Farang pricing

Written by mdw on January 6th, 2011

Everyone knows farang pay more for everything in Thailand. Here’s the basic formula:

lowest price X 2 = stated price
10% discount if farang tries to bargain
10% discount if farang bargains in Thai language
10% discount for high bargaining skill
10% discount if first sale of the day, or is just plain lucky

If all the above happen the farang can actually get within 10% of the price a good Thai bargainer could get. Bottom line: 20% off stated price is easy, 40% off is hard.

This of course, applies to street vendors and services which involve mostly labor costs. Other places/products typically offer less possibility of saving money, as they tend to have less markup built into them.

Some places charge admission only to farang, usually tourist places. You can avoid these by telling them it’s free for you, “kon thai” and laughing. However, I recommend paying as the prices are usually cheap anyway. These admission fees are not prices that can be negotiated, so there’s not much point in trying to bargain.

Also I did not mention the possibility for a little additional savings if teaming up with a native Thai bargainer. The skilled Thai bargainer can obtain maximum discounts, then the farang can show up to pay with a bit less than the required amount. Works best when purchased items have been wrapped or packaged and time has been invested on the part of the vendor.

The “advanced bargaining skills” part could be an entire post, as it is elevated to an art form in Thailand.

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