How to Haggle at Moroccan Souks

In the bustling souks of Morocco, specifically in Marrakesh’s famous square, Jemaa el-Fna, you’ll find that merchants welcome and even expect a little game of price haggling. For some, this may be an uncomfortable tradition to partake in but rest assured, it’s customary for merchant owners and buyers to go back and forth on price negotiations. And once a price is agreed upon and the transaction’s been made, there are smiles all around. Here are a few tips:

Do Some Research and Make a List

If you’ve never been to a souk or a Moroccan market, it may be a little overwhelming. There’s a plethora of items for purchase – leather and metal goods, ceramics, carpets, spices, and more. Keep a mental list of some of the things you want to purchase and an idea of how much you’re willing to spend.

Keep the exchange rate in mind. The standard currency in Morocco is the Dirham, and 1 Canadian Dollar equals about 7.4 Dirhams.

Ask Your Guide

If you visit Morocco with a tour guide, use them to your advantage. Your tour guide will often accompany you through the souks and even help you bargain. They have a better idea of what the markups are and what tourists should actually be paying.

Commit and Have a Great Time

Once you’ve eyed that piece of art or that hand-made metal lantern, the haggling begins. The merchant owner will typically suggest a price that may seem high at first. However, a general rule of thumb is to offer 10-30% of what the initial asking price is. This might seem like a shockingly low counter-offer, but you’ll notice your merchant’s counter-counter-offer isn’t much less from their starting point. Pair the haggling with a good sense of humour and you’re bound to walk away with some amazing finds at very reasonable prices.

Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away

If you feel like you’re not getting anywhere, and you’ve maxed out your haggle, simply walk away and don’t look back. Owners typically don’t want to lose a sale. If they see you lose interest and move to another stall nearby, they might just budge and give you the item that you want at the price that you want.

Haggling at the souks can be a little intimidating at first, but with a little practice, you’ll find yourself bargaining like a pro — and you’ll have some amazing handmade treasures to show for it.

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