Shopping and Bargaining in Thailand
If you happen to go to Thailand, whether as a tourist or as a resident, you will need to understand some of the country’s cultural aspects, including those regarding shopping and bargaining.
Of course, there are other aspects that characterize Thai shopping and bargaining. Below are some things you should look out for when shopping and bargaining in Thailand.
Shops Expect Customers to Bargain for the Products
If you are used to buying products such as clothes at their marked price elsewhere, Thailand will offer you a very different shopping experience.
Here, you are expected to haggle for a lower price on most things. As a matter of fact, some goods have no specified price, and customers are supposed to make price offers or get random estimates from the sellers.
This means that it is a good idea to know the approximate price of the product you are shopping for beforehand to avoid paying too much above the appropriate price.
In general, however, you should expect to pay from 10% to 40% less than the asking price after bargaining.
Nevertheless, when doing your shopping at major retail outlets, be ready to pay the full price without bargaining.
Be Friendly, and Smile
Thais are friendly people. A warm welcoming attitude is expected in all spheres of the Thai culture, including shopping.
Therefore, as you bargain for your shopping items, be friendly and smile whenever you can, it will help you connect better with the seller and also improve the chances that your bids will be accepted by the seller.
Choose Your Shopping Locations Carefully
Without a doubt, major attractions in Thailand, for instance, Bangkok, and Phuket, offer great shopping centers for many people residing in the country.
If you are looking to get cheap products, you should also know the places where you are more likely to get a good deal.
For instance, Khao San Road is very popular among shoppers who want great bargains on products, regardless of their nationalities.
Learn Some Thai Expressions
Learning to speak Thai is not a requirement for successful bargaining in Thailand, since many vendors are familiar with common English expressions such as “too expensive” and “how much”.
However, learning some Thai will definitely improve your bargaining capabilities as it will endear you to the sellers.
More importantly, it will imply that you have stayed in Thailand for a while, which means you will be offered friendlier prices, unlike foreigners who can’t speak a single Thai word.
For instance, “too expensive” in Thai is “Phaeng pai”.
Thailand offers a whole new shopping experience, particularly to people not used to bargaining during their shopping expeditions.
In general, shoppers are expected to haggle and bring the asking price down by up to 40% without losing their cool. Bargaining is, however, not expected of people shopping from major retail outlets.
As a Thai shopper, it is also important to choose your shopping locations carefully, particularly if you are hoping to get deep discounts.
Other than that, a little Thai shopping terminology will go a long way in helping you shop better, particularly where bargaining is involved.