Tipping points around the region

8 Sep 2010

To tip or not to tip, that is the question we are faced with in our interaction with service staff on our life-on-the-road. Here are some guidelines in cities around the region.


Restaurants: At fine-dining establishments and most shopping mall outlets, a 10 percent service charge is tacked on the bill. But if it isn’t included, do add an amount from 5 percent depending on the quality of attendance.

Porter service: Normally, from THB20 (US$.63) to THB50 (US$1.59) per bag is given to the bellboy. 

Taxis: Normally, customers let the drivers keep the change if it’s between THB1 (US$.03) and THB10 (US$.31).  


Restaurants: Most establishments add a 10 percent service charge to the total bill, which goes directly to the owner, and not the waiter who attended to you. If you would like to tip the staff, then add an extra 10 percent to the bill, but in a particularly fancy restaurant, make that HK$100 (US$12.87).

Porter service: In most hotels, HK$10 (US$1.28) would be sufficient, but proffer HK$20 (US$2.57), and you’ll be greeted effusively during the rest of your stay.

Taxis: Taxi drivers normally give you back exact change, but from occasionally, they may keep that extra dollar or two. And who’s to stop you from adding on a HK$5 (US$.64) or HK$10 if you were extremely pleased with the service.


Restaurants: A 10 percent service charge is added to most bills at high-end restaurants, and for phenomenal service, IDR6,000 will suffice (US$.66).

Porter service: For each bag, pay IDR1,000 (US$.11) to IDR2,000 (US$.22).

Taxis: Cabbies automatically round up the meter to the nearest IDR500 (US$.05). It’s always wise to have some small change on hand as sometimes they claim not to be able to break your large bill.


The culture of tipping does not exist and a service charge is added to bills for dining, accommodation and taxi service. Porters and cabbies do not expect any renumeration.


Restaurants: If tipping is necessary, pay at least 10 percent extra of the bill or leave the change.

Porter service: Normally, it’s MYR1 (US$.32) to MYR3 (US$.96) for each bag.

Taxis: If you’re travelling between midnight and 6am, a surcharge of 5 percent will be added to fare. The tip could range from MYR5 (US$1.60) to MYR10 (US$3.20). For a day rental, the driver deserves between MYR25 (US$8) and MYR50 (US$16).


Restaurants: For bills of PHP1,000 (US$22.46) to PHP1,500 (US$33.69), a tip from PHP20 (US$.44) to PHP40 (US$.89) is suitable. If the total is more, but less than PHP3,000 (US$67.38), tip between PHP50 (US$1.12) and US$100 (US$2.24). For a bill higher than that without a service charge, tip between PHP150 (US$3.36) and PHP200 (US$4.49). If there is no service charge, tip 3 percent of the bill with a minimum of PHP30 (US$.67).

Porter service: A tip of PHP20 is given for each bag.

Taxis: Cabbies aren’t normally tipped but they usually don’t return small change either.


Restaurants: At fancy restaurants, a 10 percent service charge is the norm, but waiters are usually tipped another 10 to 15 percent of the bill. At local eateries, leave a few rupees or spare change.

Porter service: INR5 (US$.10) to INR10 (US$.21) per bag

Taxis: No need to tip the cabbie.


Restaurants: At a local eatery or Korean BBQ, tipping will not be necessary. But at a chic café or restaurant, the 10 percent extra will be greatly appreciated.

Porter service: International hotels in Korea do expect tips of KRW500 (US$.42) to KWR1,000 (US$.85) per bag.

Taxis: Cabbies in Seoul do not expect tips.


Restaurants: Leaving spare change after a meal isn’t uncommon, and in the nicer restaurants, a 10 percent service charge is added.

Porter service: Handing over between S$1 (US$.74) S$2 (US$1.48) for each bag is accepted.

Taxis: Taxi drivers are not usually given tips but if you were to round up the meter, they won’t argue.


Restaurants: For a simple meal of two persons, no tip is necessary. But for a larger group, from 5 to 10 percent of the bill should be left behind.

Porters: TWD60 (US$1.87) TWD160 (US$5) should be given to the bellboy for heavy luggage and from TWD30 (US$.93) to 60 for normal luggage. Be sure to leave TWD30 (US$.94) to TWD60 (US$1.88) each day for the room attendants.

Taxis: Tipping taxis is not common, but do tip TWD10 (US$.31) and TWD20 (US$.62) for each baggage in the car boot. Change is left with the driver if it’s under TWD10 (US$.30).

Divya Hiranandani

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