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

Written by Jim Belt in How Much To Tip

When you dine at a restaurant in Hong Kong, you may notice that many establishments add an extra 10 percent service charge to your bill. This is often included on the menu and will appear on the final statement you receive. This guide helps you understand Hong Kong's tipping etiquette.

In Hong Kong restaurants, tipping is not a common practice as many establishments include a 10% service charge. However, for exceptional service, leaving a small tip in addition to the service charge is appreciated but not expected.

Tipping Customs

Tipping not customary


  • A 10% service charge is commonly added to restaurant bills in Hong Kong.
  • Additional tipping at restaurants is discretionary and not routinely expected.
  • Understanding local tipping etiquette in Hong Kong enhances the dining experience.

Tipping Norms in Hong Kong

Tipping in Hong Kong has its own set of expectations and cultural subtleties that you should be aware of. Here's what you need to know when dining out.

Understanding the Local Tipping Culture

In Hong Kong, tipping is not as deeply ingrained a practice as it might be in other countries. While locals may not always expect tips, showing your appreciation for good service is considered a sign of respect. The local tipping culture tends to be more relaxed, but being mindful of when and how to tip can help you navigate any dining experience with ease.

Establishment Service Charge When to Tip Suggested Gratuity Additional Information
Restaurants and Bars Commonly 10% If no service charge or for exceptional service Up to 10% of the bill Check bill before tipping; hand tip directly to server

Service Charges in Restaurants and Bars

Most restaurants and bars in Hong Kong add a 10% service charge to your bill, which is technically a tip for the staff. It's important to inspect your bill before deciding on leaving a tip – this service charge is often seen as sufficient gratuity. However, if there is no service charge, or you have received exceptional service, it's customary to leave a little extra for your server.

When to Tip at Restaurants

When dining at a restaurant without a service charge, or if you're very pleased with the service, leaving a tip is a kind gesture. As a guideline, consider leaving up to a 10% gratuity of your total bill amount. It's preferred to hand the tip directly to your waiter or waitress to ensure it goes to the right person. Remember, tipping at restaurants is generally seen as a token of your gratitude rather than an obligation.

Tipping Practices for Services

When visiting Hong Kong, navigating the tipping culture can be straightforward once you're aware of the local customs. Different service sectors have their own expected practices, and understanding these will make your experiences smoother.

Service Type Suggested Tip Tipping Method Additional Information
Bellboy/Room Service 20 Hong Kong dollars Envelope For luggage handling or meal delivery
Concierge Discretionary Envelope For exceptional help like securing reservations
Hotel Porters/Maids Not expected, discretionary if given Envelope on dresser For acknowledging service
Spa Services 50-70 Hong Kong dollars Direct to service worker For excellent service
Hair/Beauty Salons Discretionary Direct to attendant For stellar job

Hotels and Accommodation Services

In the realm of hotels and accommodation, tipping isn't usually mandatory, but there are a few instances where it's appreciated. For instance, you may offer a small tip to the bellboy for handling your luggage or to room service for delivering a meal. A customary tip could be about 20 Hong Kong dollars, often placed in an envelope as a discrete gesture of gratitude.

For concierge services that go above and beyond, such as securing reservations at an exclusive restaurant or arranging special outings, a tip is a nice way to say thank you. Hotel porters and maids generally do not expect tips, but if you feel particularly inclined to acknowledge their service, a modest amount in an envelope left on the dresser will suffice.

Spa, Salon, and Personal Services

When indulging in spa, salon, or personal services, the situation varies slightly. Unlike in some countries where gratuity is practically obligatory, in Hong Kong, it's up to you to decide based on the service quality. At spas, while not expected, a tip of around 50 to 70 Hong Kong dollars to your service worker can be considered courteous for excellent service.

At hair salons and beauty salons, the approach is similar. If your hairdresser or beautician has done a stellar job, a tip is a good way to express your satisfaction. Hand the gratuity directly to the attendant to ensure it's received by them personally. Keep in mind that in Hong Kong, gestures of appreciation are valued, but the amount is always at your discretion.

Tipping for Transportation

When you're traveling in Hong Kong, understanding the tipping etiquette for different modes of transportation ensures a smoother experience. Whether you're hailing a taxi or utilizing porter services, knowing how much to tip can be both considerate and practical.

Service Type Suggested Tip Payment Method Additional Information
Taxi Drivers Round up to nearest dollar, 10% is generous Cash or credit card Not expected but appreciated
Rideshare Services Tip through app's payment system In-app Easy to add on if desired
Porters HK$10-20 per bag Cash Depending on level of service
Valet Services HK$20-HK$40 Cash Check for service fees before tipping

Taxi Drivers and Rideshare Services

In Hong Kong, tipping taxi drivers is not the norm but appreciated. For a standard taxi ride, you can round up the fare to the nearest dollar; an additional 10% is generous but not expected. For example, if your fare comes to $92 HKD, you could round up to $100 HKD. Payment is usually in cash, though some taxis now accept credit cards. Rideshare services may include the tip in their app's payment system, making it easy to add on if you choose.

Porters and Valet Services

Porter services at hotels or transportation hubs in Hong Kong are typically rewarded with a small tip. You might consider giving HK$10-20 per bag depending on the level of service provided. For valet services, if a service charge hasn't already been applied to your bill, a tip of HK$20-HK$40 is common practice, though always check for service fees before tipping. These tips are usually given in cash, ensuring that the appreciation goes directly to the service provider.

Guidelines for Other Tipping Scenarios

When dining out in Hong Kong, you may encounter tipping situations beyond the restaurant itself. Knowing how to navigate these can enhance your travel experience.

Tipping Tour Guides and Drivers

For exceptional service, tipping tour guides and drivers in Hong Kong is a considerate gesture. If you're on a private tour, consider a tip of around 50 to 70 HKD to your guide. Similarly, drivers may appreciate a rounded up fare—though it's often not expected, a small increment to show your satisfaction can be welcomed.

Understanding When Not to Tip

In many cases, tipping is not a part of the service culture in Hong Kong as it might be in other countries. For instance, it's generally not necessary to leave a tip at a spa or for a taxi driver, unless you want to offer something extra for truly stand-out service. Specifically, in bars and some restaurants, tips aren't required especially if a service charge is already added to your bill. If you receive bad service, you are under no obligation to tip.

How to Tip in Different Venues

When you're dining out or enjoying a drink in Hong Kong, understanding the tipping customs can help you navigate each scenario with ease. Here's a brief guide to help you determine when and how much to tip in cafes, small eateries, upscale restaurants, and bars.

Establishment Type Suggested Tip Payment Method Additional Information
Cafes and Small Eateries Optional, few Hong Kong dollars Cash at tip jar Not common to tip, but appreciated for good service
Upscale Restaurants 10-15% if no service charge Cash on table or with credit card Customary only if service charge not included
Bars Round up or small cash tip Cash For exemplary service or complex orders

Tipping at Cafes and Small Eateries

In cafes and small eateries, such as those serving dim sum, it's not common to leave a tip. You might notice a tip jar at the counter; feel free to drop in a few Hong Kong dollars if you enjoyed the service. Paying in cash is straightforward, but if you use a credit card, leaving a tip becomes less typical as there may not be an option to add it electronically.

Tipping at Upscale Restaurants and Bars

At upscale restaurants, if there's no service charge included in the bill, it is customary to tip 10-15% of the total amount. You could leave the tip in cash directly on the table or include it when paying with a credit card. In a bar environment, tipping isn't expected, but for exemplary service or complex drink orders, rounding up the bill or offering a small cash tip to your server as a token of appreciation is a welcome gesture.

Published: 01-02-2024

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

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 …

Jim Belt in How Much To Tip
Tipping in Hong Kong Restaurants: Is It Expected?
Do You Tip in Hong Kong? Understanding the Local Tipping Etiquette