How to Barter in Chatuchak Market

Bartering or haggling (negotiating a price), is an everyday skill that is used all around Thailand. Tourists will be exposed to higher rates in many markets and shops where they must come to an agreement for a cheaper price with the vendor. Bartering has one simple rule, don’t pay full price for an item unless you are in a store that shows fixed prices.

There are many different ways to barter and some will be more effective than others, but here are some tips to get by when you are looking for a bargain.

  1. Be Polite. It goes without saying really; Thai people are generally very hospitable and friendly so you should treat them the same. Embrace their culture and remain calm while is their store and a greater discount should be attainable.
  2. When bartering, you should be looking to get a 25% discount on an item. The discount can range from vendor to vendor and it’s best to start by offering half the price and gradually work your way up to 25%. By doing this you make the seller aware that you are serious about buying and therefore increase your chances of getting a better deal.
  3. Don’t be shy. Remember that vendors contend with haggling every five minutes so it won’t be insulting to try and make a deal. Being firm but fair will land you a better price.
  4. Using the native language in any bartering situation is always a positive no matter how limited your knowledge is. Simple phrases such as Sawasdee Khrup/Ka (hello to men/women) and Korp Koon Khrup/Ka (goodbye to men/women) go a long way for the locals because it shows respect. If you can speak or learn more Thai whilst in the country, you will find that locals will be even more accepting than they already are.
  5. Shop around at other stalls. Many stalls sell similar or identical products to others, which means you have more attempts to get the price that you want to pay. Walking away from stalls can also be a good tactic; they will be more inclined to lower the price if they can see a sale slipping away.
  6. Remember the value of the currency when you haggle/negotiate. If, for example, the suggested price is 50 baht (roughly 1 GBP) be flexible as it is only a nominal fee that has no real impact on your holiday. If you’re feeling generous then a tip will be very much appreciated, no matter how small.

Keep these tips in mind and you will be well on your way to getting a much better deal, not only at stalls but with transport such as tuk-tuks and some taxis too. Remember to have fun with it and enjoy your time on holiday.

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