Articles to be found on this page have diverse interests including: Night Markets, Shopping Precincts, How to Bargain and, tips and hints on all of the above.

Readers can refer to the table of contents at right for fast navigation - GC.

- accessed by GC on 19/02/2011

Bargaining or haggling (not bartering) is expected in most markets.  You need to be prepared to bag a bargain, or be prepared to pay a fortune

When shopping at night or street markets have a real look around the night market and decide what you want to buy first before you ask the price of anything. 

Try to check out what is on more than one stall before you start, as you might find something better on 3 stalls down.   However, if you have been looking and see the one thing you must have then do start the process. 

Picking things up or asking a price can be seen by some vendors as the start of the negiation process.

Decide a rough price range in your mind for what you would like to pay for that item.  If you don't prepared for your maximum price to pay then you are preparing to get either ripped off and pay too much or preparing not to buy.   So if you don't bargain hard then the bargains will not be that good!

When you first ask the price it will be far inflated, and as a rule of thumb expect to pay around ¼ to ½ of what the vendor first asks.  By asking the price you are showing an interest to buy.  This for many is against the natural culture as we like to look, pick it up, see the price then decide!  The phrase you often hear is 'British, just looking?'. 

If you are experienced it will be easy, but for the majority of folks it's difficult as we don't like to offend or are embarressed, and the traders rub their hands when some turn up  and pay the full first asking price.   More fool us!

If you then ask what is there best price for the item this will then normally this can be seen as the start of the bargaining process.  Walking away once you start the process was once seen as bad manners, but is not so much of an issue now.

Remember to keep smiling, keep it as a game . . . . . . So if the vendor asks for 100, and if about half the price is what you are prepared to pay, then offer them 20, so they ask 95, you offer 25 and then you too and fro with figures until you meet somewhere at the 30-50 mark.    What you pay (when bargaining) will be what you want to pay, so if you think AU$10 is your max price, they ask for $25, start your bartering at $4 or 5 or lower and not start at $10. 

If they won't bargain, and some won't haggle much, then just walk away, if they want a sale they will call you back, or you will have to rethink and have to pay more for that item or find another bargain on the next stall. 

Bargaining in the shopping malls is not the norm.  If you do buy a lot they will usually throw in some freebies or a discount, for example if you buy some perfume you will get some sample bottles free, or if you buy several pairs of shoes then you will get more of a discount.  Prices at the shopping malls are usually more than the markets, but its nice to check it all out and see the genuine fakes or the genuine articles.

Happy shopping, and do keep smiling.  Very often you are only arguing about a few pence or cents!

Travelkat88 on another Tripadvisor forum continued:

It all boils down to three tactics:

1) If they start at a completely ridiculous price: say ‘you start too high’ and walk away.

2) If it is something where the rough price is known: just say ‘these are 15 MYR right?’ Most often they will just agree.

3) If it is something where the price is unknown: when they say the price, just smile like they are having a joke... they usually come down immediately on their first price... then offer a third of that.