How to Haggle 101 – Art of Haggling

I’m locked out of my guest house, as I was leaving, the door knob came with me.  Great way to start the day.

As a result, I will share with you the art of haggling, effectively “How to Haggle 101”.

The secret to haggling is “collaboration”. Typically the opening price is a “rake you over the coals” price and can be lowered. 25-40%+ is usually the target. Here is a 10 step guide on how to haggle.

  1. Look over the items, let them start the conversation, this shows you are just “browsing” and not a ready “buyer”
  2. Pick something you like, ask them how much.
  3. When they tell you, make the “wow, that’s pricey facial expression”.
  4. In a playful yet firm tone, make a low ball offer with a smile. This is a collaboration ok, not a cut throat business deal.
  5. When they shake head saying no, no, with a smile, smile back and bump your price slightly.
  6. When they say, no, no quipp back “Okay, how is X, that is what it’s worth here and I can pay cash now.”
  7. If they don’t take it, they usually give you a counter, if no counter, ask them what is best price they can give.
  8. If it’s good, take it.
  9. If not good, try and meet near the middle of your last offer and theirs, it’s a win win.
  10. If they are not picking up what you’re putting down, walk away. They will chase you if they want the deal and it gives you power. If they don’t, just keep walking, there  is plenty of competition. If you can’t find what you want come back later and go back to step 1.

This is just a rough guide on how to haggle like a distinguished hustler who refuses to be hustled, you can’t hustle a hustler style.  In my last post I told you I bought some glasses for 100 baht, I lost them. Today I went to another vendor near where I lost them, I swear they had my shades, kinda dirty from a night of debauchery.

The guy wanted 275 baht, I told him 100 baht, he said 220 baht, I said 150 baht, he said no. I said, “hey man, this is your first deal of the day, make some coin and get the momentum rolling”. He accepted.

I’m writing this from an Israeli group travel tour internet cafe, it’s free and I’m locked out of my room. The door knob fell off on my 500 baht a night double bed with A/C, Hot shower and private bathroom at a guest house.  Being the Haggler that  I am, I told the lady I had plans on leaving to another place, cheaper as I only need a single bed and they have none. She smiled, I smiled back. I then stated that I should get the room for 350 baht as it’s not my fault your place is falling apart and that is the deal I was planning on going to get elsewhere. I’m staying for 350 baht.

Good day and remember, do this in a kind “let’s make a deal type way”, aggression will get you no where, ever. Also remember, they are people too and they need to make a living, it’s not about raking them over the coals but finding a “fair price”. They expect you to haggle and their opening price reflects that.

Good day to you,


  1. frank

    December 7, 2014 at 11:00 am

    I find laughing at the first offer is the best way to start. “Such a funny person” Years ago in Africa buying oranges I had a bag and they gave a price. I laughed and kept saying, “No, I dont want to buy all the organges, just the oranges in the bag.” At one poin the guys family came from around the back, wife and a couple of children and I added them in. “No, you keep your family, the stand and all the organges, I just want this bag.”

    Always a good idea to become friends with a few locals and ask them.

    Coming out of the airport in Bali Nov 2014 I said Sanur. and the opening was 250,000 I just said 100,000 and the guy came back with 200,000 and I shouted out “Who wants 100,00 to go to Sanur (It is the price 95,000 if your being tough. I threw in 10,000 tip.

    When going up to the local warungs the locals use they have a standard 3,000, 5,000, 7,000 and 10,000. eat the 3,000. and dont ask how much. tell them you want the 3,000.

    Night markets outside the tourist areas like Gianyar, pull out 5,000 for pork on a stick and you get 5. When you say “I want 5,000” (Lima Ribu) they think you know the real price.

    I find you start by looking at something you don’t want and about 3rd thing is what you do want. I always walk away. Then you get the right price. It is what they can live with. comes about 12 steps away. I think you can count. Maybe pause at 8, look over your shoulder, shake your head.

    and yes they are humans. Another nice thing is to just hang out in some shop that is completely empty. I am often traveling off season. I carry small candies and share with the shop girl who is happy to have a nice guy to talk to a flirt with a bit. take your time and then ease in to things she is wearing. Admire her brand knock off. Ask her how much she paid. She knows the real price. I found answers to the cost of the dress I wanted to buy my wife and who had better kids clothes. We wuld take one bag, and buy our clthoes there. Take two or three bags home.

    We were coming out of Japan, so we use the express delivery service to send our bags home. (We had a special card that gave us a super discount because we ran a translation business and we shipped documents all the time. two bags into one Box and delivered from the airport $5 in Japan! nothing to carry.

    • Rob

      December 14, 2014 at 7:16 pm

      Well said and thanks for adding this to the convo!

      Safe travels!

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