Haggling Shopping in Vietnam: A Comprehensive Guide

Haggling Shopping in Vietnam

If you’re planning to visit Vietnam, haggling is a shopping tradition that you should not miss! Haggling or bargaining is an essential part of Vietnamese culture, and it’s an exciting way to get discounts while shopping. However, as a foreigner, haggling can be daunting, especially if you don’t know the local custom.

In this article, we’ll help you navigate through the intricacies of haggling shopping in Vietnam. From understanding the meaning of perplexity and burstiness to giving you a step-by-step guide on how to haggle like a pro, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive in!

What is Haggling Shopping?

Haggling shopping refers to the act of negotiating the price of goods or services with the seller. In Vietnam, haggling is a common practice in traditional markets, street vendors, and even in some malls. It’s a way for buyers to get the best deal possible, and for sellers to make a profit.

Vietnamese haggling culture is unique because it involves both perplexity and burstiness. Perplexity means that the prices of goods are often unclear and unpredictable, making it challenging for buyers to know the actual value of the product. Meanwhile, burstiness refers to the sudden fluctuations in prices, which can go up or down depending on various factors such as demand, supply, and negotiation skills.

When to Haggle in Vietnam?

Haggling is acceptable in most shopping situations in Vietnam, but there are some instances where it’s expected. Here are some situations where haggling is appropriate:

  • Traditional Markets: Haggling is a must in traditional markets such as Ben Thanh Market, Ho Chi Minh City, and Dong Xuan Market in Hanoi.
  • Street Vendors: Small street vendors selling souvenirs, snacks, and drinks are open to haggling.
  • Tailors: If you’re having clothes made, haggling for the price of materials or labor is common.
  • Tourist Areas: Shops and vendors in tourist areas may inflate prices for foreigners, so haggling is necessary.

How to Haggle in Vietnam?

If you want to haggle like a pro in Vietnam, here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Start by asking for the price of the item you want to buy. If the seller gives you a high price, don’t show too much interest and move on to the next shop. This will give you an idea of the average cost of the product.
  1. Come back to the shop and ask again for the price. This time, offer a lower price than the initial quote. The seller will most likely counter-offer with a slightly higher price, and you can then negotiate until you reach a fair price.
  1. Be polite and friendly throughout the negotiation. Smile and use phrases like “xin loi” (excuse me) and “cam on” (thank you) to show respect and appreciation.
  1. Don’t be afraid to walk away if the seller refuses to lower the price. There are plenty of other shops where you can find the same product.
  1. Always have cash on hand as most small shops and street vendors don’t accept credit cards.

Pros and Cons of Haggling Shopping

Like any other shopping method, haggling has its advantages and disadvantages. Here are some pros and cons of haggling shopping in Vietnam:


  • You can get items at a cheaper price than what’s listed.
  • It’s a fun and exciting way to shop.
  • Haggling can help you improve your negotiation skills.


  • Haggling can be time-consuming and mentally exhausting.
  • Foreigners may end up paying more than locals since sellers may inflate prices.
  • Haggling can create tension between buyers and sellers.

Alternatives to Haggling

If you’re not comfortable with haggling, here are some alternatives:

  • Online Shopping: You can buy products online from reputable e-commerce sites such as Lazada or Shopee. Prices are fixed, and you can read reviews from other customers before making a purchase.
  • Malls: Most malls in Vietnam have fixed prices, so there’s no need to haggle.
  • Department Stores: Similarly to malls, department stores have fixed prices, and there’s no need to haggle.


Q1: Is it rude not to haggle in Vietnam?

It’s not considered rude not to haggle in Vietnam, but it’s a missed opportunity to get discounts.

Q2: How much should I haggle in Vietnam?

The general rule of thumb is to offer 50% of the initial price and negotiate from there.

Q3: Can I haggle with street vendors?

Yes, most street vendors are open to haggling.

Q4: What are some tips for successful haggling in Vietnam?

  • Know the market price of the item you want to buy. Research beforehand or ask locals to get an idea of the average cost so that you can negotiate effectively.
  • Start with a low offer, but don’t make it too insulting. A fair price is one that both parties can agree on.
  • Be polite and respectful throughout the negotiation. Don’t be aggressive or pushy as this can create tension between you and the seller.
  • Consider buying multiple products from the same vendor. This can potentially result in a better deal since the seller may be willing to give you a bulk discount.
  • Don’t hesitate to walk away if the seller refuses to lower the price. There are plenty of other shops where you can find similar items.

Q5: What are some popular items to haggle for in Vietnam?

Vietnam is famous for its handicrafts, textiles, and Vietnamese coffee. Some of the most popular items to haggle for include:

  • Handmade souvenirs such as lacquerware, silk scarves, and pottery
  • Tailored clothing such as suits, dresses, and ao dai (traditional Vietnamese dress)
  • Coffee beans and tea leaves
  • Fresh produce such as fruits, vegetables, and seafood

In conclusion, haggling shopping in Vietnam is a unique experience that every traveler should try. It’s not only a way to score great deals, but it’s also an opportunity to immerse yourself in Vietnamese culture and interact with locals. With the tips and advice provided in this article, we hope that you feel confident enough to start bargaining like a pro on your next trip to Vietnam. Happy shopping!


Haggling shopping in Vietnam can be daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with the local custom. However, by understanding the meaning of perplexity and burstiness, knowing when to haggle, and following a step-by-step guide on how to negotiate, you can get the best deals possible and have fun while doing it. Whether you’re shopping for souvenirs or trying to find the perfect tailored suit, remember to be respectful, polite, and enjoy the experience!

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