Bargaining / Haggling

Travel Forums Asia Bargaining / Haggling

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1. Posted by Beckiboo (Respected Member 134 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I've been told that in literally every Asian country it's the norm to bargain or haggle for a cheaper price on things you want to buy. Now this might sound dumb... but I have absolutely NO idea how to do this?! In Britain we just pay whatever price is on the price tag, no questions asked What's the best way of haggling down traders in Asia?

Should you start low then work up? Or knock off 50% of whatever they're selling for? Help!

2. Posted by clarife (Respected Member 294 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hi Beckiboo,

I haven't been to asia yet but I have been to Turkey & haggling is a must over there. I was absolutely useless at it, but they expect you to do it, so the first price they give you could be nearly 30,40% more than what you should be paying.At first I let my boyfriend haggle for me because I was too soft & just paid what was asked of me, but it’s a great feeling knowing you have saved yourself money from haggling someone down.

When they offer you a price, try not to look too interested & tell them its far too expensive. If it is anything like the markets in Turkey they will almost definitely lower the price to prevent you from walking off. They will ask you for a price so think of what you would actually be willing to pay for the item, 7 then lower it again. If they aren't budging walk away, it is unbelievable how many times I have seen market sellers literally half their price when we walked away, when just 2 minutes before they had been saying we were getting a great deal, & they were at the lowest they would go.

If they know you are willing to pay money for it, they will get it out of you, this is what they do for a living. If you act uninterested & walk away they will call you back & pester you untill you get into a banter. Just keep a fixed price in your head, try to srike a bargain for less than this but never go lower, you will more than likely get the item for less off somebody else.

The more you haggle, the better you will become. I managed to haggle a turkish man from 260 euro down to 70 euro for a beautiful Leather (imitation) Chloe bag, while every other store I had gone to would go no lower than €140-€150. Not only was I happy with the bag but the satisfaction from seeing the price lower so much is great!!!

Hope this helps,


3. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hello Beckiboo

I dont do the official haggling technique, if there is one. Usually, i judge the price, and compare it with what other things cost in a country. If things generally cost in a particular country half of what they cost where i come from, this is what i do. I ask how much an item costs. If it is more than half of what i would expect to pay, for it, in Germany, i ask for a discount. Or tell them it is too much. Then if they dont offer a more suitable price, i walk away. This often cause them to call after me, with another price offer.


4. Posted by tidyboyo (Budding Member 41 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hi Beckiboo,

I found that starting at a low price and working my way slowly up helped, the vendor will always look shocked at "cheap" you are, but if you move to walk away they will normally bite your hand off to get the sale. I'm really bad at judging the cost of things so probably offer to much in the first place! Many places will have higher rates for tourists though.


5. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru 3546 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I LOVE haggling - it can be very daunting for us poor ignorant westerners though when you have no experience of it!

We follow this little plan - Paul holds on to the cash (though l think this is merely to stop me spending it all!!), we see the item we like after perusing a number of stalls and walking away. Decide the MAXIMUM price you want to pay before you approach the stall, then go in and ask how much - at this point you will be given a ridculously high price - just shake your head and say no - make to walk away. They will then bring a calculator over and tap in your minimum price - they will then laugh, clutch you and say you kill me, you will be offered another price - again you give another price and so on and so forth. If you are not getting the price you want then just walk away. Nine times out of ten they will call you back and you get your price.

Its lots and lots of fun once you get your system in place!

We had a great afternoon bartering and haggling in Beijing during the summer after we got over the inital shock factor of all these Chinese ladies grabing at us and trying to pull us into their stalls! Dont be daunted, treat it as a fun game and you will enjoy it!

6. Posted by Beckiboo (Respected Member 134 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I just know I'm going to get ripped off left right and centre!

I'll just think how much as reasonable price is for something, then aim to get it for that if I can

7. Posted by Travel_N (Inactive 161 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

beckiboo... best is start at 50% of the price... c what the best prie a shop keeper offers u - check 2-3 shops see what isthe best price u get and then buy.

8. Posted by buzzard (Respected Member 187 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Keep in mind that you can't haggle/bargain in every shop in every country in Southeast Asia. Walk into most shopping malls in Bangkok and ask for discount and they will think you are nuts.
So, established shops, chain stores, and high-end malls are out. But you can certainly bargain at outdoor markets, street stalls and some small shops. But if there is a price sticker on the product, it's there for a reason, and it's doubtful that the merchant will want to bargain with you in that case.

9. Posted by ghostdog (Full Member 142 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

If you are going to be traveling for a while try to learn numbers in the local language, 10,20, 30 etc and a few words like cheap, expensive etc. People get a kick out of it and are more friendly. Just make sure you are certain about the numbers!!!

10. Posted by clarife (Respected Member 294 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

good idea ghost dog, and lonely planet guides have the numbers translated inside the front cover of them. Happy days