been quoted to you. The stall keeper might suggest 90%, so you can up your offer a little bit. Once you go back and forth a few times, you will likely arrive at a price that is around 75-80% of the original price.
- If you learn to speak some Thai, you will find that you will get better prices than Western tourists who don’t know any words in Thai.
- It is very important to keep a smiling and pleasant demeanour while haggling in Thailand. Being rude or loud is socially unacceptable and will make the shopkeeper not want to engage with you.
- If the shopkeeper won’t budge down to your desired price, say no thank you and turn and walk away. Usually, they will change their mind and offer you the price, when they think that you are going to leave and they might lose the sale.
- However, don’t try to go too much lower than 60% of the price. Remember, these stall keepers need to make a living and so you should aim to find a price that is reasonable for both of you.
- Be careful not to throw or crumple your money in front of the Thai shop keeper. Because the Thai baht has a depiction of the King on it, defacing the money in any way is considered very offensive.
- Also, remember that while haggling is appropriate in the markets – it does not happen in the major brand name shops so don’t try this while shopping at MBK or another mall in Bangkok!
The most important thing to remember is to relax and have fun. The Thai shopkeepers enjoy haggling and shopping can be like a fun game if you approach it with the right attitude. Enjoy yourself and you just might get a really great deal while shopping in Thailand!
Have you ever tried bargaining while shopping in Thailand during your travels? What techniques did you use? Let us know your experiences in the comments below.
photo credit:Global Goose