the art of barter

Be prepared to barter to get a good deal...I have noticed that a lot of people have a difficulty with this concept when overseas,but have no problem asking for a cash discount when shopping at home (whether they get one or not is something else). But in the many markets of Thailand and with all the street traders in Bangkok i.e Patpong and Sukhumvit road, Bartering is expected... if you pay £50 for a dodgy rolex and your happy, well thats ok I guess ...but if you find out later that you could have brought the same watch of the same trader for £25 well how would you feel then....
The art of bartering is simple..You find the article you wish to buy..you ask "how much (TAO RAI) is this one ? " the reply would be something like "that one very special 3000baht.."
You can decide to 1. pay the money ...take you prize and walk away or 2. you could say no thanks (MI -OW) and start to walk away, I guarantee the next thing you will hear is "ok how much you..pay..." Now you should offer 50% of the first price ,the trader will then decline your 1500 baht but will happily settle for 2000baht saving you the price of a good round of drinks.... try it, it works and is, as I say expected... and if you can remember those few Thai words you will get a lot better deal and service. It will also gain you a certain degree of respect, if only because you do not appear so green.. However you do get what you've paid for. Street brought goods are a kin to fairground goldfish...that is to say if they last the year out you've done well lol

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festivals

Thailand has lots of festivals throughout the year, all are fantastic to behold it has to be said. But if theres one that should not be missed it has to be Songkran (the water festival) it is held during the second week of April. It is a religious festival which involves the throwing of lots of water (quite pleasent considering April is the hottest time of the year..) It has to be said, that in the city it has some what been hijacked by tourists , but it is lots of fun
At the other end of the spectrum, a more subdued event is the Birthday celebrations for the King (A man truly loved by his poeple) In November the royal barges are brought out of dock and the whole armada is rowed along the river, truly a sight to behold one hundred plus royal barges of sizes verious, depending on the statue of the occupant,
Both of these events are magical for differant reasons , but both need to be experienced at least once in your life..However there are lots of other equally interesting events ,something every month so whenever you go there will be something going on (these two are just my favorite ones)