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How to Bargain While Shopping in Halong Bay

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While shopping Halong Bay, bargaining skill is the most important one to get the best deals between you and the sellers. Let’s learn these useful tips for bargaining in Halong Bay to make your shopping time much easier.

    In Halong Bay, everything is negotiable, except for products with a price tag. Then, don’t go to a shopping center and beg for haggling prices. It’s best to bargain at local markets, boutiques and vendor stalls, since the sellers usually offer prices by their feelings which depend on where you shop, what time of the day it is and the stall owner. Additionally, popular markets in tourist areas always cost higher than small markets near local residence.

    The act of bargaining helps you get a better price and save money while shopping in Halong Bay. However, to most westerners, bargaining can be annoying, time-consuming and feels like getting ripped off. Don’t take it seriously! The habit of bargaining has become part of Vietnamese culture, so you’d better learn how to bargain and considered it an interesting experience while shopping in Halong Bay.

    1. Start low and settle on 50 – 70% of the offered price

    When shopping at markets in Halong Bay, you should start asking for big discounts (between 40 – 50%) then settle on a final rate which is around 60 – 70% of the first price. In Halong Bay, souvenirs made from seashell and coal cost so variously that you should go around for average price ranges. For clothes and toys, you’d better bargain for a half of the offered prices, while handicrafts and fine arts should be paid for 70% of the first price.

    A small fact is that it’s easier to bargain if you buy a bunch of products. At first, you should estimate how much you will pay for an item and offer a lower price per item for multiple items. For example, the seller offers 200,000 VND for a Halong Bay T-shirt. After some haggling, the final price for a T-shirt is reduced to 120,000 VND; but the final settlement is 200,000 VND for a couple of T-shirts (100,000 VND for each).

    Vietnamese rice grain painting of Halong Bay

    2. Know the market price in Halong Bay

    If you don’t know which rate should be paid for an item, go browsing around before starting to bargain. In most markets in Halong Bay, many shops sell the same products at a wide range of prices. When you look for something specific, you should wander around and check out a number of stalls to find the lowest price. Or else, you can ask the locals, tour guide or hotel staff about the best prices to save time on shopping in Halong Bay.

    In addition to comparing prices among different shops in Halong Bay, you can have numerous options of where to buy your favorite things. If you can’t get a preferable price, walk away and find another neighboring shop instead.

    You may also like: Avoiding Scams While Shopping in Halong Bay

    3. Use some Vietnamese phrases to bargain

    You can’t imagine how haggling in Vietnamese helps you to get the best deals easily. It shows that you probably have stayed here for a while and know what kind of prices you should be paying. Furthermore, bargaining in Vietnamese will show your effort and respect towards their language and culture. Believe me! Your act of bargaining in Vietnamese will make you become special among hundreds of tourists the sellers have to deal with daily.

    Despite the difficulty of Vietnamese language, you shouldn’t bargain only in numbers then a simple ‘Hello’ and ‘Thank you’ before going away. These simple Vietnamese phrases will help you become much more impressive when bargaining in Halong Bay.

    + ‘Xin chào’ (pronounced ‘sin chow’) means ‘Hello’

    + ‘Cảm ơn’ (pronounced ‘gum un’) means ‘Thank you’

    + ‘Ối giời ơi’ (pronounced ‘oy zoy oy’) means ‘Oh my God’

    + ‘Bao nhiêu?’ (pronounced ‘bao new’) means ‘How much?’

    + ‘Đắt quá’ (pronounced ‘dah kwah’) means ‘Too expensive’

    + ‘Bớt đi’ (pronounced ‘bot di’) means ‘Reduce the price’

    Remember to speak in Vietnamese naturally and see how effective this bargaining skill could be.

    Night market in Halong Bay

    4. Have fun with the bargaining

    The most important rule to have fun with the act of bargaining is to take it easy. It’s time to use your persuading skills to break the ice between you and the sellers. In a famous destination like Halong Bay, shopping is considered a way of entertaining and the friendly shopkeepers treat you well since tourism plays a vital role in their economy. Hence, try to show a little sense of humor and be patient to bargain with a smiley face. No one likes to give a good deal to a sourpuss.

    Add to this, don’t waste your time bargaining over low amounts, such as 10,000 VND (equate to only 0.43 USD) doesn’t mean a lot to you. But for many Vietnamese shop owners who try to earn a living, this amount might be the price of half a meal for them. It’s best to use that extra time to enjoy your vacation in Halong Bay.

    5. Pretend that you don’t want it

    Last but not least, an effective strategy of bargaining is to act like you don’t really want the product. The less you’re eager for it, the better you’re at bargaining. When you can’t reach an agreement with the seller, pretend to lose interest and walk away. In most cases, the seller is likely to call you back and offer the lower price for you.

    However, this trick can backfire sometimes. If the seller let you walk away and you can’t find the similar item in other shops, you may forget it or come back with your tail between your legs to pay the price they offer. So, be careful with this bargaining tip in Halong Bay.

    All in all, bargaining skill is really essential while shopping in Halong Bay as well as in Vietnam. You should understand the currency, use Vietnamese Dong and don’t forget to follow our guide on bargaining in Halong Bay.

    Hope you enjoy your trip and get a memorable shopping experience in Halong Bay.

    You may also like: Top 5 Best Shopping Places in Halong Bay

    Hong Nhung

    (Image source: Internet)

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