How to get a good price for souvenirs in Bagan
How to get a good price for souvenirs in Bagan Reviews
Everybody wants lipsticks in Bagan! Jan 27, 2012
We just flew in from Yangon yesterday evening, having spent half of our Myanmar trip in Bagan. Here's what we learnt:
No. 1: Things are cheaper in Bagan. So if you like something you see, try to bargain for it and buy it there instead of waiting 'til you get to Yangon. Start your haggling at about 30% of whatever price they quote and work your way up til both you & the seller reach an agreement. If you're not happy with the price, just walk away - there's always another temple with these touristy stalls. Chances are they'll call after you and offer their final 'best price'.
No. 2: Most big temples have 4 different gates, and there are many tourist stalls along these gates. Some gates are more popular than others, so you are less likely to bargain successfully at these gates. Spot them by the many number of tour buses parked outside. Go to the less crowded gates and you will find that the sellers there are more willing to accommodate your requests for discounts.
No. 3: Shop in the early hours. Most of the sellers believe that the first customer brings in 'lucky money'. If you happen to be the first customer who stops by the stall and asks the golden question 'How much?', the seller will do everything he or she can to not let you walk away without buying anything (theoretically). You see, if the first customer walks away without a sale, the seller will be unlucky for the whole day...
No. 4: As it turns out, everybody asked us for lipsticks in Bagan! Too bad the three of us don't wear makeup that much - & we carry no makeup at all when we travel. It seemed that the vendors were willing to give you way cheaper prices if you throw in a lipstick - or maybe a small vial of perfume - in the deal. During my last day in Bagan I traded my tiny pot of Avon pink tint for a wooden comb! I had used quite a bit of it but the seller was happy enough to accept that as a gift for her daughter. (NB: The daughter was watching the whole time & was asking for my t-shirt, but there was no way I was gonna take off my tee just for a key chain! Heh.)
Oh, and even the men were asking for makeup items, so that they could give it to their wives or girlfriends. Lip balms work just as well. I don't know why, but they're just crazy about lipsticks. Too bad I'm not, otherwise I would have some to give them... especially the helpful locals :)
No. 5: Finally, try to remember that they're just people trying to make a living. If they refuse to give as big a discount as what you were asking for, it's probably because they couldn't go any lower. Just walk away politely if you really don't like the price.
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