Hong Kong is one of the most vibrant and culturally rich places on Earth, pulling in intrepid explorers from all over the world with the allure of its bright lights, towering skyscrapers, and amazing cuisine. But before you head to Hong Kong, it’s essential to know what the tipping culture is.
Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about tipping in Hong Kong. We’ll walk you through when you should tip, how much is appropriate, and how to tip without causing any embarrassment.
What is the Tipping Culture in Hong Kong?
Tipping culture in Hong Kong is not as ingrained in culture as it is in other Western countries, and it is not expected in restaurants, bars, or hotels. However, leaving a tip is accepted more in Hong Kong than in other Asian countries, and due to Western influence, it isn’t considered rude or offensive to leave a tip for good service.
Why is Tipping Becoming Common in Hong Kong?
The main reason why tipping culture is evolving and slowly becoming a common practice in Hong Kong is due to the huge number of international visitors that flock here each year, bringing the influence of global norms and practices with them.
The hospitality and service industry, in particular, has begun recognising the expectations of a global clientele and understanding that the customer wants to leave a tip. As such, cultural norms are shifting to cater to the preferences of visitors, and traditional values and practices are being left behind.
When Should You Consider Leaving a Tip?
When it comes to the people you need to tip in Hong Kong, things can become a little confusing, and you’ll find that there are certain situations in which you’ll want to tip but don’t need to. The biggest of these is in restaurants, where tips aren’t expected but are appreciated.
We’ll look at this in a little more detail further down the page, but for now, here are instances in which you should consider leaving a tip in Hong Kong.
Tipping Hotel Staff
While tipping at hotels in Hong Kong isn’t customary, it is becoming increasingly expected to tip for certain services, including bellhops, housekeeping, room service, and concierge.
What is a Fair Tip to Leave Hotel Staff in Hong Kong?
A tip of around $20 HKD ($3 AUD) per bag is a good guideline for tipping a bell boy in Hong Kong. The same amount per night can be given to housekeeping staff and servers delivering room service, while the amount you tip the concierge is discretionary based on the service provided.
Tipping in Hair Salons
It’s very common to tip in hair salons in Hong Kong, but there’s no need to worry about tipping each person involved in the process (hair washer, stylist, colourist, etc) as your tip will be shared with everyone.
What is a Fair Tip to Leave Hair Salon Staff in Hong Kong?
A small tip of between 5%-10% of the total bill is considered enough when tipping in hair salons. So, should you spend $260 HKD getting your hair done, you should leave a tip between $13-$26 HKD ($2.50-$5 AUD).
Tipping Restroom Attendants
You’re most likely to find restroom attendants in upscale hotels in Hong Kong, and they’ll dry your hands and offer you a spray of cologne or perfume before you head back out.
What is a Fair Tip to Leave Restroom Attendants in Hong Kong?
There’s no set amount for how much you should tip a restroom attendant in Hong Kong, and as a general rule, leaving a few Hong Kong Dollars in their tip jar is appreciated.
Tipping Tour Guides
In Hong Kong, tour guides are paid a very small amount of money and, as such, depend on tips to top up their wages. Tipping a tour guide is also one of the instances where leaving gratuity is expected, so don’t forget; otherwise, you may cause offence.
What is a Fair Tip to Leave Tour Guides in Hong Kong?
A tip of between $20-$40 HKD ($4-$7 AUD) per person in the group is considered enough when tipping a tour guide.
Hong Kong Tipping Etiquette: How to Give a Tip Without Being Rude or Offensive?
The best way to leave a tip in Hong Kong without seeming rude or causing any offence is by doing so with discretion. Modesty is appreciated in Hong Kong in most circumstances, so be sure to discreetly hand it over without making a big deal of it.
It’s also best to tip using cash in Hong Kong, as this isn’t only appreciated more, but tipping using your card can lead to your bank charging you expensive International Payment Fees.
Top Tip: Make sure you get your spending money sorted and have enough cash to tip with before you get to Hong Kong! You can get fantastic AUD to HKD rates here.
Are There Any Cases Where You Should Avoid Tipping in Hong Kong?
We touched on this a little earlier, but things can get confusing when tipping in Hong Kong, as there are instances in which you’d normally tip but don’t need to.
The first of these is restaurants, and this is simply because most restaurants will add a service charge to the bill, which will be around 10% of the total. However, you don’t necessarily need to pay this service charge, and you can ask for it to be removed in favour of leaving 10% in cash for your server.
Likewise, you also don’t need to tip in cafes or bars, as it generally isn’t expected. Cab drivers don’t expect you to tip them either, although if you’ve had a good journey, it isn’t uncommon to round the total fare up to the nearest Hong Kong dollar.
It’s also worth noting here that you don’t need to tip in any situation where you feel you haven’t received good service.
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