Bangkok has everything, really it does, and shopping is no exception. If you’re looking for some of the best deals the country has to offer, Bangkok is your spot. These are a few of the hot spots for the most budget savvy shopper, and I threw in a couple of tips too so you can go from a negotiating novice to wheeling and dealing negotiations like a pro. Have fun and shop on!
Chatuchak “JJ” Market
This massive market is the world’s largest weekend market; like you need a full fledge map to get around this chaos! Full of tiny stalls all selling random things, it will be unlikely that you will walk passed the same stall twice. They have everything here including huge buddha pictures, keychains, exotic animals, t-shirts, jewelry, home goods, and all sorts of fashionable and no so fashionable clothes. Everything is here. Don’t worry, you can buy a small suitcase when you arrive for your heaps of items. Oh, and everything is at the least, reasonably priced or discounted, score!
Here’s another budget-friendly market on the Bangkok scene and you don’t have to wait for the weekend to enjoy the deals here. It’s mostly clothing, but Thai souvenirs are available as well. This is more of a wholesale market, so if you’re in need of stuff to bring home and want to buy in bulk, this is the spot.
Panthip Plaza and MBK
Panthip and MBK are both shopping malls. MBK is Thailand’s oldest mall and is just teeming with all those knock offs that Asia is famous for. Pick up some wannabe threads and look super fresh without anyone knowing you got it for a few bucks. If you’re a techie, then head to Panthip where you can get discounted DVDs and software for much less than your regular electronic store.
Tips for shopping and negotiating in Thailand:
- Be nice, always have a smile.
- Negotiate wisely and respectfully.
- Never get heated in any situation, shopping and negotiating included.
- When the price is posted, that’s usually the price. You can negotiate if you’re buying more than one of the item.
I can’t emphasize the importance of smiling and being respectful, not only will you be more likely to get your way, smiling and respect is just a huge part of the culture here.
It’s good to know a base price if possible. Ask a neutral party how much X should be or look it up. If you can’t, then go in and ask how much it is. When you get your answer, fire back with a reasonable offer. Going more than 50% below the price is a bit cheeky. Gauge your shop attendant and strike a deal. Sometimes walking away from the deal helps or mentioning that you only have X amount of money on you.