How to bargain with a Thai

Bargaining and haggling are part of Thai life

Bargaining is a part of market life for most Thais, so, before you stock up on all those souvenirs and handicraft goodies, you need a little practice. Consider this conversation…

You: “Sawadee krap/ka, nee tao rai na krap/ka?” (Hello, how much is this?).
Your opening gambit should always be in Thai, this way they take you for a local ex-pat and assume you are less gullible; their opening gambit will almost certainly be more realistic. So, learn this phrase by heart (remember guys say ‘krap’ and girls say ‘ka’).

Them: Two hundred baht.

You: Two hundred baht, you’re kidding, is this one from Bangkok? In Bangkok, I pay two hundred baht for much better quality. Maybe you drive all way to Bangkok buy this one, you get bad price, yes? (Thais love a bit of humour).

Them: (laughing) This one good quality sure, I buy from factory one hundred and fifty baht. Not buy Bangkok, Bangkok more expensive, maybe three hundred baht.

You: I buy already in Bangkok, I get good price, only fifty baht sure!

Them: (laughing in disbelief) Ah, cannot, fifty baht not enough, buy from factory more than one hundred baht.

You: Okay, I go factory tomorrow. Less than one hundred baht for sure. Here velly expensive. I like to buy from you, you very beautiful/handsome/friendly/whatever (Thais love flattery).

Them: Okay, one hundred fifty baht, special for you. You take five I give for six hundred baht all.

You: How about twenty, what price, nine hundred baht?

Them: (laughing) Aaeeeii, no can do. Five, six hundred baht. Buy for wife, children, all. You have wife/husband? (You get this question often).

Meeting horny local girls for free:
Most ‘bachelors’ visiting Thailand opt for the easy solution of visiting go-go and girlie bars, but there are also lots of regular girls who aren’t prostitutes that are keen on meeting foreigners for a fling. Hundreds of lonely and horny modern city girls go looking online for sex with visiting or resident Westerners; no strings attached. They aren’t expecting money or a boyfriend and haven’t been with scores of other men. The best place to meet these girls is on Adult Friend Finder, where there are more than 10,000 registered Thai female members.

You: Have wife many, too many, give headache, must buy for all but not enough money (Again, Thais love humour, it softens them up.)

Them: (laughing) Many wife! You butterfly. Okay, I give you five hundred baht, five, special price for you.

You: Thank you, only need three, how much three, three hundred baht?

Them: Ah, cannot, three hundred too little. Please mister/miss, must feed baby (a popular imaginary accessory), work here every night, now foreigner few, no business (reverse psychology, softening you up).

You: Okay, this shop I buy many thing, shirt, book, souvenir, all together, then you give good price okay.

Them: I have many thing, you like this velly cheap… (this is where they try offloading their whole stall on you, suddenly getting wildly optimistic and excited).

You: (deliver coup de grace, suddenly change your mind, say no thanks and abruptly walk away slowly)

Them: (come running after you with original product) Okay, mister/miss, I give you eighty baht, best price, please, nowhere cheaper.

You: Eighty baht? Seventy.

Them: (no longer laughing, looking at you with killer emotional blackmail expression). Eighty.

You: Okay, eighty baht, I take three.

(At this point you become altruistic and use your leverage to tip them nicely, give him/her ninety or a hundred baht for each one, they appreciate the gesture, all smiles, everyone happy.)

*She probably bought it for fifty baht, but these people make very little, be kind, a hundred baht is no more than a couple of bucks.