Do You Tip in Hanoi? Understanding Etiquette and Best Practices

Written by Jim Belt in How Much To Tip

Traveling to Hanoi can immerse you in a cultural tapestry that's vivid and full of tradition, including the etiquette around tipping. This guide helps with Hanoi's tipping etiquette and shows when and how much to tip.

In Hanoi, tipping is not customary, but it is becoming more common, especially in tourist areas. Small tips for good service in restaurants and cafes are appreciated, often 5-10% of the bill. Taxi drivers typically do not expect tips, but rounding up the fare is a kind gesture.

Tipping Customs

Tipping not customary


  • Tipping in Hanoi is appreciated but not obligatory.
  • Service providers in tourist areas are more accustomed to receiving tips.
  • Gratuity is seen as an expression of thanks for good service.

Understanding Tipping in Vietnam

Tipping in Vietnam can seem complex, but understanding the nuances will help you navigate through various interactions with comfort and respect.

Tipping Etiquette

In Vietnam, while tipping is not mandatory, it is becoming increasingly appreciated in service industries. If you've received exceptional service, consider leaving a small gratuity to show appreciation.

Services Where Tipping Is Common

In Hanoi, while tipping is not mandatory, it’s a nice gesture to show appreciation for good service. Here's where you're likely to encounter situations where tipping is common.

Service Type Suggested Tip Additional Information
Restaurants and Bars Customary, amount varies Especially in tourist areas
Hotels Small tips appreciated For bellhops, concierge, and housekeeping
Taxi and Ride Services Round up fare or small amount As a thank you for the service
Tour Guides Customary, amount varies Recognizes effort and supports livelihood
Spas and Salons Reflect satisfaction with service Fosters a good client-service relationship
Other Services Modest tip if moved by service Not commonly expected but appreciated

Restaurants and Bars

When dining at restaurants or enjoying a drink at the bars, leaving a tip for the wait staff and bartenders is becoming more customary, especially in places catering to tourists. It's a direct way to reward the service provided to you.

Hotels and Accommodations

At hotels, small tips for the bellhops or concierge who assist you can be a kind acknowledgment of their help. Likewise, housekeeping staff often appreciate a tip left for their services, especially in luxury hotels.

Taxi and Ride Services

For taxi drivers or private ride services, rounding up the fare or adding a small extra amount is a way of saying thank you for a safe and comfortable ride.

Tour Guides and Day Trips

Tour guides are typically very knowledgeable and go out of their way to provide an insightful experience. Tipping them not only recognizes their effort but also supports their livelihood.

Spas and Salons

In spas and salons, where personal care from massages to hairdressing is provided, tipping the staff can reflect your satisfaction with the service. It's a simple gesture that also helps in fostering a good client-service provider relationship.

Other Services

Porters, street vendors, café workers, and others in the service industry do not commonly expect tips, but if you feel particularly moved by their service, a modest tip won't be amiss. It's a small way to contribute positively to their day.

When and How Much to Tip

In Hanoi, navigating the tipping culture can significantly influence the quality of your experience. This section will help you understand the appropriate tipping amounts and the nuances involved in thanking service staff monetarily.

Calculating Tip Amounts

When dining out or going on tours, a tip of about 10% of your bill is generally appreciated for good service. If the service exceeds your expectations, you might consider giving a little extra as a thank you. For a tour cost, a small tip proportional to the enjoyment and quality of service received is a kind gesture.

Service Charges and Taxes

Look for a service charge on your bill, which is typically around 10%. If it's included, you're not obligated to tip extra, but for outstanding service, a discretionary tip is still a welcome bonus. Remember, the tax is separate from the service charge and doesn't go to the staff.

Cultural Considerations for Tipping

While tipping isn't a native custom in Vietnamese culture, the service staff often earn below the average wage and tips are a practical way to show gratitude. Keep in mind that a tip, no matter how small, can be a significant compliment to those who assisted you.

Handling Small Bills and Local Currency

Always try to tip in cash using Vietnamese dong (VND), even though some places accept USD. Having small bills makes it easier to give tips directly to service providers. It's polite to round up the amount for convenience, ensuring your tip is ready to be handed discreetly and directly.

Practical Tips for Tourists in Hanoi

When visiting Hanoi, understanding the local customs around tipping can enhance your travel experience. Here's a quick guide to help you navigate this aspect of Vietnamese culture with ease.

Navigating Tipping in Restaurants

In Hanoi, tipping at restaurants is appreciated but not obligatory. For your convenience, consider leaving a 5-10% tip if the service exceeds your expectations, particularly at tourist-oriented restaurants. Unlike some Vietnamese restaurants or street food stalls where tipping is less common, staff at places frequented by travelers often anticipate this gesture. Always check your bill first, as some places may include a service charge.

Service Type Suggested Tip Additional Information
Hotel Luggage Handlers 10,000-20,000 Vietnamese Dong For good service
Hotel Housekeeping 10,000-20,000 Vietnamese Dong In upscale establishments
Taxis Round up fare To the nearest convenient denomination
Tour Guides 50,000-100,000 Vietnamese Dong per day Depending on length and quality of the tour

Understanding Tipping at Hotels

While staying at hotels in Hanoi, a tip isn't expected but it's a kind gesture for good service. A small tip of about 10,000-20,000 Vietnamese Dong is suitable for luggage handlers or housekeeping staff. In upscale establishments, tipping is more commonplace and reflects appreciation for the staff's attention to your comfort.

Using Taxis and Tips on Tipping

Taxis in Hanoi can be a convenient way to get around the city and to various tourist destinations. It's customary to round up the fare to the nearest convenient denomination, which acts as a tip. For instance, if your fare comes to 45,000 Vietnamese Dong, giving 50,000 Dong and not waiting for change would be seen as a courtesy.

Guided Tours and Tipping Norms

Tour guides in Vietnam often go the extra mile to provide insightful and engaging experiences. If you're satisfied with your tour, offering a tip is a thoughtful way to show your respect and gratitude. An acceptable tip would be around 50,000-100,000 Vietnamese Dong per day, but this can vary based on the length and quality of your tour.

Tipping Guidelines for Various Establishments

Tipping in Hanoi reflects your appreciation for the level of service you receive across different venues, from high-end restaurants to bustling street food stalls.

Decoding Service Charges in Upscale Venues

Upscale venues often add a service charge to your bill, typically around 5-10%. This fee is meant for the restaurant staff, a formal way to say thank you for good service provided. However, if a service charge isn't included, or you feel the service exceeded expectations, a similar percentage is a generous tip.

Appropriate Tipping at Casual Eateries

Casual eateries such as cafes and small restaurants usually do not expect tips, but your kindness is always welcome. If you're pleased with the service, leaving a small tip, perhaps rounding up the bill or adding a 5% gesture, shows your appreciation for their hospitality.

Rewarding Good Service in Hospitality

In hotels and spas, tip directly to service staff like housekeepers or masseurs if their service brings a smile. About 20,000 to 50,000 VND, depending on the quality of service, is a common tip to convey your gratitude in these settings.

Donations Instead of Tips at Street Food Stalls

When eating at street food stalls, tipping isn't a standard practice, but a small donation as a token of thanks is a respectful gesture towards their hard work. Offer what you feel is fair, often just a small note or some change is enough to express your appreciation.

Money Matters: Tipping With Cash or Card

When venturing through Hanoi, understanding the local preferences for tipping can enhance your experience. It's important to navigate the cultural norms effectively.

The Preference for Cash Tips

In Hanoi, cash is king, especially for gratuities. It's preferred to tip with Vietnamese Dong (VND), the local currency. Small cash tips are a direct way to show your appreciation for services. Keep a range of small notes on hand, as it's not only convenient for you but also highly appreciated by the service providers.

Credit Card Tipping Challenges

While more establishments are accepting credit card transactions, tipping with one can be tricky. The infrastructure may not always support adding a tip on card payments. Moreover, withdrawing the cash equivalent of your tip from a salary paid via card isn't always straightforward for staff. It's best to check if the establishment has a system in place to handle credit card tips effectively before offering one.

Gratuity Beyond Money: Alternative Ways to Show Appreciation

In Hanoi, expressing gratitude extends beyond the realm of monetary tips. Here's how you can show your thankfulness in meaningful ways that resonate with the local culture.

Thanking With Words and Gestures

A heartfelt "cảm ơn" (thank you) coupled with a warm smile can go a long way in Hanoi. Kindness in your words and sincerity in your gestures of appreciation are highly valued. Whether it's the staff at your hotel, a street vendor, or a tour guide, taking the time to acknowledge their efforts with eye contact and a nod can build respect and convey your thanks effectively.

Gifts and Souvenirs as Tokens of Gratitude

Consider bringing small gifts or souvenirs from your country as a unique way to express gratitude. In Hanoi, such gestures are seen as a sign of respect and are often more memorable. It could be as simple as a keychain, a postcard, or any small item that represents your culture and shows you appreciate their hospitality.

Special Situations and Exceptions in Tipping

When visiting Hanoi, you might encounter situations where tipping can be more nuanced, reflecting the local culture and customs. Here's how you can navigate these instances with ease.

What to Do With Exceptional Service

If you receive exceptional service in Hanoi, such as a hotel staff member going above and beyond to accommodate your preferences or a particularly attentive tour guide, it's courteous to offer a tip as a gesture of your appreciation. You can leave a tip at the front desk in a gratuity jar, if available, or directly to the individual. This small act acknowledges their extra effort and is a polite way to show gratitude.

Understanding When Not to Tip

Tipping isn't a firm part of Vietnamese culture and is often not expected, allowing you to use your discretion. In many cases, such as at local eateries or taxis, there is no need to tip. However, understand that if the service is poor or lacks that personal touch, it is perfectly acceptable not to tip. Offering a smile and a sincere "thank you" is often appreciated just as much in these instances.

Published: 31-01-2024

Do You Tip in Taiwan? Understanding the Local Tipping Culture

Unlike some Western countries where tipping can feel mandatory, the cultural approach to tipping in Taiwan is noticeably different. This guide covers if and when to …

Jim Belt in How Much To Tip
Do You Tip in Hong Kong? Understanding the Local Tipping Etiquette