May 10, 2018
Ben Thanh Market is a famous market, opposite the bus station in the center of Saigon. Inside you can find clothing (especially the traditional Vietnamese dress “Ao Dai”), shoes, fashion accessories, jewellery, electronic equipment, souvenirs, handicrafts, flowers and food. With a little patience and a willingness to haggle, you can find great bargains. Let’s check out some “tips” to help have a successful time negotiating prices at Ben Thanh Market.
When you’re initially told the price of something – be prepared to look slight shocked. However, do not complain too much, sellers will be more disposed towards a customer who is friendly, funny and easy going. Remember not to look like you really want to buy the item.
Foreigners tend to be charged higher prices so if you can speak some lingo, it will help you a lot in your haggling. There is no pressure to pronounce words like a local, you just need to know how to use them. Here are some must-know words:
• Bao nhiêu? (baow ni-ew) – How much?
• Mắc quá! (mac kwa!) – So expensive!
• Rẻ hơn (reh hern) – Cheaper
• Được không? (dooc khom) – OK?
• Bớt đi! (bud dee) – Give me a discount!
Usually the item that you want to buy will be sold in many stalls in the market so go around to check the price of similar items and find out which one is the most reasonable. If you find an outlet that particularly catches your attention – make a note of where it is. The market is not that big but you may be confused by many similar stalls.
Always let the traders mention the price first. Obviously, that price will be higher than you expect. Then, you should haggle down the price by at least 65% of the price offered by the sellers. In fact, you can go even lower than this but if it’s a matter of a few pennies let it go.
Decide your own final price so that you can just walk away if the traders refuse to match it. Don't worry though, if they feel that your price is acceptable, they will call you back.
Even if in the end, you do not get the price you want, it’s still a memorable thing to do during your trip, right? After all, those failed negotiations will become valuable experience overtime. Remember that being a haggling pro is a “longtime process” requiring much practice!