Guide to Tipping in Thailand – When & How (with Suggestions)

Planning a trip to Thailand and curious about tipping etiquette? Look no further! Tipping in Thailand can be a bit confusing, whether you’re enjoying a fancy meal or a relaxing massage. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with my personal experience living and working in the country for over eight years.

Knowing how much to tip and when to do so can go a long way in showing your appreciation for great service. In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about tipping in Thailand, including the recommended amounts and proper etiquette. Let’s dive in!

Tipping Culture in Thailand

In Thailand, tipping is not mandatory, and locals do not expect it for their service. However, this is a developing country with a low minimum wage, so even a small tip can make a big difference to someone’s income.

Tipping is a great way to show your thanks for a well-done job, and spreading kindness and generosity can never hurt.

The tipping culture in Thailand is different from other countries, where the standard practice is to tip a percentage of the total bill. In Thailand, there is no standard percentage, and the amount given as a tip is based on personal preference and the level of service received.

Ready to learn about the appropriate amount to tip in Thailand? Let’s dive into the specifics of tipping in this beautiful country.

How much to tip In Thailand?

While tipping is not a common practice in Thailand, there are still some situations where it may be appropriate to give a little extra to show your appreciation for excellent service. In this guide, we’ll provide some general guidelines on how much to tip in Thailand and when it’s appropriate to do so.

Tipping at restaurants

If you’re planning to dine out in Thailand, you might be wondering about tipping etiquette at restaurants. In Thailand, a 10% service charge is typically added to the bill, so tipping is not required. However, if you feel like the waiter has provided exceptional service, it’s always a nice gesture to leave a tip.

Keep in mind that waiters in Thailand often work long hours, so a small tip can go a long way to show your appreciation.

If you pay with cash, consider leaving your loose change as a tip.

On the other hand, if you’re paying by card, the waiter might not show you a screen with the tip amount. In this case, you can look for a section on the receipt where you can write the tip amount. If there is no such section, you can ask the waiter to add the tip to the bill.

As a general rule, anything 10% or under of the total bill is a good amount to tip. However, tipping is not mandatory, and you should only give a tip if you feel like the service was exceptional.

Important Note: To ensure that your tip goes directly to your waiter, give it to them directly rather than leaving it with the receipt. If you leave it with the receipt, it will be placed in a tip box and distributed among all staff members at the end of the day.

Suggested tip:

Service charge included in the bill: loose change
Service charge not included: no more than 10% of the bill

Tipping for street food

Tipping for street food in Thailand is not as common as in restaurants. Street vendors don’t expect to receive a tip, and some may even be confused if you offer one. However, if you receive exceptional service or want to show your appreciation for their hard work, it’s always a nice gesture to leave a little extra.

Street vendors work long hours in the hot Thai weather, so a small tip can go a long way. Unlike restaurants, there is no service charge added to the receipt for street food, so it’s up to you to decide how much to tip.

If you receive a lot of small change after paying for your food, consider letting the vendor keep it as a tip or giving them some of it.

It’s important to note that you should only give a tip if you think the vendor has provided great service. Never give a tip if the vendor is forcing you to.

Even a small amount, such as 20 THB, can make a big difference to a street vendor and help them buy a meal for their family. So, if you enjoy the food and service, don’t be afraid to leave a little extra to show your appreciation.

Suggested tip:

Tip loose change (10-50 THB)

Tipping at hotels

Tipping at hotels in Thailand can be a bit confusing, especially if you’re not sure what’s expected. The good news is that most hotels in Thailand add a 10% service charge to the total bill, so you don’t have to worry about tipping unless you want to.

However, if you’ve received exceptional service and want to show your appreciation, tipping is always a great way to do it.

Hotel staff in Thailand work long hours and often go above and beyond to make sure their guests are comfortable and happy, so a tip can really make a difference.

Some examples of when you might consider tipping at a hotel include when a bellboy helps you bring your luggage to your room, shows you how to operate the room’s air conditioning, and answers any of your queries.

Or, if you think a housekeeper has done a great job cleaning your room and leaving you fresh fruit, a tip would be a nice gesture. If you do want to tip a housekeeper give it to them directly instead of leaving them a note in your room because it’s unlikely they can read English.

Similarly, if the staff at the hotel restaurant have customized your order based on your diet or health requirements, tipping would be appropriate.

It’s important to note that although tipping in these circumstances is a kind gesture, it’s by no means required. Hotel staff won’t hang around waiting to be tipped, and you won’t be seen as rude or disrespectful if you choose not to tip.

Suggested tip:

Tip loose change (20-200 THB)

Tipping for tours

If you’re planning on exploring Thailand through tours, you might be wondering whether tipping is expected and how much to give. Let’s dive in!

First of all, it’s important to note that tour guides in Thailand are on a wage, but tipping is still a significant part of their salary. They often work long hours in hot, outdoor conditions to make your experience memorable, so a tip is a great way to show your appreciation.

Typically, tour guides will pass around a tip box at the end of the tour. If you feel that they provided an exceptional service, don’t be shy to contribute to the tip box. It’s not required to tip on tours, but it’s a nice gesture to let them know that you value their time.

A tip of anywhere between 100-1000 THB is generally acceptable, depending on the length of the tour and the quality of service.

If you’re hiring a private guide for a more personalized experience, it’s appropriate to tip them directly at the end of the tour.

One important thing to note is that it’s best to tip the tour guide after they’ve completed the service and not before. This ensures that they have provided good service and you’re rewarding them for a job well done.

Suggested tip:

Half day: 100-500 THB
Full day: 300-1000 THB

Tipping for spa treatments or massages

Tipping for spa treatments or massages in Thailand is a topic that can be confusing for many travelers. While it’s not required to tip for a massage or spa treatment, it’s common to do so in Thailand.

Masseuses in Thailand make a wage, but they do depend on tips as part of their income. It’s important to remember that working as a masseuse is a physically draining job, and a tip can go a long way in showing your appreciation.

If you decide to tip for a massage or treatment, consider how long the session was when deciding how much to tip.

A tip of anywhere between 100-500 THB would be considered a great tip for locals working in a spa or massage parlor. It’s also important to only tip when the service is complete, and to give the tip directly to the masseuse.

I personally like to tip the masseuse at Health Land in the waiting lobby after the massage as they serve tea.

Remember, tipping is not required, especially if the treatment was not satisfactory. However, if you feel that the service was amazing, why not consider leaving a tip to show your appreciation?

Suggested tip:

Less than an hour: 40-200 THB
More than an hour 100-500 THB

Tipping for Taxi rides, private drivers, or Tuk Tuks

Tipping for taxi rides, private drivers, or Tuk Tuks is not mandatory in Thailand, but it’s always a good idea to show your appreciation for a job well done.

Taxis in Thailand are very affordable, and it is not necessary to tip the driver as they should have the correct change. When taking public taxis, make sure their meter is on, and if you agree on a fixed price, there is no need to tip extra.

However, if you feel that the taxi driver has provided exceptional service, you might consider a small tip or rounding up the fare.

Tuk Tuks are generally more expensive than normal taxis as they are geared towards tourists, so there is no need to tip extra.

As for ride-hailing services like Grab, tipping is made easy with the built-in tip payment feature within the app.

If you hire a private driver for a day to take you around Thailand, it’s customary to tip them a little extra at the end of the day as a gesture of appreciation for their service. I personally like to give a day-hire driver some additional spare change to show my gratitude for their excellent service.

Suggested tip:

Taxi: Spare change 5-40 THB
Grab: 20-40 THB
Tuk Tuk: none
Private driver: 100-300 THB

When Not to Tip in Thailand

While tipping is generally appreciated in Thailand, there are some situations where it is not appropriate. Here are some instances when you should avoid tipping:

Tipping police or government officials is strictly prohibited as it can be seen as a bribe and is against the law. Therefore, never offer a tip to them.

At shops, banks, public services, or general stores, you should avoid tipping. It is not customary to tip in these places and may even be considered insulting in some cases.

If you have received poor service, it’s not necessary to tip. However, it’s important to note that it’s also not customary to complain in Thailand.

If someone specifically asks for a tip, it’s a red flag and may be a scam. In such situations, refuse and be cautious.

If you do not feel safe getting your wallet out or if someone refuses to accept a tip, it is better not to insist.

In certain cultural or religious contexts, it is not appropriate to tip. For example, tipping in Buddhist temples is prohibited and seen as disrespectful. So, it’s better to respect the local customs and traditions in such places.

Remember, while it’s important to be generous, it’s equally important to know when it is appropriate to tip and when it’s not.

Do’s and Don’ts of tipping in Thailand

If you choose to tip, use these do’s and don’ts as guidelines.

Do tip

  • With local Thai currency (if you do use foreign currency, make sure it’s enough to be worthwhile getting exchanged)
  • Only when the job or service is complete
  • Only what you’re comfortable giving
  • Directly to the person who provided the service
  • Only when it feels right

Don’t tip

  • If you’re unsure whether to tip or not
  • More than the cost of the service
  • If you’re asked specifically to give one
  • At shops, banks, public services, or general stores
  • If someone has provided a poor service
  • Police or an official as this will be seen as a bribe

Summary

In Thailand, tipping is not expected as it is in some other countries, such as the US. Locals usually don’t tip, so you shouldn’t feel obligated to do so either. However, if someone has provided exceptional service and made your holiday experience even more enjoyable, it’s a nice gesture to show your appreciation with a little something extra.

It’s important to trust your instincts when it comes to tipping in Thailand. If it feels right to tip, go ahead, but if you’re not sure, it’s best to err on the side of caution and not tip. If someone tries to pressure you into tipping, don’t confront them yourself – seek assistance from local authorities.

We hope you have a safe and enjoyable trip to Thailand!

FAQ

How much to tip in Thailand?

When it comes to tipping in Thailand, it’s not obligatory, but if you want to express gratitude for a service, consider the quality and any extra effort provided. A general rule of thumb is not to tip more than 10% of the total bill.

How to tip in Thailand?

Tipping in Thailand is not mandatory, but if you want to show appreciation for a service, it’s best to give a tip directly to the person who provided it. They can choose to share it with colleagues or keep it privately based on their working protocols. Tipping in cash is customary, but some restaurants may allow the waiter to add the tip to the total bill if paying by card.

What is considered a good tip? 20, 40, 50, or 100 Baht?

Although any tip is appreciated, it is generally considered good practice to give a larger tip for services that require more time and effort, such as all-day drivers or tour guides. However, it is important to note that even a small amount, such as 20-100 THB, can go a long way for locals in Thailand and can cover the cost of a meal or two. So, don’t feel guilty if you decide to give less than what is typically expected.

Do you tip Grab drivers in Thailand

Tipping Grab drivers in Thailand is not mandatory, but it is possible to tip them through the Grab app if you feel that have gone above and beyond.

Is it rude not to tip in Thailand?

In Thailand, it is not considered rude not to tip. While tipping is appreciated for services like tours or private drivers, it is not expected for services like restaurants or hotels, and most locals do not tip for these.

Do you tip Bolt drivers in Thailand

While tipping Bolt drivers in Thailand is not obligatory, you can still tip them directly with cash if you choose to do so. However, it is worth noting that Bolt does not offer an option to tip their drivers through the app.

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Written by Nicky

Hi! 👋 I'm an expat who has lived, explored, and worked in Thailand for over 9 years. I started findyouthere.com to share the knowledge I've picked up over the years with travelers and expats alike. Find out more on our about page.

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