It can get exhausting, but practicing and becoming more confident with your negotiating skills will mean you get a fair an honest price. Although you’re pretty much on a losing streak anyway if you’re from the West, make sure you persevere.
I found that in Varanasi everything from Tuk-Tuk’s, shopping, taxi’s and food would have quite a high price attached to it. Especially, the boat rides.
Oh, the boat ride haggling was fun. At first, our taxi driver took us to a ‘boat man’ who quoted us 1800 rupees for an hours tour with the row boat. Having done a boat ride here before and knowing the price, I almost laughed and refused. This proceeded with him following us for 20 minutes all the way down to the river despite us saying ‘NO’ a thousand times.
Knowing it was better to organise myself to avoid paying a commission, I started to haggle with all of the boat riders down by the main ghat and got all sorts of excuses as to why they were charging 800 per hour. Eventually, after a few ‘walk away’ tactics, they got the price down to 300 per hour. An honest price. Make sure you pay no more than 500 per hour. You may pay more at sunrise.