D's Thailand Lesson Learned
#1 - Don't pay too little. Don't pay too much, but don't pay to little either. All advice I seem to run across is all about getting the best deal. My advice, we're the rich tourists and things are very affordable. There's nothing wrong w/ putting a little extra food on the locals tables. MOST "scams" are just a bit of hustle and they're how mouths get fed. Even for a hustle, the end price is not that unfair. Compared to time shares, the worst Tuk-Tuk re-routing to a gem shop is merely annoying. (Not that they've succeeded w/ me on that one.)
An example is taxis. Advice is to always insist on the meter. We were hearing that taxi meter prices have not been allowed to be raised in 17 years. If you pay that price, which is cheap, your driver may not even make any money that day after taxi "rent." I like to get the meter, but then go 50-100% higher.
Bartering is present, but not always. I could be wrong on this, but if the prices are listed, I'll generally pay, or barter down a bit. Bulk discounts are a must. If you have to ask the price, a real price is tricky number between 20-80%. If everyone is selling the same thing, try to walk away from the first three w/o even offering a low barter. One of them will show you the desperate price. Pay more than that to the next guy or your favorite. If the item is handcraft, real price may be closer to opening bid. When I named a number they accepted w/ a stomp and pout, I then paid a little more than I said.
The chief thing about don't pay too little is it can be the hustle. It's much better to approach them. Anyone coming up to you is probably not going to shanghai you, but is not your choice business, either. China town was a nice break. Everyone just showed wares and waited for their customers.
#2 - Quickest, cheapest, most straightforward way to get some where is take the Skyrail, Subway or boats to the neighborhood and grab a moped taxi. Then tuck your knees in tight, pray, and try to learn where a little about the neighborhood.
#3 - Take car taxis through Bangkok before 0730 or after 2300 if at all possible. Traffic sucks.
#4 – All crisps (potato, or otherwise, chips) are meat flavored and 90% seafood at that.