How to Bargain – A Guide to Shopping in Asian Markets

in Thailand, Vietnam

The busy markets of Asian nations like Thailand and Vietnam are a mecca for bargain shoppers, but the culture shock of bargaining can scare some foreign tourists.

The process won’t be so daunting if you follow these simple tips.

It’s good to get a feel for the markets before you commit to your first purchase. Spend some time walking around, perusing the wares and watching other shoppers bargain for the best price. This will give you some sense of what items are worth, and what sellers may be willing to settle for.

It’s also important to choose the optimum time to shop. Many sellers may be willing to discount goods in the late afternoon, particularly if they have not had a successful day. Surprisingly the early morning can also be a good time to shop, as some marketeers may reward their first customers with some bargains.

Once you’ve found the perfect item, make sure you keep your composure. It’s best to feign disinterest and inquire about several items rather than zeroing in on the one you covet. Make your first offer very low, as the seller will typically drive this cost up before you reach an agreement. It’s also advisable to bargain away from other customers if you can; a shop owner may be willing to offer a larger discount if other potential buyers don’t know about it!

Buying several goods from the same market stall can also be to your advantage. One tactic is to begin bargaining for one item, then ask the seller what discount you could receive if you buy more. Another is to suggest a small complimentary item could help to seal the deal.

Above all, it’s important to remember that those selling in the markets expect you to bargain with them. They may protest and declare that you are sending them broke, but it’s all part of the game. Hold your nerve and enjoy the rewards of this unique Asian shopping experience!

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