Thailand's markets have great bargains and they can get better.
Above: Bargaining skills are handy both in remote areas (such as the hill tribes, above), and in the city markets. Ray never paid a baht than he had to!
The Thai language
Mai pen rai: a slogan and a philosophy
Gay life and culture
In the U.S., stores post their prices and you pay that price, otherwise you don't get the item. (Or you shoplift, but that's a different web page.) That system makes sense here in the U.S.: It would never work for a $6.00-an-hour clerk to have the authority to lower prices at whim.
In Thailand's markets, you're often buying right from the owner of the goods, an entrepreneurial merchant with a rental stall. Bargaining is expected, and the merchant is eager to close a sale while still making money.
This bargaining process may intimidate first-time visitors, with memories of haggling over prices with a used-car dealer and coming away feeling burned. No worries. Here's what to do.
First, figure out if bargaining is appropriate here:
Once you've determined that bargaining is expected, you need a sense of how much you can expect to drive down the price. Make a counter-offer too low, and you look bad. Too high, and you'll pay more than you need to.
Typically, at an outdoor market you can expect to get the price down by 10-30%. However, if youíve been pegged as a rich farang, a merchant might have raised the price by a factor of 2 or 3. Donít buy the first thing you see. Look around. Get prices from a few merchants. Youíll soon get a sense of whatís reasonable.
Some other tips:
This site is provided by Alyson Adventures, a gay and lesbian tour operator, as a service for individuals traveling with us. We hope it will also be useful to others planning a tour or researching Thailand. We offer active gay travel in Australia, New Zealand, and other holiday destinations.