Do You Tip in Hong Kong? Understanding the Local Tipping Etiquette

Written by Jim Belt in How Much To Tip

Traveling to Hong Kong presents a unique blend of Eastern and Western practices, and understanding how to navigate the tipping culture is crucial for a smooth experience. This guide shows Hong Kong's tipping etiquette and helps you know when to tip.

In Hong Kong, tipping is not typically expected as a 10% service charge is often added to the bill in hotels and restaurants. However, it is common to leave small change or round up the bill for good service, and a small cash tip can be given to porters or housekeeping staff.

Tipping Customs

Tipping not customary


  • Tipping in Hong Kong is not compulsory but can be practiced as a gesture of appreciation for excellent service.
  • Service charges in restaurants may eliminate the need for a tip, but consider tipping for exceptional hospitality.
  • While tipping isn't expected for transportation and personal care services, small gratuities for hotel staff are a common courtesy.

Understanding Tipping in Hong Kong

When you're visiting Hong Kong, it's essential to recognize how tipping practices differ from what you might be accustomed to. Navigating these customs can help you avoid any social faux pas during your stay.

Tipping in Restaurants and Bars

In Hong Kong, understanding when and how much to tip at restaurants and bars can make your dining experience smoother. Let's break down the essentials of service charges and the occasions when tipping more is appropriate.

Service Charges and Tips

In many restaurants, you'll find a 10% service charge already added to your bill. It's important to check your bill for this because if it's included, additional tipping isn't a common practice. This service charge is meant to cover the tip, and it's typically shared among the staff. However, if you're at a bar, tipping isn't expected and not a part of the regular service protocol.

When to Tip More

If you feel you've received exceptional service that goes above and beyond, it's entirely appropriate to offer a tip in cash. While not expected, it's seen as a generous way to show gratitude for outstanding service. Remember, if you decide to tip with a card, the option might not always be available, so having small cash denominations can be handy for these instances.

Hotel Tipping Etiquette

When you stay at a hotel in Hong Kong, understanding the local customs for tipping can enhance your experience and show appreciation to the staff assisting you.

Staff Role Suggested Tip Additional Information
Bellhop/Porter 2 to 5 HKD per bag For luggage assistance
Concierge 20 to 100 HKD Based on the level of service and assistance provided
Room Service About 10% of the bill If no service charge is included
Housekeeping 10-20 HKD per day Leave on the bedside table with a thank you note

Tips for Hotel Staff

In Hong Kong, tips are not usually expected but are appreciated for good service. A general guideline is to tip the bellhop or porter between 2 to 5 HKD per bag if they assist you with your luggage. If you interact with a concierge and they go out of their way to help you with reservations or advice, consider a tip of 20 to 100 HKD based on how impressed you were with their service.

Room Service and Housekeeping

For room service, check your bill for a service charge. If one is not included, a gratuity of around 10% of the bill can be a polite gesture for excellent service. Housekeeping staff, often unseen, also appreciate a tip for their hard work. It's common to leave 10-20 HKD per day on the bedside table or at a visible spot in your room with a note thanking the maids or housekeeper.

Tipping for Transportation Services

When you travel in Hong Kong, understanding the tipping customs for various transportation services can enhance your experience. It's customary to appreciate good service and may slightly differ for taxis and drivers as opposed to tour guides and private tours.

Service Type Suggested Tip Additional Information
Taxi Drivers Round up fare to nearest dollar Common courtesy as a gesture of appreciation
Tour Guides 10-15% of the tour's cost For exceptional service on private tours

Taxis and Drivers

For taxi drivers in Hong Kong, it is not a strict requirement to tip, but it is common courtesy to round up your fare to the nearest dollar, allowing the driver to keep the change. This small gesture acknowledges the convenience and service provided by the driver.

Tour Guides and Private Tours

Tipping your tour guide is more customary, especially if they deliver an exceptional experience on your private tour. A standard tip may range from 10% to 15% of the tour's cost, directly reflecting your satisfaction with their expertise and service.

Personal Care Services Tipping

When receiving personal care services in Hong Kong, understanding the tipping etiquette can enhance your experience and show appreciation for exceptional service.

Service Type Suggested Tip Additional Information
Spas and Hair Salons 20 to 50 HKD For exceptional service, given directly to the service provider
Cafes Discretionary Baristas typically do not expect tips
Bars 10-20% of the total bill For outstanding service, reflecting the quality of service received

Spas and Hair Salons

In spas and hair salons, tipping is not a common practice, but it's appreciated if you've received exceptional service. For a satisfying massage or a haircut that exceeds your expectations, consider leaving a small cash tip directly with the service provider. It's not mandatory, and there's no set percentage, but a token gesture of 20 to 50 HKD is a kind way to express your gratitude.

Cafes and Bars Service Staff

While baristas in cafes typically do not expect a tip, a small tip at a bar can be customary, especially if the bartender has provided you with outstanding service. If you're pleased with your drink or the attention you've received, a cash tip amounting to 10-20% of your total bill is a generous way to show your satisfaction. Remember, these tips are always at your discretion and should reflect the quality of service you feel you have received.

Tipping Amounts and Guidelines

Tipping in Hong Kong can be less straightforward compared to other places due to the sometimes-included service charge. Knowing how much to tip and when it's expected can enhance your experience while respecting local customs.

How Much to Tip

In Hong Kong, certain places include a 10% service charge in your bill, in which case a tip isn't typically expected. However, for exceptional service, you might consider leaving an additional gratuity of 5-10%. In establishments where service charge isn't applied, tipping becomes more customary. Hairdressers and hotel staff—like bellhops and housekeeping—often anticipate a tip. A general guide is to offer a tip between HK$10 to HK$100 for hairdressers, depending on the level of service, and HK$2 to HK$5 per bag for bellhops.

When Tipping Is Expected

Tipping is not as common in Hong Kong as it is in some Western countries, but there are situations where it's expected. For instance, in hotels, especially if there's no service charge, you should tip bellhops and housekeeping. When you're at a hair salon, especially those without a tip jar, it's polite to hand the tip directly to your hairdresser or stylist. Although tipping at restaurants isn't mandatory due to the service charge, rounding up your bill to the nearest ten or leaving some change is a practice appreciated by the staff.

Non-Tipping Situations

In Hong Kong, the practice of tipping can differ from other parts of the world, and knowing when not to tip is as important as knowing when to offer extra for service. Here are specific situations where you're not expected to leave a tip:

It's essential to remember that tipping is seen differently here, and what might be a kind gesture elsewhere could cause confusion. Stick to the local tipping etiquette to ensure you are culturally sensitive and respectful. Your understanding of when to keep your wallet closed will be seen as a sign you are familiar and comfortable with local customs, which is always appreciated.

Published: 30-01-2024

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