24 Jan 2017 Tipping In Thailand Guide
When traveling abroad it’s always difficult to understand the tipping culture in that country. Tipping in Thailand is no different. When should you tip in Thailand, are you tipping in Thailand enough? We have lived traveled in Thailand for the past 3 years, so we’ve put together a guide to tipping in Thailand to help you out.
Tipping In Thailand
This tipping in Thailand guide is intended for tourists in Thailand, as it is not common for local Thais to tip. Even though tipping in Thailand is becoming more and more common. Tipping in Thailand is not mandatory but always appreciated. Europeans will read this and tell us we are crazy for tipping this much and Americans will feel guilty for tipping this little, however, this is what is generally accepted for tipping in Thailand. As a tourist in Thailand, please realize how little daily wages most locals are paid. The average Thai wage is less than 9,000 baht a month ($250USD). That extra twenty baht tip may be nothing to you but can really add up for the local server.
Sit Down Restaurants
Tipping roughly 10% of the bill is a good tip, and rounding up or down just would you do at home. If eating at a fancier restaurant and the bill is higher, you can ignore the 10% rule and give based on how the experience was with a minimum of 100 baht tip. Always check the bill and see if a service charge was added, if a service charge was added no need to tip.
When tipping in a sit-down restaurant isn’t a straight percentage of the check. Also look at the cost of the meal, and the service. Just like you would at home. If you had a not so good waiter at home would you tip? Yes, you probably would just tip less. If you had an amazing server you’d tip a little extra. And if you had a terrible server and dining experience you probably wouldn’t tip. The same goes when tipping in Thailand at restaurants.
- 100 baht bill = 10 baht tip
- 177 baht bill= 23 baht tip just leave all the change and round up
- 830 baht bill= 70 baht tip
- 1900 baht bill= 150 baht tip
Thailand Street Food Vendor
It is not common to tip street food vendors if you do tip they likely be confused and try to return what they see as an overpayment. Most street food items are fixed and clearly labeled prices and no tips required and it is not acceptable to barter on the price of food. If you happen to see a tip jar at a street food stall and it was really tasty throw in a few baht coins.
Suggested tip: None
Related Article: Street Food Safety Guide
Tipping At Bars
How much to tip in Thailand at a bar really varies from bar to bar. If is a bar where you go up to the bar and order your own drinks no tip is required. If you are at a beach bar all day in Koh Lipe you may want to tip 10 baht on the first drink so that the waiter comes and checks on you later. If they don’t come back to check on your then don’t tip on the next drink. If you have been sitting at the bar for a few hours chatting with the bartender and having a good time tip 50 baht or so. Always check the bill and see if a service charge was added, if a service charge was added no need to tip. It is common for the skybars in Bangkok to charge a service charge, so no need to tip unless it was exceptional service and you want to leave an additional tip.
Suggested Tip: 10 baht for 2 drinks
Related Article: Red Sky Bar Bangkok
Fast Food Restaurants/Coffee Shops
No need to tip at fast food restaurants of coffee shops like: KFC, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Tom Tom’s, etc. If a server doesn’t come to your table no need to leave a tip.
Suggested Tip: None
Taxis in Thailand
Before entering a taxi in Thailand is make sure to agree on a price in advance or make sure it will be a metered fare. It is common to round up the fare to the nearest bill and leave the change as a tip while taking a taxi in Thailand.
Suggested Tip: 111 baht fare= 9 baht tip
Related Article: 3 Days In Bangkok
Uber In Thailand
Uber is in Thailand and our preferred mode of transport in Thailand. Uber Bangkok is super easy and cheap. We have used Uber in Bangkok and Chiang Mai dozens of times. Uber in Thailand is great as you don’t have to agree on a price or try and communicate where you are going. We asked several expats living in Bangkok if they tip Uber drivers and they said yes on average at least 10 baht. For example, an 11 km ride that takes 23 minutes costs only 90 baht. Uber takes a large amount of your fare, and any tips the drivers will appreciate.
Suggested Tip: 10 baht minimum (depending on distance)
Tuk Tuk Drivers
Always negotiate the price before hiring a tuk-tuk. In Bangkok and other tourist cities some level of bartering is expected over the fare. Tuk-tuk drivers in Bangkok especially are known for their scams of overcharging or bringing you to shops that they will get a commission from. We try and avoid using tuk-tuks if possible. For tuk-tuk drivers in Thailand only pay the price agreed upon for the ride tipping is not expected.
Suggested Tip: None
Related Article: Best Tuk Tuk Driver In Siem Reap
After a relaxing massage wouldn’t you feel guilty not tipping? Being a masseuse is a hard job and it doesn’t pay well. Many masseuses get only a small fraction of what you pay for a massage. I try and tip at least 15%. Try to give it directly to the masseuse to ensure it goes to the correct person.
- 150 baht massage = 20-50 baht tip
- 300 baht massage = 50-100 baht tip
If you are staying in a nicer Bangkok hotel, they will most likely send your luggage up to your room. What you should tip depends on how much baht you have. I personally don’t like tipping coins, so typically my tips will be 20 baht/50 baht/ 100 baht. Again there is no tipping in Thailand rule, but you will notice the bell boys hang around the door when exiting. They will graciously accept a tip.
- 1 bag= 20 baht
- several bags= 50 baht
Related Article: 6 Reasons To Stay At The Westin Bangkok
Tipping Housekeeping in Thailand Hotels
This one can be tricky. Tipping maids in Thailand is common in higher end hotels. You will notice this when you see a tip envelope in your room. Place your tip in the envelope for the maid. If you are staying at 3-star hotel or less, tips are not common.
If there is no envelope the maid might not know money left in the room is for a tip and not take it. This may sound strange, but if you left 50 baht bill on the bed they might move it to the desk assuming you left it behind. This has happened to us. The best for tipping the housekeeping in Thailand is to literally hand it to them or make it super obvious that it’s a tip. A thank you note with the money on top, etc.
- 1 night = 50 baht
- 3 nights= 100 baht
Related Article: Checking Into The W Bangkok
Thailand Tattoo Artist
Getting a tattoo in Thailand is a souvenir that will be with you forever. Even better would be getting a Sak Yant tattoo, a traditional Thai tattoo. If the tattoo artist draws you up a custom design that you totally love show him your appreciation with a tip usually 10% or at your discretion.
- 2,000 baht tattoo = 200 baht tip
- 4,000 baht tattoo = 300 baht tip
As a general rule 10% is a good tip for a hairstylist. Higher end hair salons in Thailand will most likely have a tip jar at the checkout, even though I always prefer to hand my tip directly to the person helping me. If visiting a local Thai hair salon there is no need to tip but a 20 baht tip would be nice. I personally go to an Aveda salon in Chiang Mai that is very pricey and I am sure every customer tips something.
- 200 baht appointment = 20 baht tip
- 500 baht appointment = 50 baht tip
- 3,000 baht appointment = 200 baht tip
Related Article: New York New York Hair Salon Chiang Mai
Every tour is different and you should the tip will vary tour by tour. We’ve had amazing tours in Bangkok where our guides went out of their way to make sure we had a great time. Several of our tour guides showed us things we would have never found on our own, and give local tips. We’ve also had some tours that were really boring. No matter what suggest tipping the tour guides something and a little more to the awesome guides.
- Half day tour = 150+ baht
- Full day tour = 300+ baht
Knowing what to tip in Thailand or who to tip is frustrating. Hopefully, our tipping in Thailand guide has helped you figure out how much to tip in Thailand for all sorts of situations. We would love to hear how much you tip where you are from. Leave a comment below!
Additional Thailand Resources:
Airbnb first-timers, if you sign up through my referral link you get $35 credit when you book your first trip! –>> sign up here! If you already have an account register a second account for your travel partner to get $35 off your next trip. New guesthouses are being added constantly.
If you need any help finding accommodation in Koh Lipe, always check Agoda as I have found them to have the best selection in Thailand.
For the cheapest airfare within Thailand and most of Southeast Asia, check AirAsia.