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Shopping Etiquette: How to Survive in Southeast Asia’s Top Shopping Destinations!

Floating Market in Bangkok

Southeast Asia is known worldwide for its amazing shopping destinations. In fact, a lot of tourists flock to Southeast Asia year after year because of this exact reason. Aside from the rich culture, amazing eats, friendly locals and cheap drinks, shopping is one of the biggest things in Southeast Asia.

In Asia, you will found different types of shopping stalls. There are night markets, flea markets, street stalls and shopping malls. Aside from that, you will find quaint stores which offer exotic foods, amazing clothes and unique accessories. Both locals and foreigners will surely be encouraged to shop! The best thing about shopping in Asia is the exchange rate!

Shopping in Asia permits you to avail of the best deals there are. That is, if you know how to properly deal with the local merchants and your co-shoppers. When shopping in Asia’s top shopping destinations, there are shopping etiquettes that you must take note of. If you do, you will surely have a stress-free and fun shopping! Here are some of the shopping etiquettes that you should take note of.

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is well-known for its night market and quaint shops where locals sell the most amazing accessories and piece of clothing you can ever see. In this destination, haggling is allowed. However, there are certain haggling rules that you must follow in order to have a proper negotiation. These are as follows:

  • Be polite and friendly. Being a foreigner doesn’t mean that you are above the local merchants. Remember that you are in their turf so being a bitch won’t get you anywhere. Be polite the whole transaction and you will be amazed with how good the negotiations will go.
  • Smile. Thais are generally friendly. If you show your set of perfect teeth, chances are people will instantly like you. This will pave the way for a smoother and more successful transaction.
  • Do not bid below the item’s value No matter how likable you are, local merchants will be pissed at you if you bid below the item’s value. It will be like an insult to them. For haggling guidelines, bidding below 30% of the merchant’s price is a no-no.
  • Compromise. When you have succeeded in getting the price that you want, you shouldn’t gloat about it too much. Thais do not like to lose face. If possible, make the merchant feel that you have met him halfway regardless of how much you have saved.

Manila, Philippines

Manila differs from other shopping destinations in the sense that the shopping stalls are scattered all around the metro and not confined in a shopping mall alone. Filipinos have good taste for clothes and they have a good eye for cheap finds. Different supplies and stocks can be bought in different shopping locations around the metro. When shopping in Manila, you will have to take into consideration these etiquettes:

  • Do not expect small stores to provide a comfort room for you. If you wish to shop in Manila, I must say that you should be ready. Shops in Manila is not the same as those big shops that most foreigners are used to. Small stores in manila do not have a restroom or a sink. This is why you should do your business first before heading to these destinations.
  • Treat the staff with utmost kindness. People in manila are known for being friendly too. This is why you should be polite and as well.

Hanoi, Vietnam

The best thing about this destination is that it is still undiscovered.

  • Dress Appropriately. The weather in Vietnam may not be as cold as you are accustomed to. Do not dress too fancy or too sexy. Just dress in accordance with the weather and the location.
  • Get to know more information about the product before making any comments. If you are wondering why a certain item is expensive, it is best to ask the merchant about it—the brand and the history.

By following these etiquettes, nothing will go wrong.

Joyce is a writer for Deck Chair Cruising. Deck Chair Cruising specializes in organizing cruise holidays from Australia and NZ. To learn more about cruise holiday on a P&O cruise ship from Australia or New Zealand please visit us.

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