Tipping etiquette in Thailand is a topic with so many misconceptions. While some believe that there is no tipping culture at all others are afraid of giving too big tips not to offend the service staff. Keep reading to find out what are the tipping rules in Thailand.
So, do I need to tip in Thailand? Tipping culture in Thailand is similar to elsewhere in the world. The average tipping rate in Thailand is 10%. Tipping for exceptional service is a common thing in such touristy areas as Bangkok, Phuket, and Chiang Mai. In rural areas, it is less common to give and to receive tips. If there is no service charge on the bill, make sure you tip the person directly and do it in cash.
In the past years, tipping has become a common thing in Thailand. With so many tourists around in Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, and other tourist destinations the locals are now used to receive tips.
Nevertheless, it is unlikely to see someone’s hand out waiting for a tip. It is also unlikely that someone will ask for a tip. So it is up to you to decide either to tip for service in Thailand or not.
As for the locals, it is not common for them to leave tips. It means that tipping rules in Thailand are being shaped mainly by tourists from all over the world.
Tipping staff is customary in restaurants, bars, and cafes. It is less usual to tip taxi and private drivers although the rounding up the fare will be appreciated. Tipping to street vendors is not necessary.
What Is The Tipping Rate In Thailand?
The average tipping rate in Thailand is 10%.
Another option is to round up the bill. For taxi drivers, it is a customary practice, but what about such ridesharing apps in Thailand as Grab? Depending on how long was the ride, the driver would appreciate a tip of 10 Baht (0.30 USD).
And just like elsewhere in the world if the service charge is built into the bill you don’t have to leave a tip. Unless the service was exceptional and you want to make sure that the tip stays with the person who helped you out.
How Much Do You Tip In Thailand?
The math is easy! If you enjoyed the service, tip more than 10 %. Tipping up to 20% of the bill is okay.
Look, the average salary in Bangkok is about 800 USD per month. 800 USD is nowhere near to what service staff (taxi drivers, butlers, bell boys, room service, etc.) earns. Outside Bangkok, the monthly income level is even lower than that.
The average monthly salary for service staff in Thailand is about 300 USD. So for many of these people, tips are a valuable income source.
For locals, it is customary to leave tips at high-class restaurants. In lower-class restaurants and cafes, they might leave without leaving any tips. Of course, it has to do with how high are their monthly salaries.
In many rural areas of Thailand, the idea of tipping is still something unknown. People might be surprised, but unlikely offended when offered extra money for their services. You might find yourself in a situation when you have to explain why are you giving them extra money. It can be a challenge on its own because many locals do not know or are shy to speak in the Eglish language.
In Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, Krabi, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai there are so many tourists and locals are used to receiving tips. As I’ve already mentioned service staff in Thailand will never ask for a tip, but it will be appreciated. An exception is luxury hotels where they leave an envelope in the room for the tips. It is not asking for a tip directly, but the intent is clear.
Let’s take a closer look at how does the tipping work in Thailand and how much you should tip.
RestaurantsTip a minimum of 10%.
Tipping in restaurants is the easiest thing to do. If the service charge is not built into the bill, tipping 10% from the bill will fine.
In high-end restaurants, a higher tipping rate is customary, and 100 Baht (3.25 USD) would be a polite minimum tip.
Some restaurants require that servers share tips with supporting staff. If the service was exceptional and you would like to show your gratitude to the person who served you give a tip to that person. This way, you will make sure that he or she is the one receiving the tip.
Note that in fancy restaurants, the staff will most likely expect to receive a tip. They will never ask for, but they are used to receiving tips.
Low-end Restaurants (Fast Food Restaurants)No tip required.
You wouldn’t leave a tip at McDonald’s when in your home country, right? It is the same in Thailand. There is no need to leave tips in fast food restaurants.
Do You Tip At Bars In Thailand?Tip a minimum of 10%.
Many are willing to visit the famous rooftop bar from the movie Hangover 2, but many do not know that it is one of the most expensive rooftop bars in Bangkok. The cheapest cocktail will cost around 30 USD. A glass of champagne will cost approximately 70 USD. Taxes and service fees are added on top of that. I doubt that people leave additional tips there.
The good news is that not all rooftop bars in Bangkok are that expensive. Visit Octave Rooftop Lounge and Bar for breathtaking views, quality music, and cocktails that cost around 10 USD.
In beach bars where you don’t have to go to the bar to order a drink, it is customary to leave a tip of 10% of the bill.
In regular bars where you order the drink for yourself, you could also leave without leaving a tip. The bartender won’t be offended.
In Thailand, banknotes come in denominations of 20 Baht, 50 Baht, 100 Baht, 500 Baht, and 1000 Baht. It has to be the reason why often 20 Baht is the amount of tip for various services in Thailand.
Street Food VendorsNo tip required.
There is no need to tip street food vendors. You could leave the change as a tip, but it wouldn’t be customary.
It is the same for mom-and-pop stores as well as for the convenience stores – unless you’re willing to convince a non-English speaking Thai to accept your tip, don’t bother figuring out how much should you tip them.
Tipping Taxi Drivers In ThailandNo tip required. Round up the fare instead.
We will get to the part where I explain do you tip a taxi driver in Thailand. First, I would like to stress out the importance of getting a metered taxi. To save money, nerves, and time, you should never agree with having a fixed fare. This way, you will almost always end up paying more than you actually should. Before getting into the taxi, always tell the driver that you will have the ride only with the meter turned on. Sometimes they will insist that you should take a fixed fare, but should never agree to it.
It is customary to tip taxi drivers in Thailand. Usually, it is a rounded up fare.
You could give a separate tip for the taxi driver if he helps you with the bags. Anywhere between 20 to 40 Baht (0.65 USD to 1.30 USD) for helping with bags would be a polite tip.
Tuk-tukNo tip required. Agree on the price before the ride.
It is where your negotiation skills will come handy because you will have to negotiate the price before the ride. And even if you feel like you’re the best at it, you will still be overcharged when driving a tuk-tuk. Tuk-tuk drivers will always ask large amounts of money for the rides. They will also often insist on taking you places you don’t even want to go – gem shops, suit shops, etc.
In my opinion, it is still worth taking a tuk-tuk ride for one time when in Thailand. Just don’t bother leaving them any tips.
How Much Do You Tip A Private Driver In Thailand?No tip required. Agree on the price before the ride.
There is no need to tip private drivers in Thailand. Private drivers will often drive you from the hotel to the airport or the other way back. Most hotels will offer to book a private driver, and those will always be fixed fares for the rides no matter where do you want to go. Hotel to airport 800 Baht. Hotel to pier 600 Baht. And so on. Needless to mention that these fares include a cut for both driver and the hotel.
Occasionally you could feel smoke smell in their cars. For me, it is another reason why I wouldn’t tip a driver.
Food Delivery Drivers (Food Panda etc.)Tip a minimum of 20 Baht (0.65 USD).
Tipping food delivery drivers in Thailand isn’t customary, but a tip of 20 Baht will be highly appreciated.
Do You Tip Grab Drivers In Thailand?Tip a minimum of 20 Baht (0.65 USD).
Grab drivers do not take cash, and all the purchases are made from within a mobile application. As for the most ridesharing apps, there is a five-star rating to gratitude the driver for the service.
If you believe your Grab driver went above and beyond the expectations, you can give him a tip from within the app as well. The tip will go to the driver only.
Another option is to tip the driver in cash. A tip of 20 Baht will be a polite minimum.
For longer rides, a tip of 40 Baht (1.31 USD) could be more appropriate.
How Much Do You Tip A Bellboy In Thailand?Tip a minimum of 20 Baht (0.65 USD).
Tipping hotel staff in Thailand is customary, and in most cases, the tip should be 20 Baht. If the bellboy has to help you with several heavy bags, a larger tip would be expected. Tipping more than 50 Baht (1.60 USD) isn’t necessary unless you feel that you should do it.
How Much Do You Tip Housekeeping In ThailandTip a minimum of 50 Baht (1.60 USD).
Housekeeping employees in Thailand are paid very little. For them, a tip of 1.60 USD is a noticeable amount of money. Depending on the hotel and the quality of service provided, a tip could be either higher or lower.
I remember staying at a hotel in Krabi for one night. On Booking it said that it was a deluxe room. To my surprise, the sheets were ripped, and the place looked far away from deluxe.
I’ve seen envelopes in some hotels which are meant for the tips. Although housekeeping is used to receiving tips, I would never leave a tip in such a place I just described.
The best way to tip the housekeeping is either to give a tip directly to them or to leave it somewhere in the room so that it is clear that it is a tip.
Do You Tip In Thailand For Massage?Tip a minimum of 100 Baht (3.26 USD).
It is up to you either to leave a tip for massage in Thailand or not. You could also leave a tip of 20 Baht, and it would still make someone’s day much better.
You are not obligated to tip for the Thai massage but can only assume that no one from us can imagine how tough this job is.
Tipping Tour Guide In ThailandTip a minimum of 20 Baht (0.65 USD).
Tipping tour guides in Thailand is not customary, but I’ve seen people doing that.
Some of the private tours found on klook.com cost up to 100 USD and on some occasions even more. If you would follow the 10% rule, your tip should be 10 USD (300 Baht). For a Thai to receive 300 Baht in tips would be a fortune.
Tipping For Manicure And Pedicure In ThailandTip a minimum of 20 Baht (0.65 USD).
Similar to other services tipping 20 Baht either for a manicure or pedicure in Thailand is a polite minimum. If you choose to leave a tip for this king of service, 20 Baht will be enough.
The prices for manicure or pedicure in Thailand begin at 200 Baht (6.50 USD), but choose a high-end place, and they could easily be doubled or even tripled.
Is It Customary To Tip In Thailand?
For many of the services in Thailand, you could not tip, and it wouldn’t offend anyone. It is different in touristy destinations and especially in luxury hotels and restaurants. Bellboys, room service, bartenders, and others will often expect a tip.
Otherwise, the tipping culture in Thailand is not that different from elsewhere around the world. If you like the service, you leave a tip of 10% of the bill or at least 20 Baht for most of the services.
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I absolutely love living in a country where tips are not expected but greatly appreciated for above average merit. I never have agreed with tipping because it’s expected or the custom. I won’t be the person messing up a good thing.
This is complete horseshit. It’s written very much like a tourist with a credit card, accustomed to American ways. No Thai person would follow the guidelines herein, for any of the services mentioned. My Thai wife gives me all kinds of shit if I tip too much, which is generally more than 40 Baht, for ANYTHING. You do Asia a tremendous disservice by advocating some sort of western sense of tipping. You do tourists an equally tremendous disservice. And by the way, and “service charge” is typically kept by management in SE Asia, and represents no tip of the staff whatsoever.