How To Haggle In Thailand

There are some things that can’t be bargained for in Thailand – these include all public transportation such as BTS and MTS trains in Bangkok, buses and boats, and any service where the price is fixed. However, for most places you can and should haggle to get a better deal than you would normally pay back home.

1. Be Polite, Greet The Vendor And Smile

When visiting markets and stalls in Thailand you’ll find that the stall-holders expect you to haggle with them. This is a very important part of the shopping experience and one that should not be ignored. You’ll be amazed at how much a small effort to greet the vendor in Thai and a smile can have an effect on how successful you are at bargaining with them.

2. Know Your Thai Currency And Have It With You

When you’re ready to haggle, make sure you have some Thai Baht on you. This can be in a money belt, pocket, purse or wallet. This will help you feel more confident and it also gives the stall-holder confidence in your ability to haggle.

3. Use Your Counting Skills

As you’re walking around and examining products and negotiating prices with stall-holders it’s worth taking note of the amount of time they spend talking to you, how they look at your purchases, their attitude towards you and whether they have a calculator available which you can use as part of the negotiations. This information will give you an idea of how to negotiate successfully and it’s also a good way of getting a sense of what Thais actually pay for the goods that are being offered.

4. Don’t Offend The Shopkeeper

When it comes to haggling in Thailand, if you’re rude or shouting, they’ll turn away from you and will not want to have anything to do with you again. This is especially true if you’re trying to drop a price too low or if you’re too aggressive or loud with your bargaining.

5. Don’t Blurt Back A Lower Price

While it is a tempting habit to blurt back a lower price, this won’t work all that well in most cases. It’s more effective to use the magic words ‘how much?’ and if you have a number that you think is a fair price in Thai Baht, then you should be able to offer it to the seller.

This will often lead to a “how much?” or “what’s that?” exchange and the vendor will then provide you with their number in the Thai Baht that they are selling it for. This is an excellent way of negotiating successfully and it’s one that I always use whenever I’m at a local market or stall in Thailand.

The main reason that people fail to haggle in Thailand is because they don’t have the correct mindset. They don’t know what to do, they don’t feel that they have a valid reason to negotiate a lower price or they just think that it will be too difficult.