Bargain Tips for Shopping in Vietnam

July 12, 2023 - 1558 views

No matter if shopping is your passion. Go shopping at least once when you are in Vietnam and do not forget to bargain to have a good deal. You may find it not easy, follow our tips, and hope you will have a good deal to bring back home.

Bargaining is not common in Western countries, however, it is in Vietnam, especially for foreigners. You often get a quotation which is much higher than the local people. Below is the reason, some tips to bargain, and how much you should bargain. Get used to bargaining in Vietnam and have fun with it.

bargain while shopping in Vietnam

Non La, a favorite item for foreigner tourists 

Why should I bargain in Vietnam?

Many merchants in Vietnam tend to ask for a higher price for their products than the price they should be. Foreigners are even overcharged more than local people. For example, haircut service for Vietnamese men is about 50.000VND, however, to maximize the profit the barbershop increase to 100.000VND for foreigners.

What is the reason? It is because Vietnamese people think foreign travelers are wealthy and willing to pay a great amount of money. Other merchants care about money much more than any others. Therefore, when buying something in Vietnam, you should bargain. It does not mean you are disrespecting the sellers. It is simply a good way to get the best deal, a good chance to buy products at a considerably lower price. You may find it difficult to bargain for the first time, but when you are getting used to it, you will like it.

bargain while shopping in Vietnam

women selling fruits near Dong Xuan market in Hanoi

How much I should bargain while shopping in Vietnam?

How much you should bargain will differ from stall to stall depending on where you are, what time of day it is, and the stall owner. Normally, you can offer half of the initial price for the first time. You may find it crazy, but do not worry. This is how bargaining in Vietnam begins. Many merchants will refuse the price with the reason that they are selling the best products with the best quality and price. Then, you should continue bargaining, raise the price a little bit until both of you agree on the price.

During the bargaining, do not show the sellers that you want the products. The final price can be about 40-50% of the asking price. 50% can be a higher price than Vietnamese people would pay. You can get a price lower than 50% if you bargain extremely hard. However, haggling is a fun game, it’s much more fun when everybody wins. So 50% is not a bad deal.

Take an example of bargaining. Ben Thanh market is a famous tourist attraction and is the market which makes up their price a pretty higher than any the market in the city. The original price of one pair of elephant pants is 150.000VND. After some bargaining, you can get the final price which is 100.000VND. It is about 65% of the original price.

Smaller markets in non-tourist areas may only offer fixed prices and these tend to be a lot lower than in tourist areas. You can shop there if you prefer.

Some tips to bargain

Learn a few Vietnamese phrases

The most essential and effective way to get a successful bargain is to learn a few Vietnamese words. Learning Vietnamese shows your respect for the country's luggage and culture, Vietnamese people will appreciate it. Sellers also think you have been to Vietnam for a long time and the price drops tremendously. In case, you can not learn Vietnamese, you can use a calculator to bargain.

You should learn the number and a few simple phrases:

  • ‘xin chào’ (pronounced ‘sin chao’) means hello
  • ‘cảm ơn’ (pronounced ‘gum un’) means thank you
  • ‘dắt quá’ (pronounced ‘dah kwah’) means too expensive

bargain while shopping in Vietnam

Use Vietnamese to easily bargain

Shop around

Don’t become too attached to just only one shop. Many shops often sell the same items. If you can’t get the price you’re after, be willing to walk away. Compare prices among the shops, buy the item in the shop that offers the best price or you can go back later.

bargain while shopping in Vietnam

Shop around to know the market and have a good deal

Practice your poker face: You may be interested in the items, but do not show your interest. If the sellers know that, they will ask for a higher price. The less you want it, the better you are at bargaining.

Observe and learn from local buyers: When buying in local markets in Vietnam, it is a good idea to observe how local people buy something and bargain to have a good deal. You may know how much the item is when Vietnamese pay for the items.

bargain while shopping in Vietnam

Local people in the Sapa market

Have a good attitude and have fun with bargaining: Keep a positive attitude towards sellers when you buy something. Try to be friendly and patient as local people may find it challenging to communicate with foreigners. No one wants to give a good price for rude people, so smile, use your sense of humor, make some jokes and you will get the price that you want.

bargain while shopping in Vietnam

Have fun when bargaining

Shopping in Vietnam could be easy and interesting if you can bargain to reach a good price. Even though you can not get the price for local people, bargaining is a great chance for you to interact with local people, learn some new words in a new country and know more about their culture.

You may be interested in the Top 10 Most Popular Local Markets for Shopping in Vietnam or Shopping traps in Vietnam

Jenny Tran

Image sources: Internet

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