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In the U.S. tipping is customary and expected for everything from lackluster to outstanding service. It is an etiquette which is ingrained in all trades, from wait staff at restaurants to our baristas, valets, cab drivers, porters, and many more trades.

Tipping in Thailand is not customary and there are no requirements to tip anyone, leaving a small gratuity for great service is appreciated, but unlike other parts of the world you will never see a Thai service provider with their hand out expecting to be tipped.

The questions `when?` and `how much?` that surround tipping can leave some travelers confused, as the practice varies. This guide attempts to cover most situations that you, as a tourist, will encounter. Hopefully using these `tips` will provide a smooth experience when interacting with locals in restaurants, bars, hotels, tour operators, and taxis.

Currency: Can I pay in U.S. dollars, or should I use Thai Baht?

The Thai Baht is the currency used in Bangkok you will need to exchange your dollars to Baht. Try to avoid major banks and popular tourist areas as you tend to get the worst exchange rates. Super Rich is the most famous money exchange company in Bangkok with several branches across the city; you must have your passport with you to exchange money in Bangkok.

Restaurants, Cafes, and Bars: When should I tip? How much is customary?

It is not un-common to leave your small change behind at a restaurant in Thailand at a high end restaurants tips are more common and you should the 10% rule for good service but only if you did not receive a service charge on your bill. Tipping small roadside or street food vendors is not common and might be seen as an overpayment, if there is a tip jar visible you can tip a few baht coins.

Hotel Staff: Who should I tip?

At hotels in Thailand it is always nice to tip the staff as they earn very little, so a small tip goes a long way. You can tip the bellboy 20 - 50 baht (.60 - $1.50) depending on how many bags you have, a tip will not be expected but will be appreciated. The maid at your hotel will not expect a tip but a small 20 - 50 baht (.60 - $1.50) in an envelope under your pillow would certainly be appreciated.

Taxi Drivers: Should I tip?

Most taxi drivers in Thailand will not expect you to tip but it is common to round up the fare to the nearest bill and leave the change as a tip when taking a taxi in Thailand.

Tour Guides: Is a tip required?

You can tip the equivalent of $10 - $20 per day for a tour guide in Thailand; this amount should be shared with the driver.

Miscellaneous: Is there anyone I should tip that I would not normally?

Thailand is a common place for spa services and massage; if your treatment is at a high end hotel then you should tip at least 10% for good service. A masseuse only earn a small wage and commonly receive a more substantial tip of 100 baht ($2.85) or more based on the length of the service.

Final Thoughts:

Remember that it is perfectly okay to abstain, especially if you are not happy with the service provided. This is also true for hotel staff, however if you should encounter a problem with the service within the hotel, we highly recommend speaking with the manager.

When paying for services in cash (which we generally recommend for services other than your hotel) remember to take your receipt. This is important for two reasons; If you leave a tip on a credit card, the person providing the service may not always get it, and if there is a discrepancy it is important to have your receipt to settle it with the manager of the establishment and to prove that you paid for the service.