Do You Tip in Bangkok? Understanding Gratuity Etiquette in Thailand

Written by Jim Belt in How Much To Tip

While tipping in Thailand is not as obligatory as it is in some Western countries, it is still appreciated, especially in tourist areas and finer establishments. This guide helps with Bangkok's tipping etiquette and shows when and how much to tip.

In Bangkok, tipping is not mandatory but is appreciated for good service. In restaurants, it's common to leave a tip of 10-15% if a service charge isn't included. For taxis, rounding up the fare is typical, and small tips for hotel staff are customary.

Tipping Customs

Tipping not customary


  • Tipping is appreciated in Bangkok for good service at restaurants, bars, and hotels.
  • Small tips are customary for transportation and personal services.
  • Knowledge of tipping customs shows respect for local culture and improves travel experiences.

Understanding Tipping in Thailand

When you travel to Thailand, it's handy to know the local customs around tipping. It's not mandatory as in some Western countries, but it is often appreciated.

Cultural Norms

In Thailand, also known as the Land of Smiles, tipping is less about obligation and more about showing gratitude for good service. Unlike in some cultures where tipping is almost required, in Thailand, it's entirely up to you. The tipping culture is relatively relaxed, and while it's not expected everywhere, some small tips in certain places are customary to express your thanks.

Where Tipping is Expected

In restaurants, it's common to leave behind loose change or round up the bill, especially at upscale eateries where a 10% tip can be customary. However, at more casual dining spots or street food stalls, tipping isn't necessary. For hotels, a 20-50 baht tip for housekeeping or bell service can be a nice gesture. After enjoying a relaxing massage, you might consider tipping around 50-100 baht to your masseuse for their skilled service.

For taxi rides, rounding up the fare to the nearest 10 baht is a simple way to tip, but make sure the meter is used. When engaging tour guides for personal excursions, a tip of 100-300 baht depending on the length and quality of the tour is a thoughtful way to show appreciation. In the casual setting of bars, tipping is not a must, but feel free to leave a 20-50 baht tip if you've received good service.

Tipping at Restaurants and Bars

In Bangkok, whether you're enjoying a meal or sipping drinks, the etiquette surrounding tips can vary. Here's what you should keep in mind regarding gratuities.

Establishment Type Suggested Tip Additional Information
Restaurants About 10% of the total bill Check for included service charge at fancier restaurants
Bars and Nightlife Small change or 20-50 baht per drink Appreciated for excellent service
Street Food and Cafes Small amounts or spare change Not customary, but a nice gesture for exceptional service


When dining in restaurants, it's polite to leave a tip of about 10% of your total bill if you've received good service. Notably, at a fancier restaurant, a service charge of 10% may already be included in your bill; if so, additional tipping is not mandatory. It's always best to check your bill for a service charge before deciding on the tip.

Bars and Nightlife

During your nights out, if you visit bars and engage with nightlife, tipping is less expected but appreciated for excellent service. A tip for the bartender or service staff can be a nice gesture if you've been well taken care of. Small change or an amount around 20-50 baht per drink can be left on the table or in a tip jar, if available.

Street Food and Cafes

Tipping at street food stalls isn't customary, and vendors might even be surprised by it. If you do decide to tip, stick to small amounts, like rounding up the charge. Similarly, in cafes a tip isn't expected, but if you've had exceptional service, feel free to leave some spare change as a token of your appreciation. Always tip in local currency to avoid confusion for the vendor or server.

Tipping for Hotel Services

When staying in a Bangkok hotel, understanding the local tipping customs for hotel staff can enhance your experience and show appreciation for the service you receive.

Staff Position Suggested Tip Additional Information
Bellboys and Porters 20-50 baht per bag For assistance with luggage
Valets 20-50 baht When your car is delivered
Housekeeping 20-50 baht per day Left in the room for the maids

Front of House

Your first interactions are often with the front of house staff, which includes bellboys, porters, and valets. It's customary to tip them for their assistance. For bellboys and porters, a tip of 20-50 baht per bag is a kind gesture, while for valets, a tip of 20-50 baht when your car is delivered is appropriate.

Housekeeping and Maintenance

The housekeepers often go unnoticed, but their service greatly impacts the quality of your stay. A daily tip of 20-50 baht left in your room for the maids is a typical way to show gratitude. For any special requests or extra work, considering a little extra on top of this amount can reflect your appreciation for their hard work.

Transportation Tipping Practices

Tipping for transportation services in Bangkok is appreciated but not mandatory. Here's how you can navigate the customs to show your appreciation for good service.

Service Type Suggested Tip Additional Information
Taxi Drivers and Ride-Sharing Rounding up fare or small amount Optional for exceptional service
Tour Guides 100-300 baht per day Expected for their knowledge and hospitality
Drivers 50-150 baht per day Typically half of what you tip the tour guide
Tuk-Tuk Drivers Small amount Not standard, but appreciated for a memorable ride

Taxi Drivers and Ride-Sharing

When using taxis or ride-sharing services like Grab, you are not required to tip. However, if you receive exceptional service, rounding up your fare or adding a small amount is a kind gesture. For example, if the meter reads 52 baht, you might round up to 60 baht. Always agree on the fare before starting your journey to avoid misunderstandings.

Tour Guides and Drivers

Tour guides and their drivers usually expect a tip, especially in tourist areas. It's customary to tip them for their knowledge and hospitality. A general guide is to tip tour guides anywhere from 100 to 300 baht per day, and drivers about half of that, depending on the quality of the service and the length of the tour.

Other Transport Workers

For other transport workers, like tuk-tuk drivers, tipping is not standard. However, similar to taxis, if you've had a memorable ride or the driver has gone out of their way to assist you, feel free to tip a small amount. It's a simple way to express your gratitude for their service. If a service charge is included in your travel fees, additional tipping is not necessary, but always welcome for exceptional service.

Tipping for Personal Services

When visiting spas and massage centers in Bangkok, it's common to consider a gratuity for the therapists as a sign of your appreciation for their service.

Spas and Massage Centers

Establishment Type Suggested Tip Additional Information
Spas and Massage Centers 10-20% of the total service cost Not compulsory, but appreciated for satisfaction and care

In Bangkok, if you receive a service that meets or exceeds your satisfaction, tipping your massage therapist or masseuse is a thoughtful way to acknowledge the care provided. For a standard Thai massage or any other services at a spa, it's not compulsory to tip, but it's certainly appreciated by the staff. As a guideline, offering an additional 10-20% of the total service cost can be a suitable tip, but you can adjust this based on the quality of the massage and your personal experience. Remember that your contribution can make a significant difference to the massage therapists, especially considering the modest wages in the service industry.

Money Matters

Understanding the nuances of tipping in Bangkok is essential, especially when it comes to handling money and knowing the most convenient ways to tip for services received during your trip.

Currency and Cash Tips

In Bangkok, the local currency is the Thai Baht, which comes in both coin and banknote form. It’s practical to have cash on hand for tips, as it’s widely accepted and sometimes the only form of payment small businesses take. For a seamless experience, ensure you make ATM withdrawals in the local currency. When on a business trip, it's smart to keep small denominations for tipping, as it reflects well on your professionalism and understanding of international tipping standards.

Cashless Tipping Options

More upmarket establishments in Bangkok may allow cashless tipping options such as adding a tip to your credit card charge. If you prefer not carrying too much cash, you might use a Wise travel card or a Thai Baht travel card. These travel cards are pre-loaded with money and can be a secure and convenient way to manage your spending and tips without worrying about currency exchange rates constantly.

Exchange Rates and Tips

Keeping a close eye on the exchange rates can inform your tipping practices. A favorable exchange rate can mean your tips go further and are more generous without extra cost to you. When changing money or assessing how much to tip, use reputable currency exchange services to get the best rates and avoid any unexpected costs or fees that might arise from international transactions. Remember, fair tipping not only rewards good service but also respects the local economy.

Practical Tipping Tips

When visiting Bangkok, grasping the tipping customs can be quite helpful. Unlike some other destinations, tipping here is more relaxed, but there are still occasions where a few extra baht can express your appreciation for good service.

Restaurants: After enjoying a meal, inspect your bill for a service charge. If it’s not included, consider leaving a tip. It's common to round up your bill or leave about 10% as a courtesy. For instance, if your meal costs 450 baht, rounding up to 500 baht is a simple way to tip.

Cash is King: Always tip in cash directly to the service provider to ensure they receive it. Prepare small denominations in advance, as it will make tipping a smoother experience for you.

Tipping at Hotels: For hotel staff such as bellboys or housekeeping, small tips are a nice gesture. Around 20-50 baht per service is typical.

When in doubt, using your discretion based on the level of service you've received is wise. Remember, in Bangkok, as in most of Southeast Asia, tips are not compulsory but are a good way to show that you acknowledge the effort of the service staff.

Published: 30-01-2024

Tipping in Hong Kong Restaurants: Is It Expected?

Visiting Hong Kong offers a mosaic of cultural experiences, and dining out is a highlight for many travelers. You may find yourself wondering whether to leave a …

Jim Belt in Restaurant
Do You Tip in Taiwan? Understanding the Local Tipping Culture