Do You Tip in HK: Navigating Gratuity in Hong Kong Hospitality

Written by Jim Belt in How Much To Tip

In Hong Kong, a bustling metropolis, tipping practices can seem intricate due to the blend of Eastern and Western cultural influences. This guide helps with gratuity in Hong Kong hospitality.

In Hong Kong, tipping is not a common practice as many restaurants include a 10% service charge. However, small tips for porters or housekeeping staff in hotels are appreciated, usually a few Hong Kong dollars. Taxi drivers do not expect tips, but rounding up the fare is acceptable.

Tipping Customs

Tipping not customary


  • Tipping etiquette in Hong Kong involves discerning when it's expected and how much to give.
  • Hotels, restaurants, and taxis are common places where tipping is customary.
  • Awareness of when not to tip is equally vital to respect local customs and avoid unnecessary spending.

Understanding Tipping in Hong Kong

When you're in Hong Kong, you'll find that tipping practices can be quite different from what you're used to. Let's navigate the local customs to ensure you show your appreciation appropriately without committing any faux pas.

Cultural Context of Tipping

In Hong Kong, tipping is not as deeply ingrained in the culture as it might be in other countries. While service charge is often added to your bill at restaurants and hotels, gratuities remain largely optional. Service staff may not expect tips, but they are certainly appreciated for exemplary service. You'll find that in this fast-paced city, a number of services do not require a tip, aligning with the practical and efficient spirit of Hong Kong's service industry.

Tipping at Hotels

When staying at hotels in Hong Kong, understanding the local customs surrounding tipping can make your experience smoother. Let’s navigate the norms for service charges and gratuities for hotel staff.

Service Type Suggested Tip Additional Information
Service Charge 10-15% included in bill Covers general services received
Room Service (Mid-range Hotel) Not mandatory on top of service charge Tip appreciated for exceptional service at upscale hotels
Bellhop/Porter Around 20 Hong Kong dollars For luggage assistance
Concierge Discretionary For exceptional assistance

Service Charges and Room Service

In many hotels, a service charge is typically included in your bill, which can range from 10% to 15%. This is standard and is meant to cover the general service you receive. For room service, a tip isn't mandatory on top of this service charge, especially if you're at a mid-range hotel. However, at more upscale hotels, a small tip for room service staff might be appreciated for exceptional service.

Tipping Hotel Staff

For other hotel staff like the bellhop or room attendant, tips aren't expected but are welcomed for good service. A rule of thumb is to offer around 20 Hong Kong dollars to a bellboy or porter for helping with your luggage. It's a small token to show appreciation for their help. Meanwhile, tipping the concierge isn't customary, but if they've provided exceptional assistance, feel free to offer a similar amount.

Dining Out: Restaurants and Cafes

When you dine out in Hong Kong, the norms around tipping can vary, but being informed can make your experience smoother.

Establishment Type Service Charge Additional Tip Tip Method Note
Restaurants and Cafes 10% typically included 10-15% for good service Cash directly to server or tip jar Service charge may not go to wait staff
Bars 10% typically included Discretionary for exceptional service Cash directly to server or tip jar Less common to tip

Understanding Service Charges

Most restaurants and cafes in Hong Kong add a 10% service charge to your bill; this is often included in the prices listed on the menu. It's important to review your bill to see if this charge has been added, as this might eliminate the need for additional tipping. Be aware that although this charge is meant for service staff, it doesn't always go directly to the waiters and baristas.

When to Tip Your Server

Should you still want to tip, a good rule of thumb is to add a 10-15% tip for good service, usually in cash directly to your server. If you're paying by credit card, you might not find an option to add a tip on the payment terminal. In that case, or if you see a tip jar at the counter, feel free to leave your tips there. Remember, when it comes to tipping at bars, the practice is less common, but small tips for exceptional service are always appreciated.

Transportation Services

When you're traveling around Hong Kong, understanding the tipping norms for transportation services is essential. Whether hailing a taxi or joining a tour, knowing when and how to tip will ensure a smooth experience.

Service Type Suggested Tip Additional Information
Taxi Drivers HKD 5-10 or round up Not mandatory, but appreciated for good service
Tour Guides Around 10% of the tour cost For exceptional service or additional effort

Taxi and Driver Gratuity

In Hong Kong, tipping taxi drivers is not mandatory, but it is appreciated for good service. You can round up to the nearest dollar or leave a small tip, such as HKD 5-10. Remember that taxi drivers at the airport and in the city do not expect large tips. For instance, if the fare comes to HKD 237, you might give HKD 240.

Tour Guides and Special Services

Tour guides in Hong Kong often provide personalized services and may go beyond expectations to ensure you have a memorable experience. While it's not required, it's considerate to tip tour guides around 10% of the cost of the tour, especially if they’ve provided exceptional service. If a tour guide also acts as a driver, consider tipping a higher amount to acknowledge their extra effort.

Additional Tipping Considerations

When visiting spas and salons in Hong Kong or seeking service from hospitality workers like bellhops, understanding local customs around tipping can enhance your experience.

Service Type Service Charge Additional Tip When to Tip Extra Suggested Extra Tip
Spas and Salons 10-15% typically included Not expected If no service charge or exceptional service Optional based on satisfaction
Bellhops Not specified Not expected For helpful service HK$10-20 per bag
Valet Service Not specified Not expected For prompt service or additional assistance HK$20-50

Service Charges in Spas and Salons

In Hong Kong spas and hair salons, a service charge is often included in your bill. This charge typically ranges from 10% to 15%, and it's intended to be a gratuity for the staff. Before you decide to tip additionally, check your bill for this line item. If the service charge is included, extra tipping is not a common expectation. However, if you find yourself at a salon without this charge or you receive exceptional service, feel free to leave a gratuity.

Gratuity for Exceptional Service

Even when service charges are included or when tipping is not common, you might encounter service workers that go above and beyond. In these cases, offering a gratuity is a nice gesture to show your appreciation for their outstanding effort. In Hong Kong, bellhops, concierges, and valet service workers generally appreciate a small tip for exceptional service, and it's perfectly acceptable for you to offer one.

Remember, these extra tips are entirely at your discretion and should reflect your level of satisfaction with the services provided.

Practical Tips for Tipping

When you're enjoying the services offered in Hong Kong, understanding the local tipping customs can enhance your experience. It's not just a kind gesture; it's a way of showing appreciation for the service you've received.

How Much to Tip

Hotel Staff: A basic guideline for tipping hotel staff like bellhops and housekeeping is to offer around 10-20 Hong Kong Dollars (HKD) per service. For example, you might tip a bellhop 10 HKD per bag they assist you with.

Restroom Attendants: In upscale restaurants, a small tip of 2-5 HKD for restroom attendants is customary.

Taxi Drivers: While not expected, it is common to round up to the nearest whole number, allowing the driver to keep the small change as a tip.

Restaurants: Check your bill first for a service fee. If it's not included, a tip of 10% of the bill is appreciated. In some casual eateries, tipping isn't a common practice, so use your discretion based on the level of service.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tipping

Is it customary to tip at restaurants in Hong Kong?
No, you're generally not required to tip at restaurants, especially if a service charge is already included in your bill. Tipping is purely discretionary, based on your satisfaction with the service.

What about tipping at hair salons?
At beauty salons in Hong Kong, a tip of 10 percent up to $100 HKD is typically expected, depending on the final price and service complexity. Look out for a tip jar where you can leave your tip if you wish to.

Should you tip taxi drivers?
It is not standard practice to tip taxi drivers in Hong Kong. Nonetheless, if a driver has assisted you with luggage or gone out of their way to ensure you reach your destination promptly, a small tip can be offered as a gesture of appreciation.

What do I need to know about hotel tipping?
You might consider tipping the hotel bell staff 2 to 5 HKD per bag and housekeeping staff the same amount per day, but only if there isn't a service charge on your bill. It’s a nice way to show gratitude for their hard work.

Are there places where tips are not expected?
You do not need to tip your massage therapist or when you receive a spa service unless you experience exceptional service and wish to show extra thanks.

Remember, while tipping isn’t mandatory in Hong Kong, acknowledging great service with a small tip is always appreciated.

Published: 31-01-2024

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