Here is some advice from mainly my experiences (and a couple other people who have also recently been):
- Bargain everything – unless it’s in a department store. This includes markets, taxis/Tuk-Tuks. You can negotiate price, but it will be seen as a commitment to buy, but you just need the courage to walk away if it isn’t what you want (even if the price is right).
- Things are cheaper in Chiang Mai than Phuket. If you see it in Chiang Mai, buy it there. The locals in Chiang Mai are also not as in your face.
- Don’t shake anyone’s hand or hi-5 anyone. You may be physically dragged into their store – happened to a friend lol!
- Tipping – not required, but certain places may try to pressure you to tip – especially if you’re on a tour, there are elements of the tour that involve extra charges/tips (I’ve always been a believer that receiving a tip is a priviledge and it should not be expected!)
- Be aware of the additional 10% and 7% VAT charge which can be added on top of meals and goods (make sure you’re aware if VAT is or isn’t included).
- Larger department stores can refund VAT, but you must spend at least 2000 baht