Tipping in Thailand – Is it Customary to Tip in Thailand?

Tipping in Thailand

It can be really easy to assume that tipping is common practice in all countries around the world, especially when travelling from Western countries where tipping isn’t only appreciated – it’s expected. But knowing the different customs around tipping is super important, as getting it wrong can easily cause offence or embarrassment.

Today, we’re going to be looking at tipping in Thailand. We’ll explore the instances where you are and aren’t expected to tip, look at how much you should tip across different situations, and explain the best way to leave tips in Thailand.

What is the Tipping Culture in Thailand?

The most important thing you need to know about tipping in Thailand is that while it isn’t mandatory or even particularly common, it is always appreciated. It’s also a lot more relaxed than in some Western countries and certainly isn’t expected.

That being said, it is becoming increasingly popular to leave a small tip behind in restaurants or certain situations, like spa treatments or tours. The main thing to remember, however, is that even in these circumstances, a tip is never expected – it’s simply seen as a gesture of appreciation and thanks for good service.

Why is Tipping Uncommon in Thailand?

Why is Tipping Uncommon in Thailand?

One of the biggest reasons why tipping is so uncommon in Thailand is because it doesn’t make up a part of the country’s cultural norms. Like many Asian countries, Thai culture values modesty, and expressions of wealth or generosity have historically been seen as crass. So, by paying for services received without adding anything on top, these values are maintained.

Similarly, Thai culture places a strong emphasis on hospitality, and workers in this sector often feel it’s a part of their duty to provide excellent service without any extra compensation in the form of tips.

However, as Thai tourism boomed, Western customs started to influence Thai culture, and tipping started becoming a little more common in certain situations, particularly in restaurants. Over time, this led to tips being appreciated but never expected.

When Should You Consider Leaving a Tip?

When Should You Consider Leaving a Tip?

Even though you’re not generally expected to leave a tip when you’re in Thailand, Western influence brought on by tourism has made it acceptable to tip when you’re in certain situations. These include:

Tipping Servers

You can tip your server or bartender following a meal in a restaurant, although many restaurants do include a service charge as part of the total bill. In this instance, you can ask if the service charge goes to the server, and, if not, you may be able to have it removed in order to leave a cash tip instead.

What is a Fair Tip to Leave a Server in Thailand?

A tip of around 10% of the total bill is typically the right amount for a server, which means if your meal comes to ฿2,500 THB, a tip of ฿250 THB ($10 AUD) would be sufficient.

Tipping Hotel Staff

Tipping is also acceptable in hotels, and porters and housekeeping staff will always appreciate a few extra Thai Baht on top of their standard wages.

What is a Fair Tip to Leave Hotel Staff in Thailand?

There is no set percentage or amount when tipping staff in hotels, but as a general rule, around ฿20 THB per bag ($1 AUD) for a porter and ฿20-฿50 THB per night ($1-$2 AUD) for housekeeping stuff is considered enough.

Tipping Tour Guides

You can also tip tour guides in Thailand, and this is encouraged if you have a plan specifically designed for you or take part in a private tour.

What is a Fair Tip to Leave a Tour Guide in Thailand?

The amount you tip a tour guide will ultimately depend on how satisfied you are with the service, but most people choose to leave a tip of around 10% of the tour price.

Tipping Spa Staff

It’s becoming increasingly common to tip massage therapists and other spa service providers, especially if you received authentic treatments, such as a Thai massage.

What is a Fair Tip to Leave Spa Staff in Thailand?

A tip of around 15% of the total amount is about right for spa staff, and if you receive services from several therapists throughout the day, you’ll need to tip each of them individually.

Thailand Tipping Etiquette: How to Give a Tip?

As Thai culture values modesty so much, it’s important that you tip with sensitivity and respect. Be sure to hand your tip over discreetly, or if the facility is there, leave a tip in the provided tip box. Likewise, you can leave a tip for your server to collect from the table once you have left.

Wherever possible, you should also express your gratitude verbally with a simple “Thank you” in Thai, which is “Khob khun krap” for males or “Khob kruhn ka” when thanking a female member of staff. This effort to thank them in the country’s language, accompanied by a small tip, is always appreciated.

Tipping in cash is also widely preferred, and while some places will accept tips through card payments, there’s no guarantee that money will actually go to the intended person. So, use cash, and be sure to have plenty on you throughout your trip.

Top Tip: You can make sure you have plenty of cash for tipping in Thailand by buying your Thai Baht beforehand here.

Are There Any Cases Where You Should Avoid Tipping in Thailand?

There are a few instances where you won’t have to worry about tipping Thailand, and there’s no need to worry about offending in these situations because tipping isn’t expected.

The first of these is when you purchase a meal from street food stalls. Street food vendors in Thailand are essentially providing takeout meals, and, as such, there’s no need to tip. Some may have a tip jar on their stall, which you can throw some Thai Baht in if you like, but there’s no expectation.

You also won’t need to worry about tipping sales associates in a store in Thailand as it isn’t within the culture or expected. Likewise, any instance in which you have used self-service facilities does not require tipping.

Heading to Thailand? Get the Best Rates of Thai Baht at Crown Currency Exchange

Get yourself organised by taking out your spending money for Thailand before you get to the airport, and avoid those expensive International Card Transaction Fees, too. Get started by finding your closest Crown Currency Exchange store here and change AUD for THB with no hidden costs and zero commission fees!

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