Should I bargain for everything I want to buy in Thailand?
No. If an item has a price tag then you're not expected to bargain. You are not expected to bargain in a restaurant either.
While bargaining is a central part of the Thai shopping experience, you should approach it with a healthy attitude. The point of bargaining isn't to see the vendor lose money, but rather to get a price that you are both happy with. There can be a lot of tooing and froing on price, but it's best done with a smile and a laugh rather than a scoul and finger pointing.
Remember once you start bargaining, if the vendor accepts a price you offer, then you should buy the good. It is considered very bad form to decline a purchase after having a price accepted.
There is no hard and fast rule on how much you should try to get knocked off the price. Obviously in tourist areas, for example Bangkok's Sukhumvit Road, the markup can be extraordinary and you could work towards a discount of perhaps 60-70% off the opening price. In other places though a 10% discount may be more reasonable.
A good way to get some benchmarks is to peruse similar goods in the big shopping centres (where the prices are marked) this should give you an idea of a base price to work around.
Lastly, many stallholders believe that selling to the first customer of the day brings them good fortune for the day. This gives you a bit of an advantage to wear the price down a little more. You'll know you were the first if, after the sale, the vendor gets your money and touches all their products with it.
More Travelfish FAQs
AccommodationIs it possible to rent rooms or dormitories for long periods of time?
Rooms: is a fan room ok, or should I budget for air-con?
Should I take my own padlock for the door of my room while travelling in Thailand?
What should I do if a bag is stolen from my room or dormitory while travelling in Thailand?
What standard of acommodation can I expect for US$5?
Why are there so few dormitories in Thailand?
BargainingShould I bargain for everything I want to buy in Thailand?
What is the best way to bargain in Thailand?
What shouldn't I do when bargaining in Thailand?
Cost of travellingHow much should I budget per day for a holiday in Thailand?
What is the bare minimum I could survive on in Thailand?
What is the best way to spend less money in Thailand?
Food glorious foodCan I drink the tap water in Thailand?
How can I avoid MSG in Thailand?
How do I avoid peanuts in Thailand?
I have a food allergy - will I cope?
Is there good vegetarian food in Thailand?
Is western food available in Thailand?
Getting aroundAre the ferries in Thailand safe?
Are the trains in Thailand safe?
Do they trains run on time?
Is it easy to hitch-hike in Thailand?
Is it easy to rent a car or motorcycle in Thailand?
Should I get a tourist minibus in Thailand?
What is Bangkok's bus system like?
Which is the better way to travel around Thailand - train or bus?
Getting there and awayHow late do the airport buses run?
What is the best way to get into town from Bangkok airport late at night?
Help Police!Can I trust the Thai police?
Will I be robbed?
Money madnessAre credit cards accepted in Thailand?
Are there ATMs in Thailand?
How can I have money sent to me in Thailand?
How can I send money out of Thailand?
Should I bring travellers cheques, credit/debit cards or cash to Thailand?
Should I tip in Thailand?
Packing purgatoryWhat should I pack for a holiday in Thailand?
What shouldn't I pack for a holiday in Thailand?
Scams and warningsIs it a good idea to buy drugs off a tuk tuk driver?
Should I buy gems I've been offered by a really convincing person I've met/been introduced to?
SecurityCan I use drugs in Thailand?
Is Thailand a safe place to travel alone to?
Is Thailand safe?
Why are there so few hostels in Thailand?
Stay healthyAre leeches a problem in Thailand?
Are legal drugs cheap in Thailand?
Do I need a prescription in Thailand?
Do I need malarial medication in Thailand?
General food and water precautions in Thailand
General health advice for Thailand
HIV/AIDS in Thailand
Is cholera a problem?
Is heatstroke a problem in Thailand?
Is medical care cheap in Thailand?
Is medical care in Thailand good?
Is rabies a problem in Thailand?
Schistosomiasis in Thailand?
Traveller's medical kit for travel in Thailand
What about dengue fever in Thailand?
Will I get diarrhoea in Thailand?
TechnologyAre there many internet cafes in Thailand?
Can I travel with a laptop in Thailand?
Is there ADSL internet access in Thailand?
What is mobile phone coverage like in Thailand?
What is the voltage in Thailand?
Things to learnWhere can I learn how to cook authentic Thai food?
Where can I learn Thai massage?
Where can I learn Thai?
Vexed by visas?What are Thailand's visa requirements?
WeatherWhat is the weather like in Thailand?
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