Traveling to Bangkok (Part 5/5): Haggling and Traveling in Bangkok

Bargaining in Bangkok

Even if you consider yourself and expert on bargaining on other countries, you might find youself having a hard time getting a deal in Thailand. Aggressive styles that fare well in Delhi will not fare so well in Bangkok. The greatest compliment you can say to a native of Thailand about an activity is calling it fun, or sanuk. Haggling also follows the same rules. The peoples of Thailand love to joke and tease, so treat every bargaining as a game. But don’t take it too far, since ‘losing face’ is also important to the natives of Bangkok to be sure to stay respectful and pleasant during any haggling.

When you enter a store, look and smile at the owner, acknowledge that he/she is there. If something catches your eye, quietly and politely ask for the price (A deal is more likely is if you are polite and the entire shop don’t know about it.) Then counteroffer just below what you want. Don’t go too low, generally anything under 30% can be seen as an insult, since sellers will price their wares in a range that seems fair to them.

If a counter-counter offer is still too high, give another big smile and ask “Can you discount it a little more?” If the answer is still no, say thank you and walk away. If you don’t get called back, the price wasn’t negotiable and perhaps 300B for the item wasn’t a bad deal after all.

Traveling the canals of Bangkok

in the past the Krung Thep was known as the Venice of the East, but since then many of the cancels that once made this waterway unique have been paved over. Several canals, or Klongs remain, and traveling among these is one of the attraction of Bangkok. Over the last ten years these have gradually been cleaned up to introduce more travelers to the city, with the water no longer thick and black. In the magnificent long tail boats that cruise down the rivers have two advantages. Firstly you beat the heavy traffic of the roads. Secondly you get to see the people of Bangkok, with its houses on stilts.

A great introduction to the canals, and the entire of Bangkok, is a Chao Phraya tourist Boat day pass. An absolute bargain at B70 (1.17 GBP) it lets you ride on their boats for an entire day. These boats also offer you the advantage of running English commentary while going from place to place, including Historical place of interest and how to visit them on land. Maps and booklets of the river are included, which can be helpful for the explorer traveler. there are many piers along the river, and you can gt on and off whenever you wish with the day pass.

A more expensive option is to hire a private boat to guide you through the cannels of Bangkok, and experience usually lasting 2 hours stopping at various places. The private boats cost on average B600 (9.49 GPB)

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