How Much Can You Bargain in Bangkok?
Bargaining is the art of bringing down the price of something, often by up to 40%, without losing your cool. It is a part of Thai culture that tourists are expected to participate in, and it can help level the playing field.
There are plenty of places in Bangkok where you can bargain and get a good deal, whether you’re shopping for souvenirs or a piece of furniture. You can also haggle for other services, such as taxis and tuk tuk rides, but it’s best to check what the going rate is first.
The best places to bargain are in Bangkok’s many markets and night markets. These are where the locals go to buy items cheaply, and there’s often an atmosphere of camaraderie here that makes them less likely to overcharge.
A great place to start is Chatuchak weekend market, which is held every Saturday and Sunday. The stalls here sell everything from clothes, jewellery and accessories to handicrafts and antiques.
Another great place for bargaining is the Patpong night market, which is a very popular place with tourists. However, it can be crowded and overpriced – so you’ll need to haggle hard here.
In general, the more expensive items at a market are those that aren’t very common or rare in Thailand, such as gemstones and other valuable items. So, if you’re looking for a particular gem, it’s worth haggling hard to ensure you get it for as cheap as possible.
Having some spare cash is always useful, as it will allow you to try different bargaining techniques and see how far you can go with each vendor before losing your nerve. It’s a great idea to bring several baht notes (thousand baht is the maximum you can have in your pocket), as it will allow you to make a lower offer that can be accepted.
When you start to bargain, be sure to smile and be polite – it will really help you to establish rapport with the vendor. It will also make them more likely to negotiate with you.
It’s important to remember that Thais are very friendly and welcoming people, so don’t be too pushy – it’ll only make them less likely to bargain with you!
If you’re a bit more experienced with bargaining, you should be able to get a fair price for most of the things you buy in Bangkok. Just be sure to be realistic in your expectations, as they’re just trying to survive and make a living.
Then, be ready for a walk-away if you don’t get the bargain you want. This is an especially helpful trick in touristy areas such as Khao San Road, Nana and Chatuchak – the vendors here are usually very keen to recoup their costs so you won’t be able to get much lower than you originally agreed.
In general, though, you should expect to haggle to a minimum of 10% of the price, and even more at major retail outlets in Bangkok. But don’t be afraid to use this technique, as it’s an important aspect of Thai culture and will give you a chance to experience the country in a whole new way!