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How much do you tip in China?

Posted by peipeinj on September 23, 2016 at 4:40 PM

Generally speaking, you don't need to worry too much about tips when you're in China. Tipping in restaurants, spas, taxis, salons, etc. is not expected and it can be a welcome respite for those of us from countries where it is a real headache calculating how much one should tip.

That said, it's a little different when you go on pre-organized tours. I can't speak to exactly why tipping is expected on tours, but it's come to be the norm. It is customary on tours to tip the guide and driver a certain amount per day. Of course, if you feel very strongly against the tip, you don't have to give a tip. However, if you thought the guide/driver were especially bad, then we recommend that you report any bad behavior back to the tour operator so they know and can take appropriate steps.

If you are traveling in a small group like 8-10members, I suggest approximately US $10 per day per person as tips for your tour guide and driver as gratitude for their service. Gratuities can help improve the service for you. Anyone who has received a tip will recognize that his services have been appreciated. If your guide went above and beyond during your tour, a little more money is always appreciated. I have found it truly is the case that they are doing their best and want to please their clients.

Hotels in China

China isn’t as cheap as it used to be, but you can always find a good deal if you look hard enough. Beijing, Shanghai, Hong-Kong and Macau are particularly pricey. However western China is still inexpensive travel destinations.

In very high-end hotels you may leave the bellhops or concierges $10 per item of luggage. But it is not expected.

In Hong Kong the expected tips is $5-10 for every luggage they carry. Hotels sometimes add a 15% service charge, but mainly for large groups.

Restaurants in China

In China some restaurants refuse tips. However, tipping is becoming more common, but mainly in high-end restaurants where a 10-15% service charge may be added to the bill. Elsewhere it is not expected

In Hong Kong a 10% - 15% charge is commonly added to the bill. It's courtesy to leave your coin change, or round up to the next dollar if paying on your card. If you are unhappy with the service, it's fine to not leave a tip.

Taxi in China

In China, the taxi drivers do not expect a tip, nor will they ask for one. They will not accept a tip. In some areas of China, it is still illegal to accept a tip, and thus ingrained in Chinese culture to not accept one.

In Hong Kong taxi drivers will round up to the nearest amount, and usually don't give you back small change.

Hair Salon in China

Hair stylists in China do not expect a tip for a haircut. Nor do barbers. However, western hair salons in China may expect a tip, as they often employ western stylists.


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