Some of the most fun you can have when traveling is to visit a market. Night markets tend to have more hustle and bustle than day time markets and you can score better deals and eat better. Night markets allow you to see a wide variety (of often bootlegged or knock-off) goods. They also have ubiquitous food stalls with some of the best food and best priced food in any country. Thailand is no different. Markets are a shopper’s paradise.
1) Buy early. If you are the first customer of the night, you can score the best deal of the night with a vendor, The reason is that Thai’s are superstitious. Once you get past the first sale everything else for the night will be easier. This is most easily observed when you are the first sale of the night and the vendor takes your money and taps every item or pile of items that they are selling.
2) Start at 50% off from what the vendors are offering the item for. Even if there is a sign claiming the price has been reduced start at 50% off from the marked down price. You can always go lower, bulk purchases allow even steeper discounts.
3) Walk away, if the vendor will not deal walk away, many times they will come down to your price. If not just leave and find someone else that will come down to your price.
4) Enjoy yourself!
5) Come with an empty stomach. You are going to find some of the best food Thailand has to offer and it will be the cheapest as well. Come hungry, eat a load of different items.
6) Walk around, do not settle at the first stall. Many stalls have the same items or many of the same items. Walk around before you start purchasing.
7) If you do find something and you must have it buy it. There is no guarantee it will be around later.
8) If you are part of a large group break up, try to be a group of 2-3, anything larger and walking, shopping and interacting becomes burdensome not just to you but tourists and vendors.
9) Thailand is a very safe country by any standard, but there can always be a bad apple, don’t flash too much bling or money.
10) Cash is king. No one is going to take a credit card, a debit card, or a check. Cash is king.
The only caveat is in Patong Beach where most of the vendors are foreign (non-Thai, mainly Indian), they will not haggle as much.