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Do you have to tip in Thailand?

When the bill comes, you don’t know exactly what to do. Should you tip? No? How much? Where does Thailand stand in the tipping etiquette?

The answer is quite simple: do what your heart tells you to do. Yes, we know it is cheesy. Anyway, here you have some guidance about what to do.

Tipping is not mandatory, but highly appreciated

Normally, no one will extend their hand waiting for your tip, not even the bellboy who carried your 20 kg suitcase upstairs with a smile. However, if you feel like it, they will be more than happy to get some extra money.

When tipping, try to be clever. If this bellboy is being especially helpful and you really want to give him some tip, give it to him directly. Adding up later when you check out will mean the tip spread all over the employees and he might not even get anything.

Some typical tipping scenarios:

  • In a hotel, it is customary to give some banknote to the bellboy carrying your baggage, the room service, and maids. It depends on your mood, the quality of the service and the place, but 20 Baht can be a good starting point.
  • In a restaurant, you will often be charged 10% for service charge, but it is still customary to leave a few coins for a good and friendly service or more for an excellent one. If your food was cold or your service was below average, just take all the charge, no hard feelings.
  • In a taxi, we recommended you to prepare the exact amount of money. That doesn’t mean you cannot round up the amount if the taxi driver was friendly or you just feel like it. For a grumpy driver on a half-broken car, the exact meter fare will suffice.
  • In a shop, it would be considered kind of weird to give a tip or refuse to take your change. Normally the shopkeeper would be happier if you buy more products instead.
  • For a private tour guide, it is kind of expected to give them some amount or pay for their meal if they accompany you for a long trip. The amount is up to you and the price of the tour, but don’t be too stingy. 100 Baht per person can be a good starting point.

Up to you

We hope the previous guidelines can help you navigate into the tipping etiquette of Thailand. In the end, with a few exceptions, it is up to you. If you want to tip, go ahead, normally no one is going to stop you or feel offended by it.

Of course, exceptions apply. If you are giving a ridiculous tip like 50 satangs it might look like you are making fun of that person.

How much do you tip in Thailand?

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  • Great Tips! (no pun was intented) :)