Bargain Smart at JJ Market

Bargain Smart at JJ Market

How to Bargain?

Chatuchak (aka. JJ) Market is everyone’s favourite spot for the best bargains… not just in Bangkok, but possibly the entire world!

But have you got what it takes to really bargain like a local? Here are five pro hacks that will get you the bargain of bargains, every time.

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Speak their Language

While most shop owners at Chatuchak Market can speak and understand conversational English,  a little cultural awareness will still go a long way. It shows your appreciation and respect for their culture, and you’ll get that in return. Some handy phrases to get you going:

How Much?
How Much Is This?
Thai Translated
Tao rai ka/krup
Thai Translated
Un nee tao rai ka/krup
Very Expensive!
Little Discount Please?
Thai Translated
Peng mak
Thai Translated
Rod noi dai mai ka/krup
Thank You This Is Beautiful
Thai Translated
Kob kun ka/krup
Thai Translated
Un nee suay dee
I Don’t Understand
Thai Translated
Mai pen rai ka/krup
Thai Translated
Mai kao jai

Tip: You’ll notice that most phrases end with Ka or Krup. These are articles of politeness and respect, similar to how we end sentences with words like “please” to be polite. Ka is used if you’re a lady, and Krup is if you’re a man. Check this article to better learn the nuances of Thai language. 

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Thai Greeting (Wai)

Consists of a slight bow, with the palms pressed together in a prayer-like fashion.

You can Wai with saying Thank you to the shop owner after a pleasant purchase. Many shop owners will say Thank you (with a Wai) to you after receiving money from you. It is recommended to return a Wai to show respect.

If you receive a Wai while carrying goods, or for any reason that makes returning it difficult, you should still show respect by making a physical effort to return it as best as possible under the circumstances.


Ask and You Shall Receive

Ask and You Shall Receive - Bargain Smart Chatuchak

Don’t be afraid to ask the shop owner (politely and respectfully) whether they can offer you a discount. You’ll have much better luck if you buy two or more at the same shop. This is great if you’re buying souvenirs or gifts for friends back home! Sometimes, a little flattery and genuine appreciation of their goods will put you in good standing.

Better in Numbers

Better in Numbers - Bargain Smart Chatuchak

When you’re with a group of friends, get them all to buy from the same shop as you. This not only increases your overall bulk-order numbers, but also creates a sense of ‘crowd’ in the shop too. This crowd is great publicity for the shop to other tourists too, and helps the shop owner attract more customers other than you. From here, simply ask (again, politely and respectfully) for some discounts.


What Not to Do

Never ever disrespect any shop owner in Chatuchak Market. Even if you don’t get the deals you want, continue to be respectful and leave the shop with dignity. For instance, acknowledge them before walking out by saying “Mai pen rai” (nevermind) followed by a polite thank you. Chances are, you’ll find similar goods further down the line anyways. This respect is key because word spreads fast amongst the locals, and you don’t want to be ‘that tourist’ the locals avoid.


In a Nutshell

In a Nutshell - Bargain Smart Chatuchak

In general, respect and politeness and overall charm is highly regarded in Thailand. Notice that the hacks above all involve some degree of respect or appreciation. This is because the Thai people treat seniority and respect very seriously. It’s deeply embedded in their culture (the Wai is a great example of this)!

We think it’s a good idea to learn about the fascinating and ancient Thai culture. For instance, did you know that the height of your hands during a Wai indicate different levels of respect? To learn more, check out our introduction to Thai culture and etiquette.

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