It’s all about the Haggle

11 06 2010

This post is the latest in our specials for Travelfish.

Whether it’s taking advantage of a good exchange rate to stock up on Fendi, Louis Vuitton and Hermès at Bangkok’s chic-er than chic, air-con palaces of consumerism, or hunting for their bargain-basement identical twins in the sweaty faker markets of Pat Pong or Khao San, shopping is an inescapable element to any trip to Thailand’s capital. So, if you’re going to get the best for your baht you’re going to need know what you’re talking about.

Bargain hunting in the markets of Thailand

First thing to remember is that if you’re dealing with a vendor who is open to a bit of haggling (and let’s be honest, you’ll be hard pressed to find one who isn’t) a nifty show of willing with the lingo works wonders in loosening up the price range.

Open Negotiations

First you want to start by asking the price. Make sure you’re ready to start the haggle.

How much: เท่าไหร่ tâo rài

Price: ราคา raa-kaa

How many: กี่ gèe

This one: อัน นี้ an née

So string some of these together to enquire after the price:

อันนี้ ราคา เท่าไหร่ an née raa-kaa tâo rài: What’s the price of this one?

Or more simply

อันนี้ เท่าไหร่ an née tâo rài: How much is this one?

อัน นี้ กี่ บาท an née gèe bàat: How many baht for this one?

Getting into the haggle

Now you need to show some mock shock at the price – even though it’s already a tenth of what you’d pay at home.

Expensive: แพง paeng

A little too…: …ไป หน่อย … bpai nòi

Reduce: ลด lót

Give: ให้ hâi

Special: พิเศษ pí-sàyt

Can you: ได้ ไหม dâi măi

Combine a few of these with some of the ones we already know to start the bidding war. These have all worked for me at some stage:

แพง ไป หน่อย paeng bpai nòi: (That’s) a little too expensive

ลด หน่อย ได้ ไหม lót nòi dâi măi: Can you reduce it a little?

ทำไม มัน แพง จัง tam-mai man paeng jang: Why is it so expensive?

ให้ ราคา พิเศษ ได้ ไหม hâi raa-kaa pí-sàyt dâi măi: Can you give (me) a special price?

The come back

And so that you can prepare for a repost, here is what you’ll be met with.

Cheap: ถูก took

Cannot: ไม่ ได้ mâi dâi

Already: แล้ว láew

Again: อีก èek

Pay: จ่าย jàai

Again, combining this with what we already know:

ลด แล้ว lót láew: (It’s) already discounted

ราคา พิเศษ แล้ว raa-kaa pí-sàyt láew: (It’s) already a special price

ลด อีก ไม่ ได้ lót èek mâi dâi: (I) can’t reduce it any further/again

คุณ จะ จ่าย เท่า ไหร่ khun jà jàai tâo rài: How much will you pay?

And it’s when you hear this last one that you can start beating around the baht until you both reach a price you’re happy with.


To seal the deal once a price has been reached that you’re happy with, either of you can say ตก ลง dtòk long: OK/agreed/deal, then hand over your cash.

Keep it light, never let your smile leave your face or your twinkle leave your eye and you’ll both end up as friends having done a good bit business.

Anki flash cards for this lesson available to down load for free here.

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